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Where do you draw the line?

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This is an offshoot from another thread, but Becca brought up what I feel to be a very interesting subject, so I am putting her post here:

 

Where do you all draw the line? That line's getting awfully fuzzy now, and it doesn't look like any organization is rushing to sharpen the definition any time soon (ie, ABCA isn't looking to stop dual reg, AKC will hold books open forever, USBCHA doesn't care - rightly so as far as I'm concerned) - and the pot's getting richer for those who cross the line or dabble at the edges. Weekend herders bring in a ton of money.

 

Truth in advertising. I've put on a clinic for a guy who did AKC. Yup. But, he was dead set against conformation, though he didn't refuse to work with dogs who were bred, raised, and finished as conformation dogs. It was an Aussie clinic, so the AKC connection was difficult to avoid. I learned a lot from that clinic - the man was very talented, jived extremely well with many other Open level clinicians/handlers I've been to or been influenced by (Patrick Shannahan, Jack Knox, Scot Glen, Lyle Lad, Tommy Wilson).

 

I also learned where the future of the Border Collie might lie in ten or fifteen more years of conformation influence. This man has run Aussies in USBCHA Open trials but freely admitted that what it takes him four years to put on an Aussie, he can do in four months with a Border Collie, because they still have much of the "package" still inbred.

 

A few months later I put on an AHBA trial and training clinic with one of the judges. Again, it was sponsored by a Bouvier club so the conformation and kennel club connection was impossible to avoid (they were FCI affiliated). I learned a lot from that, too. Much of what I learn at these comes from watching the different dogs with different handlers.

 

So, though I won't seek out learning experiences with AKC affiliated handlers, if I'm put in a situation where people are working dogs who are working at a level above me (which is, well, most anybody), I'll be watching for opportunities to learn.

 

I would be interested to hear how others feel. I will also post more on this later when I have some more time.

 

Jodi

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Some of my thoughts ...

 

About an all-breed clinician who trials in various venues, including AKC. Am I supporting the AKC by attending her clinic? I don't think so.

 

My best friend owns an upright breed. She registers all her dogs with the AKC and trials in AHBA and AKC. Am I supporting the AKC by being friends with this person? I don't think so.

 

I went to an AHBA trial this weekend at a facility that also holds AKC events. Am I supporting the AKC by doing so? I don't think so.

 

My all-breed friend who I put on AHBA trials with would like to put on an AKC trial. Where do you draw the line there? Do you say "no" that you won't help her? Or will you help her with the trial, but not enter the trial yourself so as to not financially support the AKC, all the while setting stock for it, and thereby supporting the trial itself which is indirectly supporting the AKC?

 

Are the big hats the be-all, end-all trainers? Can you not learn anything from anyone else? Perhaps even someone who trials in AKC trials? Are the methods of training Border Collies to put sheep in an ISDS style pen different from that of training Border Collies to put sheep in an AKC pen?

 

How many years do you have to own, train and trial dogs before people understand that your mind won't be poisoned by simply auditing a clinic by an all-breed clinician, and that you are smart enough to take useful information and leave the rest?

 

What point do you have to be in your training before people can trust that you will know bad information when you see it?

 

If all-breed trainers are the devil incarnate, why do big hats accept more than just Border Collies for lessons and clinics? Is it because perhaps their money is as green as Border Collie owners' money?

 

If the die-hards is so dead set against the AKC, why then do they mention how awful those well-respected big hats are when they breed their dogs and sell to agility homes that will, no doubt, support the AKC by registering their dogs with them and running them in many many agility trials (or flyball or whatever...)? Aren't those big hats supporting the AKC by selling to those types of homes?

 

Why is it that the ABCA won't ban dual registration completely? Is it because of the amount of revenue they will lose because of all of the people involved in doggie sports who will opt for the AKC instead?

 

Where do you draw the line?

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About an all-breed clinician who trials in various venues, including AKC. Am I supporting the AKC by attending her clinic? I don't think so.

I agree. If you think you can get something out of the clinic, then there's no harm in attending. It's your (the generic you) money and your choice.

 

My best friend owns an upright breed. She registers all her dogs with the AKC and trials in AHBA and AKC. Am I supporting the AKC by being friends with this person? I don't think so.

 

I'm not quite sure how this comment even fits in with the subject, but friendships don't imply support of the friends' causes.

 

I went to an AHBA trial this weekend at a facility that also holds AKC events. Am I supporting the AKC by doing so? I don't think so.

Again, I don't quite see how this fits, but I agree with the sentiment. I know of places that hold USBCHA. AHBA, ASCA, and AKC events. I don't attend the latter events, but if the farm in question can help support itself by offering up its facilities and stock to other organizations that choice has no bearing on the activities I choose to attend at that same location.

 

My all-breed friend who I put on AHBA trials with would like to put on an AKC trial. Where do you draw the line there? Do you say "no" that you won't help her? Or will you help her with the trial, but not enter the trial yourself so as to not financially support the AKC, all the while setting stock for it, and thereby supporting the trial itself which is indirectly supporting the AKC?

 

Personally I wouldn't bother to run a dog and put $$ directly in AKC's pocket. If it were me, I would help out by setting stock or whatever and perhaps provide a fine example of the difference between "working" as defined by most working bred border collie (or aussie) owners and "working" as defined by other groups, including AKC. I once helped move sheep for an AHBA trial that was being held by an AKC affiliate club. It was a fine time for my dogs to shine and do all the things their dogs couldn't do. I saw it as a chance to educate, not de facto support of the organization to which most of the trial participants belonged. And my dogs got some good, practical work out of the deal.

