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"Herd Mentality"

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Likewise, while everyone is getting down on a young dog who ate sheep poo and had a flag for a tail, couldn't that dog very well turn it on the next time, or the time after? Isn't that the whole point? (I'm kind of asking that in regards to someone calling one of the dogs hopeless).

 

Doubtful, not unless some one got really tough on it for being out of control from a self control standpoint. But, based on the fact that it would take moment breaks from crazyness to visit a spectator vs. try to hook up on the sheep I would guess the dog would show no interest at all. Over time a dedicated owner may be able to lure the dog back, teach it to follow very dogged sheep and make the dog look like it was herding. After years and years of the handler pattern training the dog, they would then try their hand on a course that requires a drive, the sheep go to bolt and suddenly there it that out of control crazy dog that had no desire to control.

 

I have the above opinion based on spending a few years on a few dogs, Lilly, Tank, Sheila (all heelers) then Cash, Paul, Bea & Toby all Border Collies, and I am sure I am missing many. All dogs would have actually passed their instinct tests, all but Toby were trialed novice both on sheep and on cattle, granted in an arena. When it came to driving, controlling themselves at distance and trusting that they would take measure to control the sheep if all else fails, forget it. Instead things would devolve into chase, trap, blow them up and chase again.

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My old dog Cap is upright and loose eyed.

 

 

 

I guess I don't mind that in work as long as they can get the job done and are brave.

 

 

 

But it seems you gotta help them get in the right spot more.

 

 

 

My Nellie, who I trialed primarily in cattle dog trials but who didn't embarass me at the few sheepdog trials I took her to, is very upright and although her eye came out more with age, she tends to work on her feet and with only a slight crouch. Exactly what Tea said - gets the job done, stellar worker but needs a bit more "handle" then a dog with more eye because for her it's all about the moving and very little about the line. Her sire was a very strong cow dog, great on dozens of cows but a bit of a disaster on trial 3-5 numbers of cows.

 

I'd like to add to the "perfect" instinct test that I prefer to see a youngster with a bit of fire in their belly to move sheep. I'd rather see that than a perfect flank or pace - those are nice to see too but I've had a dog that started "perfectly" and there wasn't as much dog as I'd like to have in the end result (not that I didn't have some responsibility in that). Nellie, the upright dog, started out straight through sheep but as an 11 year old, I can still take her and get a hard job done with her as opposed to my "perfect" dog that wasn't able to handle a reasonable amount of pressure by the time she should have been in her prime.

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Likewise, while everyone is getting down on a young dog who ate sheep poo and had a flag for a tail, couldn't that dog very well turn it on the next time, or the time after? Isn't that the whole point? (I'm kind of asking that in regards to someone calling one of the dogs hopeless).

 

My Dew took a long time to get her head in the game. I was tempted to give up on her many times, but today she is my go to dog. Not afraid of anything, willing to try whatever I ask. She doesn't have near the eye her brother has. And occasionally she will still stick her tail up but only when she's feeling pressure she's not sure about. Doesn't stop her from doing some amazing stuff.

 

Mick used to be my go to dog, his first few times out on sheep were scary. He was all about eating sheep. He is quite stylish now, slow and methodical with lots of eye.

But...as I age with the dogs what has become most evident is the dogs learn as we teach. Mick was taught with the tension of a green handler, it shows even now with the tension he holds in tight or challenging situations.

By the time Dew came along I didn't have all that tension, she works with hardly any tension at all, not due to eye or lack there of but to how she was trained.

 

When I turn a young pup out on to sheep it's really out of curiosity to see what the dog is showing, but I sure don't put much thought into what I see, not until the dog can show me they are able to take pressure from sheep or handler. That's not when a pup is extremely young or the first time or 2 on sheep.

JMHO

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I just wanted to note that I wasn't putting the videos up to criticize the dogs in them (not that anyone said I did). Those videos are not from this year's specialty even, and I was just putting them up to show how trivial an instinct test is. The point I was making is that only half of the dogs tested apparently had enough prey drive to pass ... because in order to pass, that's basically all that would be needed. I have a dog here that was a late maturer and I am just now starting to really train on her at 18 months old, but she would have easily passed an instinct test anywhere along the way. It doesn't take much. And it's sad that only 1/2 the dogs at the specialty could manage it, and the dogs at that specialty were ... as Ms. Delsman so intelligently quoted to the newspaper ... "the best of the best."

