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when do you give up?

Guest newguy

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I was wondering at what point do people say this dog is a biscuit eater and give him to a family for a pet.

I have a 14 month old male that shows no serious moves around stock. He has been exposed to stock and does not show eye on any interest in working. I can get him excited enough to chase but once i stop giving excitement he would sooner eat sheep shit( I feed my dogs well). Give up or wait?

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I generally know by about 9-10 months though I did train one till he was two and ended up selling him anyway...sure wish I hadnt waited so long on that one! I have also had the opertunity to train some dogs and then get them back in about 10 months for more training...in every case there, what I thought the first year hadnt changed by the next...Anyway, just some random thoughts. Sam

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I'm certainly no expert - need lots of help myself - but I would think that 14 months is starting to get on the older side of being "too young". Most of my pups have always showed some eye and been nuts to get to sheep, chickens, or anything else that moves for that matter by the time they're 9-12 weeks (obviously, to young to train, just lots of desire).


How does he act around them? Does he hold his tail high, clamp it (as in scared to death), or holds it at a nice working level? I had a trainer once tell me you could tell more by a dog's tail than anything else. My first dog was very stock-aggressive (literally ripped the throat out of one of my ewes). He was well over a year before I found a trainer to work with him - and the guy loved him - but he always showed lots of desire to work. If anything, he was too intense for an amateur. He might just need a little more time - or he might never start. Bottom line - how much do you like him for who he is? Do you want to keep him only if he works stock? If so, you might want to have him "evaluated" by someone you trust that is experienced training dogs.


Don't know if any of this helps. I always seem to have the other problem - mine won't stop. Hang in there - if this isn't the right dog for you, the right one is out there. I've gone through a string it seems to find Blaze. Don't know if we'll ever manage to work sheep in any controlled, desirable way, but so far, he's the best match I've had. I had the one that was too aggressive, that although he worked for the trainer, forgot I existed when around sheep; then the brain-dead female that killed cats and had absolutely no power; number 3 was my beloved Zack who was killed by a car. I haven't had a B.C. over 2 years of age in several years - I just want to get past the pup/teen age someday. So hang in there and follow your gut instincts. Each dog teaches you something that will help with the next. Don't feel guilty if you decide you need to find him a non-working home. Someone out there would probably love a B.C. with low herding drive - and that special one for you is still waiting.

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Dunno Thad.


You would think at 14 months,at least the interest in chasing would have risen.


OTOH,I keep thinking about what we've read and heard about some dogs and not showing any interest whatsoever,then on day, boom!,sheep.

One such famous dog said to be Gilchrist's Spot, not even looking the sheep's way until 2 years of age,now you can't find a pedigree without his name.

How about J.M.Wilson's Cap(I believe),not looking at sheep until 2,then a fight with a kennelmate or a littermate ending with a loss of an eye and turns into working machine.


I've got one here,in my mind,she was dumber than a rock and every single day I hoped and dreamt for some sucker (jokingly) to drive up the lane and ask me about a dog.

Today,at 2 years old,I could only work her on a long line. She went from a brain dead dog to a sheep frenzied beast.

From the moment she was able to walk out of the whelping box,when I looked at her she used to swoon and shiver and plead with me not to hurt her (so soft and sensitive she was).At one year and 1 1/2 year,she was downright scared of sheep but at least covered them well.

No way on earth I could get her to walk on to any of them,I always felt as I was walking on an egg shells with her.

Then one day nearing 2 years of age,she cut one ewe and decided to make a mince meat out of her.

Then she went into,catch me if you can stage. And this was a day when I thought I found her a good home. Poor woman took one look at her and said,she is way too much for me to handle her on sheep.

From that point on,she grew stronger and stronger.

I took her to Bobby D.'s clinic and even he commented that,not dumb at all. If anything,she learned how to push my buttons all to well and she was cheating at every step.

That dumber than a rock, overly sensitive bitch is now the one who could take the most training pressure from me,yet doesn't even phase her.

She's dragging a 100 ft.cord,when I tell her to lie down,even if she'll take one step,I step on the cord,drag her arse back to where she heard and ignored my command,put her down and smack her on the nose. All she does,try to see and get to sheep,smack on the nose doesn't even register.

Definite case of late maturing.


Personally,I would have given up or I did give up on my bitch thinking she was dumb but felt sorry for her. Also I bred her which made it harder for me to accept the fact that I made a dud pup (meaning, non-working),hence deciding to hang on and wait.

If I had bought her as a pup,she would have gone to a pet home when she turned a year old and did what she was doing.


Your call.




Inci Willard






It's better to be silent and thought the fool,than to speak and remove all doubt.

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my wife's trial dog, Starr, matured late and like a light switch. Renee would come watch while I worked my first dog and she brought Starr along for something to do, usually play fetch. One day, Starr started howling while watching Duncan and I work the sheep. Starr had never really paid any attention to us before, now she was howling and frantically running back and forth. It was obvious she had turned on; I think she was at least 1.5 years old. Starr's pups have matured late too.


Your call, if it were my dog I'd wait a month or two a try again.



Mark Billadeau

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I got to hang in there with Inci on this one. Another famous dog from not that long ago, Wisp. Bobby D. said the dog changed hands 5 times before he got him with no interest at all. I believe he also said that dog was one that he really enjoyed, once he finally turned on. ( I would think it more common that males turn on latter than females) At least that's my understanding.


...oh hell, hang in there, it's only food, and time and money and agrivation!!!!





"A good dog may be hard to find, ...but a hard dog usually means it's been dead for a while"

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Maybe this is some kind of record but after five years of my pet BC watching others going through their training he suddenly decided he wanted to do it too. So now I take him onto sheep about once a week and he loves it. However after five yerars of being a spoiled pet he just won't take commands properly so we just play. But he did definitely turn on somewhere in middle age!!

(I know I know it's far too late for mostly everyone...just thought it was an interesting thing to happen.)




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I can't tell you much from experience only what others have told me. Don't give up yet.


Darcy was not particularly good at herding but I was encouraged to keep at it. In August I met a woman who was familiar with Darcy's blood lines and said that a lot of that line are late bloomers and to keep with it because once they get it they're usually very good.


Darcy was 14 months at the time and right after that, suddenly seemed to really catch on to what I wanted. She was always one to back down, even to ducks, (sigh), but a few weeks ago took on a cranky suffolk ewe and was determined to move her even at the risk of being stomped.

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Newguy, I have had several late starters both in horses and in dogs, But the ones that usually made it was the one that I had this gut feeling about. You know one that doesn't show you anything, but seems like you know something is there. I think I would go with my gut feeling as to where to keep going or to quit. I had this one dog that would go and never get in the way, she was always there but didn't do any good or wrong I kept taking her with me cause she was easy to load and didn't cause trouble. I always felt she could be good but she never showed it till one day she just jumped in and went to work. She turned in to my most dependable dog. When she did start seemed like she already knew what to do and how to do it. I took her for a year and a half before she even barked at a cow. Now this was a black mouth cur dog but I thind all breeds of dogs have slow starters don't know if this helps or not but sure would think about the gut feeling about her. If you have a good feeling about her she will probally make it or mine has at least

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