 

Are the big hats the be-all, end-all trainers? Can you not learn anything from anyone else? Perhaps even someone who trials in AKC trials? Are the methods of training Border Collies to put sheep in an ISDS style pen different from that of training Border Collies to put sheep in an AKC pen?

To your first question, I guess that depends on your point of view. There are big hats I wouldn't care to take a lesson from, and there are "less-than-big hats that I think I could learn (and have learned) a lot from. And of course you can learn from others. You just need to have enough sense to know when the methods don't suit your dog or your training style and act accordingly. This applies to big hats or anyone else who hangs out a training shingle. As for your question about training to pen, it depends on the trainer. I have seen some rather, shall we say, interesting training methods that I wouldn't wish to replicate no matter what. Again it comes down to being able to recognize what's logical and what isn't for your dog and situation. Swiping at ideas such as these with a broad brush just isn't productive. FWIW, if I were interested in a trainer who wasn't a big hat or someone I knew personally or someone who had been recommended to me by someone I trust and respect, I would just ask if I could come out and watch some of the lessons and watch the person handle stock with their own dog(s). I figure I've got enough sense to decide then whether the person and their methods are right for me.

 

How many years do you have to own, train and trial dogs before people understand that your mind won't be poisoned by simply auditing a clinic by an all-breed clinician, and that you are smart enough to take useful information and leave the rest?

 

What point do you have to be in your training before people can trust that you will know bad information when you see it?

I imagine that varies with individuals. People who get it will be able to figure out pretty quickly when a trainer's methods are dicey. Complete newbies might be at a loss to tell the difference.

 

I have to ask, though, are you getting a lot of e-mail or PMs where people are accusing you of something for wishing to attend an all-breed clinic? Otherwise, I just don't understand the vehemence/defensiveness of some of your comments here.

 

If all-breed trainers are the devil incarnate, why do big hats accept more than just Border Collies for lessons and clinics? Is it because perhaps their money is as green as Border Collie owners' money?

I don't recall anyone saying all-breed trainers are the devil incarnate. I personally don't care if whatever trainer I choose to use also chooses to train other breeds. I wouldn't be using that trainer myself if I didn't think he/she had the skills needed to help me train my dog. And just as not all big hats are created equal, neither are all all-breed trainers. I've seen all-breed trainers that do nothing more than train for specific courses in specific venues. They aren't teaching their students how to train a dog or how to do practical work, but rather just training a dog to do a course. Personally I would stay away from these sorts of trainers. But the person I started out with also gave lessons to people with other breeds. I don't fault her for trying to make a living. But again she wasn't training me and my dogs simply to run courses, which is what most of her "other breed" students wanted. My point is, the question isn't about a huge class of trainers, but about the individual trainers themselves.

 

If the die-hards is so dead set against the AKC, why then do they mention how awful those well-respected big hats are when they breed their dogs and sell to agility homes that will, no doubt, support the AKC by registering their dogs with them and running them in many many agility trials (or flyball or whatever...)? Aren't those big hats supporting the AKC by selling to those types of homes?

I think the true diehards who are dead set against the AKC do lament the big hats who sell to AKC supporters. When the whole AKC recognition thing happened, the working world also split, with some folks choosing to have nothing to do with AKC and others taking the approach that by selling "their kind of dog" into AKC homes they could somehow influence/mitigate the effect AKC assimilation would have on the breed. I can see the logic of both sides. I just don't think the latter group had the influence they thought they would. I think bringing up AKC agility is pointless--most diehard agility folks don't support it. And last I knew flyball wasn't even AKC affiliated. When you sell someone a dog, you can't stop them from doing what they will with it. But none of this really has anything to do with the discussion of trainers. We can each only do what we think is right.

 

Why is it that the ABCA won't ban dual registration completely? Is it because of the amount of revenue they will lose because of all of the people involved in doggie sports who will opt for the AKC instead?

I don't believe that "all the people involved in doggie sports" will automatically opt for AKC. There are plenty of agility events that are not AKC oriented, and if the agility folks I know are any example, most folks don't even like AKC agility and wouldn't choose to do it. As I noted above, flyball has nothing to do with AKC. At any rate, I certainly can't say why ABCA doesn't ban dual registration completely, but I believe that discussion has been had on this forum, so it might be possible to see what some of the arguments for and against were if you do a search.

 

Where do you draw the line?

I draw the line at what I can do and still feel good about myself at the end of the day. That's pretty simple.

 

J.

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I personally can't imagine attending a clinic put on by someone who supports the AKC. So that raises the question of what constitutes support for the AKC. IMO, a person who registers border collies (or Australian shepherds) with the AKC, or who participates in AKC events, is supporting the AKC. If I in turn support them by paying to attend their clinic, I am making a statement that their support of the AKC is okay with me. I wouldn't do that no matter how much I could learn from them. It's not about me. Nor would I help to put on an AKC trial -- I can't see how working to make their event a success is not supporting them, and encouraging others (the attendees) to support them.

 

OTOH, attending a clinic with an "all-breed" trainer doesn't per se have anything to do with the AKC, as far as I can see. My concern there would be that I think border collies are so different in kind from other breeds that I would be concerned that it wasn't the best use of my clinic dollar and (if I were inexperienced) might lead me to use unsuitable training methods. Obviously, this wouldn't apply to a border collie trainer who occasionally trains other breeds. The concern is with trainers who specialize in or mostly deal with other breeds, and I'm sure there are exceptions even there. But it is true enough in general that I just wouldn't be going to such clinics myself, and I would express my concerns and suggest a different clinician to any border collie newbie who might seek my advice.

