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"Herd Mentality"

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In case you missed it (and you probably did), the ACK Border Collie Specialty is happening in Scio, Oregon. There was a write-up in the local paper.

 

HERE it is. I'll paste the text here in case the link breaks.

 

Herd Mentality

Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 2:23 am

 

SCIO - Keys, a four-year-old border collie from Seattle, has a face that belongs on TV. Tuesday afternoon at the Border Collie National Specialty held at the Wolston Farm east of Scio, Keys proved he's as smart as he is good looking - which was owner Sandy Birdsall's main goal.

 

After Keys had an excellent showing herding ducks under the command of trainer Melinda Gault of Seattle, he earned a big hug and praise from Birdsall.

 

"The first time he saw ducks, he was afraid of them," Birdsall said. "He did great today. I'm so proud of him."

 

The 14th annual national specialty is being held for the first time west of the Mississippi and has attracted more than 120 owners and handlers from across the country. The event is sponsored by the Border Collie Society of America and is being held on 55 acres owned by Raven O'Keefe and her husband, Ian Caldicott.

 

"Once you fall in love with a border collie, you'll never want anything else," said Birdsall, who has owned border collies for more than 20 years. "They are the smartest dogs around."

 

Border collies are medium-sized dogs that for centuries have been bred in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to herd sheep.

 

"But not all border collies have the herding instinct," said O'Keefe, who not only raises collies, but also paints portraits of them. "My husband does instinct testing. A dog either has it or it doesn't."

 

O'Keefe said her family has "worked hard all summer getting the farm ready for this event. We have fixed fences, gates, added panels and gates, and built a duck arena."

 

O'Keefe called hosting the national event "exciting."

 

"The dogs certainly love it, but I'm not so sure about the sheep," she said.

 

Only a few visitors are camping at the farm; most are staying in motels in Albany. The show will shift from field trials and herding to the Linn County Fair & Expo Center on Thursday. Events there will include agility, conformation and obedience. The event runs through Sunday.

 

Committee co-chair Emily Fish of Camas, Wash., said it took extensive lobbying by northwest border collie owners to move the national event from St. Louis to Oregon.

 

Fish said there were 130 dogs entered in herding trials, six in tracking, 140 in agility, 100 in confirmation and 40 in obedience.

 

Fish owns or co-owns 20 dogs, including Sparky, a 4-year-old red merle border collie that was born in Hungary.

 

"I bought him when he was 10 weeks old," Fish said. "I wanted that color specifically. He earned his intermediate A course sheep title today."

 

Carol Delsman of Baker City is representing the American Kennel Club at the event.

 

"It's awesome to bring this to the northwest," Delsman said. "We have the best of the best going against each other."

 

Admission is free at both the farm, 39562 Highway 226, and the Expo Center.

 

 

Read more: http://democratherald.com/news/local/article_c8c53fe0-deb3-11e0-817a-001cc4c002e0.html#ixzz1Xy6RYC1x

 

 

I love the irony of it all. If "the best of the best" is in Oregon ............... what's in Colorado????????????

 

LMAO!!!

 

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From the article:

"But not all border collies have the herding instinct," said O'Keefe, who not only raises collies, but also paints portraits of them. "My husband does instinct testing. A dog either has it or it doesn't."

 

Am I right in thinking that this is where the AKC set has the wrong end of the stick about stock work? It seems to me that there is a range of ability, even in Border Collies that are bred specifically to do stock work. Some are natural workers that only need a little guidance to perform well, some are disinterested and hopeless form birth and the rest fall some way in between.

 

Seems like that by the other way of thinking, anyone who can swim should go to the summer Olympics, and the rest of the population would drown in kiddie pools.

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Put it this way .... On the first day of this event, not one dog qualified on AKC Intermediate "B" course. This is their approximation of a Border Collie course.

