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Okay... all of these apply to the more experienced handlers. Lower classes can have all kinds of lifts for all kinds of reasons, or just lack of knowledge from the handler. Lots of handlers don't study the lift too much until they become more advanced. (Don't get offended by my crass generalizations here guys!!!)

 

1. at the lift, the dog is left alone. That means the handler has confidence in his/her dog to do the lift correctly.

2. The dog is allowed to lift, then stopped, then walked on. It usually means the dog tends to rush down the field pushing sheep too hard, and a handler wants to get a hold of that dog before all goes to hell. There might be other reasons for this too, but I see this as the most common.

3. The dog is asked up a lot on the lift. That usually means the dog is a bit tentative, and needs a shot of courage from the handler.

 

Those are three most prominent circumstances I can think of off the bat. Of course you can make your decision about the dog by how the run proceeds. In the first case, some direction, but usually not pace information is transmitted to the dog. In the second case, either the dog listens at the stop, or not, and if not, you usually see a drag race down the course. In the third case, it can go several ways. The handler can end up hurrying sheep around the course, hoping the dog doesn't get stuck; or the dog can get stuck; or the dog can be so unsettled, it grips off on the fetch; or the dog ends up way off course, pushed there by the sheep, due to them reading its lack of confidence.

 

MOre and more, the lift should be considered the most important part of the trial course. If you sit and judge a trial, you see just how important the lift is. I can basically predict how a run will go just on the lift. A dog establishes their relationship with the sheep there, and good or bad, that is what the sheep react to. Many times, you will hear somebody say, wow, that dog really got a good draw of sheep. Most of the time, the draw was good because the dog had a great lift, and conveyed calm confidence to the sheep. I have seen more people ruin a run because they get impatient with a slower lift, yet those extra seconds taken, to allow the dog to establish its relationship with the sheep can make a run so smooth that it looks effortless.

 

I'm sure there are lots more opinions on this.

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If I'm remembering correctly (and I admit that I oftentimes don't), Tommy Wilson's Sly did her outrun, lift, and fetch with barely a sound (if any) from Tommy. There was no "noise" on the field and near silence from those watching. It was beautiful.

 

There are many top handlers who seem to "micro-handle" their dog during a run, but few I've seen who "say" as little to their dog as Tommy. Tommy and Sly are a joy to watch because, in my opinion, it's all about the dog doing the work that instinct and training have prepared her for, and Tommy letting her do it.

 

There is beauty in a dog that is responsive to every command the handler gives, but a certain extra grace in a dog that doesn't need to be told what to do all the way, whether it's to maintain a line or turn or to prevent "mistakes".

 

That's just my rather unknowledgeable opinion.

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I've done a bit of judging for many years and I must say you see different styles at the post. Some people even pick the dog up and point the head towards the sheep, others fuss the dog until it is in the "perfect" position. None of this counts since the run does not start until the dog is sent. But there are ways to lose points at the post. How far out is the dog? Is the handler standing at the post and not going towards it? Is the dog on the side it will run out i.e. not a sling shot?

 

I agree with Wendy that there is a reason for the way dogs are set up. For example, if I have a dog that is still unsure on its outrun I'll set it up a bit wide and back then I can give it a big whoosh to push it out. If it tends to run too wide I'll put it close and a bit in front of me and give a quiet command so that it seems more like a flank. The judge may take points but in pro-novice (where this likely to be) I don't mind.

 

Bruce

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I'm running out the door so can't say alot but real quickly, regarding interpreting the lift and fetch (in addition to Marilyn's excellent post) --

 

Sometimes it's not so easy to pick apart/evaluate the dog based on the work. Added in to the dog's qualities are handling strategies, especially on the fetch. Is the time allowed too short? Is there a ewe that needs a little convincing to flock more so it'll be easier to pen when the time comes? Are the sheep flighty and need a little breaking on the fetch so they stop squirting around? Is a sheep sick and needs some TLC to get around the course? These are things that the handler has to guage and deal with to be competitive.

 

There are also training preferences to keep in mind. I prefer my dog's default fetch mode to be a little faster than what i want to see on the trial field (for various reasons) so you'll likely see me "standing on the brakes". I also like my dogs to fight me a bit, wanting balance a little more, by default. Those might look like faults to some, but they're things i like and that's what i train my dogs for.