 

Instinct testing doesn't reveal much about a pup, if you ask me. They change so much through the first few exposures as they gain their confidence and figure it out. At the advice of several trainers whose hats are rather large, I usually wait until my pups are at least 8 or 9 months old before the first (deliberate) exposure, and at that, work slowly from there. It gives the pup the time to mature physically enough to get to head and not have it be an exercise in futility and create bad habits from the start, and it lets their minds mature enough to handle the unintentional pressure from the sheep, the fences, the handler, etc. I'm not in any hurry, as I have that dog's whole life ahead of me.

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Ok, it will never happen, but what if the AKC changed the rules so that in order to pass an instinct test the dog had to be tested 3 times, at least 3 months apart? After all, a dog has to gather its points at at least 3 shows to get that CH in front of its name. I've known a lot of AKC people that were really into "triple champions." That is, conformation, field-trial (or earth dog, etc.), and obedience.

 

I'm thinking that if those two videos were of dogs who had never seen sheep, that little could necessarily be expected of them. But if the dog improved with each leg of the test and say, was calm and looking to achieve balance by the third. Then it could get its pass. And it might actually mean something to have an "IT" after its name.

 

If such a 3-leg test was in place perhaps people with AKC dogs would actually go to a stock dog trainer between the tests, and (now I really reaching) take an interest in breeding to dogs with real ability. I mean, wouldn't it be better to have some percentage of AKC dogs with some real working potential than a whole group with none?

 

If I was a lurker here on the the Boards, and in the AKC with Border Collies, I might want to try to push this idea to my individual Breed clubs.

 

ETA.

I'm also thinking that if the instinct test was actually a challenge to pass, that all those purveyors of AKC, candy-colored, mass-produced so-called "working-bred" dogs would have a lot more trouble getting that I.T. (which means so little and impresses so many of the uninformed) stuck on their dogs' names.

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Geonni - Over in Great Britain, a dog could get some sort of special championship by being a show-ring champion and accomplishing a certain amount on the trial field. At the last time I checked this out, one dog had ever accomplished that. The KC had been working on watering-down the requirements so more dogs could gain this "prestigious" championship title. Right. If your dogs can't do the job, make the job easier.

 

BCSA (the AKC parent club for the Border Collie) has increased the number of "herding" awards a dog could get in recent years, to include "Stockdog of Distinction" and "Stockdog of Distinction Excellent". You can read all about it here. Essentially, the dogs that have accomplished this are ABCA/ISDS dogs that are dual-registered. The whole discussion on that page (below the listings of the recipients of these awards) is most interesting.

 

Do you really think that AKC wants to discourage beginners, non-stockworking people, and hobby folks from getting excited about yet another thing to do with their dogs (while paying a fee to AKC for the "title" and "certificate")? I think it's a matter of keeping the entry-level bar very, very low so that more and more people will pay the fees to play...

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Geonni - Over in Great Britain, a dog could get some sort of special championship by being a show-ring champion and accomplishing a certain amount on the trial field. At the last time I checked this out, one dog had ever accomplished that. The KC had been working on watering-down the requirements so more dogs could gain this "prestigious" championship title. Right. If your dogs can't do the job, make the job easier.

 

BCSA (the AKC parent club for the Border Collie) has increased the number of "herding" awards a dog could get in recent years, to include "Stockdog of Distinction" and "Stockdog of Distinction Excellent". You can read all about it here. Essentially, the dogs that have accomplished this are ABCA/ISDS dogs that are dual-registered. The whole discussion on that page (below the listings of the recipients of these awards) is most interesting.

 

Do you really think that AKC wants to discourage beginners, non-stockworking people, and hobby folks from getting excited about yet another thing to do with their dogs (while paying a fee to AKC for the "title" and "certificate")? I think it's a matter of keeping the entry-level bar very, very low so that more and more people will pay the fees to play...

Thanks for the link. Very interesting.

So much for dreams... <_<

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Here is the page that explains that to have a full championship, a Border Collie in the Kennel Club (UK), must also pass a "Herding Test".

 

Here is the page that details what that involves. Obviously, the people who wanted it watered down were successful. When I last checked, it was still required to pass an ISDS evaluation (equivalent of ROM, or trial at least somewhat successfully, the details escape me) which was pretty stiff - the kind of test that really meant a dog had what it took to be a stockdog.