 

As for why the ABCA wouldn't ban dual registration completely, IMO it's because too many people didn't recognize the right place to draw the line. Ineptitude and lack of foresight, as much as anything. In some cases it may even be that they put their individual financial self-interest ahead of the good of the breed. So what? That does not relieve me of my individual obligation to draw the line where I believe the line should be drawn. If nobody dual registered, it wouldn't matter what the ABCA's policy on dual registration was.

 

I too don't really understand your concern about what people are thinking of you, if they're not appreciating how smart and advanced you are. Just do what you think is right.

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Personally I wouldn't bother to run a dog and put $$ directly in AKC's pocket. If it were me, I would help out by setting stock or whatever and perhaps provide a fine example of the difference between "working" as defined by most working bred border collie (or aussie) owners and "working" as defined by other groups, including AKC. I once helped move sheep for an AHBA trial that was being held by an AKC affiliate club. It was a fine time for my dogs to shine and do all the things their dogs couldn't do. I saw it as a chance to educate, not de facto support of the organization to which most of the trial participants belonged. And my dogs got some good, practical work out of the deal.

 

Julie

You wrote what at one time I thought might happen. Sorta how I thought I felt. Having attended the BC Specialty in St. Louis last year, (morbid curiosity and to support a friend who is slowly making the change from AKC to working dogs) I was quite surprised at how the Barbie people looked at those nice dogs that set sheep, moved sheep and generally did anything and everything with the sheep except hold the Barbie's hand while it worked it's sheep. They were whispered about like they were aliens. I also felt like they treated those fine dogs as second class citizens, ouuu get away you’re muddy. All with the usual comments, "my dog could do that with the right handler...teheetehee".

 

It was all kinda nauseous for me. Maybe being the specialty was worse than the norm. But I don't think I'd ever help. They never saw the true art of stock work it was all about winning ribbons, what they were wearing and didn't Barbie/bob look good with a bit of mud on him.

 

This was what I noticed as the majority, I'm sure there are some AKC people who are not that way (my friend, but she seems to be a loner in that crowd) I don't want to lump them all together like they all look alike or something :rolleyes:

 

Personally I draw the line at not entering into any AKC anything. I have some AKC friends whom I really like but slowly they are seeing the light and I don't think it'll be long for them to come on over to the dark side and be quite happy that they did. Maybe even be a bit ashamed that they bought all the hogwash about our dogs in the firsts place. It's funny, one of the best things I have found that helps them see the difference is when they figure out it's not the training that keeps their dogs from doing what the others do, it’s their dog. I always comment that they would make one hell of a real trainer if they got a dog that came with it's wiring in place. It's almost like the ego trip of that statement makes them want to try it.

 

I would go to an AHBA or and ASCA trial if we had nothing better to do and was in the area. That's how I started doing USBCHA arena trials down here. Nothing close but those. But there is nothing fun about an AKC trial. It just gives me the shivers.

 

I would also go to an all breed trainer/clinician if I thought they had something I might learn, probably only spectate first.

I think everyone draws their own lines to fit them. I'm not afraid to ask when I don't know and stand up for what today I think I do know. I also know my lines have changed quite a bit over the years. The more I learn the more I know!

 

So that's my take on it from my armchair!

Kristen

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Been circling this thread for the last day or so...

 

I basically draw the line at buying an AKC registered dog or competing with my own dogs in AKC. After that, the lines are pretty fuzzy. There are a total of 2 1/2 serious (two of us active, one inactive)working dog people in the area and I'm the only one with scruples about AKC so I could be outspoken about it or take advantage of what resources I have at hand (as far as practice, trading sheep, organizing clinics/lessons together once or twice). Both people do know how I feel about AKC but I wouldn't not associate with them because of it. I would never hold an AKC trial or help at one, but I would be happy to help out at an AHBA or ASCA trial. Mike and I recently received lessons from a person that competes in all venues, and has been in the top ten at the USBCHA Cattledog Finals- this person helped us both alot and I wouldn't fail to recommend him, although I probably wouldn't buy an AKC registered dog from this person. It may have to do with my area, we are just extremely isolated from the working world- have to travel at least 5-6 hours to get anywhere near a person who feels the same way I do and is a successful Open handler. Not an excuse, just a fact that if I want to take the best advantage of the sheep resources locally, I have to be a bit diplomatic about my politics. Not that it's easy to hold my tongue :D.

 

As far as helping out other breeds- I would rather see an experienced border collie handler doing it than some of the people I've talked to that are specifically "other" breeds. One German Shepherd person, well known in the Herd-L world, told Mike that border collies were weak because dogs that bend around the sheep (as opposed to going straight through them like her dogs I suppose) were scared. Spend any amount of time on Herd-L list and you will see over and over these misconceptions about border collies and working dogs from supposed experts. I don't feel we are responsible for those breeds, but with limited resources in many areas, I think that helping other breed people understand working dogs and most importantly, stockmanship, is a good thing.

 

Lastly- it would be a luxury for me to help only border collie people get introduced to working sheep. However, my sheep costs are enormous- hay here is $16.00 a bale or more during the winter, and I have a feeling it won't come down much this spring. I know the reality of keeping this expensive hobby afloat and admit that my major reason for helping other breed people is to pay my hay bill. I'm sure the same is true for others and with the quality of border collies in my area as poor as it is- there is often not much of a difference in helping an Aussie out and helping a flyball/agility/backyard bred border collie out. The rare occasions when we get a well bred, talented pup out are times to celebrate, for sure (had one last week actually, was bought from OK and NOT bred in Vegas- big surprise :rolleyes: !) I can understand why a person might cater to the other breed crowd- it pays the bills in a "business" that is very costly to operate.

