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A couple questions?


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I have decided at the end of August -- or sometime after Rush turns 8 months, that we are going to attend a herding Clinic, or seek out a trainer.


I am not sure if this belongs here, but is there anything specifically that I NEED? I am hoping to attend a Jack Knox trial in August, but I am not sure. If I do that I wouldnt talk directly with a trainer, so I dont know if there is anything specific I need.


I am new so bare with me lol.


I have seen people herd with those like stick looking things (um I dont know what they're called?). Do I need to bring her kennel with me, things like that. I am so lost, but I want to be prepared, and if there is anything I need ahead of time, I would rather get it now, then like right before I go to lessons or to a clinic. Is there any specific vacs I need? or need to bring proof of? I know, its 3 months away, but I am so new at this I really want to be prepared.


Thanks everyone who read my post. I can understand the pain of dealing with a newbie :rolleyes:



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Going to a clinic -


Check on the clinic registration form and there you should see what sort of paperwork (proof of vaccination) you need to bring.


Many people use a stock stick or other lightweight (usually fiberglass with ends covered with latex or some other material to prevent splintering) training wand, especially when starting a young dog. It's not for hitting the dog or anything like that but to be an extension of your arm in guiding or putting pressure on the dog. It is not a necessity, some people never use them, and normally there would be one you could use at a clinic if you don't have your own.


Have a crate at your car (or camper, if you are camping there) for the dog during "down time". Especially for a youngster, being present where the training is going on for longer periods of time is not good or encouraged. It makes it harder for you to listen and can get your youngster too revved up. Don't forget a water dish and poop bags. Many folks don't mind because "it's a farm" but I think it's always nice to pick up after your dog when you are on someone else's property.


Have a leash and don't plan on using a Gentle Leader, prong collar, etc. Use a regular, flat collar. With a youngster especially, you will be bringing him/her into the small pen on lead. Use a lead that can be washed as your youngster may be dragging the lead in the pen initially.


Walk your dog a bit before his/her turn (at a Jack Knox clinic, there will be a "running order" so you will know when your turn is coming up) to do his stuff, and right after his/her turn (mine always need to go before and then again after).


Bring a notebook if you like to take notes and (like myself) don't remember things very well otherwise.


Bring a chair. Be prepared for any kind of weather (well, in August, it will be warm but it could be cool in the mornings), and bring a rainsuit and boots in addition to your regular clothing. The clinic goes on, rain or shine.


Be prepared to listen, don't be afraid to ask questions, and don't get to chatting and miss what's going on with the training of all the dogs. The huge benefit of a clinic is the several days of instruction and the work with a wide variety of dogs and handlers that you get to observe and learn from.


There is often a dinner one night of the clinic, where the participants have a night out at a restaurant, and it's strictly voluntary. Dress is casual. Check the clinic registration concerning food - some provide none and you will need to bring your own lunch and snacks. Others provide a light breakfast (muffins, donuts, etc.) and a nice lunch (usually for an extra, reasonable charge). Some even do "dish to pass" for lunch and/or supper.


If you are going to the Jack Knox clinic at Debbie Collison's, there will be a large tent canopy at the larger field, which will keep you out of the sun and rain, but no cover at the small round pen or smaller field. It can be pretty hot and muggy so be prepared and dress sensibly. Wear good-fitting shoes or boots that you won't mind getting dirty. Breakfast and lunch are "do it yourself".


One last piece of advice - you can usually audit a clinic if you are not able to enter (since it is limited to a certain number of dogs). That can be an excellent first exposure for you so that you can check out the clinician's style or method of training, you can learn a lot, and it is sometimes free but usually an inexpensive alternative to participating. So, if you don't get in this time, you could consider auditing.


At lessons -


Find out what your trainer wants you to bring. There are some very good stockdog people in the Maryland area who may do lessons (Carla King and Linda Tesdahl are two that may).


Most of the time, you will need a lead (again, a washable one for starting a dog) and plain collar, and a crate at the car if you will be there for more than just your lesson time (watching other folks' lessons, if allowed, can be very educational). Also, don't forget the poop bags and a water dish.


Usually, there will be a stock stick that you can use if you don't have one. They are cheap to buy.


Best wishes!

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But Robin, your post covers the essentials!


One man, a clinician himself, told me that he had wasted his money going to so-and-so's clinic. I was quite shocked that he would say such a thing. Then he clarified - he told me that he had not gone prepared to listen and learn, and so he had wasted his time and money, and the clinician's time. It was not a negative comment about the clinician. I hope I never forget that lesson.

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Like Sue said, don't be afraid to ask questions! It also helps if you have someone like Sue at a clinic who asks some great questions and really gets the clinician to break things down into little details. I tend to focus on the big picture- okay they said do this- rather than on the little details that make 'doing this' work!


By the way, Sue! Did you see Elvin is scheduled to go to John's in October? It's on John's page and not the BCDA site yet. lavellefarms.com I'm sad I won't be able to go, I'm going to OK the next weekend for the Cowdog get together and I doubt my work would like me disappearing two weekends in a row. I'm going to try and run out one day for the afternoon though.

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Sue, thank you very much. I am trying to think what questions I may have, but I cant think of any. I know I will probably be flooded with them come the time I do a clinic or lessons.


I do have another question,


Is there a way to find clinic registry forms on the internet? I was sent a phone number, which I havent called yet (just a little scared...lol). But you said I have to fill out a form and they will have like a list of the vacs and stuff I need to bring proof of. I am getting ready to google it, to see if I can find it. Is it on a website, or does someone normally e-mail the forms?


Thanks for all the help!



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Diane - A lot of clinics don't appear on the net but rather once you get on someone's emailing list, you will get an email notification with the forms attached. So, you need to make the call to whomever it is and get them to email you the forms if there are still openings in the clinic. Consider auditing if the clinic is filled.


Some clinics will be advertised, so to speak, on websites or sometimes Sheepdog-L or boards like these. However, many very good clinics will be booked with prior participants (who often get the notice first through email) and often have few openings for newcomers just because a good clinician is valued by those who have been to prior clinics. Once you get your foot in the door, it is easier to get notification of upcoming clinics because the host/hostess will know of your interest and have your email.


If you want to be notified of future clinics, make sure your host/hostess knows how much you enjoyed and learned at their clinic, and that you would like to attend again.


Nicole - Thanks for the info! I didn't see that and I'll have to check it out (and see if I can afford it this go-round). Good to hear from you!

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Since you live in MD,you are in the Northeast Border Collie Association region(NEBCA).There is a list of clinics and info on them on the web site--www.nebca.net

click on Clinics.

You also might like to become a member,that form is there also.

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Sue's first post is excellent. It covers every single thing I now wish I had known (but didn't) before attending my first and only clinic. I nominate it for the FAQ section, if the title could be changed so it's obvious what the thread is really about. Or maybe it could be an article in the newbie section of Little Hats?


Ace: As Sue suggested, I highly recommend attending as an auditor your first time around. It gets you into the "listen and learn" mode without the distraction of worrying about your dog.

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Thank you! I am certainly looking into other clinics so I can go and just listen and observe. I may end up just going and taking Rush though. My parents have limited me to only dog sports(activities -- generally rabbit shows and Agility trials, but they have included her Herding lessons in that) in MD for the rest of the year because of gas prices. There are no trials listed on the NEBCA website. And I only know about the one in MD in August. So I am unsure right now.


I'll figure something out!


Thanks again everyone,



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