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Everything posted by RMSBORDERCOLLIES

  1. I don't know where you are located but I farmed Alfalfa for many years and never planted in the fall. I am located in BC in the north Okanagan valley where our farming is done under irrigation from May until October. Alfalfa is normally seeded in the early spring (April) or whenever irrigation water becomes available. We normally cultivate in the late fall and leave the ground turned over to kill weed seeds over the winter. We seed with either a nurse crop of barley or oats or with a brillion seeder which deposits the seed 1/2 inch in the ground and turns the soil onto the seed with the second roller. Seeding with a nurse crop is done with a seed drill. The nurse seeding controls the weeds because grains grow much faster than the weeds or the alfalfa and the grain protects the young alfalfa from the scorching sun in this country. We will have as much as 10 tonne to the acre with 4 cuttings per year or about 8 tonnes with 3 cuts. Alfalfa is cut in the 10% bud stage here for best yield and quality. I personally like it cut just previous to bud although you give up some yield for this. As I use most of my hay for either horses or sheep I don't like the stock to get too course. If you are farming dryland it would be very wise to seed for the early spring rains for good germination. Of course, your local Ag dep't will be able to advise you of the proper type of alfalfa to plant. Bob
  2. Hi folks and I really like your post Eileen. You are right when you say that the top trainers are always searching for new and better methods. I remember a conversation I had with Bobby D at his place in Ettrick a couple of years ago when he surprised me by saying that he lays in bed at night sometimes never getting to sleep trying to figure out a better way to solve a problem with a specific dog. The man never sleeps much anyway but he is a master with a dog of any kind and especially with strong dogs. As far as the long line is concerned which seems to be the subject being discussed in this post, it is only necessary to use a long line on some dogs, not all require it. At a clinic years ago Bobby was insisting that most handlers use the line on their dogs due to the fact that most had no control whatsoever. Bobby is very adamant that a dog be under control and have a good stop when they go to sheep and I fully agree with him. This is not to say that all dogs need this but all my dogs need it. There are virtually hundreds of ways to start dogs and there are vitually hundreds of different types of dogs and not all methods work with all dogs. I train quite a few custom dogs during the year, most on cattle but some on sheep and some for trialling and I would say that most of those that I start for cattle start with a line and about 50% of the sheep dogs I just start out in a 1 acre field without a line. Get the drift! There are those dogs that will stay off their sheep and have nice built in flanks and are biddable right from the get go and I wouldn't consider using a line on them at all and then there are those that run straight up the field at the sheep or cattle with absolutely no thought that there is a person out there. Out comes the line. There are lots of other scenarios that would take too much time to prove my point but when it comes down to what is right and what is wrong, the dog will tell you that pretty quick. So don't be afraid to try a few things that you think might work. You're not going to ruin the dog for life. These guys are pretty resilient and the proof is that we are still training them and they are still working and there are better dogs and handlers today than years ago and that isn't so because we have been afraid to try new things. It's because those top handlers and trainers have had to be very inovative to try to beat the next fellow or girl coming up behind him threatening to take the throne. Competition is fierce today and all the better for the folks and dogs coming up 'cause you're only as good as your competition and there's lots of it out there......Bob
  3. If you have a larger area to work the dog in that would be much better. I don't know what the training level on your dog is but young dogs must be given enough room to get to where THEY are comfortable with the sheep. This is different with every dog. Also, you need to have a good stop on your dog so that when you get in these tight spots you can stop him when he is getting nervous and feeling the tension from the sheep. That is why he is diving in. He has not been taught to work in tight spaces yet. (calm and deliberate movements) Take him to a 1/2 acre field or paddock and work him on fences and in corners, (CALMLY) teaching him to approach his sheep with confidence and control. You do this by making him (with your stop command - "lie down" or "stand there", flank in between the sheep and the fence and then back the other way. Make him stop behind the sheep when he is on the fence and fetch them out to you just to let him know he's doing well. Lots of praise (don't lavish him - just a "good boy") and ALWAYS give the sheep a place to go. You must ALWAYS position yourself so that you can block the dog from going back out to stop the sheep and force him to go the way you want between the sheep and the fence. You must win this battle and it may be a tough one for a while but is well worth it. When you have this control on him then take him to your sheep at the barn and see what you can do with him. You'll find that you won't have this dive and bite dog any more but one that can work in all types of places. If you have any questions, and I'm sure you will, feel free to ask.....Bob