 

Anyway, just more food for thought. Time to go train dogs now! :rolleyes:

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For me it is simple. I want my dogs to walk on which ever side I am going to send them. Just behind my knee and under my absolute control. I have already decided which side I am going to send them IF my sheep stay settled. If the sheep start to move before I send my dog and I must change my preferred side, my dog is focused on me also and looking up the field for sheep it is easy to change sides at the last second and send the dog to the other side. I always approach the post from directly behind and I teach my dog to know he must look for sheep in the direction we are walking. If I change my hand the dog knows to go to that side and he is going to go that direction. I hold my hand out to the side and flat as if bouncing a basketball and the dog knows to stay on that side and look for sheep. I always teach my dogs to stand and look for sheep. I want my dogs five hundred percent better at home than they need to be at a trial. I look for the smallest little things and try not to overlook a lack of focus on the dogs part. It is very easy to get used to something that is a fault and sort of chalk it up to the dogs way of doing something, but it is a mistake and the smallest little things are the things that will make the difference. You better notice the thing that happens just before the thing you don't want to have happens or the thing that happens just before the thing you want to have happen happens! Don't just get by. If you do it this way your dog will settle and have confidence in you.

 

When I go I want the judge to get the impression that I am confident and my dog has a real work ethic. Remember you have many things to control when you trial. Your dog, the sheep of course and you must set the judges mind set of your run. The hardest thing to control will be your mind. I want my dog to walk slow and by my side and I don't want to have to keep reminding my dog to do it. I practice at home and work on focus and communication. Some people really hammer their dogs into obedience and submission but I teach my dogs to look for my help and that I am there to help them get a job done. I do this with real work, time and patience and properly timed corrections. So if I don't have my dogs complete focus I wouldn't trial them. I wouldn't even think of trialing them.

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Its not me Robin, though I can see an echo in some that is being said. Or, should I say, I can relate to some of it, as there holds some of the same sentiment ( IE. perfection) and stop it before it starts ways of thinking. And I thought I was the only one. :rolleyes: Im courious now too, whats that they say on the Wizard of Oz?? Who's the man (or woman) behind the velvet curtin!? Who ever you are, Welcome! :D Im sure your postings will generate more discussion on things to come.

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I think it's fairly obvious that our newest member wishes to remain anonymous, for whatever reason. The rest of us will just be left to wonder why. Oh, maybe it's someone so well known that s/he would rather not have us drving him/her crazy with our endless questions.... :rolleyes:

 

J.

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Guest carol campion

I agree with those people who feel how a dog goes to the post is and should be a personal thing and not judged. One point I'd like to make is that there is a difference in a handler taking their dog to the post with their dog on leash and a dog dragging the handler to the post while on a leash. I would think the latter would be what would cause heads to shake.

 

I do also think that is it regional. A few years ago, I noticed that many a dog at the Welsh National was walked to the post on a leash and taken off the course on a leash. I thought it a regional courtesy being displayed there. My own trial dogs may go ahead of me towards the post once I enter the field. I am confident that they will not take off before being sent so I let them do this as they are spotting their sheep and I do not want to distract them. Once spotted, I place them in the position I want to send them from.

 

On lifts, I think they reflect the handling style of the person. Some handlers do manage the lift. Sometimes it may be because of a flaw in the dog, with others, it may be to squeeze every point out. Handling the lift may help the team "make" the sheep, be it by either bringing the dog on faster on heavier sheep, or slower-stopping with lighter sheep or stopping before 12 o'clock, etc. Once you trial on scopier fields, you will need a dog that can manage that on its own if the distance is great or if the hearing is bad.

 

Carol

So ideally, a dog trained to take commands when asked but that can feel its sheep and adjust indepemdently when necessary is the best of all combinations.

 

Personally, I agree with the poster from over the pond. I do not take a dog out to trial until I am confident they can handle most sheep and situations. I may wait longer to trial a dog than others but I feel it is harder on the sheep when the dogs are not ready. I am fortunate that I have good sized fields and different sheep to train on in addition to farm work. Some people feel the need to trial their dogs to help build an outrun, for example, because they only have smaller fields. Again, it is a training/trialling philosophy.

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In a perfect world much of what you all say is true regarding a personal decision to do or not do certain things. But we don't live in a perfect world. Wouldn't it be nice if we could hand the judge a copy of the judging rules that were specifically set up to take out as much as possible the individual differences in opinion in the judging. Make them sign it before the trial started so they would know we were putting them on notice that they must follow them. Have a committee to review how they judged and some sort of penalty for not following the stated rules. Of course it is hard enough to find and get a judge now and it is a thankless job most of the time. You make very few people happy and many irritated with you. The money paid to a judge is not enough to offset all the downsides of judging. That's why many people won't judge. I take my hat off to the judges that do judge and try to do a fair and honest job especially if they are actually in the dog/sheep business!

