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Do We Give Them The Wrong Idea?


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So I have a friend who owns a Border Collie. She believes the dog to be working bred, I'd consider the dog sport bred. The dog is younger, a bit stir crazy and isn't as sound as she should be.

 

We've had chats about the breed, show bred vs. working bred vs. sport bred. We've talked breeders and health testing, everything under the sun.

 

Shes been to these Boards and has read. Sadly, her opinion on working dogs isn't what I'd think and the ideals shes gotten from this Board isn't want I'd want.

 

First, she is a firm believe that all working dogs are bred without off switchs. I personally live at home with four working bred Border Collies and three other random mutts. They aren't crazy dogs. They sleep in their crates on their own accord or in the bay window and chew on a bone here and there. They go outside a few times a day, really just enough to go potty. Their "switch" is always off unless I pull out a ball or bring a few sheep in the living room (haha). My dogs sit in the car for hours with me, going places, going to work, just for a drive or to a frineds. People walk past my car, stop and say hi and my dogs merely look up to say hello and carry on with their naps.

 

Second, she is positive all farmers and ranchers shoot their dogs who aren't good enough and can no longer work for whatever reason. I am still dumbstruck by this, as to me, a sheep farm isn't a sheep farm without a retired ole' dog laying on the porch. I know in this world, we sometimes retire dogs to Novice handlers to learn from or too homes less demanding. I still haven't heard of anyone I'd consider a good breeder (someone breeding for and testing their dogs ability) who takes their less then good dogs out back.

 

Third. Her mind is made up that working breeders do not test their dogs for health problems. I've only ever owned one breeding dog and she was CERF'd, OFA'd and DNA test. Sure, not for this TNS and CL but that is besides the point.

 

So, for the first point of view. I think a lot of people get the wrong idea about this amazing breed because a lot of the dog fancy believes that dogs who are sport bred are working bred and that is some of, if not the only hands on they ever get with what they would consider a real working bred dog.

 

Second, I believe the farmers and ranchers shoot dogs because they aren't good enough is the dog fancys thing. Its something they always bring up. Farmers and ranchers who shoot dogs aren't in it for the dogs or the breed, they are in it for their bussiness which is rasing livestock, not dogs. Good working breeders are in for the dogs. Most of us have the same views on abuse and neglect, must of us would throw punchs over a dog I believe.

 

Third. I believe most people breed to keep the ability in this breed are testing their dogs for the normal, hips and eyes. Some even more then that. Maybe because none of us really want to send our dogs results to the Border Collie Health page to be posted along side dogs whose breedings we don't agree with (I know that is why my dogs results aren't up there). But I have been told this view stems from this Board.

 

Now, I know there is a lot of "fancy" thinking and doing behind a lot of these views.

 

So I am interested in what people here think and know. What breeders here do with dogs when they don't work out as planned, what they do with retired dogs who are to old to work and what everyone tests for and what they don't test for and why.

 

FYI. I did not make this post to bash the thinking of this person, I find her to be a very good friend who I respect greatly. I just was shocked as to her interpretation of this Board and its community.

 

Katelynn

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Sadly, her opinion on working dogs isn't what I'd think and the ideals shes gotten from this Board isn't want I'd want.

 

She didn't get those from the boards, she figured those out on her own somehow. Maybe the set of ideals she came up with helped her justify where she got her dog from? Or maybe they came from her dogs breeder? I've seen lots of similar ideas on websites of what I'd qualify as being run by questionable breeders.

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I never got the impressions mentioned above from anywhere on this site either.

I did get a different perspective of the breed (which I desperately needed) which was thought-provoking - interesting and educational. All good as far as I'm concerned.

 

I'll also add that I have a working-bred aussie, when it's time to work or play, she's there and ready to go. When I'm busy doing other things, she lays calmly at my feet or somewhere near.

I would consider Chase more along the line of a *sport-bred* BC, and while he's still young and does have alot of energy, he's the same. He either lays and waits for work or playtime or he amuses himself with his toys (or whatever other games he makes up).

