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Trial Dog versus Working Ranch Dog


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I have been talking to several Ranchers the last few weeks, both of them in the market for a dog. One for a puppy, one for a trained or started dog.

Both of them stated that they will not in any way want a "Trial Dog". They need a "working Partner" on their ranches. One runs cattle, the other sheep.The one thing both mentioned was that Trial Dogs need to many commands and don't think for themselve.

I am trying to figure out what they are talking about, it just seems odd to me that 2 ranchers would make almost the same comments.

 

Oh, BTW they both have found dogs as far as I know :)

 

 

And please don't flame, I still have burnmarks from the last time I posted :huh:

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I have been talking to several Ranchers the last few weeks, both of them in the market for a dog. One for a puppy, one for a trained or started dog.

Both of them stated that they will not in any way want a "Trial Dog". They need a "working Partner" on their ranches. One runs cattle, the other sheep.The one thing both mentioned was that Trial Dogs need to many commands and don't think for themselve.

I am trying to figure out what they are talking about, it just seems odd to me that 2 ranchers would make almost the same comments.

 

Oh, BTW they both have found dogs as far as I know :)

 

 

And please don't flame, I still have burnmarks from the last time I posted :huh:

 

 

I would say both ranchers have the same misconception.

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You may want to ask them why they think trial dogs need too many commands. It could simply be they drew this conclusion from the tasks being performed by the trial dogs vs ranch dogs they had watched, i.e. move stock from point A to B along an imaginary straight line or simply move stock from point A to B.

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I don't think it's a complete misconception though. I have seen dogs who are great trial dogs who may not be the best for practical work on a ranch where the dog is expected to go do the job with little or no input from the handler. I have a youngster now that I think would be a good trial dog (you can put him anywhere and he'll do anything you ask) but isn't one I would choose to do the day-to-day chores on the farm, because he does need more direction than some of my other dogs.

 

The misconception part comes because many trial dogs are commanded a lot at trials, but don't *need* to be during regular work situations. That's the nature of trialing, where extreme precision is rewarded and so even the most natural working dogs are directed a lot.

 

But I also think there are lines/types of trial dogs who are less suited to regular ranch work where the human can't or won't be there to give a lot of direction. But those are not the majority of trial dogs, and I think any rancher could find a natural working dog that would meet their specific needs without having to worry about being required to provide a lot of input.

 

As far as misconceptions go, I think farmers/ranchers also should consider that biddability is a good trait. They may not realize it till they need it, but certainly it's a trait that is being maintained in trial dogs and may not be maintained in some types of "get 'em up" ranch dogs.

 

In other words, blanket generalizations are usually not very helpful for anyone.

 

J.

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I find since I haven't been trialing in a long time my dogs are not as tuned up as they would be if we were training more. But that's my deal cause I've gotten lazy. They do a great job at home but would probably be quite pushy with me and livestock if I took them out.

But stm that if they were tuned up they'd still have no problem working at home.

I think the misconception is thinking trial dogs aren't as strong as a good farm dog.

I know there are dogs out there trialing that couldn't handle the farm work but I don't think that's the norm. I think that's the misconception. Likewise there are great farm dogs that don't make good trial dogs but not for reasons that the farmers are thinking.

Just my 2 cents.

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I don't think it's a complete misconception though. I have seen dogs who are great trial dogs who may not be the best for practical work on a ranch where the dog is expected to go do the job with little or no input from the handler. I have a youngster now that I think would be a good trial dog (you can put him anywhere and he'll do anything you ask) but isn't one I would choose to do the day-to-day chores on the farm, because he does need more direction than some of my other dogs.

 

The misconception part comes because many trial dogs are commanded a lot at trials, but don't *need* to be during regular work situations. That's the nature of trialing, where extreme precision is rewarded and so even the most natural working dogs are directed a lot.

 

But I also think there are lines/types of trial dogs who are less suited to regular ranch work where the human can't or won't be there to give a lot of direction. But those are not the majority of trial dogs, and I think any rancher could find a natural working dog that would meet their specific needs without having to worry about being required to provide a lot of input.

 

As far as misconceptions go, I think farmers/ranchers also should consider that biddability is a good trait. They may not realize it till they need it, but certainly it's a trait that is being maintained in trial dogs and may not be maintained in some types of "get 'em up" ranch dogs.

 

In other words, blanket generalizations are usually not very helpful for anyone.

 

J.

 

 

Julie I see your point. I have limited experience trialing dogs having only trialed 3 so far.

