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Bridging division between Working Border Collie Tradition vs. “Working” Agility Dogs+Other Disciplines


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Personally I think someone ought to at least be willing to pay a puppy price (~$400-500) for a herding washout if the dog is as was described--manners, etc. The owner has put time into raising and training the dog before finding out it doesn't suit as a working dog. Working border collies are amazingly adaptable--that's how breeders and handlers are able to pass them on to new homes with relative ease. I doubt that a dog that had never been in the house or off the farm would have problems adjusting to a suburban lifestyle. I took in a 5-year-old once; he also had been off the farm only once or twice and had never been in the house. He made the transition to housedog just fine.

 

I think there's some confusion about the term herding washout. Obviously there's no way to know a dog is a washout unless someone has tried to train it. Some give up sooner than others, but you're probably talking about a dog at least 10 months old and as old as 18 months to 2 years.

 

Anyone looking for a pup from a working breeding is likely going to choose a pup the way anyone would choose a pup. There's no guarantee whatsoever what you're going to get when you get a pup, though, as we always say you, you can stack the odds in your favor by choosing parents you like (perhaps even with relatives you like), from a breeder whose breeding/puppyu raising philosophy you largely agree with (or at least don't disagree with).

 

J.

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I admit it, I have not read all 18 pages of this thread. To the OP; As in the difference between fire and water, there is no gap to bridge.

 

Working dogs are bred for instincts beneficial for gathering and tending livestock. Period. The only way to accomplish that is to breed the dog with the best necessary instincts to a bitch with the best necessary instincts. The only way to determine which Border Collies have the best necessary instincts is to train and use dogs to gather and tend livestock.

 

End of story

 

"Working" as it relates to livestock and "working" as it relates to physical exertion have not one thing to do with each other regarding instinct. If you can't see that, then I suggest you approach these concepts as if you know absolutely nothing about them.

 

Agility handlers having an effect on the AKC? You do not understand that the ONLY reason AKC has anything to do with dog sports is for the money. You are simply padding their bottom line so that they may continue to the detriment of all dogs. You are strengthing them. The only thing that will ever change them is the cessation of funding from people like you.

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Personally I think someone ought to at least be willing to pay a puppy price (~$400-500) for a herding washout if the dog is as was described--manners, etc. The owner has put time into raising and training the dog before finding out it doesn't suit as a working dog.

 

That's certainly the way I've done it in the past. I'd be willing to spend more for an older dog that had more put into it - maybe a partially started dog that couldn't do USBCHA work but would be OK in AHBA trials.

 

However, many people do equate this with a rescue situation. People have been surprised at what I've spent on mine. Maybe that is because rescue is familiar to most people. Or maybe it's because people are always surprised at what stockdogs cost. Or it could be that they see the dog as unwanted. And maybe some owners do sell at lower-than-puppy prices to move the dog along. Anyway, I think washouts and rescues tend to be seen as the same thing.

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However, many people do equate this with a rescue situation. People have been surprised at what I've spent on mine. Maybe that is because rescue is familiar to most people.

 

I'm wondering if the termonology deters some people? Rescue conjurs up warm fuzzy feeling of saving a life and washout sounds like someones reject.

 

Maybe the dogs need to be marketed differently - "sports prospect" "performance dog" as opposed to washout.

 

"XXX hasn't quite cut it as a farm dog, but our loss could be your gain. He has great drive, stamina and a real desire to be a team player. Excellent house/kennel manners and travels well. Has a solid recall, knows basic commands. Available to an experienced home"

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Yes, exactly! Granted, you can get a puppy from working lines, and it can be fantastic in whatever field you choose, but you really can't test a young puppy's aptitude, its natural gifts. It's very much a roll of the dice, even if you have researched its relatives, including full siblings from a previous breeding. An older dog, on the other hand, while not necessarily well-suited for stock work, might display the very talents and qualities needed for sports or any other work. Can y'all tell I'm a huge proponent of rescuing?