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I agree with Maralynn that she certainly have gotten the first impression from this forum. We talk ourselves blue in the face about how sane working bred dogs are, and how it's up to the human to teach them to settle in the house. I know I personally have stated that buying into the "these dogs needs tons of exercise" myth is the reason so many folks have dogs without off switches: they buy the myth and then proceed to *create* the dog without the off switch. If your friend got the impression that working bred dogs have no off switch from this foru, I don't know how she managed it--we are constantly saying the opposite. Her reason sounds like an excuse to defend her own choice of breeder.

 

As for #2, there are still some old-time farmer/breeders who will shoot a dog that doesn't work up to par or that has other issues. I don't think it's terribly widespread among the trialing folks, but to say it never happens is a misstatement. I wouldn't be at all surprised to here of this happening among hard-core (for lack of a better term) rancher types for whom dogs and other "tools" that can't get the job done are disposed of. This isn't the same as a good working dog who eventually retires to the porch, but rather the dog who doesn't work out for the purpose for which it was obtained by the rancher. I'd guess that these folks don't have time to worry about placing a failed working dog in a forever pet home and would instead do what they consider the sensible thing: put the dog down.

 

#3, Many breeders do indeed test at least hips and eyes, but not all do. And among those who do test, I'd say there's a range of the type of testing done. When I wanted the option to breed either one of my two open trial bitches, I took them to a well-respected orthopedic specialist--one who will send X-rays to OFA--and had him examine my dogs' hips. He gave me a full report and his *opinion* (obviously a well-informed opinion, but he wasn't one of the vets who actually "ruled" on OFA exams) on what designation my dogs would likely get from OFA and whether he thought they were suitable for breeding based on his exam (including radiographs). I did not send the radiographs to OFA, nor did I send anything to CERF when my dogs's eyes were examined at the finals. But I would also be breeding to get a pup for *myself* and one can rest assured that I wouldn't want to breed anything unsound since I wanted a pup for myself. I think there are probably plenty of folks just like me, who do the checks, but don't necessarily bother with an official stamp of approval from a body like OFA or CERF, largely because they don't intend to use those tests as selling points. That said, there are good breeders who do get those "certifications." So anyone looking for a working bred dog could relatively easily find one with the desired certifications. Note: I think it's quite common for less-than-stellar breeders to present all sorts of certifications as a selling point. Frankly, I'd take a dog from untested well-proven working lines before I'd take one from working lines but untested (on the trial field) and who also have certifications out the wazoo. So this is a case of you need to know something more about the breeding practices of the breeder than whether they just got the desired certifications.

 

J.

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As for #2, there are still some old-time farmer/breeders who will shoot a dog that doesn't work up to par or that has other issues. I don't think it's terribly widespread among the trialing folks, but to say it never happens is a misstatement. I wouldn't be at all surprised to here of this happening among hard-core (for lack of a better term) rancher types for whom dogs and other "tools" that can't get the job done are disposed of.

 

And I bet far more non-rancher/farmer types take their "Wisp", "Fly" or whatever to the shelter (or vet) and let someone else "do the dirty deed." The bottom line is that people of all types "kill" their dogs often through no fault of the dogs themselves. This is not a sin of a particular group of people . . .

 

Kim

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Guest echoica

I love this board. I was a lurker for a while before I actually joined - checking in on the new threads pretty much daily. And I have learned a lot about the breed because of it. More so than from any other site. Invaluable information. And QUALITY, accurate information! If anything this board helps clear up a lot of the misconceptions you hear about Border Collies and has made me a better owner and advocate because of it. I think your friend may not have taken the time to read these posts carefully enough - for whatever she actually read - nor took the time to critically think about the information provided either.

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Kim,

The question was whether all farmers/ranchers shoot their dogs that don't work out, so that's what I was addressing. I think it would go without saying, given the numbers of dogs being killed in shelters, that the general public is quite capable of and willing to dump/dispose of dogs. But the comment *being addressed* was that Katelynn's friend thinks all farmers/ranchers would do this and Katelynn thinks it's a myth perpetuated by the dog fancy. I was simply responding that yes, there are farmers/ranchers who would do such a thing (I know this from personal experience), and no, it's not a myth created by the fancy. That is, that the answer lies somewhere between the beliefs of the two people presented. It's not a value judgement on any one group.

 

J.

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Hi Julie,

I wasn't disputing what you said but, rather, adding to what you said. I think when people focus on the "wrongs" of one group, they often ignore the equal or sometimes greater wrongs of their own group. Again, I doubt that the number of farmers who "kill" dogs is disproportionately larger than non-farmers.