 

As far as dual registration- I don't want ABCA money going for towards enforcing an ban- I don't think it will be effective or productive. I would rather see that money going for health research (especially epilepsy and CHD) and promoting the working dog and offering incentives perhaps for ABCA only, successful working breeders.

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Kristen,

I get what you're saying, but I still think that some people might just "get it" if they see it--although that may be more likely with "other breed" AKC folks than AKC border collie folk. At the AHBA trial where I moved stock, the breed club was not border collies, and the people did seem open (to a point) to the fact that my dogs had varied skills and talents (i.e., small and large area work) contrary to what they might have heard from other sources. I think they truly appreciated the smooth running of the trial. For me, it's a pretty academic argument, though, because I doubt I'd ever be asked to set sheep at an AKC trial (in fact, I thought they often try to do without set out people or at least dogs, don't they?).

 

As far as helping out other breeds- I would rather see an experienced border collie handler doing it than some of the people I've talked to that are specifically "other" breeds. One German Shepherd person, well known in the Herd-L world, told Mike that border collies were weak because dogs that bend around the sheep (as opposed to going straight through them like her dogs I suppose) were scared. Spend any amount of time on Herd-L list and you will see over and over these misconceptions about border collies and working dogs from supposed experts. I don't feel we are responsible for those breeds, but with limited resources in many areas, I think that helping other breed people understand working dogs and most importantly, stockmanship, is a good thing.

Jaime,

You make a good point here. I sort of alluded to the same thing when I mentioned that some all-breed (i.e, basically non-border collie) people use methods that make me cringe. All in the name of "X breed's working style." Once there was a looong discussion on Herders-L with a person who has Belgian shepherds and who just couldn't seem to understand what I was saying about a natural dog. I finally gave up because I began to feel like the person was just arguing to argue. Shortly thereafter during an unrelated discussion that person made some comments that finally made me realize that it wasn't argumentativeness driving the previous discussion but rather a complete lack of experience with anything that could/would work naturally. It was a true "Aha!" moment for me because I finally understood that in general, people who work exclusively with other breeds start from a very different foundation (the innate skills their breed has) and it colors everything they do in training. That's why I would consider an experienced trainer of border collies who also helps people with other breeds (for all the reasons you mention) but wouldn't likely seek out someone who was strictly an "other breed" trainer. I'm probably not explaining that very well....

 

J.

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Julie said:

 

I just don't understand the vehemence/defensiveness of some of your comments here.

 

Because in the thread about Lynn Leach, I asked if anyone knew her and mentioned that I was considering auditing one of her clinics. In response, someone who doesn't know her, never attended one of her clinics, but simply read some information on her website ... immediately turned around and questioned my opposition to the AKC, said she thought my goals were "higher than this," asked me what I expected to get out of it, and reminded me that I live near the people I train with. Simply amazing.

 

I once helped move sheep for an AHBA trial that was being held by an AKC affiliate club. It was a fine time for my dogs to shine and do all the things their dogs couldn't do.

 

The competition where you are must be very different than where I am. I went to a large flock AHBA trial this weekend, all the dogs got to do some very practical work, and I would have been in for a rude awakening had I gone in with the attitude that my dogs could outshine theirs.

 

Eileen said:

If I in turn support them by paying to attend their clinic, I am making a statement that their support of the AKC is okay with me.

 

If the trainer supports the republican party, and donates money to the republican party, and you take lessons from the trainer, are you then supporting the republican party? The person will donate money to the republican party whether or not you take lessons from them, but by doing so, are you contributing to the support of that party?

 

As for why the ABCA wouldn't ban dual registration completely, IMO it's because too many people didn't recognize the right place to draw the line. Ineptitude and lack of foresight, as much as anything. In some cases it may even be that they put their individual financial self-interest ahead of the good of the breed.

 

Correct. And the only reason the ABCA would care about that is money. The people who didn't "recognize the right place to draw the line" would drop their ABCA registration and stick with the AKC, and the ABCA would lose revenue.

 

If nobody dual registered, it wouldn't matter what the ABCA's policy on dual registration was.

 

If the head of the organization is going to fence-sit, why shouldn't its members? The members have a moral obligation, but the organization as a whole is exempt from that because people don't understand where to draw their lines, right?

 

My lines have changed quite a bit over the years. When I started out, I registered a dog with the AKC and ran in a few of their trials. Today, I wouldn't register a dog with the AKC, nor will I ever run in another one of their trials. I have, however, gained some very good friends over the years who have other breeds of herding dogs, and their goals and options are different than mine. I don't like blindly referring people to (or steer them away from) trainers I've never met or worked with, and am willing to go spend a few dollars and a few hours of my day to give advice based on first-hand experience.

 

Jodi

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Because in the thread about Lynn Leach, I asked if anyone knew her and mentioned that I was considering auditing one of her clinics. In response, someone who doesn't know her, never attended one of her clinics, but simply read some information on her website ... immediately turned around and questioned my opposition to the AKC, said she thought my goals were "higher than this," asked me what I expected to get out of it, and reminded me that I live near the people I train with. Simply amazing.

I don't think it's worth stressing yourself out over the opinion of one person. I think it's pretty clear from the responses to this thread so far that it's a grey area and everyone has their personal line.

 

The competition where you are must be very different than where I am. I went to a large flock AHBA trial this weekend, all the dogs got to do some very practical work, and I would have been in for a rude awakening had I gone in with the attitude that my dogs could outshine theirs.