 

I don't think "washout" or "leftover" should be dirty words, but then I suppose we're getting into the psychology and connotations behind words again. My mistake. I really should've known better!

 

Thank you, Mara, for the gentle correction :D

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However, many people do equate this with a rescue situation.

And then there are people who balk at $300 for a rescue dog - vetted, vaccinated, neutered, heartworm-checked (and treated), and often fostered with some training and house-broken. They think that, if it's a rescue, it should be free or only a pittance, like a shelter dog in some areas of the country.

 

Edited to add "...in some areas of the country."

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Here's the thing....Suppose an agility ghuru called you and said that s/he had a 1 year old dog with good working bloodlines that was not working out for agility and should never do agility, but may make a good pet or herding prospect....What would this dog be worth to you?

 

Sure the agility trainer's time and training has value, but it won't be used because the dog can't do agility. And you don't want to do agility anyway, you want a stock dog.

 

Yes, the dog has basics that are unrelated to agility, but the toy drive and focus instilled since puppyhood may actually be detrimental to stock work. The dog may come around with time, but it's a risk. What is this risk worth to you? And if the price of the dog is the same as a puppy, why not just get the puppy and train it your way from the beginning?

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And then there are people who balk at $300 for a rescue dog - vetted, vaccinated, neutered, heartworm-checked (and treated), and often fostered with some training and house-broken. They think that, if it's a rescue, it should be free or only a pittance, like a shelter dog.

 

The price of a shelter dog varys by region, our local shelter charges between $125 and $150 plus a $100 surcharge for any of their dogs transported from the south. Which is about the same as the $250 I paid to a rescue.

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Here's the thing....Suppose an agility ghuru called you and said that s/he had a 1 year old dog with good working bloodlines that was not working out for agility and should never do agility, but may make a good pet or herding prospect....What would this dog be worth to you?

 

Sure the agility trainer's time and training has value, but it won't be used because the dog can't do agility. And you don't want to do agility anyway, you want a stock dog.

 

Yes, the dog has basics that are unrelated to agility, but the toy drive and focus instilled since puppyhood may actually be detrimental to stock work. The dog may come around with time, but it's a risk. What is this risk worth to you? And if the price of the dog is the same as a puppy, why not just get the puppy and train it your way from the beginning?

I'm not sure I understand this analogy. The training that goes into an agility pup could certainly be detrimental to a working dog, but I don't think the reverse is true. If you're seriously trying to say that a young dog initially raised for stockwork has training that's detrimental to sports, then please expound on it, as I'd be interested in what elements of early stockdog training are detrimental to agility work.

 

At any rate, no one is saying that people *have* to buy a failed working dog. There are certainly resources for people who want a free or low-cost dog, but to me this arguments smacks of a fairly common attitude (i.e., human nature) of wanting something for nothing--you know, I'll take that useless stockdog off your hands for FREE. (And maybe I'll cruise hard sales in hopes of finding a lost Picasso for $10 that I can later auction at Sotheby's for millions....)

 

Note: I am not saying that such dogs shouldn't be given away, just that it shouldn't be an expectation.

 

J.

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Sue,

Slightly OT: I remember thinking, when I was first considering getting Calvin, that I could get FREE kittens pretty much anywhere. Then I stopped and thought about what it would cost to vaccinate, neuter, worm, and microchip a kitten and realized that the $85 price tag was a BARGAIN. The fact that I got the second kitten for just $10 more (the shelter does two-fer deals) meant that I got all those things for one cat for $50. A bargain no matter how you look at it.

 

J.

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If you're seriously trying to say that a young dog initially raised for stockwork has training that's detrimental to sports, then please expound on it, as I'd be interested in what elements of early stockdog training are detrimental to agility work.

 

It's not the training, it is the way that the dog was raised. With agility dogs, we try to build focus and play drive from the very beginning. This is not the case with stock dogs. This is not good or bad, just different.

