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Can one not make it to the novice level by training twice a week? Let's say if they had a well-bred dog (as Alchemist does)?

 

ETA: I know the real answer is: "it depends", but I'm curious if the general sentiment is that it's not really feasible.

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My 2 cents: a youngster doesn't have to be on stock as often as Mark describes if everyone agrees that it's not possible. Dogs will make progress with less frequent exposure; that progress will just be slower. The whole excitement thing I think also changes with age. I have a youngster who comes out here and has been on stock a handful of times. Each time we take him out, he is much more quick to engage his brain.

 

Another option is to have the owner send the dog to the breeder for some specified period of time (agreed on by both) and the breeder can start the dog on stock and make an evaluation. Money doesn't even need to change hands. If I bred a pup and it went to a pet home and I was curious about the youngster's potential, I'd probably ask the owner to bring it out. If the pup looked like something I'd want to train up and evaluate, then I would try to work out something with the owner that was mutually acceptable, and that may or may not involve money changing hands.

 

The things Mark says are true, but I think it's just one of the "prices of doing business." I, for one, am not comfortable making judgements about dogs less than a year old after just a few (or more than a few) exposures to stock and stockwork. Other handlers/trainers routinely make decisions that quickly. There's no one-size-fits-all approach. If as a breeder you want to place pups in pet homes *and* evaluate them for stock work, then I imagine you'll have to do what's necessary to help the owner get the dog out and working.

 

The above sort of answers Kristine's question as well. It probably is possible to find a herding washout that's less than 2 years old. Less than 1 would be a little more difficult, since most trainers wouldn't start a dog much earlier than 6 months and probably it would be closer to a year before any serious training would start to take place. Also, I would consider *why* the dog might be a washout. Sometimes the why is as simple as not a good match between trainer and dog, so my first thought would be to try a youngster who was not working well for me with someone who trains differently and just approaches dogs differently. If the dog were no better in that new situation, then I'd probably start looking for a pet/sport home, but of course the dog is likely to be older than 18 months by then.

 

GaryM: It doesn't have to be related to keeping a dog intact for breeding purposes. If one wants to evaluate the suitability of a cross, then one can do that with neutered dogs just as easily. Presumably the breeder has kept a dog or gotten some of the litter into working homes who *are* willing and able to keep intact dogs, so the pet owner's dog wouldn't need to be kept intact in order to evaluate working ability. And I think anyone would recognize that situations change and roll with the punches. Personally, I would encourage any pet home who took a pup from me (hypothetical as I have bred exactly one litter) to bring those pups back for training if that so choose. If the pup turns out to be a superstar, my loss, but at least I would know that I can put a mark up on the "good cross" side of the board.

 

J.

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Can one not make it to the novice level by training twice a week? Let's say if they had a well-bred dog (as Alchemist does)?

 

ETA: I know the real answer is: "it depends", but I'm curious if the general sentiment is that it's not really feasible.

Paula,

I think it's feasible. As you note, it *does* depend, but with a savvy handler (that is, one who learns to read stock well and can help his/her dog through rough situations), there's no reason a dog couldn't make it to that level with twice-a-week training. As Karen points out, no one is going to want to make a breeding decision based on a dog's ability to run in N/N (though I guess one could at least extrapolate that if the dog was a nice enough worker to take a novice handler to N/N with limited training and not over a very long time period, then the dog is at least the sort of dog whose bloodlines might be useful for people--farmers--who want a dog that can do very basic work with little training).

 

My Ranger just turned a year old at the end of July. Up until very recently, he wasn't getting to sheep more than once or twice a week. And even now some weeks he might get out three or four times, others less. In this case, the weather plays an important factor, but also he's just plain young and doesn't really need to be pushed yet, even if he is ready to take the pressure of training, as he seems to be.

 

J.

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Julie,

Agree with what you said re: speuter.

Someone earlier mentioned and I am aware of some AKC contracts that prevent spay / neuter without the breeder's permission or that they retain future breeding rights.

I would assume that if I got a dog from a working breeder I am free (or may be required) to spay / neuter as a pet home.

However in this "hypothetical" it could be possible that if the dog were to be evaluated for ability, there could be a desire on the breeder's part to have them remain intact until that evaluation is complete.

 

Since this was a hypothetical question, I was giving a hypothetical situation.

Nothing more.