Lucky enough to get to trial my trainer Suzy Applegate's Hap and Bet after their retirement from the Open with her, as well as trialing my own Lyn in P/N and this , my first year in Open. That said I do know that when Lyn was in training that I was told that she and Hap were two of her "go to" dogs for chores, which were considerable with her few hundred sheep/lambs. She commented that alot of her training was done doing these chores. I know that I use Lyn and Bet (less so with her age catching up a bit) for everday chores at home. I do not have one trial dog and another dog for chores. Therefore it's hard for me, with this limited experience to seperate the two types of work. I also know that all three dogs I trialed used their brains on overdrive to make up for my lack of timing and feel of the stock. If they waited for me to comand them we would in been in a stew often!

 

I am sure there are some dogs not suited to the pressure and exactness needed to trial. It's harder to picture a trial dog that can move range ewes regularly not being suited to ranch work.

 

I liken this dicussion to ranchers that think a trained reined cowhorse is "just a show horse" and can't do a days' honest work. That's a misconception with my horses and I bet other show cowhorses as well.

 

Interesting discussion .

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Carolyn,

I believe that most trial dogs ought to be able to do all the chores one needs doing around the farm and I expect that from my trial dogs (I don't want one dog for one task and another for a different task), but the reality is that some individuals are better at it than others. I have one succesful open trial dog that I pretty much never used for chores. She couldn't stand up to ewes with lambs, and yet she was successful on the trial field (although my suspicion in her case is that the training is what took it out of her).

 

When I do chores at home, I want to be able to send the dog to get the stock and then turn my back and do something else--like prepare what I need for whatever it is I'm going to do--while I wait for said dog and stock to arrive. There are plenty of trial dogs that could do that. But given the nature of trialing and the need for extreme precision, at least some trial dogs are mechanicalized. It's entirely possible that such dogs would revert to thinking dogs who could work on their own if they were used for chores on the ranch, but some of those dogs will not.

 

I've had sheep get out and I didn't know where they were. I want to be able to send my dog, know she'll find them and bring them all back, completely out of my sight. Some individual dogs are more suited to that than others.

 

I'm quite sure there are people who train dogs at least part of the time with practical work (and it doesn't really matter if that practical work involves range ewes, a farm flock, cattle, goats, whatever), but there are also dogs that are trained exclusively for trialing. <--This is especially the case as more people enter the sport of trialing without a livestock background and without stock of their own.

 

Note that I am not saying that all trial dogs are not suited for ranch work. I am simply pointing out *why* farmers and ranchers may have that impression and why, in fact, that impression may be true on occasion. It may not be true for YOUR dogs and it may not be true for most of MY dogs, but I have seen enough trial dogs that I wouldn't use for work on the farm to understand that the belief is based, at least in part, on reality. Personally, I think it's easier to do work at home with a fully trained dog because you then have a full complement of tools in your toolbox, but I also recognize that when the dog is bringing me the sheep or pushing them off somewhere, I don't need to command the dog to keep the sheep an an exact line with "millimeter tolerance"--they just need to make it through the open gate or stay on the trail in the woods or out of the tobacco field on the way to new pasture. Yes, I use practical work for training because I think doing so makes it easier to train a dog since the dog seems to get the point much more easily with practical work than with drilling, but there are also times when I need to get the job DONE, and I don't give a rat's ass if the dog brings the sheep on a perfect line (in reality it may not be possible to do so) or of the dog grips to move things along more quickly because I'm not watching what's going on--I'm doing something else (the other side of that coin is that you have to trust the dog to do the right thing when you're not looking). YMMV.

 

Pam,

I absolutely prefer a thinking dog, but a thinking dog who refuses input from the hanlder (i.e., biddability) is pretty useless. I want the dog to figure things out and do the right thing without input, but there are times when the human knows something the dog doesn't and at those times I want the dog, no matter how great a thinker, to yield to me. As Mark says, they are not mutually exclusive.

 

J.

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Just playing devil's advocate here :rolleyes: : I have heard on more than one occassion by more than one handler that you want to command your dog constantly so that it shows that your dog is biddable. This is why many farmers/ranchers do not want a "trial" dog. It gives the impression that the dogs 'require' all those commands.

 

Isn't the drive, cross drive, pen and shed showing the biddability/trainability of the dog? These things require a certain degree of biddability in order to train the dog to do them as the control for the pen and shed are necessary and the dog must listen in order to go where the handler decides on the drive: vs the fetch where the goal is the handler. Why would it be necessary to give constant commands if the dog has been taught a job?