 

And I do think that transitioning from a farm to the suburbs could be a big deal. Transitioning from a kennel to a house is probably easy. Farm dogs just don't have to deal with things like joggers, bicycles, skate boarders, lots of kids (outside the family)running on the sidewalks and doing all sorts of crazy kid things, and a lot of vehicular traffic. With a breed that is activated by motion, this could be a problem and it is just easier to nip this type of thing in the bud with a puppy. Also, the noises in the suburbs are different than on a farm and this is a breed that can be noise sensitive. The dog may adjust fine going from the farm to the burbs or it may not. Also, agility trials can be nuts, so people often bring puppies to shows at an early age to start the acclimatization. Some dogs have just never left the farm, have never been around dogs outside of their pack, and may not be used to people of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Some dogs may transition fine, others not so well. This is the risk. The stock dog training is NOT the problem, it is the lifestyle and potential lack of socialization. Personally, I think that it is a good lifestyle, but it is not my lifestyle. I'm not saying that any of this is good or bad, it is just different, and this difference causes uncertainty.

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I think it would also be possible to take dogs on trial.

 

I've gotten two dogs for free (well, one for the cost of her spay). Both are livestock guard dogs. Both have issues. I expected the issues because, well, if they didn't have issues then they likely wouldn't be free. Guard dog breeds are in rescues and shelters all over the place. But like either sports or working livestock folks, there are some basic needs that need to be met. I wouldn't take a dog that had never lived with livestock, but I would take a dog that is an experienced guardian that escapes, or that fights with the other resident guard dogs, or for some reason isn't suitable for its current situation. In exchange for getting that dog for FREE, I would expect to have do some remedial work with it.

 

If I wanted a dog that I could shape from the start, I'd get a pup (but, boy, what a lot of work when you're talking about LGDs). If I wanted a dog I could pretty much toss out in the pasture and know it was going to do a great job from the get go, I'd pay a good amount of money for it. If I want to save money (because, let's face it, I'm pretty poor) then I expect to compromise in other areas.

 

So the dog I paid for the spay for was semi-feral--essentially never handled by humans. I had to work long and hard with her to get her to where she'd (usually--they're independent dogs after all) come when called, allow herself to be caught, walk on a leash. Until she got sick recently, the only way to get her to the vet was to load a trailer with sheep and then put her on it with them. The other dog (the completely free one) gets out of fences. I'm having to come up with innovative ways to keep her in. She's not getting out because she doesn't want to work, but rather because she wants to cover a wider area. Unfortunately I have neighbors who would rather not have really big dogs in their yard, and I have a pretty busy road out front. She was given away because she wouldn't stay in the fence, and she ended up causing some problems in her previous home. That's why she was free. The next stop for her was the needle.

 

So along with getting the dogs for free, I knew I was also getting (for free) the problems they came with. It's a calculated risk I chose to take because I couldn't afford the "out of the box" dog. But these are fairly serious problems, IMO, and not quite the same as a dog not being used to living in one area or another. Many farm dogs do see children, they do hear loud noises (including farm machinery and gun shots--hunters abound out here in the country--and sirens and loud cars with loud music). People always want to bring their children by to see the lambs. Just a week ago, I had an entire church group come over to take photos of "shepherds" with sheep for their Christmas display. My dogs are absolutely not used to children, and yet they worked around those kids and when the work was done they played fetch the pine cone with them. I took the occasion as an opportunity for the pup to meet and play with children.