 

Kim

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I'm not a working person or a breeder. I bought my Border Collie thinking we'd do sports and instead he's become strictly a companion. But in the case of your friend and others like her, I don't think "we," the Boards, are giving them the wrong idea. Some people have no interest in learning anything different than they want to believe. They hear what they want to hear and read what they want to read. Your friend did not learn her "facts" here.

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To add, when I got here, I was on a list for a pup from a very strong sporting line. After reading all the posts here, I realized why it wasn't neccesary to get a sport dog to do sports. I recently did get a pup, but choose to get one from working lines, BECAUSE of the info I got from this board. Cricket, my wonderful little working dog, is no more or no less "wired" than my regular ol' BC :rolleyes: And she certainly has a great disosition AND an off switch.

For me, I feel both my BCs are just "nice to have around" companions that in fact have an ON switch, meaning when it's time to go, whether in flyball, agility or stockwork, they turn on. Once we're done, it's back to just nice hapy CALM dogs.

 

In summary, I choose my newest pup because of the info I got from this board, not in spite of it.

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I'm not a working person or a breeder. I bought my Border Collie thinking we'd do sports and instead he's become strictly a companion. But in the case of your friend and others like her, I don't think "we," the Boards, are giving them the wrong idea. Some people have no interest in learning anything different than they want to believe. They hear what they want to hear and read what they want to read. Your friend did not learn her "facts" here.

 

Liz is spot on with this assesment. I'd add that when we paint the 'other camp', (in this case, people who breed/raise/sell working border collies) totally black, my theory is that it's a way to make ourselves feel superior. "I treat my dogs soooo much better than those working people, look at all the things they do/don't do!" Challenges to that kind of belief system are actually challenges to how superior one feels to the rest of us poor imperfect humans.

 

Your friend came here with her beliefs firmly in place, picked out what supported those beliefs, and then just used them to support her ideas, that she's doing it right, and working border collie people are doing it wrong. She's not going to change, she's too invested in being the Better Person.

 

JMHO.

 

Ruth

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So, for the first point of view. I think a lot of people get the wrong idea about this amazing breed because a lot of the dog fancy believes that dogs who are sport bred are working bred and that is some of, if not the only hands on they ever get with what they would consider a real working bred dog.

 

I think this is true. They don't have direct contact with real working dogs. They tend to think sports bred dogs are working dogs because (1) they are not conformation dogs, and (2) sports people often talk about having working bred dogs in their lines, or describe their dogs as working dogs.

 

I happened to be looking at a list of sport bred dogs recently, and was struck by their names, which included Frenzy, Chaos, Trouble, Rampage, Tantrum, Frantic, Vice, Panic, Nitro, Wicked, Vroom. They didn't all have names like this, but a high percentage of the list I was looking at did. Holy cow! These are not names you would see on a list of working dogs, and to put it mildly they reflect a preference for different characteristics than working dog breeders value and breed for.

 

I don't think your friend really got her ideas about working border collies from these Boards. I sure would hate to think so!

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I happened to be looking at a list of sport bred dogs recently, and was struck by their names, which included Frenzy, Chaos, Trouble, Rampage, Tantrum, Frantic, Vice, Panic, Nitro, Wicked, Vroom. They didn't all have names like this, but a high percentage of the list I was looking at did. Holy cow! These are not names you would see on a list of working dogs, and to put it mildly they reflect a preference for different characteristics than working dog breeders value and breed for.

 

Yes, those kind of names are fairly popular in Agility. One of the odder ones I came across was Scream. Quinn has a fairly famous uncle named Mayhem. I always wonder if some of those names that don't really roll off the tongue are shortened somehow. Or maybe the dogs have different call names.

 

I'm fairly superstitious about names and try to choose carefully ever since my Lhasa Chili (named for a fictional loan shark/wannabe film producer) became such a little thug. Moral of that story, never name your dog after a gangster. :rolleyes:

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Ah yes. The "themes of violence" names -- I hate hate hate them. I mean, it's a matter of taste, but I just can't imagine naming a dog I actually like something like that.

 

Solo's gangster nickname is "Babyface." I think it suits him, 'cause he's cute but he's sort of a badass.