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Julie,

 

I would assume that if I got a dog from a working breeder I am free (or may be required) to spay / neuter as a pet home.

However in this "hypothetical" it could be possible that if the dog were to be evaluated for ability, there could be a desire on the breeder's part to have them remain intact until that evaluation is complete.

If I sold to a pet home I would certainly expect/hope they wouldn't be breeding that dog on down the line. I also think that if a breeder wants a dog to remain intact until it can be evaluated, then the breeder might just want to hang on to that pup him/herself. From my POV, when you sell to a pet home, you lose breeding priveleges, and frankly, the desire not to have someone breeding unproven dogs from my working stock would trump any desire I might have to have a breeding left open to me on the slim chance that the pet home could bring the dog along enough to get a good evaluation of breeding stock. It's one of those "you can't have your cake and eat it too" things I think. If anyone remembers Denise's dart board analogy, one of the things she mentions are dogs that are good producers even if they themselves are not top workers. If a top worker ended up in a pet home and was neutered somewhere along the way, then I would probably just try to find the closest relative that worked/trained up similarly and hope it was a good producer (this is all hypothetical as well, as I doubt I'll ever breed another litter and so would be finding pups from other working breeders).

 

J.

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Julie,

We are not is disagreement here, but seem to be talking past each other.

I was referring specifically to Geonni's earlier post that mentioned...

 

"Making the assumption that a breeder of working Border Collies would own sufficient livestock to properly evaluate his puppies' working ability, why not sell pups with an agreement that the youngsters would be brought for stock working lessons, free of charge until talent was firmly established. The breeder can then evaluate all his dogs' progeny, and set the pet/sport owner on the road to possible trialing. Said breeder would not incur the cost of growing out his pups, but would be able to assess the ability of all of them.

 

The owner of such pups would not have to decide immediately if the dog would be dedicated to one discipline (sport or trialing) and would be able to have the dog well started in both without undue financial burden.

 

Such contracts are common in the show dog world. Many breeders will only sell extremely promising pups to homes that agree to campaign the dog to a championship. Sometimes these contracts also include a breeding clause stating that the breeder reserves the right to use a successful male pup for a set number of breedings, choose a suitable male for a bitch pup and retain the litter in the case of a successful female, after which the animal in question is neutered. In the case of males, semen can be collected and frozen, and the dog neutered after.

 

I would think that a system like this would allow the breeder to carefully evaluate all the pups they produced, enabling them to make good breeding choices. It would also ease the financial burden of growing out entire litters and then having to find homes for older animals. Breeding contracts could widen his selection options for future litters, as a stellar pup could be used under the terms of the contract and then neutered. The pups would benefit as well, being able to go as youngsters into homes where they could be socialized to the life of a family dog.

(emphasis mine)

 

You know my feelings on breeding, spaying and neutering so you know I would like every placement to a non-working home (including obedience, sport, pet, SAR, whatever) to be done on a spay / neuter contract.

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Okay, I didn't realize you were specifically responding to Geonni's post and not just making comments in general, but I think my answers to you also answer Geonni's comments as well.

 

I think the whole co-ownership thing is something that's pretty much strictly AKC. The only people I know who co-own anything are folks who also register and/or compete in AKC. I don't think co-ownerships as Geonni describes are likely to catch on in the working dog community, if for no other reason than its association with AKC (although there are better reasons than that, I'm sure).

 

I honestly don't know how what Geonni described would work in a working dog situation because there's a lot more to proving a dog at work vs. proving a dog at conformation. Many conformation champions are made at a fairly young age, and that's just not a good paradigm for a working dog. I can't really see asking someone to keep a dog intact for three or four years (the earliest that a dog could realistically be running in open) while I evaluate the breeding potential of that dog.

 

There are working breeders who farm pups out for others to raise and socialize and then bring those dogs back in when they're old enough to train. Some of these dogs likely would fit the criteria described by Kristine and others regarding youngsters getting the early experiences needed to be more easily successful in other venues. I think that's a workable option, but I don't think I'd sell pups into pet homes with some sort of working/training clause if those homes weren't already interested in pursuing stock work with their dogs. That's just too controlling, IMO.

 

J.

