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RMSBORDERCOLLIES

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  1. Thanks for getting back to me with the update. It is always appreciated when I hear of the successes that have come about through hard work, seeking help, and determination. Bob
  2. Getting the dog to fetch the sheep to you while driving is ok if the dog knows the difference between driving and fetching and is not actively trying to fetch the sheep to you all the time because he/she either wants to or doesn't understand the concept of driving yet. In your case I'm sure it's allright to have her fetch the sheep to you. As far as her rating the sheep, you need to keep in mind that it is she who sets the pace of the sheep according to their (the sheep's) comfort level. You will let the dog know how fast or slow you want the sheep to move and that is where she will keep them. After she is able to figure out what the best pace for the sheep is without your help, then she will be able to rate them as to where she feels the best pace is but you may not agree with her and then you have to step in and let her know atjust what speed you want them. Good luck, Bob
  3. Hi Jan. Pace is something that you develop over a period of time and gradually. Scott told you the right thing when he said not to worry about pace at that time. As you say you can lie her down and stop her as needed but you are not comfortable with that. The thing you need to be doing with her now is teaching her to slow down when asked. Personally I just use a long slow soft lie down or stop whistle to start with and I don't enforce the stop with this slow soft whistle. You can also teach her the "time" command if you want to use that by doing the same thing,; a long slow soft stop command. You don't have to us"time", just anything that means to you for her to slow down and learn to pace, i.e., "easy", "steady" etc. Pick your own words, but get the idea into her head that she has to slow and pace herself so the sheep are moving at an efficient pace. Keep in mind that you are going to have to establish this each time you run her as the sheep will always be different and will need different degrees of push at any given time. You need to use as much firmness as necessary to get the pace out of the sheep that you want. This will also be different as some sheep can move faster or slower that others and still be comfortable. A steady flowing rate is what you are looking for and this will come over a period of time if you just stay focused and determined to move the sheep and handle the dog as needed. Don't be slowing the dog down too much though, only when needed to keep pace. The last thing you want is to have a dog that is reluctant to push because the handler has slowed her so much that she won't put pressure on them any more. Keep in mind that this is a job of work and not just an exercise in keeping straight lines and tight turns. You want the lines and turns but you also want your dog to know she's in charge and in control of the livestock and has the confidence to put them anyplace you want them. Be consistent with your handling and watch your sheep at all times to determine whether they need a little more or a little less push. Learn to read the sheep well so that you can help your dog as much as she is helping you. Learn to read your dog also so you can tell when she is getting stressed or she's over her head in what she's doing. Stress and challenge are really very necessary in bringing a dog to fruition but you can also overdo it so be aware at all times. The dog will learn to read her sheep over time (and this is a fairly long time I'm talking about)and you will find that when she is mature she will rate her sheep pretty well right from the get go. Don't rush it though. You'll get better results just with steady progress. Good luck..........Keep in touch and let me know how it's going......Bob
  4. I have been slow to reply to this question as I am a bit confused about what is happening on the come bye outrun. It sounds like she is going out quite tight and moving the sheep from where they are spotted and then changing her flank to the opposite flank in order to stay in contact with the sheep. You say you are making her follow her course no matter what the sheep do and I certainly wouldn't recommend this at all. Also, 12 o'clock is not usually a good place for your dog to wind up at the top. Balance is where you want her which means she needs to wind up on the pressure at the top to ensure that she comes in on her sheep on balance in order to move them straight to you..That could be somewhere between 10 and 2 o'clock and hardly ever is exactly at 12 o'clock. It would be advisable for you to set your sheep in different places around your field so that they are not running the same direction all the time or to the draw all the time. The best way is to set them so that you are fetching them to you against the draw instead of the way they want to go all the time. Sort the ram out for sure before you start working with a young dog as she may not be able to handle the pressure of working a fighting ram. That's the nature of a ram to protect and own his ewes so he is only doing what is right for him. A confident, experienced dog will be able to deal with his obstinance but a young dog shouldn't be put in that siuation until she has gained a lot of experience and confidence. Just sort the ram at the gate when you are taking the ewes out and leave him behind. Use the gate to stop him from coming out with the ewes. I very much look forward to seeing another video of your work as it sometimes is hard for you to explain exactly what is happening and for me to understand the situation. It does sound like you are having some difficulty though and we need to get that sorted out asap. So let me see the next video soon and we'll get started on solving your problems. Good luck......Bob