 

Anyway, as to the OP's friend, she either has reading comprehension problems, or she perceives what she wants to perceive.

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I'm not even going to take part in thisw one. Her conclusions are totally off base.

 

My dog is a working dog. His off switch is on his tail.

I shoot my dogs regularly during the summer. Super soakers are best.

 

Nuff said.

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Well, when I first arrived at the Boards I occasionally felt that I had fallen into the lion's den, but as I persevered I found that yes, the regulars could be a tad volatile sometimes - (but they usually knew whereof they spoke), but once I had been here for a bit, learning all the time, they were incredibly helpful and willing to listen to anything thrown out there and respond in a civil and downright intelligent way.

The other thing I have thought on several occasions, is how well-spoken and even-handed the majority of the regulars are.

 

The BC boards is the only BBS I have ever visited that made me feel that I wanted to be a part of their community. And I have never found anything here that would suggest that working BCs were particularly hyper or unmanageable - quite the contrary! As for "farmers" shooting their dogs... I'm sure it is done sometimes. People still shoot horses that are past work, but it seems to me that it happens less and less as time goes by. It is no worse than a pet owner euthanizing a dog that has become "inconvenient" in some way. Both are deplorable and neither would find endorsement on these Boards.

 

About the ferocious names for sport-collies. With apologies to many of the Agility people here - what is to be expected from a sport that so often attracts adrenaline junkies? Many of the people I've met who do agility are fun-loving and careful of their dogs. But I've met as many that were "win-aholics" and were even more hyper than their sport-bred dogs, willing to push them way past their comfort zone and amp them until they were nearly hysterical. Small wonder they name them things like Meth-Monster and Speedball. (Yes, really...)

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I'm fairly superstitious about names and try to choose carefully ever since my Lhasa Chili (named for a fictional loan shark/wannabe film producer) became such a little thug. Moral of that story, never name your dog after a gangster. :rolleyes:

 

I think it's tempting fate to give a potential agility dog a name that implies speed. Some of the slowest dogs I know have "fast" names.

We're not so much into "violent" names here.

 

I just wanted to say that Julie's summary above is reflected over this side of the pond too.

 

With regard to farmers who shoot their failed sheepdogs, a dog can be a liability in a pet home. I'm not justifying the practice, just trying to put the other side of the story.

 

I live in an area where you can't go anywhere without coming across sheep. There aren't any big centres of population where you could hide a potentially risky dog away from them. To rehome some of the failed dogs to pet homes could be dangerous.

 

I'll give a specific example; a friend of mine took on a failed dog from the farm next to the one where she worked. Not particularly interested in sheep was the reason. That dog went on to escape from the house and kill two lambs, and was shot dead in the process.

 

I do know happlily rehomed failed dogs that are no danger at all to stock, of course, but some farmers won't be prepared to take the chance.

 

Pam

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  • 4 weeks later...
First, she is a firm believe that all working dogs are bred without off switch.

 

Too funny. My working bred boy has a better off-switch than most pet dogs I know. On the other hand, my rescue (fairly certain he is sport bred) has an awful off-switch. We are working on it, but he is the first dog I've owned that has required a lot of training for a simple off-switch and is actually "hyper". I know a lot of that is probably because he was raised completely without manners and boundaries, but I still find it funny.

 

For what it's worth, in my years lurking I've never really gotten the impression that your friend has. Probably came onto the board with preconceived notions and projected that onto what she read. It is unfortunate the number of people in dog sport circles who would wholeheartedly agree with her. :/

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She didn't get it from these boards. I find this forum an incredible source of information - both for my own BC and for work I do at the local shelter. I just adopted a german short haired pointer and searched for a similar resource for that breed. I looked high and low - have not found anything to rival the depth and diversity that the BC board supports. I , for one, wish to thank all who contribute and Eileen and crew who put up with us all.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We lost our Lab of 13 years this St patty's day of 2009 and I said the house was so cold after her passing and said to my wife lets get a border Collie. This not reading a book about them or anything finally found a breeder with a 1500 head of cattle with 15 working Collies and that is were our 1 year old Emma came from is she a working dog hell ya she works with me doing everything i do all day (disabled) but she has an off switch (go take a break) is what is said. I found these boards and the people and dog here are great they care and are concerned about the breed. I would get a Collie again in a minute smartest dog on the planet. Well that is the short version of our working dog, and I know she does not heard sheep but she does ants on the deck in the summer, and a pretty good jog with the cats, used to try people but broke her of that habit, she is not trained as well as i would like her to be at this age but i am disabled and was laid up for about 2 months of her life and not able to work with her, but finally better now and getting back in the training. Well you just have to love People and there Dogs , and God Bless.