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Pam, I have never heard the comment you have heard.

My preference for driving is to teach the dog to keep the line I set it on and also to take sheep to and through panels. I also prefer to have dogs to know that when standing at the pen the job is to put the sheep in the pen.

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Interesting conversation.

 

I've been curious lately about a stated preference for a "natural" dog since it suggests that there are multiple options out there, one of which is a natural dog. I suppose the other major option is a mechanical dog. Are there other types that constitute the set of possible options?

 

Most everyone I've talked to prefers a natural, thinking dog. Are there successful handlers out there who truly prefer a mechanical dog, seek out such dogs and select them over natural dogs?

 

Or is "natural" and "mechanical" more a kind of shorthand for training styles?

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Just playing devil's advocate here :rolleyes: : I have heard on more than one occassion by more than one handler that you want to command your dog constantly so that it shows that your dog is biddable. This is why many farmers/ranchers do not want a "trial" dog. It gives the impression that the dogs 'require' all those commands.

 

Isn't the drive, cross drive, pen and shed showing the biddability/trainability of the dog? These things require a certain degree of biddability in order to train the dog to do them as the control for the pen and shed are necessary and the dog must listen in order to go where the handler decides on the drive: vs the fetch where the goal is the handler. Why would it be necessary to give constant commands if the dog has been taught a job?

 

I think sometimes the commands are as much a way of staying in contact with the dog, encouraging the dog, letting the dog know how things are going, etc.. So, it seems to be more a form of general communication providing a range of information than just commands to do this or that. Maybe that happens more on the trial field because the overall pressures for precision and performance are so much greater.

 

I've never heard anyone say that giving lots of commands is specifically to demonstrate biddability--that's surprising to me.

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Pam, I have never heard the comment you have heard.

My preference for driving is to teach the dog to keep the line I set it on and also to take sheep to and through panels. I also prefer to have dogs to know that when standing at the pen the job is to put the sheep in the pen.

 

BINGO!!!

 

I hear this comment often and I agree in teaching the dog his job and if it were done more then perhaps farmers/ranchers would not think that trail dogs require so many commands!

 

THis discussion comes up at about evey trial or clinic I attend and I have heard the arguement that you 'need to see that the dog is biddable' as a defense for many commands. It is not unusual to hear a 'tweety bird' at any trial (there are even handlers I can tell are running from the parking area by the volume and number of their whistles).

 

If you have trained the dog to do his job driving or penning is he not biddable enough to learn this? I know when I send a dog to get stock most of the time I cannot see the dog and do not want to have to be giving it commands. Most of the time I am off doing other things like gathering eggs, filling water tanks etc.

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From watching quite a few local dogs and now having worked at training quite a few more of my own I've seen varying degrees of natural ability and biddability, my current dog is very natural (I've been told) but is also very biddable, problem is sometimes his drive to do what he thinks the task is along with the natural ability makes me have to command him alot making him appear difficult to handle, some may say I'm trying to make him mechanical others that he is showing a lack of biddable. As he and I get seasoned I beleive it will all balance out, I also want a dog to be able to hold lines and control livestock with a natural feel for the right place to be.

 

Something to consider, one dog is not the perfect dog for everyone, there are hands that would not be able to handle a strong driven, talented dog even if it was considered biddable.

 

I've had dogs that were very talented but refused to work with you and others that lacked talent but were very biddable, I could get more done reliably with the biddable one that lacked talent so long as they had enough drive to get them to a place where I could help them. I could also get something done with the talented dog that was lacking biddability, the tough ones were the ones that lack talent and not biddable, they still have drive and want but are aweful to work with IMO.

 

Most everyone I've talked to prefers a natural, thinking dog. Are there successful handlers out there who truly prefer a mechanical dog, seek out such dogs and select them over natural dogs?

 

I think it depends on what you consider success, but yes, I believe that there are and others have shared their concern as to how it is effecting the gene pool, but I don't know if the ones that are preferring a dog that has to be run more mechanically know that they are prefering it over the natural dog.

 

In the cases I can think of there is a trait or two that a natural talented dog may exhibit in early training that they find difficult to deal with so they try to stay away from dogs that exhibit those traits. In doing so the dogs seem to be less likely to be able to hold lines on their own, really take control of the stock and find the right places to flank. So the dog has to be commanded alot, not just left and right but also in and out.