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Disclaimer: my knowledge of the field of genetics is limited to introductory biology and the odd conversation about the Darwin awards. My dogs come from working/trial lines and I'm doing my best to live up to their heritage....they both like sheep very much. They were the only two out of their litter to come into a "pet" home, but my intention for them has always been to give stock work a try and work toward establishing a small flock at our family's farm. Part A -- are the dogs interested has been answered.....yes, they are. The rest will be a bit more difficult to achieve. Robin and I have tried a few different activities along the way...he likes anything trick related and needed obedience rally as sort of a "boot camp.". He's now welcome in most stores in town. Brodie's all about sheep. And Frisbee. We've recently introduced him to "grounder" Frisbee and he's one happy dog. He'll be happier later this fall when we put him on sheep again.

 

My questions...

 

Should a dog be deselected for breeding based on the fact that it shows no particular talent for stock at a given time, even though the dog carries an incredible variation of genetic material and in fact might have obvious good qualities (health, temperament, intelligence) to contribute as well as the possibility that its offspring might well show an incredible talent for stock if it were bred to a dog known to work?

 

Also, because dogs are continually deselected, is there a continuing higher risk of decreasing the gene pool to the point where the breeding population is so limited that genetic problems increase?

 

It is worrying to see something like the Baird Kennel breeding indiscriminately, throwing hundreds of puppies a year, while solid, healthy dogs become increasingly rare.

 

 

 

Liz

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Julie P. :

 

I wasn’t actually thinking of a co-ownership. But I can see how what I was thinking of might amount to that from some points of view.

 

I’ve known of horses – fillies usually, that were sold with the understanding that the first time they were bred the seller would choose the mate and keep the foal when it was weaned.

Dogs are different, however. And it’s true that even if you have an exclusive breeding contract with a pet owner, it doesn’t mean they won’t decide to breed the dog themselves anyway, or allow it to breed through carelessness. It would be a real risk.

 

I personally would find the sort of arrangement that I described to be very appealing. I would have a trainer who would be motivated to bring out the best in my dog as per stock work, and the satisfaction of learning about stock work myself, while feeling that I was helping to perpetuate the special qualities that the best examples of this breed have. Sort of like being a Seeing-Eye puppy raiser, but without having to give up the dog when it matured!

 

I have had dogs in the past that were intact and they were never bred. But I’m very careful and have a rescue background so I’m against any breeding that does not contribute to the improvement of “the Breed,” (read: working ability in this breed)

 

But certainly this kind of arrangement would only work between like-minded individuals, and there would have to be a great deal of trust between them. That kind of trust and aligned viewpoints in a relationship is rare enough in a general sense – perhaps it is unrealistic to think that it could work for more than a very few.

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Discussion is what I wanted, so this is great.

 

What I wanted pet/sport buyers to understand is that breeding for livestock work does not end after the selection of the sire and dam (based upon their work) it continues to the evaluation of a sufficient number of the litter on livestock and that this evaluation really isn't completed until the pups are between 1 and 2 years old (if being trained by a knowledgeable trainer).

 

When you say you support breeding for livestock work you must accept the entire package which may include being turned down for a pup by a working breeder. Don't take this as pet/sport homes are not good enough or an elitism of working owner vs. pet/sport owners; it's more likely the working owner wants to see how good their breeding program is.

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I think if a dog has a stable temperament, they will adapt quite quickly to changes in their environment. In fact, it makes me sad when I see how readily Lou and Rex accept new stimuli that turns Wick into a quivering mess. I'd like to think that if she were raised properly and exposed to all kinds of things as a pup, that she would be as easy-going as the boys, but I suspect it wouldn't have mattered much because her temperament just isn't as stable as other dogs. :rolleyes:

 

Absolutely this. I disagree that a dog raised in a rural setting doesn't get the tools to transfer to a different environment. When I first had border collies, I kept them at the barn with my horses and raised them that way for two-three years. They were bred to work and had excellent temperaments and when I moved to Vegas and lived in an apartment with them, they were fine. In fact, my third dog took some extra adjustments when I started working her and having her more in a rural environment (she had to learn what a horse was and what not to do with it, for example).

 

I think the best breeders keep as many pups as possible and raise/train them themselves or place at least 75% or so of the litter with working homes. Otherwise, how do you know what you've produced? The last litter I bred was 10 years ago because my good dog that I bred produced two out of 5 pups that I thought were better than average workers. That number wasn't good enough for me to breed her again, nor were any pups from that litter bred. I only knew what that number was because each pup went to a working home. Had they gone to pet homes, it would have been easy to justfiy repeating the breeding based on the two that worked and just assumed the others didn't because of lack of opportunity.