 

Anyway, my point is that if people want something for free, they should expect that there might (although not always) be issues. If they want guarantees in the raising, then they need to raise it themselves. Anything else in between probably should have a price tag attached (IMO). And FWIW, a herding washout might be a washout only for the trainer involved and not a dog completely incapable of working for someone else. If a trainer is placing such a dog in a sport or pet home, then they are likely doing so thinking that it's a permanent home (whereas another working home might not be). I have a youngster here who doesn't entirely suit me. He likely would suit a person who likes his working style, and he is trained well enough that he could be a good first dog for a beginner handler. Because he's trained enough to run a nursery course and he will shed (i.e., essentially trained for open, though his outrun needs some work), his value as a stockdog is at least around $2k. If I were to choose to sell him to a pet/sport home because I want him to go somewhere that's a forever home, I'd take *a lot* less, but unless it was someone I knew well (i.e., a good friend), he wouldn't be free. But that's just me.

 

J.

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I guess that pet dog folks (I have pet dogs that do agility) come from a place in which the only value attached to a pet is sentimental value, for which there is no price tag. As far as I'm concerned, things like vet bills are just money down the toilet, which isn't to say that there should not be some compensation for these sorts of things in a rehome, but a total recoup is probably unrealistic. I'm currently sitting next to a dog that I have easily spent 5 figures on over the years--on training classes and on vet bills--but her actual monetary value is pretty close to zero. Sentamentally, she is priceless. To me (and only to me).

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...If I wanted a dog that I could shape from the start, I'd get a pup...Anyway, my point is that if people want something for free, they should expect that there might (although not always) be issues. If they want guarantees in the raising, then they need to raise it themselves...

J.

And even when you get a pup, know the background and parents, and raise it yourself - there are no guarantees. Doing everything right in researching and raising still does not guarantee you will get precisely what you want - it will just up your odds of doing so.

 

Like you, Julie, some opt to put "sweat equity" into a rescue, adopted animal, or rehomed animal; some opt to buy something "already made"; and some opt to "shape from the start". But nothing is ever guaranteed when working with living creatures - but when you do your research and when you are willing (and able) to put in the effort it takes, your success rate is generally much higher. Too bad too many people don't study it out or put in the effort it takes, because the animals suffer when success isn't achieved.

 

Of course, what is considered "success" varies highly with the situation and the people and animals involved.

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We're on our 4th border collie. We've been literally given them all. Shoshone, bless her soul, was the only one who had issues beyond general dog stuff. She had chronic health issues and behavioral stuff as well. We spent a LOT of time/money/energy on her.

 

The other 3 - just normal dog things. Maybe it's different in different areas. We also did a lot of giving back types of things. I did a fair amount of volunteer work for the rescue we got Shonie from, I knew the breeder who gave Sam to us, and the shelter assis't mgr who brought us Buzz is a good friend.

 

And, for what it's worth, 3 of the 4 dogs washed out, so to speak, of working situations.

 

And, I did make a serious offer of payment to both former owners. For the shelter and the rescue, we sent good sized donations.

 

Ruth

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It's not the training, it is the way that the dog was raised. With agility dogs, we try to build focus and play drive from the very beginning. This is not the case with stock dogs. This is not good or bad, just different.

 

And I do think that transitioning from a farm to the suburbs could be a big deal. Transitioning from a kennel to a house is probably easy. Farm dogs just don't have to deal with things like joggers, bicycles, skate boarders, lots of kids (outside the family)running on the sidewalks and doing all sorts of crazy kid things, and a lot of vehicular traffic. With a breed that is activated by motion, this could be a problem and it is just easier to nip this type of thing in the bud with a puppy. Also, the noises in the suburbs are different than on a farm and this is a breed that can be noise sensitive. The dog may adjust fine going from the farm to the burbs or it may not. Also, agility trials can be nuts, so people often bring puppies to shows at an early age to start the acclimatization. Some dogs have just never left the farm, have never been around dogs outside of their pack, and may not be used to people of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Some dogs may transition fine, others not so well. This is the risk. The stock dog training is NOT the problem, it is the lifestyle and potential lack of socialization. Personally, I think that it is a good lifestyle, but it is not my lifestyle. I'm not saying that any of this is good or bad, it is just different, and this difference causes uncertainty.