  4. Would be nice if we knew who the trainers were. Probably should answer privately to this one........Bob
  5. You are giving her meloxicam which is a good drug but you are giving her the human form which is a pill. Metacam is a drench in liquid form with a proper dosage syringe which comes with it. There are very few, if any, side effects due to it being a drench. It is very hard to get the proper dosage with a pill as the pills are quite small and hard to cut and they are very hard on the dogs' stomach. I have used Metacam for 10 years now with arthritic dogs and it has always served my dogs well. I don't feel that hard exercize of any kind is useful for arthritis. Metacam must be prescribed by a vet in Canada. I'm pretty sure in the STates also. Bob
  6. Go Lana and Kell. Good team. They work very well together........Bob
  7. You just go ahead and use your regular walking cane or a pair of crutches if you like. No different than using binoculars if you are vision impaired. Neither one would come under the guidline of a training aid in any Judge's opinion. Bob Stephens
  8. Hi Nancy. I think you've just got a young fellow who needs to be worked a little more rather than being put up. He needs to find his feet and working him on sheep will help him do this. He's probably a little confused and the eye foot coordination isn't working too well yet but I think you'll find it will in a couple of weeks of work every day. You must remember that when we start riding and training a horse we teach him his leads by putting pressure on him with our outside leg and turning his head out to make him lead with the inside leg. Lots of horses don't lead naturally and have to be taught. It's pretty hard to ride the dog and teach him his lead but he will find it when his coordination starts to develop and his moves become more automatic. cheers.....Bob
  9. Hi Candy. I think we are talking about your old Moss dog here and I was pretty new to the Open world at the time but I remember saying to myself, she calls this dog's name pretty well all the time before she gives him a command, whistle or voice. I liked the way Moss worked and I kind of got the idea that you needed to be in full contact with this dog ALL THE TIME. Probably because he had some "control freak" in him and could tend to get "deaf" at times. If that was so, it definitely worked for you and the dog as you were very successful with him Staying in contact with the dog and having him listen ALL THE TIME is extremely important. You can't help him if he won't listen and some of these "control freak" type dogs don't always like to listen. "Hey you" works for me but I also like to call the dog's name to let him know I'm still here and sometimes I call it in all sorts of manner depending on the situation. Bob
  10. Yep. It's the only use I can see for one too. Bob
  11. Power, power, power. I hate the word. When I first started trialling that is pretty well the word that stuck to me like glue. I had to have a "powerful dog`. I ran on cattle for my first three years running stockdogs and that seemed to be what everyone wanted. Things have changed a lot since then and the old hard headed hard to train types are few and far between now. Mind you once you had hold of them they could pretty well get anything done on cattle or heavy sheep but they were impossible on light or tricky sheep. Scared hell out of them. My favourite word today is presence, which in my opinion means courage, confidence and the ability to determine how much pressure is needed to move the sheep. This involves a lot of inherited qualities but also some building is necessary while the pup is being reared. You can sometimes see this in a pup by the time he reaches 6 or 7 months old, sometimes later or earlier, but I know from experience that it is a very nice quality to have and work with. Bob
  12. I agree Julie. I would just try and get the whistles that you are comfortable with on the dog and go from there. It isn't that hard to turn a dog over to new whistles especially if you intend to stay with a copy of the whistles already on the dog. You will not be able to exactly copy Scott's whistles anyway as he is a very accomplished finger whistler and you can't copy that with a steel whistle but you can come close. The dog will turn over in a maximum of a couple of weeks if you are consistant and persevering and it won't bother him/her at all. Bob
  13. I don't ever use a flank as a correction. I use a correction for an improper flank and then the flank command again after the correction. As I said in my post we do not operate in a perfect world and we, the handlers, make the mistake of letting our dogs get too close to the sheep and then we need a `get back`or a get out or an out to correct OUR mistake. Those commands are necessary for us to correct our mistakes, not the dog`s. I think I know the fellow of whom Amelia speaks and, contrary to popular belief, he has been docked a lot of points at times for buzzing his dog back off the sheep. The dog sometimes will get back so fast that he is totally out of contact. I know for myself making sure my dog is not too close to his sheep at the pen or in the shedding ring is where I always want to be but sometimes I make the mistake of letting him get a little too close and I have to back him off a bit or square his flank out a little more than usually required. This is my mistake and I usually suffer for it in a trial as it gets things a little more active than I would like especially in situations where you would like things to stay calm like penning and shedding. I do use a `GET OUT OF THAT when the situation arises and then I go smack myself upside the head for making the mistake and causing uneccesary action by the dog. Ìt works for me and whatever works for you is fine by me. Bob