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When you say you support breeding for livestock work you must accept the entire package which may include being turned down for a pup by a working breeder. Don't take this as pet/sport homes are not good enough or an elitism of working owner vs. pet/sport owners; it's more likely the working owner wants to see how good their breeding program is.

 

Well, then you should be prepared for the outcome. How many times do we see people coming on these boards wanting advice about where to get a border collie? The standard answer is, "Go to rescue or your local shelter, but if you're hell-bent on getting a puppy, or you have an aversion to rescuing or adopting, then make sure you go to a reputable breeder who only breeds for working ability." If working breeders won't sell any pups to pet or sport homes, then those folks are going to get their dogs from the very folks that you see as a threat to the border collie breed. A lot of folks just won't rescue or adopt for a whole variety of reasons. I see it all the time with both sport people and pet dog people (more so with sport people). So, they are going to get their border collies from somewhere and that somewhere is going to be a byb or a sport breeder.

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You beat me to it Mark, that some working breeders will not sell to pet homes. And yet many of us insist that people only buy from breeders who produce working dogs. Seems there is a problem if they can't buy pups from the one source we tell them is ok.

 

OK, so what happens if working homes only sold to other working homes? Are there enough working homes out there to maintain the genetic diversity of the breed? In other words, if someone only breeds if 100% of the litter can go to working homes, many breeders would have to cut down on their number of litters. We just lost the genetic diversity those litters would have maintained.

 

If I admited that some pups will need to go to pet homes or there will not be enough buyers, what percent do I need to set aside to go to working homes? Fifty percent? Seventy five?

 

What if I offer free sheepdog lessons to puppy buyers so I can get the dogs to come back for evaluation? Will the average pet buyer bring their dog back to you for enough lessons for you to evaluate it? (I don't think so.)

 

What if we offered a partial refund to buyers once the dogs are trained to a certain level? This was suggested to me by another working breeder. I liked the idea so much that I am doing that with my current litter. That doesn't solve the problem of most of the pet buyers who have no interest in working their dogs, even if they can get some money back.

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A tangent to this is the past discussions we've had on this forum where working breeders have said they would breed more dogs if there were a greater market among pet/sport homes, and maybe Mary this speaks somewhat to your comments. As I mentioned before about Denise's dart board analogy, there are dogs who are good producers and not good workers and dogs who are good workers and not great producers. I think most working breeders do realize that there are a limited number of working homes, and so they do expect to place some pups in non-working homes. It may be that working breeders would go ahead and breed the good workers who may not be the best producers (that is, they're not great at replicating themselves) if they had a ready market for pups outside the working world, because then they could try a number of different crosses and maybe find that one cross where the good worker was able to replicate itself. Does that make sense? If there were a greater outlet for the puppies, then breeders might take more chances (for good or bad, but hopefully for good overall) with crosses, knowing that there would be good homes for the pups to go to.

 

This of course doesn't answer Mark's point about needing to evaluate litters, but I suspect that at some point previous buyers of pups would even be willing to take young adults in the future, if they were happy with the pup they got in the past (and knowing that the dogs were being raised and socialized well--that is, the breeder is creating a long-term relationship with the buyer). There's lots of ways something like this could be approached. And frankly, even if a working breeder is breeding two good workers who are not good producers (a hypothetical I'm not suggesting needs to actually be done), the offspring are still probably dogs who would expand the orange and yellow rings (dartboard analogy again) compared to dogs that are being bred exclusively for sport or as pets (the latter largely by BYBs). What I'm saying is that if you've got working breeders producing sound, athletic dogs that are the direct offspring of good working dogs and if at least some of those dogs go to pet or sport homes, it creates less risk to the overall working gene pool than if instead people go to people who are not breeding for work at all. It's true that the breeder may be able to evaluate all offspring from each cross for working ability, but I think enough could be evaluated to be able to draw conclusions about the cross. After all, not all working homes are created equal either, and if you sell a pup to a novice handler or even just to a handler who maybe wasn't the best match for the dog temperament-wise, then you still may not get a clear picture of what the cross produced since the handling and training of the youngster will have a great bearing on its outcome.

 

J.

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What I wanted pet/sport buyers to understand is that breeding for livestock work does not end after the selection of the sire and dam (based upon their work) it continues to the evaluation of a sufficient number of the litter on livestock and that this evaluation really isn't completed until the pups are between 1 and 2 years old (if being trained by a knowledgeable trainer).