 

 

This is pretty global and untrue. It might be true for some stockdog but certainly not in my case. My dogs get a lot of socialization and some get raised by city folks. Those raised by me get tons of people and real life exposure. Some go to the weekend retreats where there is a band playing all weekend, hundreds of childrens etc…and other go to town with me. When I have students over, they are passed a pup so the pup gets used to new people and their dogs. I look at my other trial friends and they certainly spend a lot of time with their dog to be social. I look my other trial friends and your statement above doesn't fit them. I know other handlers on this board who do not fit your statement above.

 

 

How did you come to this conclusion?

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This is pretty global and untrue. It might be true for some stockdog but certainly not in my case. My dogs get a lot of socialization and some get raised by city folks. Those raised by me get tons of people and real life exposure. Some go to the weekend retreats where there is a band playing all weekend, hundreds of childrens etc…and other go to town with me. When I have students over, they are passed a pup so the pup gets used to new people and their dogs.

I think this is the problem when anyone paints with wide brushstrokes.

 

I had a dog adopted at about 20 months from a working farm who had never stepped one paw off of that farm. She lived in a kennel and had never been in the house. She had a decent temperament underneath it all so she came around but it took months to teach her how to handle herself around male strangers, loud noises, vehicles (she was terrified of traffic so she had a hard time walking on a sidewalk) etc. She also had epilepsy which no one knew about as she almost always seized at night while sleeping and since she slept in a dog run no one saw it. It would be easy to assume that any dog from that situation could have the same issues. My Ross (the dog in my avatar) was from a working farm that I was told treated him poorly (I adopted him from a long line of previous owners)and had a lot of fear issues that might have been a result of poor socialization (he was terrified of silverware, for example).

 

Yet we know that there are people like you, Diane, who put real effort into making your working dogs well rounded and stable.

 

SO they key is, I think, judging each situation individually.

 

FWIW, this is why some people get their hackles up when generalities are presented about "ribbon chasers" or "out of control idiot agility dogs." These truths are not universal.

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[quote name='DeltaBluez Tess' timestamp='1323116535' post='405830'How did you come to this conclusion?

 

This is what I've seen in my little world and...obviously one has to ask the question.

 

I am currently living with an extremely undersocialized former shelter dog and this issue has impacted us enormously. Undersocializtion is a huge deal for performance dogs and depending on the fundamental make up of the dog,sometimes can't be overcome (although it can be mitigated to some extent).

 

I said several posts above that I would consider a herding rehome, washout, whatever you want to call it under the right circumstances. In the end,all of us, regardless of whether we do agility or stock work or whatever, want to minimize risk (unless it is a purely emotional decision)and, of course, a dog is only worth what someone is willing to pay.

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SO they key is, I think, judging each situation individually.

 

FWIW, this is why some people get their hackles up when generalities are presented about "ribbon chasers" or "out of control idiot agility dogs." These truths are not universal.

 

 

What she said x100 million! :)

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and, of course, a dog is only worth what someone is willing to pay.

And this is true of just about anything, not just dogs, huh? As a person who freelances for a living, I can tell you that the "it's not really worth that much to me" attitude hurts everyone. It would be nice if people would consider the value of people's time and not always think they should get something for nothing, but I'm sure there'd be no convincing some people of that.

 

I find it interesting that people have so many expectations of what a dog needs to be for them, but then if they actually find such a dog, it should be free because it's a failure at whatever its first endeavor was. And then they come up with all sorts of reasons why the dog should be free. All well and good, but I still say that if people want free dogs they shouldn't also expect perfection. Obviously I come from a place with a different paradigm....

 

The dog I mentioned earlier? Two years old. Well socialized. Loves *all* people. Loves tug and fetch. Has good manners and is house trained. Hell of a recall. He lives in the house. I'm not all that thrilled with the way he works. I have no idea whether he could learn a sport and do well at it, although he at least understands some of the reward systems used for such games. He's something of a washout for *my* purposes, but he should be free to you? I don't see how that works.