 

Now I tell you why I choose to remain anonymous on this forum. Politics! I have won at times when I knew I didn't have the best run of the day and I have lost when I knew I had the best run but the political advantage was with someone else. I just look at it this way, I hope it all averages out! I never ever try to beat anybody at a competition. I just try to do the best I can, if that is good enough to win great. I never do anything different or push harder because I saw what someone else did and I knew I would have to push to beat them. I just do what I think I can and never ask for more than what I have trained for at home. If you want to ruin an animal for competition all you have to do is to overexpose them to some type of work they haven't done perfectly away from the competition! I read somewhere on here that someone trains their outruns at the trials because that is the only place they can send their dog that far. I would find a way to do it away from the trials. Period. If I know I have to send my dog 500 yards, I prepare at 700 or more yards so the trial seems easier to them and me.

 

So back on topic..........How you present yourself to the judge and how you handle yourself as well as the dog and sheep makes a difference in your score. Also if you cannot walk with your dog under complete control and relaxed to the post it will show up in the work with the sheep. You might get by and have a good run but it won't be the best it could be. It might be enough to win, but that's not the point. Be the best you can be not just good enough to win! I don't train them specifically to walk to the post the way I described earlier. That is a result of a mindset in my dogs in how they do everything. It comes out of my approach to training. A philosophy actually. I never ever physically correct my dogs while training them on sheep. I don't need them to know I am stronger than them, I need them to know I am smarter than them. My dogs stop as good for me literally one mile away as they do 100 yards away. They do that because I have their minds working WITH me not for me. They know it and have that confidence. I didn't always do it this way. I just didn't like the whole feeling of intimidation type of training and it didn't work was the main thing.

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How you present yourself to the judge and how you handle yourself as well as the dog and sheep makes a difference in your score.

 

As regards whether your dog is leashed or behind, beside or in front of you as you walk to the post, it shouldn't make a difference in your score, and usually it doesn't. But true, sometimes it does. However, there's only so much you can do accommodate yourself to the prejudices of the judge. At least one very good judge I know has said that he doesn't like to see a dog skulking behind the handler as they go to the post. He likes to see the dog ranging ahead, looking to spot its sheep. Would you try to get your dog to go out ahead of you when you are running under this judge, so as to make a good impression on him?

 

Also if you cannot walk with your dog under complete control and relaxed to the post it will show up in the work with the sheep.

 

If it does, of course any faults will (and should) be pointed when they occur.

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I am not talking about the dog skulking behind me, I don't like that either. Also I don't change anything that I think is correct and sensible to accommodate a judge. If I know a certain judge does not like the way I do things I don't run my dog under that judge.

 

To your second point, "If it does, of course any faults will (and should) be pointed when they occur."

 

If my dog wasn't under complete control I would not trial it. The little things are telling me I need to work on something, so I pay real close attention to them. Of course I might think I have everything just right and things don't work out, but to me that just means I missed something. I don't think anything happens all of a sudden or for no good reason.

 

Everytime I work a dog I learn something. I question everything. I try to notice everything, many people tell me I wear them out mentally. Not because I am demanding of them, but of my self.

 

Also I don't mean to bother anyone here by posting. I have been working with Border Collies for many decades and all I know is I wonder how I ever got around a course. It's just now that I am starting to get some idea of how to get what I want and what I felt could be achieved. So understand this, I am no expert. Every time I watch a dog and handler work or run I learn something. Sometimes I learn what to do and sometimes I learn what not to do!

 

Merry Christmas

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The little things are telling me I need to work on something

 

This is what I'm trying to learn, and it's the hardest thing to learn!

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Also I don't mean to bother anyone here by posting.

 

Please, I don't think anyone is bothered by your posting. All good posts are contributions to a thread and may help someone understand some concept better. The more of us that can contribute worthwhile posts, the more we all will be able to learn and understand.

 

Sometimes, we are just approaching the same thing from different viewpoints, or sometimes we have differing opinions. A dialogue like this thread has been is a great way to talk things over and maybe state something in a fashion that helps someone else understand a topic better.

 

So, since I didn't say it before, "Welcome"!

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I never ever physically correct my dogs while training them on sheep. I don't need them to know I am stronger than them, I need them to know I am smarter than them. My dogs stop as good for me literally one mile away as they do 100 yards away. They do that because I have their minds working WITH me not for me. They know it and have that confidence. I didn't always do it this way. I just didn't like the whole feeling of intimidation type of training and it didn't work was the main thing.