And what I want is to see is more working bred puppies and fewer Baird Creek Border Collies. It seems to me that finding ways for working breeders and pet owners to cooperate to evaluate puppies would help. If you think that is impossible, then the point of the discussion is just to say, "It's impossible."

 

On the other hand, I do think there are a lot of owners of border collies who don't live on a farm or ranch, but who care about the breed and would be willing to work with the breeder if there were some kind of reasonable plan to do so. Using myself as an example, while I don't work with the breeder I do drive an hour each way to take my dog for lessons once or sometimes twice a week and I leave her with the trainer for weeks at a time here and there, so she can be trained on sheep daily. In fact she's there right now. I've taken her to two week-long Bobby Dalziel clinics. I most surely would have been willing to put in the effort to help a breeder evaluate her, if we'd made a plan that was at all reasonable. And I know others who feel the same way. Do you believe that it could be possible??

 

ETA: In response to Julie's and Liz's posts, it may be that many pet owners are not interested in working their pups, but I suspect many more than you think might be interested in participating in a training/evaluation plan that was free to them. While many puppy buyers might not want to train a dog to work livestock themselves, they are still proud of the breed's heritage and would want to support good breeding. Is there some agreement on what is the percentage of puppies from a litter than need to be evaluated to direct future breeding choices?

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OK, so what happens if working homes only sold to other working homes? Are there enough working homes out there to maintain the genetic diversity of the breed? In other words, if someone only breeds if 100% of the litter can go to working homes, many breeders would have to cut down on their number of litters. We just lost the genetic diversity those litters would have maintained.
First off I never said the entire litter needed to be trained to evaluate the working cross.

 

The dilemma is that we are telling pet/sport buyers to get working bred pups to support the breeding for work but if a sufficient number of the pups from a cross are not evaluated by work how do we know we are improving the breed?

 

How many pups from a litter should be evaluated to determine if it was a good working cross?

If only one pup from the litter had enough talent to be competitive in open was that a good cross?

If 1/2 the litter was shown to be good workers (by some generally agreed upon test) was that a good cross?

 

The last questions get at how many of the litter should be evaluated.

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On the other hand, I do think there are a lot of owners of border collies who don't live on a farm or ranch, but who care about the breed and would be willing to work with the breeder if there were some kind of reasonable plan to do so. Using myself as an example, while I don't work with the breeder I do drive an hour each way to take my dog for lessons once or sometimes twice a week and I leave her with the trainer for weeks at a time here and there, so she can be trained on sheep daily. In fact she's there right now. I've taken her to two week-long Bobby Dalziel clinics. I most surely would have been willing to put in the effort to help a breeder evaluate her, if we'd made a plan that was at all reasonable. And I know others who feel the same way. Do you believe that it could be possible??
Special arrangements between pet/sport buyers and a working breeder for evaluation of the pups are very reasonable approaches to solve the dilemma.
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I am in the sport world since I play flyball. When I got my bc I was asked to take her to sheep at least twice. I fulfilled that request even though I do not really plan to ever compete in herding. Tempe flunked herding 101 and I believe it has a lot to do with her temperament and being so fearful. I took her back to the breeders one for training and I took her to someone on these boards once. I probably could have tried again when she was 2 yrs old to see if there was a difference but I didn't do that. Now if Tempe would have shown any talent for herding I probably would have gone back for more lessons as I want her to be happy.

 

I think sport homes would be more likely to honor the request that the dog be introduced to sheep than a straight pet home but I could be wrong. I saw nothing wrong with the request that my dog needs to be introduced to sheep and see nothing wrong with being asked to spay/neuter.

 

I currently have a teammate who is looking for a bc puppy but she would like working lines. She doesn't even know where to start and doesn't want to fly a dog. She wants to see the pup before she buys. She is even willing to take one up to about 6 months of age. She lives in a townhouse, plays flyball and goes for walks. It is not always easy to find a working pup for someone like her who won't take sports real seriously. Oh and she is not someone who wants to pay $1000 for a dog.

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Special arrangements between pet/sport buyers and a working breeder for evaluation of the pups are very reasonable approaches to solve the dilemma.

 

Hey, I'd happily sign on for something like that. Even knowing that I was very likely to be starting on the slippery slope of an activity that, from the sounds of it is (1) expensive; (2) time-consuming; but (3) incredibly rewarding.

