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Vacation from training


Maja
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Because of the heavy winter my young border collie has had very little stock work for the last month. The chores are usually done by her mother, and Bonnie's contact with sheep has been short and far between the whole December. However, when we do go to do something Bonnie seems to have a ton of push on the sheep. She is very excited but definitely in control, and she goes slow but the sheep behave like there was a dozen border collies hard on their heels (do sheep have heels?).

 

She is 14 months and a day today, and I was wondering if she has simply been maturing - that would mean that some of the power matures just like a puppy growing bigger - regardless of what is happening the puppy will grow bigger. Or is it that a lack of training causes her to be more intense with the sheep and thus have more push?

 

maja

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It could be a little of both. They definitely mature in attitude, I see it keenly in my Gael, who is now 17 months. She came back from a month lay-off over the holidays with more push and assertiveness, too.

 

I'm of the opinion that a lay-off can actually be good for a young dog. I hesitate to anthropomorphize, but it does seem they "think about it" or somehow process what they've learned, in their down-time. :)

 

Good for Bonnie!

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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It could be a little of both. They definitely mature in attitude, I see it keenly in my Gael, who is now 17 months. She came back from a month lay-off over the holidays with more push and assertiveness, too.

 

I'm of the opinion that a lay-off can actually be good for a young dog. I hesitate to anthropomorphize, but it does seem they "think about it" or somehow process what they've learned, in their down-time. :)

 

I read somewhere, I think it was Derek Scrimgeour, that dogs think things through after the training, and it does seem so to me sometimes, particularly when I seem to fail to accomplish something in one session and then she does it right the first time around in the very next session.

 

When it comes to maturing, it is fascinating for me, because it happens in the absence of the stimulus, and yet the original stimulus (exposure to sheep) had to happen, it seems. Some behavior develops without any stimulus occurring. E.g babies that can't hear will babble at the age of six months just like hearing babies, and dogs will start barking whether they hear any dog barking or not.

 

For a young stockdog it seems useful to experience varied situations in youth to develop the stock sense, but there are processes that take place in-between herding and they are a mystery. They seem very important too. As you wrote, sometimes a break is good. Of course a month without herding is way out of line, if you were to ask Bonnie's opinion on the topic :D .

 

Atta Gael!

 

Maja

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When I started my first dog I had to take some time off a few times when he was young. He came back better each time. It was like he had been thinking and when he got back on sheep he was utilizing the techniques he had been thinking about. Probably not at all what had happened, but it sure seemed like it.

My older female hadn't been worked in about 3 years and was never that good working with me so I rarely used her. We helped out in a sheepdog demo a few months ago and just to have more dogs I decided to use her. We really didn't get much if any practice time with her but she worked better than she ever had with me. She is now 9 years old.

Border Collies never forget anything.

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