  5. Gloria's reply pretty well hits it on the head except for the fact that I would never allow a young dog to gather while I am teaching it to drive. In my opinion this is counter productive and would just confuse the young dog and he would keep on trying to gather and not understand the principal of driving which is to take the sheep away from you. The rest of it is fine and works well with calling the dog's name, giving the flank while you are to one side or the other behind the dog. Calling the dog's name gets his head facing the right way and then giving the fglank gets him going on a nice square flank because he is facing the right waqy when you send him. Timing is very important also as you must give the flank the second he looks the way you want him to go or looks at you. Bob
  6. Hi Suzanne. With a bitch like this, I usually try to "form" the outrun. She is probably a naturally wide outrunner and you need to control that. Some of these types of dogs will get so wide they disappear at times and lose their sheep, they get so far away from them on the outrun. You can do this by giving an opposite flank and then the correct flank again as she goes out on her outrun just to get her going right and the way you want her. You have done the right thing by placing her in front of you before you send her. However, giving the "here, here" may just confuse her. Try sending her on her outrun from in front of you. Give the away to me or come bye and as she goes out give her the opposite flank until you have her where you want her. Then give a very quiet proper flank to get her back on the right direction. I'll try to explain that a little clearer. Sending to the right - give her the "away to me". Then as she starts to go too wide, give her a "come bye" until you have her on the line you want her travel and then a very sedate "away to me" again and keep doing this until she has reached 3 o'clock and then watch to see that she does not push out too wide as she starts her approach to the sheep. If she does, continue with the same thing until you have her where you want her. The main thing you really have to concentrate on is how she goes at the start of her outrun. Don't let this get too wide as it is the stage of the outrun that will determine how wide she's going to go. She should start out at approximately a 30/45 degree angle and no more than that. You are right to go back to 100 yards to start this but I don't think you will need to stay there long. You are shaping the outrun so you need to be sure you don't allow her to go too wide from now on. Don't worry about her getting merchanical, this won't hurt her at all and it shouldn't take too long to fix. If you make her do it right all the time for a while now she will do it that way pretty well forever once she's go it. Keep in touch and let me know how it's going......Bob
  7. Hi there. Your dog is not coming in tight at the top but you do need to get on the ball and stop her after she has turned in on the sheep. She must learn to approach her sheep cautiously but with firmness. To do this you need to be very intricate on your timing of your stop command. Right now you are much too late giving the stop. As soon as the dog makes her turn on to the sheep you need to give your stop command quickly. Then, BEFORE THE DOG STOPS OR LIES DOWN, give a "walk up" and then control the pace of the sheep by giving stops and walk ups. Don't be confusing the issue with another command like stand at this time. That can come later. When training for your come by outrun get yourself much closer to the sheep for now until she is not trying to cross over when she leaves your side. You cannot control what the dog does at the top end by being at ther side when you send her. That can only be done when you send her from a point further away from you and the sheep. You need to lie her down and tell her to stay and walk toward the sheep about 20 yards from where you have been sending her. Hold your left hand with the stick in it out wide to your side, go to the off balance side of the dog, give her the command and as she goes out from her position run or walk fast to ensure that she goes around the sheep properly. In the video it is pretty obvious that she knows what a proper come by outrun is as she did it right when you brought her back and sent her again. I would work 75 to 80 % on the come by and only 15 or 20 % on the away outruns until she is consistent on the come by. When she is making her approach to her sheep on the lift and you have insisted that she slow down and approach the sheep properly, start to back up quite quickly so that she has a longer fetch to you. Don't stand and wait where you started the outrun; get going backwards so that she has a longer distance to bring them and let her bring them at an efficient pace, which is not an extremely slow walk. It is a pace that the sheep are comfortable with and could be anywhere from a brisk walk to a short trot. It would appear to me that her outruns are quite nice, but she does need to be taught to lift softer and with firmness and that will come. She appears to be enjoying what she is doing and you are doing a good job with her so keep up the good work and have fun with her. The videos are a great way for me to see what is going on and I certainly can help much more when I have a video to watch prior to giving comments. sincerely......Bob