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Hey, I'd happily sign on for something like that. Even knowing that I was very likely to be starting on the slippery slope of an activity that, from the sounds of it is (1) expensive; (2) time-consuming; but (3) incredibly rewarding.

 

I would as well, even being inconvenient for me, because I agree in the value of it, and I have no real desire to work sheep.

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I think first of all, most non working people that want a border collie need to get over the "must have puppy" syndrome.

Yes puppies are cute and snuggly and all that good stuff, but there is also housebreaking, teething, room redecorating, and all that not so good stuff.

As most all of us probably agree, any puppy is a crap shoot in most every way.

I would personally get a 1.5 - 2 year old well socialized, housebroken, basic trained border collie from good working breeding lines that doesn't make the herding cut than an 8-10 week puppy anytime. In fact after Baby died almost 3 years ago, I contacted about 6-8 open level trialers looking for a washout but then fate brought me Nisa. (but I digress)

 

If more people would get over "must have puppy" syndrome, we would have far less border collies in shelters as it would be far easier to match dog and owner. Since a dog / owner pairing should be a match for life IMO, the more known about the dog, the better the chances.

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In a general review of the history, many great dogs have come from litters that had many members never accounted for beyond their initial (prior to weaning) existence.

 

Who here has seen any littermates to Wiston Cap in a pedigree? how about Mcknight's Gael? Wisp? Dryden Joe? Henderson's Sweep?

 

Some intense pedigree followers may have, but I daresay many a good producer of working collies would have to go look and search a bit to find out. They simply wouldn't have caught these dogs on their radar because *they based their breeding on the dogs that were proven* instead of missing and unproven littermates or siblings. Oh yes, there are a few non-proven breeders in there - but they were not the norm.

 

And that is the way it has always been. Breed the best to the best, keep what you like and train it, and if you like it, rinse and repeat.

 

Full knowledge of a litter's abilities is nice, but it doesn't mean the one you keep is going to breed any better, or any healthier, than the one off the farm with not a littermate to be found. At least not in the areas that count.....

 

I don't have a problem seeing well bred pups in well selected pet homes, provided that what is bred on are those that are working proven.

 

The argument against the idea reminds me of the truth that great handlers and trainers often picked their stars by keeping the puppy that was left after the others were picked. And oddly, that pup...always seems to be the nicest once when comparisons are made.

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When you say you support breeding for livestock work you must accept the entire package which may include being turned down for a pup by a working breeder. Don't take this as pet/sport homes are not good enough or an elitism of working owner vs. pet/sport owners; it's more likely the working owner wants to see how good their breeding program is.

I don't think as many people would have a problem with this as you think. A lot of rescues put out to potential adopters that the matching and approval of the dog is done by the rescue and foster home. The dog's needs come first and if the rescue doesn't think you will meet the dogs needs, too bad. The ability to tell someone no means that you really care about the dogs. A good portion of people understand, and accept that graciously. Do some people get pissed off? Of course, but nothing can make everyone happy.

 

I am also someone who would happily take a dog back as often as possible for training, but DH and I hope to one day have a ranch/farm of our own... so we may be out of the norm.

 

As to the access of working home dogs to the every day folk (sports etc...), I think this can be helped through exposure. I would love to see working dogs recognized on a television show. I believe Mr. McCaig was working on that. Good breeders could get their name and exposure to everyday folk through rescues. Rescues know a ton of people who are very into their border collies and can really send information out there. Our rescue is a community, we share trainers and tips, and things we learn. Being involved with rescue is a good way to "network" with the general border collie public.

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As a pet owner, would you be willing to drive your pup to a farm 5 days a week for 5-15 min of work on stock for 6-12 months starting at 8-10 months of age?

 

I absolutely would agree to take my dog to lessons a couple times a week (5 days is unnecessary IMHO) and personally I know that Mick can last longer on sheep than that. Beyond about 8-9 months or so, Mick could handle a full hour lesson with just a water break. I just can't afford lessons. If I knew of a place where I could work him on sheep that I could afford, I would be there in a heart beat.

 

My cousin has given me repeated offers to bring him down and try him on her cattle, but she's about three hours away, so while I'm sure she could do a decent job with him, it's just a far drive, for something that if I'm going to start, I'd like to be able to finish it properly.

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