 

So long as the dog is biddable and the stock is not too squirrely the handlers can get through via obedience and will actually run some awesome courses especially compared to a young talented dog that has a bit of their own idea of what should be done.

 

There are a few dogs that I've been watching over the last few years and I have had a couple that are related to one such dog, they seem to do well as Nursery dogs and hold their own into their 3 to 4 year old years, then they get overtaken by the talented dogs and seem to just stall out or fade away. Pretty soon they are replaced with a new young dog.

 

Some of these dogs may have been talented but they handler opted to trump the talent and replace it with commands and the dogs allowed it, so maybe a case of too much biddability.

 

Anyway, just sharing some of the observations I've made based on my expirences, may be way different then others.

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Wow, what good comments :D

 

In the little group I work dogs with always we discuss runs we have seen at trials or on y-tube, trying to understand and learn.

 

Sometimes it seems soooooo many commands are given that it looks like "Herding by Obedience" :lol::lol: (Thats what we call it).

 

How would you know when to command and when not to?

Also, are points deducted for overuse of commands?

I can not imagine a rancher on horseback out in the New Mexico wilderness giving his dog a whistle every few seconds.

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I have been talking to several Ranchers the last few weeks, both of them in the market for a dog. One for a puppy, one for a trained or started dog.

Both of them stated that they will not in any way want a "Trial Dog". They need a "working Partner" on their ranches. One runs cattle, the other sheep.The one thing both mentioned was that Trial Dogs need to many commands and don't think for themselve.

I am trying to figure out what they are talking about, it just seems odd to me that 2 ranchers would make almost the same comments.

 

To truely understand what they are saying I think you have to consider what their actual work is and the demands they will be placing on the dog and then also consider what they have seen as trial dogs.

 

If all they have seen is dogs that have been titled and run in small lot or on totally dogged livestock then I could see where they would want nothing to do with trial dogs or pups/started dogs from those trialers.

 

Wayne visited a old friend in Colorado a few weeks ago, he breeds ranch dogs and has little use for trialing or trial dogs. It's not that there are not good ones out there but the chances of him finding what he is looking for, a natural, strong, tough dog that is also for sale is pretty slim. Alot of what is getting sold as a started dog or being retired from trialling and is available is lacking somewhere and often times lacking in a big way from his perspective.

 

It also is sometimes difficult to see through the training when watching trial dogs at a trial, there are dogs that I've heard people rave about after a few trials, on dog broke stock or maybe lightly dogged that have been gone through to be sure they are even, in controlled environments where the dog understands what is expected they look pretty good. But, will they look so good on undogged stock or out in rough difficult terrain with no water available?

 

Anyway, yes there are quite a few trial dogs out there that could do the work, but are they for sale and readily available to the ranchers? Often times they need the best dogs that we see as trialing, how many trialers will sell their best dogs? Also, there are quite a few triallers getting along well with dogs that would have struggled in a ranch environment. After quite a bit of training and seasoning those same dogs would probably get along fine but would they have made it in the "baptized by fire" world?

 

When Wayne was out in Colorado he worked dogs, he flat out said that it was way harder work then either of our dogs have ever expirence at a trial, even cattledog finals. He knew it going out there, he used to use dogs out on cattle ranches, but he was able to confirm it with his own trial dogs.

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Sometimes it seems soooooo many commands are given that it looks like "Herding by Obedience" (Thats what we call it).

 

How would you know when to command and when not to?

Also, are points deducted for overuse of commands?

I can not imagine a rancher on horseback out in the New Mexico wilderness giving his dog a whistle every few seconds.

 

 

I'll give this a whirl, it is something that I hadn't realized until recently, depending on the handler all those extra whistles may not be commands but rather affirmation and a way to stay in communication with the dog.

 

As far as when you need to command the dog, I think the best way to explain that is that a command is needed when you need the dog to do something different then it is doing so that you can get the livestock to do something different then they are doing.

 

If you have a good idea of what the course is you will know in advance as to where the sheep should go and when, if the sheep need to make a turn to line up for the next panel and the dog is driving them on in a different direction and you hear a bunch of whistles it's probably because the dog is disobeying, this may also happen if the dog needs to flank to the right to make the proper turn and is instead refusing to flank or flanking the wrong.

 

If you notice that the dog keeps letting the stock go and the handler is constently whistiling telling the dog to get to a place so that the stock can no escape and your not seeing the dog initiate any inititive to control or create motion on their own I'd be thinking that the handler is over commanding, but that is just my own interpretation based on what I am looking for in a dog.