Jodi

Well, I couldn't say, since I've never seen the competition where you live. But I can say that the dogs I used are highly skilled and well trained. They are open trial dogs and one is my main chore dog here on my farm. I would have no qualms about running them in an AHBA competition at the advanced level (and have done so, once). As Jaime noted many of the "other breed" folks--at least those who post on lists like Herders-L, and these are folks with multiple herding championships and titles on their dogs--will repeat (without really knowing) msiconceptions about border collies, one of the most common being that they "are large field dogs and are not suitable for the close work" (often as a reason for why the smaller courses in the other venues are more appropriate for other breeds and more like "real" farm work). So I found it a bit ironic when I was asked to scoop the sheep out of small holding pens with my dogs at the start of the ranch course because their dogs might get hurt doing that work. I think the fact that my dogs could do the job quietly and efficiently was quite a good example that yes, border collies can do close-in work, and do it well. These were all very nice folks, and their dogs did some good work, but I do think my dogs shone that day.

 

J.

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OK, I'll jump in here with my .02, and do a bit of "fessing up." When I first started (with a whatever mixed-breed from the pound), it was with a trainer who had working bred BCs, trialled in USBCHA, taught all students and their dogs to work livestock first, and if you wanted to try trailling, that came second. However, that person also worked with "all the herding breeds," put on AKC trials, did setout for AKC trials held elsewhere, and judged for AKC (as well as AHBA). This trainer was adamantly opposed to the AKC BC thing when that occurred. But, coming up through the ranks, I thought all that other stuff was all OK stuff to do. I very quickly realized that my mutt wasn't cutting it to the level I wanted, so I got a succession of BCs--the first were rescues, then when I realized they weren't cutting it, off to reputable breeder/trainers I went. In the meantime, I became the "trainer's apprentice" for my trainer, and over the course of many years, worked with all those other breeds and even became an AKC judge (had to ILP a dog, run him at one trial (a three day event) to meet part of the criteria for judging). Over the years, the trainer phased himself out of working dogs and teaching students, kind of leaving me with the facility. So there I was, doing the same thing "we" had always done--all those breeds, judging AKC, etc. The rationalization for judging was, "go ahead--take their money," AND to NOT just give away those darn titles. I know of a number of USBCHA open handlers who also judge AKC, and they all seem to want to be Santa Claus when they judge--they give "qualifying scores" to absolute crap stockwork. So, in my mind, I was different--I scored decent work for that, and crap for what it was. Bottom line--I just didn't get called back much because I didn't qualify many dogs.

 

After my original trainer was finally out of the picture completely, I started to re-assess my situation, and realized that with good conscience, I couldn't keep doing what I was. First, I got really tired of working with all the other breeds--I felt horrible for my poor school sheep when the GSDs only wanted to take them to the ground, and I got REALLY tired of (high-pitched voice here), "come on, Poopsie, watch the sheepies " to dogs that had no more interest than the man in the moon. I also found over the years, that when I did get a judging assignment, the minute I got there, watching all these people parade around with their cutsie dogs, bragging about what titles they had, I was thinking to myself, "what the F am I doing here? I can't keep doing this!" This was only reinforced when I saw their dogs "work." Talk about a cluster-_____! This is not to say that there are not occasionally some decent dogs there, but I am talking about the vast majority. I just couldn't keep doing it.

 

So, I resigned from judging for them. and when I get calls or emails from people with other breeds for training, I simply pass them on to someone else in this area who is an AKC person. I no longer hold their events here. I've come to realize that there are just some things I will not do for money--no matter how much. I also realized that I could not "educate from within"--no matter how stellar my dogs looked doing setout or demos, how much I held my judging to a higher standard, I was one person fighting the evil empire, and I wasn't making a difference.

 

When I sell pups, if it's not to someone I know well and know their intentions, I use a contract that basically specifies not to register AKC, not to do AKC events, and not to breed to AKC.

 

So, for me, at this point, I have pretty much drawn a hard line in the sand, and that line means to have absolutely nothing to do with AKC, or do anything that would support them in any way whatsoever. Life is much better this way,

 

A

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If the trainer supports the republican party, and donates money to the republican party, and you take lessons from the trainer, are you then supporting the republican party? The person will donate money to the republican party whether or not you take lessons from them, but by doing so, are you contributing to the support of that party?

 

Not the same. The clinic is about dogs, not about the clinician's political party, religious affiliation or family budget. It's what s/he does dogwise that I am accepting and approving if I enter his/her clinic or take lessons from him/her.

 

Correct. And the only reason the ABCA would care about that is money. The people who didn't "recognize the right place to draw the line" would drop their ABCA registration and stick with the AKC, and the ABCA would lose revenue.

 

No, what I said about a financial motivation was about individuals concerned about their own individual income, and therefore opposing a move that would (for example) cut into their puppy market, not about the organization being concerned about its revenues. I haven't detected any indication of that being a motivation. In fact, the ABCA has deliberately undertaken measures that foreseeably would diminish its revenues (getting tough on puppy millers, de-registering conformation champions) without a concern so much as being expressed about the lost revenues.

 

If the head of the organization is going to fence-sit, why should its members?

 

Its members shouldn't fence-sit, they should do what is right. If you disapproved of abortion, would you say, "Well, the government doesn't outlaw it, so why shouldn't I go ahead and have one"?

 

The members have a moral obligation, but the organization as a whole is exempt from that because people don't understand where to draw their lines, right?

 

As you know, I have always supported banning dual registration, and still do. As I said, I have not seen any sign that loss of registration revenues influenced the ABCA not to ban dual registration. But suppose you were right about that. Suppose the registry made a decision that now more than ever the border collie needed a strong registry, and therefore they shouldn't risk compromising their financial stability. Why would that make it okay for individuals to drop their opposition to AKC registration of border collies? Either the AKC path is good for the breed, or it's not. If you think it's good for the breed, you're not going to excuse yourself for AKC involvement by throwing blame onto the registry, you're just going to go ahead down that path. If you think it's bad for the breed, how does the registry's failure to act as you think it should justify you in acting as you think you shouldn't?