  14. I know that I'll probably get some flack on this but here goes anyway. In my opinion "way back" and "come out" are a correction for an improper flank (like you said, slicing in). If you train the flank properly you shouldn't need to use those commands. Now this is in the world of perfection and we don't operate there all the time so some folks have these commands. If I give a dog a flank and he doesn't do it properly he gets a correction; arrgh!, growl, whatever you use and then another command a little firmer to flank. I have seen quite a few folks in the UK starting their dogs with "get back" and I don't really agree with it for our sheep and also for some of theirs too, but they seem to feel the need to push their dogs way out and get them off the sheep as they are constantly working on light hill sheep. To each his own, I guess. Bob
  15. I never fool around with KC. If your dogs are in contact with other dogs, then I would suggest strongly you vax for KC...Bob Stephens
  16. Hi Elizabeth. As you probably know, I have a similar problem with my Pat dog and also Pete. I don't feel that this is JUST caused by eye but is mostly caused by the dog's attitude to undogged light sheep and possibly not wanting them to get out of control. By stopping them with his position (coming up onto the shoulder of the lead sheep where they can see him which usually stops them) he is in control all the time. However he's not doing you much good as the sheep are not moving. My take on this and I have found it to work when I can make it work, is to get a good hold on the dog and stop him in a position which allows the sheep to move but still stay somewhat under control. We talked about this earlier in another post about sticky dogs I believe. To me this is about a dog's need to be in control and over riding what his handler is asking for. It doesn't take too much work dealing with it but the dog must be shown that he must do as he's told when he's told and you need to help him be in the right place with the sheep. He will learn this over time and it won't take too long as long as you show him where to be and where you want him to be. Your Rye dog does not offer this problem to you because of his nature. He's nice with his sheep and not a control freak but is plenty determined and strong enough to get the job done. Range sheep like him and he doesn't upset them. However with a control dog their nature is to scare sheep. That's why they do so well on the heavy wool breeds who don't spook at the slightest movement of a dog. Same on cattle. They know they have to move and they do because the dog makes them move but they don't freak out at the slightest movement. You will need to get the handler finesse on this new dog by teaching him that he must obey every command and you must have the timing to keep him in the right place. If you do this ritually you will have a dog that can move anything but he must listen to you. These control freaks usually have to be made to be good listeners but once you have it they are awesome dogs to run. I know that if I let off on my training and let my dogs get rusty I am going to pay for it 'cause they will forget how to listen and I will be back in the old fight mode again. I train for this on the fence driving or fetching sheep and practise keeping them straight but in motion all the time. I have suffolk, cheviot crosses to work with and they are a bit broke but not easy sheep. I also work on young lambs when I have them 'cause they're about as close to range ewes as you can get and they don't break anywhere near as fast. It helps me as mush as the dog to find the right position for the dog and, when I have done my homework well, it has always worked for me. That's my take on it for what it's worth. Hope it helps somewhat......Bob
  17. My sentiments exactly Candy. And how are you doing in sunny southern CA? Looks like you are back in the dog world big time. Congrats on Zamora. Wish I had been there but, unfortunately, I was getting a new hip the first day of Zamora. First time I missed it since it started again and I sure didn't want to. New hip is working fine and hope to be back training very soon. Bob Stephens
  18. You tell a dog WHAT to do with your BRAIN. You tell a dog HOW to do it with your HEART! Bob
  19. Hi Bill. The main consideration here is to use a material that will not creep down into the wool and disappear during the trial. A material like sail cloth or canvas would work much better than light cotton or polyester and good old velcro holds quite well. I would use the 2" velcro to ensure the collars stay on during the runs. The collars should be about 4" wide and with the velcro they would be easy to remove and reuse. Keep the color very bright so it is fully visible during the sheds. Probably doubling the material would work best to keep it stiff enough. Hope this helps some......Bob
  20. My sentiments exactly Denise. Thanks for your great posts......Bob