 

As you can see on this page that a dog may prove itself in ISDS trials. You can see by the listing of dogs that have achieved full champion status, that there are nine now (between 2008 and 2010) - since the requirements were reduced significantly. Prior to that, there had only ever been one. And you can see that, of those nine, there are very few handlers/owners involved. Strikes me, as it did before the rule change, that being able to prove one's dog has working abilities is only of real interest to a very few people.

 

I read the arguments pertaining to changing these rules back when it was a discussion - and the reasoning was that it was "too hard" and needed to be made more accessible to more dogs. If you can't make the rank and file happy, dumb it down, was apparently the decision.

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You know, maybe I'm being a bit rude with phrases like "dumb it down" but working ability is the utmost test of the Border Collie and also the defining characteristic. Therefore, I don't think there is any other "test" (like the show ring) that has any place in evaluating members of the breed.

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You know, maybe I'm being a bit rude with phrases like "dumb it down" but working ability is the utmost test of the Border Collie and also the defining characteristic. Therefore, I don't think there is any other "test" (like the show ring) that has any place in evaluating members of the breed.

You are right, of course. I looked at the two links and note that there is no shedding or penning involved. Were they in the old version of the test?

 

I don't think "dumbing it down" is too strong a phrase. But heck, if people will put up with it in school with their kids, why should they balk at shortchanging the dogs? <_<

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FWIW, there are some who believe that loose-eyed dogs are more suited to sheep that want to fight a dog (say range ewes that have had to deal with coyote predation) because the loose-eyed dog is less likely to create that feeling that a predator is after them.

 

There are also top trial people who like loose-eyed dogs because you can put them anywhere and they won't fight you because their eye (lack thereof) won't draw them to the sheep.

 

In other words, there are plenty of folks who like loose-eyed, plain workers and it's a mistake to assume that just because a border collie doesn't exhibit "style" (crouching, slinky behavior) it can't be an exceptional worker.

 

Paula,

Twist was scared of the sheep the first time I took her in the round pen (I think she was 4 months old). She ran in her first trial at 6 months, and qualified (many times over) for the nursery finals at 2. She was running in open at 3 and took me to the national finals for the first time before she turned four (and she was the first dog I trained to open as a novice handler myself). 'Nuff said. (To be fair, the very next time she saw sheep after being scared she turned on, but it's why I'd never dismiss a dog on a single exposure to stock, or even two or three exposures.)

 

J.

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You are right, of course. I looked at the two links and note that there is no shedding or penning involved. Were they in the old version of the test?

The old test, if I recall correctly, was essentially equivalent to running an Open trial course or satisfying the ROM requirements. The Open trial course (and, I think, the ROM requirement) would require both or the equivalent.

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There are also top trial people who like loose-eyed dogs because you can put them anywhere and they won't fight you because their eye (lack thereof) won't draw them to the sheep.

 

This is right on, Julie. I am learning how to work my first much looser-eyed dog and having a blast with it.

 

However, there is a world of difference between a loose-eyed working Border Collie ... and a bouncing, barking, loose-eyed show bred Barbie Collie.

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My Nellie ... is very upright and although her eye came out more with age, she tends to work on her feet and with only a slight crouch. Exactly what Tea said - gets the job done, stellar worker but needs a bit more "handle" then a dog with more eye because for her it's all about the moving and very little about the line.

 

That's probably a discussion, right there. My Jesse is loose-eyed but has a phenomenal sense of line. I was so green when I started him, (I got him as a 2-year old rescue) that I've no clear idea how I even taught him to drive ... but it became the most natural thing for him. He'd hold a line forever and instinctively make the tidiest little corrections as he went.

 

Now that he's 12-1/2, going deaf, and giving out in the hind end, when he begs to work, I give him some mellow sheep and he just goes driving around happy as can be! ;) I often wished I could just download his sense of line and install it in my young Nick's head. ;)

 

FWIW, there are some who believe that loose-eyed dogs are more suited to sheep that want to fight a dog (say range ewes that have had to deal with coyote predation) because the loose-eyed dog is less likely to create that feeling that a predator is after them.

 

There are also top trial people who like loose-eyed dogs because you can put them anywhere and they won't fight you because their eye (lack thereof) won't draw them to the sheep.