 

J.

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Oh, my!

 

I fear that some people reading these last posts on getting a dog might think one should never get a rescue or rehomed dog! If you know what you're looking for, it really should not be that difficult to find a dog to suit your needs.

 

Here are my fosters:

 

Roxie, my first foster: surrendered to a shelter because she kept peeing in the house. Turns out, there was a medical reason for it. Other than that, she fantastic with children and makes an excellent day care dog. She's an easy going couch potato, but she'll let kids with learning disabilities read to her, thereby gaining confidence in their reading skills without the fear of ridicule or rejection.

 

Ceana, border collie who spent a vast majority of her life tied to a tree producing multiple litters. Very sensitive and under socialized, but a cuddler if there ever was one. She went home with a man and assisted in his healing from a very nasty divorce where his ex took his dogs. He didn't need a performance or working dog, but a little therapy dog who thought the world of him.

 

Blaze, related to Ceana and again spent his life tied to a tree. Vastly different than Ceana, more outgoing. He displayed a desire to work and so went to a farm. Not stellar, but he's good enough to do the work needed and helpout on the farm.

 

Jaxper, bernese mountain dog x, no back story, but he became a boy's best friend and part time service dog.

 

Jazzy, ball driven and now running in flyball.

 

Let's not forget my own and those in my family: Kellie (RIP pretty girl), Maverick, Jak, Mitchell, Max, Buddy, Scruffy (who helped my brother heal after he was in a car crash that killed his best friend), and little Lily (who appears to have been abused previously, so we're taking it slow).

 

And then the ones who never got to go to another home:

 

Ace and Spot, both euthanized for aggression issues. Neither ever made it out of my house because the aggression issues made them un-adoptable. Both had all the advantages of being well-socialized as puppies, Ace, in fact, was raised by me, but something just wasn't right in his head.

 

Point is, it depends on the qualities you want. An older dog you can find those qualities, a puppy, while being a blank slate, is still the product of genetics and can "go wrong" even with all the advantages. There is still risk either way.

 

Rogue, an aussie purchased from working lines, shows zero interest in working sheep, which we had initially got her for, but she makes a great little agility dog, especially in jumpers.

 

My Kayzie, purchased as a puppy, is showing great promise (I think) toward herding, but time will tell.

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It would be nice if people would consider the value of people's time and not always think they should get something for nothing, but I'm sure there'd be no convincing you of that.

 

I don't get the anomosity, I have been more than polite.

 

We live in 2 different worlds, but at least we can attempt to be polite and not make ASSumptions regarding other people, eh?

 

It's funny. I recently told a veterinarian that she wasn't charging me enough.

 

I've freelanced, too, and when a mutually beneficial agreement could not be reached, the deal wasn't consumated. No biggie. No hard feelings. It's a simple business relationship.

 

I didn't sneak onto someone's farm in the middle of the night and steal their dog or their time. We just didn't make a deal, that's all. The person simply wanted more money for that particular dog than I was willing to pay. For a different dog that more closely suited my needs, I would have written the check for the full amount.

 

It is a big gap indeed.

 

Edited to say that I didn't even go see the dog because based on what the person told me on the phone I felt that I would not be willing to spend what the person was asking for THAT dog. So, I saw no point in making the trip and wasting that person's time and stringing that person along. So, obviously I have have zero concept of the value of other people's time.

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Thanks KelliePup - you summed up my thoughts nicely. If you want a dog for a certain activity form some relationships, evaluate some dogs and know what you're looking for. I got two great healthy adaptable working/performance dogs(second hand) that way - one from a working breeder and one from rescue

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I think this is the problem when anyone paints with wide brushstrokes.

 

<snip>

 

SO they key is, I think, judging each situation individually.

 

FWIW, this is why some people get their hackles up when generalities are presented about "ribbon chasers" or "out of control idiot agility dogs." These truths are not universal.

 

Exactly.

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