  8. A very good drug for arthritis in canines is metacam. It is an NSAID and very effective especially for older dogs with long lasting arthritis. I had my old Turk dog on it ffrom age 8.5 to 15.5 with absolutely no side effects ever and he competed extremely well in large field trials and double lifts until almosty 12 years of age. For the last two years of his life after retirement he was on a very low dose of prednizone every second day along with the Metacam which worked quite well. Exercise was always determined by his condition on the day. He was on a maintenance dose of Metacam which is a drench in liquid form and comes with its own calibrated syringe for easy dosing. I always have a bottle on hand for emergencies. Vet's prescription is required. Try it, I have had very good results with it......Bob Stephens
  9. Hi Suzanne. There's quite a bit I would have done differently but that doesn't mean that you didn't do it right. When training a dog to look back for hidden sheep, or any sheep for that matter, I like to see the dog receive the opposite flank to the way you are going to send him before getting the turn back. In other words, if you are going to send to the away side as the sheep come through the fetch panel, you will flank the dog to the come bye to get him going in the direction you want him to go to get the second group of sheep. You don't want to flank the dog too far around the sheep as he will not be facing in the right direction to give him the turn back if you let him come around to 3 or 4 o'clock. You need to either stop him at 1 or 2 o'clock, give him the turn back and then the flank when his head is looking in the direction you want him to go. I, personally, don't like to stop the dog when turning him back but prefer that the dog take the come bye, the turn back and the away to me all in one flowing motion. To me, it only makes sense that you keep the dog moving when he is moving in the right direction to accomplish a nice away to me outrun to the hidden sheep. If you need to give another flank to get him going right that's fine as long as you keep him going the right way. You are right when you mention the trust issue. This the most important thing there is to the dog when sending him blind. He has to know that there are sheep out there and the only way he will know that is by doing it right all the time and getting him to the sheep all the time. The trust gets established pretty quick when he is winning all the time. As far as whether he is turning properly or not, my liking is that he turns to the outside when receiving the look back, but if he gets the stop first and then the look back, it doesn't much matter which way he turns as long as he starts the flank in the direction he's been given. Looks like "YO" is doing a very nice job for you and he looks pretty happy in the service. Keep up the good work......talk later.....Bob
  10. Hi Maja. First of all I must apologize for being so tardy with this reply but I have been doing a lot of reno's on my place and just answering posts as I get a minute here and there in between the work and training dogs. I watched your videos and things look like they are progressing about normally for a young dog and handler. The first advice I can give you is don't worry about how close the dog is right now. The thing you should be doing is short outruns and no circling. To start get yourself between the sheep and the dog, closer to the sheep. Make sure your dog is not too far away from the sheep to start with. (about 20 yards is plenty for now) Facing your dog and just in front of the sheep, move off balance some and shush the dog so that she starts on a nice square flank around the sheep. To ensure she stays square, move towards her pushing her out so she stays off the sheep the same distance as she goes around them. Make sure you don't get in front of her and stop her or you'll have to start over again. Just behind her inside front shoulder is a good place to be. As she approaches 9 or 3 o'clock start to back up so she can fetch the sheep to you when she gets behind them. You'll need to back up quite quickly as she will get to the sheep faster than you can back up. I notice that you are lying her down when she gets behind the sheep and I wouldn't do this too much if I were you. The time to slow the dog down is after she has lifted the sheep, not before. Let her find balance when she gets behind the sheep. You can help her here by moving yourself around as you are backing up to change the balance point and make her think about where she should be to bring the sheep directly to you. It is very important to keep the balance in the dog at all times