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That was my trial, Julie - they were FCI affiliated with regard to conformation, not AKC, though most of them also "did" AKC stuff.

 

I personally can't imagine attending a clinic put on by someone who supports the AKC.

 

I could. Well, of course, I already said I'd put on a clinic by someone who fits that description. I didn't do it because I thought he was great, but because he was requested by the club who was using the farm we were at. But, I'd offer another clinic with him in a heartbeat, if I had time and enough interest in it.

 

It's definitely true that most people with "other" breeds are the stereotypical, focused-on-obedience, narrow-scope types. But one should check out the trainer first before making that assumption, if there's no other options near you. The trainers I like follow a certain progression involving tuning the instincts of the dog, and letting commands arise naturally where they are easiest for the dog. It's a pretty easy thing for a novice like me to sort out - is the trainer out there keeping the dog away from the sheep and in its face, demanding a down? Or is there freedom yet calm control? Are the stock sour or stressed, or are they calm and trusting?

 

We live in AKC central here. We don't just have one top level handler who is sort of a contender maybe if things are going well, who dual registers, but several true big hats, three or four major (ie, "key") breeders, and at least three other handlers who are very active in the AKC scene, one of which is key in facilitating the brags of many a local conformation breeder of Border Collies (Ch_______Ewe R Great FDGCh got HIT today handled by _______, finishing his HSAs!).

 

So it's a very real issue for us. When does it stop being about the politics and it's okay just to discuss it in terms of what's good for the dog and the work?

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Eileen, I agree with you on banning dual registration, but we'll have to agree to disagree about the motivation for the ABCA continuing to allow it. I think your reference to abortion is as far-fetched as mine to the republican party. :rolleyes: On your comment of "how does the registry's failure to act as you think it should justify you in acting as you think you shouldn't" ... point well taken.

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This is a thread I have been spending too much time mulling over. To be upfront and totally honest (and some will say I am a hypocrite but I have my reasons), I am a member of an AKC-affiliate club. I maintain that membership because I am a volunteer with puppy and family dog classes, and consider that an important enough community service that I continue to participate, even though being associated with AKC even in this way does bother my conscience. It's my contribution to helping owners and their dogs (many of which are shelter dogs and rescues) in my community, stay together in happy, forever relationships.

 

Some of my thoughts ... About an all-breed clinician who trials in various venues, including AKC. Am I supporting the AKC by attending her clinic? I don't think so.

 

That's your choice. Would I attend? Probably not. I have access to a trainer and clinicians who are USBCHA-only (in terms of competing and supporting) and that's enough for me. If I had no alternative, I'd have to think long and hard, and expect I would only go to an AKC-promoting clinician or trainer if there was no other reasonable way for me to learn. My previous trainer was all-breed and very involved with AKC (as well as trialing USBCHA). When that was my best alternative, I gladly went to that trainer.

 

My best friend owns an upright breed. She registers all her dogs with the AKC and trials in AHBA and AKC. Am I supporting the AKC by being friends with this person? I don't think so.

 

My best "dog-friend" also owns an upright breed, registered with ASCA and AKC, and she competes in AHBA (and would like to compete in ASCA and AKC, because those three are what's available to her and suitable for her type of dog). After several years of traveling to training and clinics together and discussing the merits (or lack) of titles and the "dog wars", she still wants to "put a title" on her dog (not just "herding" titles but also performance sport titles - she's a great believer in "versatility"). But she knows how I feel, and I know how she feels, and we just agree to disagree.

 

I went to an AHBA trial this weekend at a facility that also holds AKC events. Am I supporting the AKC by doing so? I don't think so.

 

You are supporting a facility that also supports AKC, if you are paying to spectate or compete, I believe. I've volunteered at a couple of AHBA events (because I went to support friends who were competing) but draw the line at attending or spectating at AKC events. My friend goes to those alone if she wants to compete or spectate.

 

My all-breed friend who I put on AHBA trials with would like to put on an AKC trial. Where do you draw the line there? Do you say "no" that you won't help her? Or will you help her with the trial, but not enter the trial yourself so as to not financially support the AKC, all the while setting stock for it, and thereby supporting the trial itself which is indirectly supporting the AKC?

 

I wouldn't chose to do it (but, other than non-stock-handling jobs, no one would ask me to help). I think it would be supportive of AKC to volunteer at one of their events. I will not volunteer at any of our club's official AKC events (conformation shows or agility trials).

 

Are the big hats the be-all, end-all trainers? Can you not learn anything from anyone else? Perhaps even someone who trials in AKC trials? Are the methods of training Border Collies to put sheep in an ISDS style pen different from that of training Border Collies to put sheep in an AKC pen?

 

With my level of incompetence, there are many folks that I could learn from. However, I have become much more choosy about whom I want to learn from, and where I'd like to offer my support of time or money.

 

How many years do you have to own, train and trial dogs before people understand that your mind won't be poisoned by simply auditing a clinic by an all-breed clinician, and that you are smart enough to take useful information and leave the rest? What point do you have to be in your training before people can trust that you will know bad information when you see it?

 

I think this is nobody's business but your own.

 

If all-breed trainers are the devil incarnate, why do big hats accept more than just Border Collies for lessons and clinics? Is it because perhaps their money is as green as Border Collie owners' money?