 

(AKC "B" Course description can be found here: http://www.stockdog.com/courses/akccrsb.htm You can also read their rule book on pg 49 here: http://www.akc.org/pdfs/rulebooks/RG9001.pdf )

 

Now, I don't know if they had three dogs entered in that class or thirty, but the entry on the Facebook page for the event, that day, simply stated "No qualifiers in Int B-course." (They didn't mention results for an Advanced B course that same day.) On day 2, they named 3 qualifiers/placings in Advanced B and one - 1 - in Intermediate.

 

Again, I've no idea how many dogs were actually entered, and maybe their entries for "B" course were very small. Still, I found it sad. A pity we can't send that reporter to Colorado.

 

~ Gloria

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A pity we can't send that reporter to Colorado.

 

~ Gloria

 

Hmmm -- maybe send the reporter a link to the sheepdog finals website?? so they are more informed about the border collie.

 

Jovi

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Hmmm -- maybe send the reporter a link to the sheepdog finals website?? so they are more informed about the border collie.

 

Jovi

Now that sounds like a great idea - it might certainly make an impression on the reporter if he/she followed through on it.

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I love the irony of it all. If "the best of the best" is in Oregon ............... what's in Colorado????????????

 

:( So sad really....

 

I think sending the link to the national finals is an excellent idea.

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The latest post was: "Herding Instinct is now finished. Out of 21 entries, we had 12 pass! Congrats all!!"

 

For those of you who have never seen a "herding instinct test" ... this is all that is required.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiTSLG9VmAU

 

So only half of them had this much interest? Sad, sad, sad. But they know how to build the better dog, right?

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The latest post was: "Herding Instinct is now finished. Out of 21 entries, we had 12 pass! Congrats all!!"

 

So only half of them had this much interest? Sad, sad, sad. But they know how to build the better dog, right?

 

 

Yup. They are their own best illustration of why AKC is bad for the working border collie.

 

~ Gloria

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Oh wow. I have never seen an instinct test before. Even I, who have only watched SDTs, am sad. This video wasn't from the BC specialty?? It looked like an Aussie to me. I couldn't see a tail.

 

Jovi

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So you're telling me my middle-aged terrier has more "herding instinct" than half of the border collies at this event? :huh:

 

What did the other dogs do that they failed the test?

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The video is off YouTube where I searched for an AKC instinct test. I was just showing how little is needed for a dog to pass one, and to illustrate the point of how few Border Collies at the Specialty pass the test. (Even the BCSA's herding guru did a writeup last year about it.) Now remember ... Carol Delsman -- the AKC representative for the area -- was quoted as saying these are the "best of the best."

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So, a couple of questions from someone who ought to know better... what would be the opposite or correct of this? How is this different from a young (working) dog just going on stock for the first time, other than the tail being up over the ears? Maybe a working bred dog that hasn't been on stock before finally figuring out what sheep are would look like this at first as well... What should this look like? Or is the concept of 'instinct test' laughable in the first place?

 

Do you have any videos of what would be 'correct'?

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The video is off YouTube where I searched for an AKC instinct test. I was just showing how little is needed for a dog to pass one, and to illustrate the point of how few Border Collies at the Specialty pass the test. (Even the BCSA's herding guru did a writeup last year about it.) Now remember ... Carol Delsman -- the AKC representative for the area -- was quoted as saying these are the "best of the best."

 

I'm not going to go all anti-AKC, but nothing illustrates better the ever widening gap between dogs being bred to work and dogs being bred for other reasons (conformation, sports, pets, etc). If so little is required to pass, and half didn't even have that much interest? Sad.

 

I became interested in working my dog after going to a herding "fun day". It was instinct testing, but not for any certificate or anything. My BC mix did better, showed more instinct than every purebred BC there, except for one. He also did better than all the Malinois and Aussies, but that's another story.

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Or is the concept of 'instinct test' laughable in the first place?

 

 

Yes. Do they have Obedience tested certificates where a dog can earn a piece of paper sitting on command? Or demonstrates sustained focus at the handler (after all that is prt of OB basics)

 

Do they have Agility tested where the dog gets a certificate for jumping up on a table?

