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Breeding the Hard Mouthed, Hard Everything Border Collie

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Whew! Spring snow and lambing left and right......


But I have a thought that goes back to the original post.


Its not about tough hard dogs, but about the sheep.


I am breeding my sheep to be small predator resistant. Ok I know, another weird Tea thing. But bear with me.


My nieghbor loses lambs to ravens. My ewes chase ravens off.


My rams have knocked tresspassing dogs flying. I have seen my ewes actually look up and go into cover with their lambs when they see eagles.


BUT my sheep can be tough on my dogs, and on me. I have one ram that can run like an impala and jump like a gran prix horse, and is always thinking of ramming things. And he will quit the flock. But his crossbred lambs have qualities that I need and and like.


So I am looking for certain traits in my dogs to deal with my specific sheep.


I suppose all producers do the same.

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Maybe that's true. However, the pressure of training a dog to the highest levels takes a lot out of a dog. I don't think a lot of people realize how much it takes out of a dog. Training should be as efficient as possible. Even if I start with a lot of dog, I still try to keep as much dog there as I can all the way to the end. JMHO.



I don't think your post was a mistake Denise, it's spot on. I'm finding out the hard way now how hard it is to keep that spark in a older dog and am trying to prevent the same mistakes of getting too much too soon from the youngster.


And Tea- I just want to say I love hearing about your work and your sheep- keep it coming!

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A big hat once described a technique for widening an outrun that I have never forgotten. It really requires nothing but a lie down, patience and commitment. Perfect timing is not needed. The sheep need to be held somehow though. Send the dog, and as soon as you notice the dog coming in too tight, lie the dog down. Keep the dog lying down as you walk out there. Use as soft a voice as you can to keep the dog down until you get to the dog. Then take the dog out to where they should be on that outrun at that point. Lie them back down and keep them down. Walk back to where you started from. Send the dog again from that correct point. If the dog starts to come in tight, repeat the process. What you're doing is putting the dog at the proper distance while leaving it calm and in a frame of mind to feel where it should be in relation to the sheep. The dog needs to have the inborn talent to feel the sheep for this to work. The idea is to remove the outer layer of excitement or inappropriate response to handler or sheep pressure or whatever that is getting in the way of the talent.


I like this description or advise. I'm a JK person, STM he does not like pushing on a dog at all, rather making the dog think for it's self. Sometimes I struggle with this and end up leaning back into the pushing on the dog.


I especially like the part about removing the outer layer of excitement or inappropriate response to handler or sheep pressure, It's so easy for a young dog to get caught up in that excitement. the calm part has got to help the dog keep his brain in his head rather than letting it squirt out it's hinny with green excitement.

That's been Dew and my biggest issue, she is so excited to be doing anything that sometimes her brain falls out when she leaves my feet. Sure I can correct her and she'll yield, but she still has to recover her brain to understand what we're working on.


I'm just now beginning to understand how hard it is to get a dog up to the "trialing" state of mind, rather than the "it's a job" part of working chores on the farm. Such a big difference in how much the dog has to let you take control in the trialing situation vs. the farm dog. I hope I can succeed in keeping both in Dew. Mick's training now is giving him back what I thought I needed to take out in my green mistakes.


My first mentor treats all her chores like a trial situation, I think she has to work extra hard at that, vigilant all the time, but her dogs are out there winning and they can do all that's needed of them on the farm with grace and ease. So it must be working for her.


This has been a great discussion for me. I almost skipped it. I'm busy packing and so tired of hearing the "hard" vs. "soft" dog thing. I sure helped make Mick into the "hard" dog that he is. It has nothing to do with his natural power, it's a training issue. At this point Dew has not figured out that she can't do anything she wants, she thinks she's invincible and I want to keep her that way. She is also one of the most biddable dogs I've had the pleasure to work with. Even though I've thought about taping her hinny closed to keep her brain in the right place when she gets excited! :rolleyes:

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I like this description or advise. I'm a JK person, STM he does not like pushing on a dog at all, rather making the dog think for it's self. Sometimes I struggle with this and end up leaning back into the pushing on the dog.


What do the abbreviations stand for?

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Great topic for me too. I have Aussies and they are all so different and yet similar in some ways. I'm reading a book right now by Tully Williams. Today was the part about the hard and soft dogs. Seems he has so many meanings and applications for different situations and training methods. Sure makes my brain tired but very interesting reading. Denise, I loved your descriptions and plan to keep them in my fast growing files of stock info. This is one of the best forums ever. Keep the ideas coming as one day they will all make sense to me (if I live long enough that is). Narita

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