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Hey im 18 years old live on a small family farm in central north carolina i recently bought 2 border collies 1 male and 1 female i have almost given up on my male he has no intrest in stock what so ever. however my female is very intrested and is very quil to learn however it seems that she gets caught up in a transe and completely tunes me out. she is not working sheep she is on cows and some goats. she dosnt listen to me very well. however she does so good naturally shes very smooth workin and is always one step ahead of the stock. but what can i do to get her to mind me and not tune me out. thanks

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The first thing I would suggest is that you find a competent trainer to help you with your dogs. This board has several actively posting members located in the triangle area and other locations of NC and I hope one or more of them might advise you on this. There is a trainer that a number of them use (Jason is his first name and I can't remember his last, but someone will provide contact information, I'm sure).


Rebecca, Irena Farm (her posting name) also hosts a yearly Jack Knox clinic at her farm in north-central NC (in mid-January). That would provide an excellent start for you and your dogs.


Second is that no matter how well bred Border Collies may be (working-bred, not show-bred or performance-bred or pet-bred - and you can read the sticky at the top of the General section to understand the philosophy of this board with regards to breeding of Border Collies for stockwork only, not for these other immaterial and harmful-to-the-breed purposes), some will never be interested in stock, others will be moderately interested and/or talented, and some will be excellent stockdog prospects.


That said, how old are your dogs and are they bred from good working stockdog parents/lines? Sometimes pups/young dogs can take up to several years to "turn on" to stock, and then may become excellent workers. The Border Collie is a slow-maturing breed and while some pups demonstrate interest and talent with stock at a very tender age, others may take several years to "bloom".


How well and how do their parents work stock (and what kind of stock do they work)? Do the pups seem to demonstrate characteristics similar to their parents?


It sounds like your bitch has a lot of "eye" and a dog like that can have so much focus on her stock that she does not seem to hear you (and sometimes I wonder if the dog actually is aware of your commands and presence in such a situation).


I am only a novice but I would suggest that if your spoken direction doesn't result in a response, you need to be working closer to your dog so that you can move yourself and "be noticed" by her (some dogs with a lot of eye do seem like they are "in a trance" as you say). Derek Scrimgeour advocates a "step-like" system of tone in his commands - first quiet and gentle, then more insistent, then very assertive.


Don't repeat your command over and over if it's resulting in no response as you will just teach her to ignore you. You will need to respond yourself if she is not - in other words, you may need to move towards her to help get her moving.


Sometimes a change of stock will help a dog with a lot of eye, particularly to animals that move more readily. There are training methods to deal with this and that's one reason I would recommend finding a good trainer to evaluate your dogs and help you develop their potential, as well as teaching you how to handle them properly.


I have cattle as well and find they are generally heavier to move than many breeds of sheep, and adult goats are sometimes also harder to move. That can be making your bitch's problem more obvious as lighter stock will move more easily in response to her eye and therefore she won't get trapped in a "staring game" with her stock. Cattle and adult goats also don't tend to flock quite as readily as many sheep breeds and so (I believe) can be a bit more "confusing" to a young or inexperienced dog as they don't always respond to the dog like sheep often do. Perhaps training on sheep might help your beginning dogs to develop confidence and skills that will then help them on your cattle and goats.


The longer you allow a "bad habit" to continue, the harder it is to overcome and a dog will often revert to it when the pressure is on. This is surely a problem I have had myself with my dog as I have been learning along with him, and not foreseeing problems and dealing with them in a timely manner, and then they become bad habits that are hard to correct.


Best wishes!

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Jason Hunt is in Salisbury - depending on where you are in Davidson county, that might be pretty close. Contact me privately and we can figure out what all your options might be, depending on your exact location.

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how old are your dogs and are they bred from good working stockdog parents/lines?
the dogs are young still they are a little over a year. the female dosent have very good lines shes average. however my male has exlent pedigree. he has 3 G.B. international campions, 1 G.B. national champion , And one USBCHA Finals champion, i have heard his Grand Dam is very well known dog Imp. Nan ABC 77943 owned by A.S. Macrae but he really has no intrest in working stock.
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Some dogs take a litte longer to turn on to livestock then other dogs but then again, some dogs, from good lines, will never work which is the number one reason to breed only for working ability.


Go with a trainer, it is the best way for both you and the dog to learn.


Your males Grand Dam is very well know too. Don't give up on him yet, maybe sheep are more his thing.



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