 

That's a good point, too. Jesse actually was better at moving cranky sheep in his upright, loose-eyed style than my Nick is with all his eye and pizazz. Jesse could just stand there and look at them, wait a moment, and if they didn't move - bang, nip on the nose and then on with the work. Nick, however, still wants to crouch and creep and stare them down and that gets cranky ewes even more upset. Plus I could ask Jesse to move as little as one paw at a time, anywhere I needed him, particularly at a pen. Nick is getting there, but getting him to release pressure more readily is actually something we're working on, right now.

 

~ Gloria

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Instinct testing as the BCSA wants it is simply showing interest in sheep. That covers a lot of ground. At their first test at least 2 dogs the testers failed were later passed by someone doing the paper work. IOW the testers did not feel these dogs had enough (whatever) to pass yet someone in the office saw the dogs were 'interested' and passed them w/o the knowledge of the testers. This is what instinct testing means to most in the AKC.

 

As for the old KC test for GB, it required a 200 yard OR, L F with a 75 yard drive and peg with a score by ISDS judges of I think 60 out of 100.

 

The new test is an older version of the AKC's herding pre trial test.

 

The old test was meaningful, the new one a little less than worthless IMO.

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Another aspect of the instinct test that is a shame is that people consider it a "title" and therefore "proof" that a dog has what it takes to work stock. I have heard it trumpeted that a Westminster winner had "herding titles", which turned out to be nothing more than an instinct test, which, if I read it correctly from the AKC website, is considered to be a "title".

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Instinct testing and herding tests are considered certificates, not quite the same as 'titles'. But to the general public and those who seek 'titles' they are equal.

 

Many groups consider a dog 'showing interest' as all that is necessary to 'show instinct' and get a certiicate. Most people brag on the certificates. In reality it takes training and experience to show what a dog has or truely working stock.

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Last year at Soldier Hollow Don Helsley (experienced open handler) did a demonstration where he took several rescue border collies from Western Border Collie Rescue into a round pen with some quite dog-broke sheep, for what was probably their first exposure to livestock (But who knows? Some were strays of totally unknown provenance.) Obviously he really knows what he's doing, and as he moved around with the dogs and sheep, he gave a running commentary on the dog's interaction with the sheep, and what he was seeing in the way of natural talent. It ranged from "This beautiful little collie will likely be an excellent frisbee dog!" to "This dog is showing me enough that I suspect he'd make a good ranch dog." But that's all it was -- did that dog show any potential on that particular day, and what was he looking at to assess it. It was quite entertaining, and a lot more of an analysis than any of those "instinct tests," but worthy of a certificate? Hmmm...

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Instinct testing and herding tests are considered certificates, not quite the same as 'titles'. But to the general public and those who seek 'titles' they are equal.

 

Many groups consider a dog 'showing interest' as all that is necessary to 'show instinct' and get a certiicate. Most people brag on the certificates. In reality it takes training and experience to show what a dog has or truely working stock.

On the AKC website, HT (herding tested) is listed as a title. The instinct test is not. My mistake. However, as you say, to many people, they are "titles" and that's what counts to them.

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I wonder how many of those UK Border Collies are actually from working lines - at least one is; Corriedhu

Plus I wonder if Louise Amos is an ISDS handler...

Here in Canada the CKC allows any breed to compete in herding. Next weekend is the all breed "Herding Showcase" which will determine the 'top' herding dog in Canada; qualifying from highest(5) scores at CKC trials for the top 10 Started, 10 Intermediate & 20 Advanced. Included among the ACDs, Corgies, GSD, Shelties, Aussies, Malinois etc. is one Border Collie AND one BOXER.

I could get an Instinct 'title' on my Chihuahua cuz he would chase 'em in a round pen with the best of them. So would my friend's JRT. There is at least one Doberman and more Boxers with their HIC 'title' now.....which makes the 50% failures at the BC Specialty even more disgusting.

 

cheers Lani

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Here in Canada the CKC allows any breed to compete in herding. Next weekend is the all breed "Herding Showcase" which will determine the 'top' herding dog in Canada; qualifying from highest(5) scores at CKC trials for the top 10 Started, 10 Intermediate & 20 Advanced. Included among the ACDs, Corgies, GSD, Shelties, Aussies, Malinois etc. is one Border Collie AND one BOXER.

 

Poodles 'herding' sheep:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-78SOFiHOw

 

From the comments: "this proves the poodle can do almost anything."

 

" We also have a BC but the POodles do it for the love of it. The BC does it because it is work

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