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FWIW, it isn't hopeless.

 

I have a good friend who has had Aussies forever. She had toyed with the idea of a BC for a long time, but was afraid to get one because "they're too hyper", because "they require constant attention and activity", becuase "they're too intense", because "they're too smart and learn stuff you don't want them to". She also likes a cuddly dog and she was afraid that a BC would be all about what's "out there" and not at all about her owner.

 

I never tried to talk them into a BC or out of one. I just told them what my experience has been. I DID strongly caution them that if they were going to get a BC they needed to get one from working parents and to avoid the AKC and sport lines, because everything they feared in a BC would be more likely in a dog bred from anyting other than working parents.

 

The upshot is that they did in fact get a puppy from working parents - from a reputable breeder who has (and needs) working stockdogs. She's a lovely young bitch, and I've thought many times of dognapping her (except that if the dog ever disappeared, the FIRST place they'd look would be my house, because they know what I think of her.) They LOVE this puppy. However... the owners did one day query me when the pup was about 5 months old because they were worried that she was a bit lethargic for a puppy; she wanted to do stuff when outdoors, all right, and raced the pants off their Aussies, but when she came in she would spend a lot of time laying down or playing quietly with a toy while the owners work at their desks, and cuddling on the couch or sleeping during movie time. I looked at my friend in exasperation.

 

"Weren't you afraid that a BC pup would be too hyper, not cuddly enough, and constantly bugging you for attention and activity?" I asked her.

 

"Well, yes," she admitted.

 

"So here you have a puppy who is always up for activity, but when you're not doing something she's willing to lay down and relax or cuddle on the couch, right?" She nods. "So what's the problem?" I asked.

 

Hm. Turns out there's no problem after all. Imagine that.

 

So it's not hopeless. Don't give up. Not everyone can be reasoned with, and not everyone will learn... but some people do.

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I think this is true. They don't have direct contact with real working dogs. They tend to think sports bred dogs are working dogs because (1) they are not conformation dogs, and (2) sports people often talk about having working bred dogs in their lines, or describe their dogs as working dogs.

 

I happened to be looking at a list of sport bred dogs recently, and was struck by their names, which included Frenzy, Chaos, Trouble, Rampage, Tantrum, Frantic, Vice, Panic, Nitro, Wicked, Vroom. They didn't all have names like this, but a high percentage of the list I was looking at did. Holy cow! These are not names you would see on a list of working dogs, and to put it mildly they reflect a preference for different characteristics than working dog breeders value and breed for.

 

I don't think your friend really got her ideas about working border collies from these Boards. I sure would hate to think so!

 

 

It's a fad, I'm sure, to choose those sort of names, the kind that "psych out" the competition.

I would expect that Robin and I would be laughed out of the arena if we ever attempted agility, etc...:rolleyes:. Thankfully Brodie has an acceptable diminutive (Bro), or the sheep would likely make fun of him, too.

 

Perhaps the OP's friend was perusing the rescue dog section, which does indeed have some sad stories.

 

As for the boards, there is a great deal of very helpful information here. I've been reading through the training forums in preparation for Brodie's tryout this spring and the participants and posts are very professional and helpful. I've also been looking at the agility/obedience forums for training tips for Robin. Haven't posted any questions in either forum yet...afraid I'll be thought of as foolish and uneducated.

 

I "get it" that this board is devoted to education re: the attributes and preservation of the working Border Collie, but in the general forum especially there is a certain testy impatience for "newbies" who are not immediately recognized as coming from a working dog culture which leads me to the theory that there are far more lurkers, who would rather not post and be pounced on, than there are actual participants. I have felt, at times, like the village idiot in receiving some responses to questions, but then it is difficult to give complete information about a situation or problem and responses are based on the poster's personal experience or observation, so one must sift through the various responses to develop a solution that fits a particular problem. It isn't surprising that someone who is skimming through various posts, would go away with an impression that perhaps the regular members would not have wanted.