 

Could you elaborate a bit more on the above? This is very interesting and I would like to learn more. Could you give some examples? This sounds like something that might be helpful to my dog and I, since I'm not by nature a person that dogs find very intimidating.

 

And to stay on topic - I take my dog to the post off leash. We're just in novice so far, although she drives pretty well but we have some other issues to work out before we attempt pronovice, mainly a teamwork thing (the reason for my question above!). She looks for the sheep but won't go before I send her. She is not allowed to pull on the leash, but when we're setting up to send for sheep I want to give her the freedom to look for the sheep without worrying about where the end of the leash is, so I just take the leash off. She still stays close, just not necessarily a leash length close since I've already told her to look for sheep. I walk her off leash to the sheep when we go to train, and also when we go to do work (sometimes she has to wait a long time while I unstick gates or whatever, before she gets to do anything and I don't want to having to micromanage her that whole time), so I don't see why a trial should be any different.

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Have you ever been out at a store and seen a family out with the kids and the mother, father or both are constantly getting after their kids. Yelling at them and it seems the kids ignore them and pretty much do what they want. The parents seem mad at the kids and aggravated and all around just not a fun time for anyone. The happiest children I know are the ones with clear rules and discipline. They are not afraid to be themselves but they are well mannered and respectful.

 

Ever hear someone work a dog and it doesn't stop instantly when they give the command to lie down? They repeat the command but a little louder and more harsh until the dog executes the command. Think about what is going on there.

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Ever hear someone work a dog and it doesn't stop instantly when they give the command to lie down? They repeat the command but a little louder and more harsh until the dog executes the command. Think about what is going on there

 

The way I learned whats going on here, goes back to my days of training personal protection dogs. I learned, that you can give a dog a command one time, and every time, you can expect the action, and correct if the proper action isnt given, (what ever your means of correction ) or, you can ask for the command, ask again, and perhaps again, and the dog learns that they have 3 times before they have to comply. Where is the dog by the third time you have given the command? Surely, not in the spot where giving the command and getting the response the first time would have done the most good, and taught the dog anything, except that they can disobey 3 times before they have to comply. With every action, there must be a reaction, or else your just not getting through to the dog, but the dog is learning, learning that it can down where it wants, or feels most comfortable, but not where you wanted it.

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Speaking of personal protection dog training, I had one of the biggest revelations of my life from a protection dog trainer. One of my clients had personal protection dogs and he never traveled anywhere without them. One day he came out to the farm and his trainer came with him. Of course we talked about Border Collies and them biting. I had at the time a great dog that was as honest as any dog I ever owned. He had plenty of power but no bite. Of course I told him that this dog would never bite a sheep let alone a person. He took my dogs head in his hands and stared into his eyes for about one minute. Stood up and told me he could have this dog trying to tear his face off in under two minutes. I laughed and he said he would bet me 100 dollars he could do it. Of course I took the bet, I knew my dog. Ha, under a minute my dog was the most aggessive dog I had ever seen. I couldn't pay my money fast enough. I had to learn how he did it and what was going on. Of course I had to buy several dogs from him so he would teach me, but it was worth every penny. I was at his place everyday watching and learning. Was great opportunity for me.

 

One simple rule, never make the command a correction.

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There have been times when Ive accused a few of my collies of being Schutzhund sheepdogs, as well as times when I have thought they could make pretty decent P.P. dogs. But I'll leave that work to my GSD's and work my collies on sheep. Both types of training are fun, and fasinating, and both types of dogs are brilliant to work with.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Remember that picture of the gal (can't remember her name) at the sheepdog trails that had quite a few dogs on leashes, tucked in her pocket? they really didn't need to be leashed, were walking behind her. Great photo. That's what I was talking about when going to the post. I KNOW you are not supposed to be judged until you reach the post, but if you have a tie, and one dog is dragging you to the post and the other is under control, it sure looks better. JMO. Great topic!!!

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I KNOW you are not supposed to be judged until you reach the post, but if you have a tie, and one dog is dragging you to the post and the other is under control, it sure looks better. JMO. Great topic!!!

Yeah, well, it does look better, but if you have a tie, the tie will be broken on outwork, so how you look getting to the post won't matter, unless the judge has allowed that approach to color his judging and therefore has hit your dog harder on the outwork than it deserved (which of course the judge shouldn't do)....

 

J.

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