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Herding references


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Hopefully this thread is placed in the correct forum, it seems so to me.


It will be several years in the future until I have the means or the dog to begin pursuing my herding interests. With getting my first border collie (rescue) eight months ago, I am only beginning to immerse myself in the breed and its culture. I'd like to get a few books though that would generally enlighten a beginner with respect to herding. Not so much "this is how you train a herding dog" manual but something that would give me a general overview of the different aspects. Have any good recommendations? Of course, in addition to reading the wealth of knowledge here which I am wading through in my spare time. Thanks!

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I like Barbara Sykes "Understanding Border Collies" for a book that covers *living* with Border Collies from the point of view of a woman who also does stock work with her dogs. It covers puppyhood through old age, and I think it is a great reference. I may not always agree with her, but I think she seems very knowledgeable.


Derek Scrimgeour's "Talking Sheepdogs" is a great book to give a rather easily understood overview of working stock with a Border Collie. Although it is a training book, it has a nice section on his background with stockdogs, and has really concise and clear text and drawings to show the basics of working your dog on stock.


I am sure others on the boards who have more experience can give better recommendations, but these are two of my favorites.

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sue!!! can you please have a look in the front of your barbara sykes book (if you still have it) and see if it has a lovely long poem about the bc? it might actually be in the back......

i love the poem but cant find it, i'm sure it was in that book but i lent it to someone and never got it back.

i wont ask you to type the thing but if it is indeed the right book i will find another copy!!

many thanks, sorry to hijack the thread!



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Donna, here you go!


The Voices in Blood


He's only your pet collie, romping on a sunlit lawn,

Or sleeping on a run before the fire.

Though his role in life is just to be a friend beyond compare,

He's a servant more than worthy of his hire.

For if his fate should call him to a dozen different tasks,

He could do each one incomparably well;

Adapting to each changed demand, intelligent and keen,

In all things he is destined to excel.


You might see him in Obedience and watch him winning Crufts,

Or in the Working Trails, achieving T.D.ex,

Or racing through Agility, (and he could be a bitch,

For competence does not depend on sex!)

You could mark his patient searching in a devastated town,

Through the ruins that an earthquake leaves behind.

Or proud in his white harness, see him walk the streets,

A rare, but special Guide Dog for the Blind.


He may never even glimpse the sheep that he was bred to herd,

(As Mountain Rescue Dog he would ignore them!)

But all true collies listen to the voices in their blood

Of ancestors who proudly went before them.

He is able to diversify because of what he is,

From his long history derives his worth.

Guide, search, champion, yes! But first of all

The best and wisest herding dog on earth.


So understand him if one day an ancient memory stirs,

And he casts out round a most indignant cat!

And does his level best to bring her in to you, because

His long dead forebears told him to do that.

There are those who would attempt to breed his herding instinct out,

Dismissing it as something they don't need.

If they don't want the working genes that make him what he is

They'd do well to find themselves another breed.


Through he's only your pet collie, fast asleep before the fire,

Or playing with the children on the lawn;

Still Man has no right to silence those voices in his blood,

That remind him of the reason he was born.


by Pat Brown

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Eileen - I made a trip back down to the car just to get my camera, so I could take a couple of pictures. What a field and what a magnificent view!


You should be very happy with your run. Many fine teams did not have the success you did on Saturday.

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