 

Second question first - absolutely, I think. Big hats or not, some folks make their living accepting students and their dogs for training or clinics. Plus, how many clinicians/hosts even ask where you plan to compete or how is your dog registered? If a clinician/trainer is competent in working with multiple breeds, that doesn't make that person an AKC person. The clinicians I've attended have had breeds other than Border Collies in their clinics. That didn't make any of them an AKC person - they were working with these dogs and their handlers to make them a better stockworking team. There are lots of non-Border Collies that do a good day's work on the farm or ranch, and they and their handlers deserve good training, too.

 

If the die-hards is so dead set against the AKC, why then do they mention how awful those well-respected big hats are when they breed their dogs and sell to agility homes that will, no doubt, support the AKC by registering their dogs with them and running them in many many agility trials (or flyball or whatever...)? Aren't those big hats supporting the AKC by selling to those types of homes?

 

I am not in favor of those breeders who actively market or deliberately sell pups to AKC homes (performance sport, conformation, or "herding" homes). I think this is more an issue with bigger volume breeders than small, occasional, well-bred litters. JMO, but I think it's another issue of "money talks" and plain old farmers and ranchers don't seem to have the kind of loud-talking money that "hobby herders" and AKC folks seem to have to throw around.

 

Why is it that the ABCA won't ban dual registration completely? Is it because of the amount of revenue they will lose because of all of the people involved in doggie sports who will opt for the AKC instead?

 

I don't know if that is feasible. Is there even a way to track which ABCA (or ISDS) registered dogs are then AKC (or CKC) registered? If it could be done, fine with me, although it might remove some deserving dogs from the gene pool. I wish there was a way to prevent AKC-registration of ABCA dogs but there doesn't seem to be a way to accomplish that right now.

 

Actually, I think that (if dual registration could be banned/avoided) it would be a benefit to the breed as a whole by sending those who wish to participate in AKC venues to their own registry and out of the ABCA registry.

 

Where do you draw the line?

 

I'd have to consider any and each situation that presented itself to me and see if I could or would want to participate with clear conscience. I have to say these are my "lines" - your results may vary {:^). Sorry to have gone on and on...

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I'm not sure there is a line anymore. It's buried under the bodies of the wars and the mountain of opinions and individual needs out there. I can pull an AKC show catalog and show you the result of breedings of top Open dogs who's handlers badmouth AKC loud and clear. Not just in "sport" either, but in the conformation ringas well. Never mind the top National contenders who sell high quality open running imported stock to people who openly plan and do run them in AKC arena classes.

 

I asked one of those owners once "why would you run in that class full of pet people and their little shelties and corgis who can only do this and nothing else?".

 

The answer was "I like to win, and I don't care who I beat".

 

How about them apples folks... that's where it stands right now. And that person is far from alone.

 

I train a lot of AKC oriented people(or at least they start that way :rolleyes: ). Good stockmanship is the same regardless of intended competition venue. I don't care to compete in AKC myself, but if they do, and they do their best to do right by the livestock and dog who am I to knock them back? It is income, I won't lie, but I could make money far easier than eating dirt in a barn lot training their dogs. I just like it. Seeing them succeed - if only getting a better understanding of the world beyond "pet" is worth it.

 

If there really isn't a true line anymore working stockdog people have only themselves to blame. Not because we offered courtesy and help to people who ran those AKC trials, but because we have, and continue to, sell those puppies to anybody with a check no matter what genepool they will end up in.

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So it's a very real issue for us. When does it stop being about the politics and it's okay just to discuss it in terms of what's good for the dog and the work?

 

I AM talking about what's good for the dog and the work. AKC involvement is not good for the dogs or the work, and therefore supporting AKC involvement and those involved with AKC is not good for the dogs or the work. I am only a couple of states away, but there are plenty enough opportunities for me to go to clinics with excellent trainers who are not involved with the AKC. And if there were not -- well, I already said what I would do in that case.

 

Eileen, I agree with you on banning dual registration, but we'll have to agree to disagree about the motivation for the ABCA continuing to allow it. I think your reference to abortion is as far-fetched as mine to the republican party.

 

Well, I'm basing what I said about the ABCA's motivation on extensive interaction with ABCA directors. I suppose I could be wrong, but I've been unable to detect any such motivation. Perhaps you have more inside knowledge. If that is the motivation, it's very foolish. Over time, dual registerers are going to realize they don't need to pay for two registrations, and which registry are they going to choose? The one that requires them to be registered to participate in its events, or the one that doesn't?

 

As for the abortion analogy, I think it's a good parallel. If you think abortion is wrong, you're not going to look to whether your government bans it or not, or what other people do, to decide what you should do about it. You'll look to your conscience.

 

I'm not sure there is a line anymore. It's buried under the bodies of the wars and the mountain of opinions and individual needs out there. I can pull an AKC show catalog and show you the result of breedings of top Open dogs who's handlers badmouth AKC loud and clear. Not just in "sport" either, but in the conformation ringas well. Never mind the top National contenders who sell high quality open running imported stock to people who openly plan and do run them in AKC arena classes. . . .

 

If there really isn't a true line anymore working stockdog people have only themselves to blame. Not because we offered courtesy and help to people who ran those AKC trials, but because we have, and continue to, sell those puppies to anybody with a check no matter what genepool they will end up in.

 

I don't have myself to blame because I didn't do any of those things, and if I disapprove of those things when done by others, why would I think it was okay for me to do them because others do them? I also don't agree with you that those who help in the running of AKC trials are no part of the problem. (I don't know what you mean by "courtesy" -- I have no objection to being polite to AKC people, or even being friends with them.) Helping to put on an organization's event is supporting that organization. You may think you're educating people, but one of the things you're teaching them is that your objections to AKC, however much you may voice them, are really not all that important to you -- not important enough to keep you from supporting it. That too blurs the line.