 

How about field tested where the dog demonstrates the ability to retrieve a ball or bumper?

 

No they don't. And I have an idea that those would be a bit laughable.

 

People are so far removed from the basics of stock work, that any sort of prey drive will get the dog a title and prove to people that the dog "has what it takes" when in fact all it really proves is that the dog will chase moving objects.

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Rachel, on October 1st we will be conducting demonstations at the Circle C Rodeo grounds over by Alden, at that time we will be placing some 10 week old Tory x Ricky pups on lambs, Tory is by Tom Forrester's Pete and out of McCall's Jessie, she is the red dog that Bob Johnson ran at National Cattledog Finals. We will also have a 5 month old and 7 month old that are showing alot of style and ability. You should come over, bring friends, there is going to be a swap meet going on also

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It shows alot, especially from a teaching standpoint so that the public understands how important the breeding is and that the ability to control, engage and read livestock is not taught.

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So, a couple of questions from someone who ought to know better... what would be the opposite or correct of this? How is this different from a young (working) dog just going on stock for the first time, other than the tail being up over the ears? Maybe a working bred dog that hasn't been on stock before finally figuring out what sheep are would look like this at first as well... What should this look like? Or is the concept of 'instinct test' laughable in the first place?

 

Do you have any videos of what would be 'correct'?

 

I'm sure many will disagee with me, but I don't think either dog in the last two videos was that bad for their first time. Plenty of working bred dogs don't turn on the first time. So, assuming this instinct test was really the first time they'd been on stock, I thought they did ok.

 

But, since we know that first exposures really mean nada, then yes, the whole instinct test can be thought of as laughable, I guess. To use my dog as an example, even though he did way better than the rest at his "instinct test", he really doesn't have enough to make him a good worker. We dabble, but he's missing too many of the pieces, and of course nobody can see that in any dog, on the first try.

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^^What she said. As anyone who has trained a dog (or three) to work stock will tell you, you can't tell much from just one exposure where the dog shows "sustained interest" or whatever the wording is. For me the issue is the whole Herding Instict certificate, which many owners will use as justification for breeding dogs or for claiming that the working ability is still there, when neither is actually proved by the awarding of an HIC.

 

J.

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Watching the two videos the first dog just wanted to chase, the dog could be distracted by the onlookers and showed not desire to control. Wouldn't call anything that dog did as instinct, just reacting to the livestock and the handlers.

 

I kinda liked what the dog did in the second video, the dog needed more space and it would have been interesting to see if the dog would stay hooked under a lower pressure situation. IMO, the diving in was due to pressure build up, when the dog was out in the right place to keep things under control he looked good, when he/she was allowed or encourged to get in to close he/she exploded. Pretty common response to pressure and tight work. The second dog showed some desire to control.

 

IMO, dogs will get excited and look like they have more drive in small pens, I want to see the drive intensity stay with them out in the open. Go to the small pen to help give you the advantage when training not to help the dog show drive, the drive can be artificial, basically reactive/reacting to all the stimulation.

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I, too, didn't think the second dog was too bad. I kinda wish the handler had called off her dog once the tester dog showed interest, but that's just 'cause I kinda felt bad for the sheep. He looked pretty much like most collies that I've seen on their first couple of tries. Like Debbie, I wonder what this dog would look like in a slightly larger paddock.

 

Here's a video of a nicely-bred pup that I saw in Wales. He's almost 5 months old, and he's been on sheep a few times when he snuck under the fence. smile.gif This isn't an instinct test, it's just taking a pup into a paddock to see how he goes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt9gwNCZjO4

 

Like Julie, my problem with the instinct test is when it's used to justify "you can do it all" breeding programs. I don't have a problem with an owner wanting to see if their dog is interested in working (because it is pretty cool to see your dog turn on), but I don't understand why you get a title for showing a bit of interest. I know some people here who will "instinct test" your dog but there's no certificate, just an assessment as to whether the dog shows potential for stockdog training. I have no problem with that.

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