  21. Yep, I'm here and I imagine a few more are also. Let's make this a little simpler for you Deb. Forget about default and program and resistance and anticiaption and all that stuff and let's look at what makes a border collie. The good ones come to you with the desire to work stock inherently built in. They want to fetch sheep to you. They also, most times, want to fetch ALL the sheep to you. As a trainer it is your job to get to know your dog as well as humanly possible and also to let your dog know what your expectations of him/her are. The KISS method works really well for me as I am a slow learner at times and I like to keep it simple. The simplicity of what we love to do is just this. We want to nourish and improve on what we started with which means that we have a goal of having a dog that will #1 and I emphasize this strongly; The dog must do as he is told by the handler ALL THE TIME!!! #2. We must leave the dog to do what he is bred to do except when he needs help or direction. #3. Don't confuse obedience and being a good listener for mechanical. I tell most or all of my students to be in control but not controlling. #4. Train your dog to work, not to trial. #5. Challenge your dog at all times and keep your training periods interesting to both you and the dog. In other words, mix it up. #6. Praise your dog for work well done in WHATEVER FORM WORKS FOR HIM/HER! I say this because there are so many different types of dogs out there that react well to many different forms of praise that you need to figure out what form of praise you use. #7. Learn to read sheep so you can help the dog when he needs it and not get in his way when he doesn't need it. #8. Your goal should be to have a dog is able to take a command at any place at any time and you need to know that you have the confidence in your dog to do that. That is what you need to aim for. Now to get to some of Deb's specific questions: (if we program a default of keep them together will the dog resist moving them apart? ) Not if he is trained to do as he is told and he is trained to understand what a shed or split or single is. Of course when you start training to shed he is going to resist coming through especially if he is a strong eyed dog but we won't get into that here right now. (If the dog has a default of fetching us the stock will he keep anticipating it making us constantly managing the default through commands. Or do we want the dog to be open to which ever command and freely move from keeping them together to releasing them.) I will quote you one this one: "we want the dog to be open to which ever command and freely move from keeping them together to releasing them." In other words, DO AS HE'S TOLD! (Just thinking that a default of bringing me the stock could cost me later on, what happens if the dog didn't understand what you wanted, would he bring you the stock, or would you rather he stopped and go into neutral staying engaged to the sheep?) If the dog didn't understand what you wanted, he is not trained yet and you need to carry on further with his training. Don't want a dog going into neutral at any time for sure. You need to remember when you go to the post with your dog, you are in charge. If you have done your homework before hand and brought the dog to the stage in training required for the class in which you run then you will go to the post with as much self confidence as possible, both in yourself and the dog. There's an old saying - "smell the roses" which in dog trainers' language means enjoy your training sessions and your dog and don't put any more pressure on either one of you than you can handle. Hope I have anwered some of your questions Deb and remember; I don't have defaults on my dogs. They are all very flexible, not perfect, just flexible. They know what gathering is but they will push back the other way if I want them to. And they'll do a lot of other things if I want them to. That is what a trained dog is. Good luck......Bob
  22. The "look back" is something I start trtaining into a dog right from the get go. If the young pup happens to leave a sheep behind when he does a gather he gets a "look" which means "you left something behind, you must bring them all". He gets trained in this manner right from the start. Then when we want him to go back for more sheep he understands what it is all about right from the get go. When you give the turn back or look back command (whistle or voice) make sure that you wait after the look back until the dog is looking in the direction of the sheep you want to gather before you give him the flank. That way he will get the picture right away and not be looking at going for the original group. Mind you, by this time he already knows that there are other sheep that he must gather out there and when you wait for him to look in the proper direction he will pick it up really quick. Make sure you make it easy from the start with the sheep in plain view and then gradually work the sheep farther away until they are out of sight. You must remember also that the double lift for the National and Internaltional are supposed to be blind gathers on both sets so your dog must know how to gather without being able to see the sheep. When you start training for the double gather make sure you set your two packets of sheep fairly wide apart (100 yards apart if you are doing 50 yard gathers to start with). You want the sheep to be in plain view for the dog when you turn him back to them from either 2 o'clock or 10 o'clock depending on which side you send for the second gather. As soon as the dog spots the sheep after being given the