as this is the reason we use Border Collies, because they have balance and the desire to fetch stock to us. You can help the dog establish it's balance by walking around the field and letting the dog bring the stock to you as you walk around. It's a good exercise to do at any stage of training and I always end my sessions with 20 or 30 seconds of balance work. You can also teach the dog pace while doing this as you don't want her pushing the sheep past you. Be sure that when you are doing the balancing that you walk at a good pace and not too slow as it is not comfortable for the dog to be having to put the brakes on all the time and also it is not efficient for a dog to move sheep that slowly. Work on short outruns for now and lengthen them as the dog gets more proficient at it. Make sure you keep letting him bring the sheep to you and just control the pace of the sheep by either stopping or slowing the dog down as he brings them to you, NOT BEFORE THE LIFT! It is really important that the dog learns to read the pressure when she gets to the top and begins her approach to the sheep so that she can help you at greater distances and when you can't see the sheep. Pressure and balance are very closely related and extremely important. Balance is what gives the dog the ability to bring the sheep directly to you even though they want to go elsewhere. Pressure from the sheep causes the dog to, in turn, put pressure on the sheep in order to accomplish the task you are asking of him. It eventually will become a nice flowing movement with the dog going out on his outrun at a nice 30 to 45 degree angle and staying at that angle until she approaches the 3 or 9 o'clock point and then the turn onto the sheep with the dog keeping that same distance she was when she started the turn and then a nice calm approach to the sheep from the point of balance in order to turn them directly to you and begin the fetch. Hope this helps some and don't hesitate to ask for clarification if there is something you don't understand. There are no dumb questions so don't be shy. sincerely ...... Bob
  11. Hi Deb. Please don't put so much importance on him coming off the sheep when he's been working. If you have to call him off 4 or 5 times that's way better than him wanting to leave and quit working. Not a big deal that he wants to stay out there and work and not come off to you. It is a big deal that he does want to stay out there and work. Just keep on with "that'll do, here" until he gets to you and don't fret the small stuff. It's ok to walk through the stock and not work him and it's also ok that he wants to work all the time when there's stock around. After all that's what he is bred to do and I would be a little upset if he wasn't like that and very pleased that he is. As far as him coming in flat at the top, you will need to move back to a shorter outrun to correct this. Get really close to the sheep about 100 yards from him and the sheep about 50 yards behind you. Send the dog either way and ensure that he stays out nice and wide by moving into him as he comes to 9 or 3 o'clock. As he passes these points keep moving into him and force him to stay back off the sheep as he comes around to start his lift. As he gets to his lift point start backing up quickly so that he will be able to fetch the sheep to you on a short fetch. As you can see you are going back to the basics to cure a problem which is the fix for most things. You are now shaping his outrun so that you get what you are after, the dog staying at the same distance from 9 o'clock to the lift point. Next fix - don't move him out to longer distances until he is doing it right at the shorter distances. He looks like quite a nice boy and will be a good working partner for you. Keep in touch and let me know how things are going. Sorry to be so long getting back but have been pretty busy since returning from Meeker with Clinics and custom dogs etc. sincerely.....Bob
  12. Hi Deb. Just be sure when you start him that you don't start too far away. Make it easy for him to start and then slowly move the sheep further away as he gets better at it. Like I said before, keep moving yourself around at the bottom so that he is aware of where you are all the time. This will keep the good balance in him and help him to flank on the sheep as needed to keep them coming straight to you. Let me know how you are doing and we'll go from there........Bob
  13. It definitely states and I quote, "dog must be called back to the handler" which would indicate that the dog was called back to you and you actually cast him/her off after the second group of sheep. Most Judges, including myself, would dq for literally resending the dog after already starting the outrun. You really only get one chance to send your dog from your feet and if you call him/her back that is either 19 off or a dq. I don't find anything in the Judging guidelines that would indicate a dq for giving a that'll do command nor do I see any need for it. We do lots of things out there to get our dogs where they need to be and, if it works, and is within the rules and guidelines, more power to you.........Bob