 

People will do what people will do. That's the bottom line. Sometimes it will be because they think it's right. Sometimes it will be because of greed, or because they don't give a damn, or because it's easier, or because other people are doing it, or because it's advantageous to them, or because they can. I accept that. I can only answer for what I do.

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You may think you're educating people, but one of the things you're teaching them is that your objections to AKC, however much you may voice them, are really not all that important to you -- not important enough to keep you from supporting it.

 

Exactly!

 

A

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Exactly!

 

A

 

That, is a matter of opinion. I believe you can support good dog training and stock handling, and be organization blind. I find it similar to being a teacher of children and parenting, whether you agree with the religion of their parents or not. You address what is in front of you, to your standards of behavior.

 

Why don't you develop a list of totally non-AKC supporting trainers (and I mean in not one way- no offspring of their dogs in AKC, no dogs they've sold or brokered in AKC, no students doing AKC events once they started working with them) that are available for training? I think it would incredibly helpful and a place to direct new people too.

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No matter how diligent a breeder may be, what happens to a dog/pup once it's sold may be out of their control - a purchaser may sell or pass that dog on to someone who chooses to be involved with AKC, or produce pups that go to AKC homes, or that dog/pup may wind up in a shelter or rescue and be adopted to an AKC home, etc. There is no way a breeder could guarantee that that would never and has never happened with one of their dogs.

 

There are people that will restrict ABCA registration to non-breeding status, that provide paperwork for the buyer to sign that states the dog will not be AKC-registered, etc., but I'm not sure that anyone would be legally bound by those restrictions or that they couldn't find some way around them. Once you are out of touch, how can you exert control? Is it right to try to exert control over a purchaser? I don't know.

 

I think it is the intent that counts, not what someone else chooses to do when the control of a situation is no longer in the breeder's or trainer's hands.

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commission or omission, the result is the same.

 

I'm sure if its an isolated incident then Eileen can adapt the list to include those trainers. And since we've all been burned as breeders at least once, it would only be fair.

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That, is a matter of opinion. I believe you can support good dog training and stock handling, and be organization blind.

 

I believe you can support good dog training and stock handling, and NOT be organization blind, and that to do that is better for the future of the breed. I'm not blind to the harm the AKC is doing to border collies, and will increasingly do as time goes on. Why would it be better if I were, or pretended I were?

 

Why don't you develop a list of totally non-AKC supporting trainers (and I mean in not one way- no offspring of their dogs in AKC, no dogs they've sold or brokered in AKC, no students doing AKC events once they started working with them) that are available for training? I think it would incredibly helpful and a place to direct new people too.

 

I can't do that, because there's no way for me to know that I wasn't excluding people who should be included, or including people who should be excluded. I'm not even sure that should be the standard. Supporting a trainer whose pups have been registered with the AKC by subsequent owners, or who has taught students who then choose to do AKC events is not anything like the same as supporting a trainer who registers with the AKC or participates in AKC events. Registering with the AKC or participating in AKC events is directly supporting the AKC.

 

Look -- the point is this, IMO: The more you move your own personal line toward supporting the AKC or cooperating with the AKC, the more the overall line will move in that direction. That is true both because you are a part of the whole working dog community whose collective actions determine the line, and because people who otherwise wouldn't do it but who respect you and see you doing it will think it can't be so bad, it must be okay. If that doesn't bother you, I can't make it bother you.

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That, is a matter of opinion. I believe you can support good dog training and stock handling, and be organization blind. I find it similar to being a teacher of children and parenting, whether you agree with the religion of their parents or not. You address what is in front of you, to your standards of behavior.

 

It is a matter of opinion. My opinion is that you can't support good dog breeding, training, and handling and be "organization blind". From what I've seen of AKC bred, trained, and trialled dogs, they aren't well bred for work, they aren't trained to a nominal working standard for the most part, and their trials are not a true test of a working Border Collie.

 

Therefore, in my opinion, you can't support what the AKC is doing to the Border Collie breed and claim that you have the breed's best interest at heart.

 

This whole thread is of "the lady/gentleman doth protest too much, methinks" variety since there is no one who is a regular visitor to this site who isn't aware of the danger to working breeds of dogs posed by the AKC, and there is no one here of such little intelligence that they can't tell when they are materially contributing to the good health of the AKC by participating in their events without needing to have it discussed here.

 

Pearse

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I personally can't imagine attending a clinic put on by someone who supports the AKC. So that raises the question of what constitutes support for the AKC. IMO, a person who registers border collies (or Australian shepherds) with the AKC, or who participates in AKC events, is supporting the AKC. If I in turn support them by paying to attend their clinic, I am making a statement that their support of the AKC is okay with me. I wouldn't do that no matter how much I could learn from them. It's not about me. Nor would I help to put on an AKC trial -- I can't see how working to make their event a success is not supporting them, and encouraging others (the attendees) to support them.

 

I just came back from a lecture given by a local man that supports the war, spent 2 years living in Iraq. Now, by me going to the lecture, I now support the war?

( which I don't, but wanted to hear another view)

 

I don't understand this analogy. How do we grow, learn, expand our knowledge? By blocking out anyone that has different beliefs, religions, or is associated with a club we don't agree with, no matter what can be learned. Or, even better, they learn something from you?

 

I don't like akc conformation, I have friends in obedience & agility. They know how I feel, and I know some have learned about working border collies from me.

 

I recently went to an AKC agility trial ( my first ) wanted to know and see first hand. In turn, talked to a lot of border collie people about working dogs. They were not snobs, and we had a nice discussion. I will always keep the line open.

 

Kate & Jim

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