 

Most of this won't make sense if you are used to dogs that have been left to circle stock and get the stock through the course with no regard to how long it takes or where the dog ends up going on the field, it will make sense when you realize that there is a most efficient path both for the sheep and the dog, if the dog is in total control of the sheep there should never be a time where the dog makes a complete circle around the sheep. It's all partial circles and lines.

 

In a perfect world the handler should not have to flank the dog or stop the dog in an effort to keep the stock undercontrol or in motion, the flank command should only be needed to change the dogs position so that the stock will move off into a new direction and I'm not certain if the perfect run would even ever need a stop whistle, have to think about that considering that a great dog would have a natural feel for when they needed to stop based on the task.... I doubt that you will ever see that level of perfection, but in my mind it is the ideal.

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Thanks Debbie

 

You hit the nail on the head. Down here in Mew Mexico we do not have manicured pastures, streams and little huts to get out of the heat, and speaking of the heat, it will get 110 to 120 during the summer and last Feb. it dropped to -30F down here. we also have Cactus, thorny shrub, goatheads and my all time fav: rattlesnakes!!!!!!!!

Usually Ranchers are out on horseback or ATV's for hours at a time with their dogs.

 

So I am beginning to see why ranchers are thinking twice about Trial Dogs

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When you consider that perfect workld scenario you can see where a rancher would not have to constently command the dog, the dog learns to drive the stock along and keep it together. The only commands needed would be if the dog makes a mistake and misses some, starts pushing them in the wrong direction or too hard (which actually would be corrections) or when the task is complete and it's time to do something different.

 

There are times at trials where I tried to help my dog too much specifically with cattle, sometimes the best thing to do is to be quiet and give the dog a chance to work so long as they are understanding what you want.

 

The other day at a trial I was trying to get the cattle to cross drive into a Z Chute down by the set out pens, Ricky wanted to bring the cows straight to me, he and I argued for awhile. To many of the spectators it looked like the cows were giving him a hard time, but in reality they were protesting being told to go left and then instead right, basically when I would get Ricky to the right place he was telling them to go right, but then he would say no, I want the cows by Deb and he would stop them and try to push them left. Annoying for both me and the cows. Once I got Ricky to give me the reins the cows marched right through the obstacle. Lots of commands and a bit of frustration for all parties. Luckily Ricky was strong enough to hold the cows together and not have them blow through him, there were other dogs/hands that had the same arguement and the cows ended up blowing up leaving Dodge.

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How would you know when to command and when not to?

Also, are points deducted for overuse of commands?

I can not imagine a rancher on horseback out in the New Mexico wilderness giving his dog a whistle every few seconds.

Okay, here's my take on things. This is just my personal opinion, born out of how I prefer to handle a dog and by no means the way the rest of the sheepdog world might do things. First, when I speak of a natural dog, I mean one that has a natural gather and that reads stock and responds appropriately without being told. One example of that would be the dog who is holding the sheep in a corner while I trim feet on one animal. I'm busy doing what I'm doing, and the dog needs to not put pressure on the sheep so that they're crowding on top of me, but also needs to pay attention so that if a sheep or two decide to make a break for it, the dog covers, brings them back, but doesn't run the rest of the flock over me in the process. The dog needs to not let the flock drift away because then the individual I am working on will start to panic and fight me. I'm not watching the flock--I'm watching the sheep I'm working on. The dog is watching the flock, understands its job, and reads and reacts as needed.

 

How does that translate on a trial field? Mostly at the pen and shed, where I can count on my dog to work its side of either task without a gazillion commands from me. That's one reason I like dogs with a little eye, because I think it gives them that "edge" at the shed and pen because their eye makes them more inclined to control breaking sheep (especially important at the pen). Where the biddability comes in is that while eye will cause the dog to want to hold sheep together, when I want them taken apart the dog needs to listen and do that task. But I like to be able to work a shed or pen and concentrate on covering my side knowing that the dog is doing its part on its side without me having to tell it what to do. Of course the dog has learned that there's a task to be done (shed or pen) and has done either one enough to know its own part in the task at hand. So while I'm reading the stock, the dog is too, and at times the dog needs to take my direction and at times I trust the dog to make a correct decision (i.e., catch the sheep that wants to bolt around the side of the pen) to help me complete the task at hand. I was raised around stock and am pretty good at reading them, but I also know that my dog can read and react much faster than I can, and I count on that ability for certain tasks where my concentration/attention may be elsewhere.