  14. Thanks very much folks. Meeker was a blast this year and Pat ran like a top even though he was injured from going into a badger hole at another trial two weeks before Meeker. I had to pull him in the double lift as he was on 3 legs at the start of the drive but he had already given me a beautiful run in the semi finals and I have nothing but admiration and love for that little dog who just works his heart out all the time. Once again, thanks for the kudos and I guess we all have to get back to reality now.....Bob
  15. Just to ensure you Suzanne, you are following the right path with her so just have fun and bring her along at her pace and you'll find that by next spring she will be getting the job done well for you......Bob
  16. Hi there. Sorry I'm late answering but I've been away trialing for two weeks and not much time to get to the computer. In my opinion you are experiencing the actions of a manipulative dog. He is not wanting to give up the pressure because that takes away control from him, which is, most of the time, a good thing. However, when you want him to release pressure, which could be for lots of good reasons, he must do that. To hold that pressure when it's not needed would quite possibly get you and the dog in lots of trouble and create a wreck that would take a lot of time to resolve. He is getting a little on a power trip and not listening well so you need to step up to the plate and become firm and demanding when you ask him to come off the pressure. When you ask for a flank you need to get it from him, right away. When you're in the pen and ask him to go around the sheep one way or the other, be determined that you will MAKE him go the way you want and don't accept anything less. Block him from going the way he wants to and make him go the way you want by repeating the flank command and discouraging him from going the wrong way. Make sure you win the battle and don't five up. I would suggest you have been seeing some sulking over the past while also and that is his way of getting what he wants. Don't let him do it!!! You are the commander in chief and he must do as he is told all the time. Work him through the sulks and don't accept them as some kind of pressure that you are putting on him. It is he who is putting the pressure on you. Just keep working him through it and get back to me in a week or so and let me know how things are going. Good luck.....Bob
  17. I'll try and be as un-opinionated (is that a word?) as possible here. The nursery class was first developed in the UK to show those folks in need of a young dog what the "special" young dogs were capable of accomplishing at a young age. This was the goal behind starting nursery trials and, in my opinion, should still be. Not every dog comes equipped to be a "special" nursery dog and that does not have anything to do with being better or worse than another dog. It merely says that this "special" dog can take the discipline and the stress of training to an open level at a very young age and still be capable of doing it throughout his working life. Some of these "special" young dogs that comes to mind right away is Dennis Gellings' Jan and Amanda Milliken's Clive. Both these dogs have shown they have the ability to take training to an open level at a very young age and keep on going. There are many more out there that have done as well also, but I need not dwell any further on that. Not all are capable of this but they are still extremely useful dogs in their own right. We need to learn the difference here and not put those dogs that don't fit the pattern through the stress of trying to be what they are not. Nursery dogs need to have those special qualities that sets them apart from the norm and, sometimes, I think we have forgotten that and just accept that nursery is merely an age class. Not so, in my opinion. It is a class for "special" dogs that can take the stress of training and not break under it just like the energizer bunny and keep on going throughout their life. I've said my piece, what's yours?.....Bob
  18. Glad to hear that things have worked out for you.....Bob
  19. Hi there. I have watched all 5 of your video clips and I can see nothing there that would make me think the dog is weak. My suggestion to not lie the dog down at the top just before the lift still stands. The time to steady the dog is after the lift just when he wants to start pushing a little too hard. Wait for the sheep to turn and start towards you and watch your dog so you can determine when he is getting to the point that he wants the sheep to go a little faster. That is the time to slow him down with a steady whistle or a long slow lie down. What I am seeing also is that your sheep, being quite broke, tend to run to you when the dog lifts and then you tend to let the dog get out of contact with the sheep on the fetch. I think this is probably an attempt at trying to get the sheep to slow down a bit. In one clip your dog was at least 50 or 60 yards lieing down behind the sheep and they were still running to you. You need to keep the dog in contact with the sheep but pace them so they move as efficiently as possible. Try working from a different position on the field so that you change the draw and this may help you to determine where your dog needs to be in order to move the sheep with authority and pace. Try to find a spot that the dog will have to take charge at the top and move the sheep off without them wanting to run toward you. Your dog is working very well and has nice square flanks from what I see on the clips. Keep up the good work. Bob
