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Conditioning & Night lights


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I'm curious: 2 new topics for discussion- (1)Do you condition your dogs in any way- besides daily working or training? Swimming, free exercise alone or in a pack, running with a four wheeler, etc? If so, what is your regime, and if not, what is your thoughts on the subject? (2) I think Sam or Andrea mentioned they had lights on their training area, could they give me dimensions and an idea of how they light it to work at night? Flood lights, strings of light bulbs, anything that would help me picture it in my head? Thanks!

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Hi Terry,

I think it was terry schaefer that said she had lights...It was Andrea that was training by moonlight! Both of them are on the road right now to Lori Cunninghams trial, but when they get here I will try to remember to find out from Terry what she has.


I will say I dont personally train with lights as the man I take lessons from doesnt advise it. He says he isnt sure why, but that dogs trained under lights have some different issues..he didnt really go into details, but I do remember him saying that..of course if that is your only option, it might just have to be worth it.


Bye! sam

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I have on occasion trained in a field where there are lights (flood lights I think). The issues I had are that unless you have lots of lighting then there are lots of shadows, etc., but lots of lighting = lots of $$.


Probably more important than lighting is that the sheep act pretty freaky once it gets dark.


As for conditioning, I think it's a good idea. Any dog who "works out" regularly ought to be better able to handle the physical stress of working and trialling better than one that is not as conditioned. That said, I live in an area where ditches criss-cross all fields, so a four-wheeler is out (and I have no desire to be Evel Kneivel Jr.). I take the dogs on long walks (they do plenty of running), they go jogging with me, and they go swimming. I guess you could say they cross train! But I don't really have an organized plan. When I am exercizing reguarly (that is, jogging), then they are too.



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Good question. I would like to hear what people do.


Normally, I train my dogs just about every day (with an occasional day off) for an hour or two in a 10 acre field. (I have 3 Border Collies, but one hasn't been started yet since he's just 6 months old. )


I don't have any systematic exercise program except for the training mentioned above and other incidental activities (these dogs live in the house and do get to run around a bit on our property). So, aside from the training and non-stop playing, chasing, diving and growling that the puppy seems to generate, these dogs only get incidental exercise. They seem to be in pretty good shape, I guess. About once a week I take them to a Really Big Field, where I can work on big outruns, long walk abouts, etc. and they don't seem to get overly tired (though they do sleep ever so peacefully afterward). Probably they could be in better condition though.


I have worked at dusk a lot. The sheep do get squirrely, as Julie says. That's fine with me. I want the dogs to handle all situations. I have worked under the lights. There did seem to be a little extra tension in the air, but I can't be more specific since we were visiting somebody and so that provided its own tensions.


Having said all that... For you lurkers out there...

I am just barely into Pro-Novice, so probably it is best if you do the opposite of what I do.



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I think land and water retrieving is an easy, effective way to give dogs exercise and keep up their condition. I know of one Texas sheepdog handler who rigged a cart that his dog could pull for exercise, and some of the handlers in the snowy north use mushing and ski-joring (sp?) to keep their dogs in condition in the off-season.

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