 

Border Collies are everywhere and a great deal of guidance and patience is needed for those who stumble across the breed (and these boards) and then don't know exactly what to do if caught in a problem. The breed is also fighting the "evil genius" label of the AKC world -- every book I pick up that isn't from the working dog culture (and some that are) warn about this evil intelligence that will rip your house apart if not properly controlled.

 

I live in an area where the "natural gas rush" is occurring and someone was on the property yesterday taking GPS markers for various features (well, septic, etc.). When he came to the door and I needed to talk with him, I lined all three dogs up, put them on a sit stay and the man was amazed, saying he didn't think that Border Collies could behave so well. Grrrr... I replied that my dogs may be spoiled, but they listen! I've been fortunate I'm sure, but I've actually not met or handled a Border Collie that wasn't, when properly handled, biddable and easy going.

 

I'm trying to be careful to not generalize, but my limited experience in the AKC world indicates a huge animosity between AKC and ABCA which is also harmful for those looking for guidance and training. I drift into the AKC world for obedience training and I've been told my ABCA dog is not "registered", that I should let him "herd" other puppies for socialization, that he is not allowed to even look at other dogs because his "stare" is intimidating. If I'd never seen a whirling dervish of a Yorkie, I'd look too! I was told that Robin isn't "ready" for rally training though he knows all of the beginner commands and performs them consistently. I'd have no hesitation about taking him into a competition even at this point. I am half-dreading the start of obedience rally lessons this week because I know I'm going to get nailed there for some idiocy. One or two have, on rare occasions, compliment Robin's appearance (they would like him because of his red coat) but for the most part, we are an island, surrounded by suspicion because my dogs are ABCA registered. Perhaps we're spying....:D.

 

Sighing....

 

Liz

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I find that funny that people are giving you flack for having ABCA registered border collies. It's the norm in the competition world where we are at. Most of the dogs are ABCA registered, then either ILP'd or open registered with the AKC. All my dogs are from working lines and originaly registered with the ABCA, I acutally don't believ anyone has ever asked me what my dog original registry was? MANY of the working-bred dogs are wonderful competition dogs....which usually shuts up any doubters I am sure who have the gall to question there breeding.

 

That must be a very un-fun environment!!!! I would have to smack someone if they were continuously asking about my dogs original registry or pedigree!!! LOL!!!

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I find that funny that people are giving you flack for having ABCA registered border collies. It's the norm in the competition world where we are at. Most of the dogs are ABCA registered, then either ILP'd or open registered with the AKC. All my dogs are from working lines and originaly registered with the ABCA, I acutally don't believ anyone has ever asked me what my dog original registry was? MANY of the working-bred dogs are wonderful competition dogs....which usually shuts up any doubters I am sure who have the gall to question there breeding.

 

That must be a very un-fun environment!!!! I would have to smack someone if they were continuously asking about my dogs original registry or pedigree!!! LOL!!!

 

Not really fun at all no, but I plugged away at it because I wanted to do obedience classes with the pups so they'd get exposure to other dogs and the next place is over an hour and a half away. There is one private one locally who sounded really good, but she is very expensive and doesn't have a fenced in area where she do off lead work with the dogs. This club meets inside in a big, scarey warehouse, so rain, snow, hail don't affect the schedule and the dogs can't get away when they're off lead.

 

I'll have to ILP Robin of course as he is ABCA registered. We'll see what happens when I get into obedience rally - maybe the folks will be a little less snobbish...but there's an AKC breeder about an hour away that feeds Border Collies into the club (I've seen two or three others at obedience class) and a ton of others in agility...they even have a member that trains dogs on sheep....I met one of those ladies on CGC night...wow! Way too forthright. Aussies are the big thing in this club in show and obedience as well - poor things with their heads cranked up. My Robin hears with his ears, not his eyes :rolleyes:. The rally class has a different instructor that we had for obedience --perhaps less belligerent, we hope.

 

Brodie is headed toward the ABCA stock dog world, where I am a complete novice....my only salvation will be that the instructor owned and trialed Brodie's grandfather, who performed very well so she'll have a some little investment in his progress.

 

Have a good day.

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