  20. The reason I suggested the line is to get the good stop. If you can get it without the line, that will work. It would appear that he has a fear of the line and it would also appear that he is a bit sulky and somewhat manipulative. Just, for now, when you take him for a walk, snap just a short leash on him and let him drag it. Let him have some fun without too many commands while the leash is on and get him used to dragging it. Don't bother tying him up on it as this can create it's own problems. When you take him to sheep let him drag the short leash when you first go to the sheep and then put the long line on. If you don't need it to get the dog to stop, don't use it. They can be a pain especially when they get caught up on weeds and stuff. Remember though, you do need to get that good stop before you can go any further with this dog. Bob
  21. Hi Deb. I think that the problem probably lay in the fact that you might have been running a bit fast and not paying enough attention to line and turns. A judged trial is just that. You need to keep your dog off the sheep and in control so that you lay down nice straight lines and tight turns. Of course, you are right when you say you should have kept the sheep away from the pen so the dog could cover well on his counter clockwise turn around the pen. The sheep would have the upper hand if they could get in tight going around the pen as the dog would not be able to cover both sides very well. I understand that the drive panel was about half way up the arena on the far side from the pen and the draw was back to the set out. If you had kept the dog on the left side of the sheep to hold pressure and on pressure to hold the line to the drive panel, that probably would have worked well for you even if you had been tight on the pen. Time is only a tie breaker even in points and time trials so it is much better to get all the points than have a fast time without all points, timed trial or judged. Teach your dog and yourself to hold pressure and keep the sheep moving and you will find this very beneficial, especially in the arena trials. It involves very good timing and control of the dog but it is a lot of fun to watch a well trained dog keep sheep moving straight even when there is a strong draw involved. It involves a lot of finesse and control as you don't want to be starting and stopping the sheep all the time. You want to see a nice flow as the sheep quietly trot around the arena. Work on the fence and this will teach the dog to keep the sheep moving but not stop them. Just give the dog short flanks and walk ins as he brings them down the fence, then turn around and do it the other way. Try not to get the dog too far ahead of the sheep so he is stopping them. You don't want this to happen. Better to lose a little line than stop the flow. Just concentrate on not stopping the sheep and work slowly to start. After a while when you get it you will be able to speed things up a bit. It works well and the dogs love it......Good luck......Bob
  22. Hi. I replied to you personally. You can post the answer if you like........Bob
  23. My first suggestion is #1: Get a good stop on the dog before going any further. You establish the stop off stock to start with and then move to stock with a long line on the dog. Walk the dog up on the stock, tell him "lie down" and give a good jerk and release on the line to make him stop. Jerk and release as hard as necessary to accomplish the stop. Gradually move the dog out further away from you until you reach the end of the 125 foot long line and then you need to take the long line off and start close again without the line. Same thing again: move the dog out as he becomes more controllable until you have a consistent stop on the dog. Don't bother doing any other kind of work with the dog off line until you have the stop established. Everything on line from now until you are able to be confident that the dog will stop when you tell him. Get out of the round pen and on to a small field at least 1/2 acre and let the dog find his balance and where he needs to be on his sheep in order to move them properly. This is not going to happen overnight. It's going to take a while one step at a time. I would also recommend that you use more sheep, up to ten, if possible. It keeps the sheep more settled and makes things easier for the dog at the same time. Goats have a tendency to be a little harder to move and will fight more than sheep. The more broke the sheep are right now, the better. Work the dog on line in a small field until you are sure he will answer your commands, go to balance, and lift the sheep nicely. Try this for a while and get back to me when you have a good stop on the dog and he is under control and we'll carry on further with your training........Bob
  24. Norm and Vickie Close are very near then at CDL, ID. There are also some good handlers near Spokane but I don't know if they give lessons or not. Sue Wessels at Dayton, WA and Noel Williams in Spokane both come to mind but I do know that Norm gives lessons for sure. Look up Handhills Border Collies and you will get to his site. Don Helsley is further south at Caldwell, ID. Their site is Helsleyranch.com.......Bob
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