flan and then the look back, give him the next flank right away and watch him go out for the second group. You may have to do it a couple of times at the start but it will come if your timing is right. DO NOT GIVE THE FLANK UNTIL THE DOG SEES THE SHEEP!!! I can't emphasize this too much. After he gets the idea at this short distance it is just a matter of moving the sheep out farther and farther as he progresses. HINT - Don't drill on this!! Mix up your training sessions with other stuff so the dog doesn't think that that's all there is to do. I have seen dogs who have been trained very diligently in turn backs get to the double lift and all of a sudden every time the handler gave a stop the dog turned back (different method of doing the turn back) or, if the dog had been flanked on the same side too much, he would just go that way when given the turn back. You should be doing the turn back from any place at any time during a training session. Keep it challenging and keep it interesting for the dog. He/she will be a much happier and useful dog. Hope this helps and always remember, there is always more than one way of doing anything. Whatever works best for you is the right way......Bob
  23. The cross over line for the second gather is, as quoted by Pearse, from the center of the back of the first group to the center of the front of the second group which means that, if the first group is dropped at the peg(20 yards in front of the fetch panel) the line for the cross over is lower than the actual second fetch line. Now to get back to the turn back for the second group of sheep, the purpose of flanking the dog before the turn back is to get him, not just to the proper side to send him on the second gather but to get him going in the proper direction to give him the turn back and flank which, in my opinion, is properly executed in a flowing motion without a stop. To make it simple, if the second gather is to your right, when the first set of sheep reach the drop post, you would flank your dog on a come bye to approximately 2 o'clock, give him the turn back, and then an away to me flank pretty well all in one flowing set of whistles or commands. There is no point loss for stopping the dog for the turn back and if you find it easier or better for you to do it that way fine, but, to me, there is nothing in our world more aesthetically pleasing that watching a dog take that turn back in one fluid motion and then on out to his sheep on that big sweeping gather. Training the dog to do this is not hard, contrary to popular belief, but it is well worth it in the long run to spend the time teaching him/her to do it.........Bob
  24. Yep, and I would think you would with your type of dog and what you use them for. I know Bobby D quite well and he insists on a stop on the dog before he will take it any further. It is out of respect for the sheep and the handler/trainer so that the dog has the idea that he is working for someone else and not just himself. There are plenty of dogs out there who may not need a stop and are quite willing with just body pressure and movement to either flank off or stop the first time out. I have trained dogs like this and it makes my job very easy. I have also trained the other side of the coin without a stop and I won't be doing that any more. I'm too old and I go to the field to train a dog, not do a marathon. The first three weeks with a young dog is tough enough without fighting him all the time to stop. I find that a young dog will come to you much more readily from the stop than when he is flying around the sheep at 90 mph. I do not use a round pen but I do start in a 1/2 acre field with good fence. Gives the dog plenty of room to get where he feels he needs to be but still has some boundaries. So, really, in my opinion, it really depends on the type of dog you start as to how much control you want on him initially. I do not do any formal obedience on my pups as they grow up but they do get taught good manners and a stop and recall before they go to sheep. That's my way and I'm sure that there are lots of folks out there who have their way and it works quite well for them. It's like building a house. There's more than one way and more than one person to do it. We use what will give us the most bang for our buck, not necessarily the cheapest or the most expensive but what works the best for us. Bob
  25. You just answered your own question in the second to last sentence. "Intention of catching her". Teach her to "that'll do, here" and get her so that she will come to you all the time. Leave the long line on her and when you tell her to "that'll do, here" you reel her in and give her a good girl when she gets to you. Work on this until you have her under control. Back or run away from her with the long line in your hand encouraging her to come to you and praise when she gets there. There certainly is nothing wrong with her not wanting to quit but she will just get more fired as she is able to get away from you. Work on this and get it down pat and don't work with her off the long line until you have the recall on her. Every time she gets away on you, you are back to square one. Your long line should be at least 50 feet or more. Be consistent and persistent and firm but no anger. She is being trained to come to you and she doesn't know what it is yet. Corrections are only for trained dogs. Once you have this recall on her, your training sessions will be much more enjoyable.......Bob
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