 

But I also tend to not command as much on the fetch, probably because the first dog I trained from novice to open doesn't really like being commanded a lot. My feeling is that I have a 21-foot lane and as long as my dog is bringing the sheep on a straight line within that lane, I'm happy. This means I'm probably having points deducted for not being dead center, but that's an artifact of trialing and not of work, if that makes sense. (As an aside, I think it's a shame that we don't see more silent gathers used to break ties at open trials.)

 

But as for the rancher needing to whistle at his dog every few seconds, he shouldn't have to. If the dog is well bred and has decent training on it, it should be able to gather stock and bring them to the handler in a relatively straight line. If the dog has been trained on the drive to keep a line until told otherwise, then there's no need for a lot of commands on a drive either--unless you are trying to keep stock *exactly* on that imaginary line that runs from the center of one set of panels to the center of another. Otherwise, if the rancher is aiming for a gate or a ford over a creek or whatever, putting the dog on a line making adjustments only if they're needed (to counteract a draw, say, to a planted field you don't want the stock straying in, or similar) should be sufficient.

 

As for points being deducted for overuse of commands, I believe there's a provision in the judging guidelines for such a thing, but in practice I don't think judges use it.

 

And as others have said, some of what you hear as commands may simply be the handler keeping contact with the dog, especially if the dog is in terrain where it and the livestock go out of sight of the handler. But honestly, I think much of the commanding you hear at trials is because the handler is trying to keep the sheep on a very precise and consistent line, which isn't something you'd have to be as concerned about in day-to-day ranch work. So if a dog hasn't been completely mechanicalized, but has indeed been allowed to work according to its natural instincts outside of trialing, then that same dog ought to be able to go out to any farm or ranch and do a decent job without a lot of commanding.

 

As for knowing when to command and when not to, I think at home, that's personal preference--for me if the dog is doing a satisfactory job I'll leave it alone. At a trial it's somewhat personal preference (I stay pretty silent on a gather unless there's such a draw that I feel I need to help the dog keep the stock on a straigher line (vs. a banana), but clearly if you want to be competitive at the highest levels, then the stock need to stay on the straight imaginary line between two obstacles, and you need as many commands as are necessary to accomplish that task without causing the stock to do a lot of zig zagging in the process. Much will depend on how the stock are behaving, the terrain the stock are crossing (as they have there preferences about where to travel on different types of terrain--up- or downhill, where paths already exists, avoiding shadowed edges, etc.). And of course a lot will also depend on your working relationship with your dog. Some dogs are happy to take a gazillion commands, some are not, so you'd have to adjust the amount of commanding to the individual dog as well.

 

JMO.

 

J.

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Thanks Debbie

 

You hit the nail on the head. Down here in Mew Mexico we do not have manicured pastures, streams and little huts to get out of the heat, and speaking of the heat, it will get 110 to 120 during the summer and last Feb. it dropped to -30F down here. we also have Cactus, thorny shrub, goatheads and my all time fav: rattlesnakes!!!!!!!!

Usually Ranchers are out on horseback or ATV's for hours at a time with their dogs.

 

So I am beginning to see why ranchers are thinking twice about Trial Dogs

Huh?

 

J.

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Julie, I think Claudia meant that she is beginning to understand why they may think twice about trial dogs.

 

 

We hear the, "I don't want a trial dog" on a regular bases, it's a great opportunity to discuss what it is that they think a trial dog is vs. a ranch dog. Some think it is the difference between bench and field, thinking that the trial dog is a show dog, others have had the expirence of purchasing a trial dog that ended up being a weak wash out or the person selling the dog didn't understand how tough the work can be and honestly thought the dog they were selling could do it.

 

I have dealt with a commercial sheep producer that will not purchase a "sheep dog", it has to be able to work cattle. Why does he have that opinion? I asked and he told me, the young dog he purchased from Pete Carmichael who sells alot of cattle dogs was successful, when he bought a dog from someone that only trains and trials on sheep the dog was run out of the pen by his sheep and is useless to him (his words).

 

This same producer tells anyone that he knows that wants to start using border collies to stay away from sheep dogs, and the beat goes on. Now if someone that purchases a dog from cattle bred lines has a bad expirence with biting and chasing he will tell his buddy's to stay away from cattle bred dogs.

 

Anyway, great post above Julie. Gotta run, getting ready to load sheep for three days of demos at a farm show, I'm sure this same discussion will be rehashed many many times this weekend at the show.

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