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


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... let him go, see what he does, and use our body movements and pressure to shape that toward what we want. That is the most effective way of going about training,

 

How is that different then agility?

 

 

I dont know much about herding. I know when Cressa 1st saw sheep she didnt hesitate and seem to know what to do. Out of all of our border collies at the time(3), she was the best. Also she was one of the best dog the trainer had saw(not saying much she was in all-breed trainer who was also novice level). On the second day for whatever reason the trainer decided to see if Cressa could go into the stall and get the rest of the sheep out(6-9 sheep were in the stall). -we trained in a horse barn and the rented sheep were kept in a stall.- Cressa was in way over her head on what to do. Maybe if Cressa was from top herding lines she wouldnt have balked in the tight stall on her 2nd day?! IDK.

 

While herding is yes instinctual... there is still a lot of refining and training that seems to go in it. I dont know if it other stuff happens but it seem in beginner levels border collies videos most start off with 3 sheep or a very small herd. If they can work sheep instinctual and understand livestock with out issues why not just used them from the get go on the full herd and skip working them on smaller #'s?

:) Sorry for my lack of working vocab!

BUt does splitting the sheep up also come natural?

I could be misinterpreting some treads since it almost seem as if some are saying that you dont "train" herding the dog just gets it because of instinct.

 

:) Yes I have seen young puppies take the equipment on their own whim(its give the owners heart attacks since falling or doing it wrong is dangerous). Or puppies attempt to get out and go run agility.

 

Is there instinctual knowledge for agility? In my limited expereince I would hedge to say its possible. I cant say all dogs have it. And even if your dogs does have it, it doesnt mean you dont need to refine your skills or your dogs.

 

Agility is different since you can still get an amazing dogs no matter if the instinct is there or not.

 

 

~IS it just me or this thread going down into the old agility vs herding debate?~

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While herding is yes instinctual... there is still a lot of refining and training that seems to go in it. I dont know if it other stuff happens but it seem in beginner levels border collies videos most start off with 3 sheep or a very small herd. If they can work sheep instinctual and understand livestock with out issues why not just used them from the get go on the full herd and skip working them on smaller #'s?

 

What you're describing in mainly in a trial setting. It is actually easier, in many ways, for farm dogs to start with a larger herd in many cases. This would bring up a trialing vs. farm work debate.

 

The things needed to be trained in stock dogs are things that go against their instinct, such as stopping off balance, driving parallel to the handler and such. Shearing also goes against a border collie's instinctual tendencies because they want the sheep all together.

 

ETA: As I understand it, herding trials are actually much more difficult than farm work. The skills are the same, but there is additional stresses and smaller "flocks," yes?

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So you currently aren't competing in dog Sports...competition anyway..

 

Edited due to large amount of completely off topic information. Nothing relevant to the discussion was lost through edit of this post.

 

Yes, I am currently competing. Live with Dean in Agility and Rally, by video in Rally and Freestyle; by video with Speedy; and just starting live with Tessa.

 

This is off topic. As much as I love to talk about my dogs, sports, and participating with them, it really is not relevant to the topic at hand. Why don't we take this to PM if you want to discuss it further?

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Is there instinctual knowledge for agility? In my limited expereince I would hedge to say its possible. I cant say all dogs have it. And even if your dogs does have it, it doesnt mean you dont need to refine your skills or your dogs.

 

 

To my mind the "instinctual" agilities in a working bred Border Collie, and what makes them excel at agility are:

 

- drive

 

- trainability and eagerness to please

 

- athleticism

 

Those are the raw materials. They can be used to teach a dog how to run and agility course and love it. You can breed for those qualities too.

 

Those are not the same as the instinctual abilities that make a good working dog. Those are:

 

- all of the above plus add endurance to the athleticism category.

 

- the instinct to gather and hold stock

 

- stock sense (how to "read" livestock, develop pace etc)

 

- courage

 

Those are also raw materials. It's a longer list. They can be used to train a dog to work livestock and love it. You can breed for those qualities.

 

If you don't breed for the qualities needed for a good agility dog (for example if you breed only to conformation standards) you will lose them.

 

If you don't breed for the qualities needed for a good stock dog (for example if you breed for agility prowess), you will lose them.

 

So it's not a case of "agility vs herding debate". You can't argue with evolution and biology. If you select only for those traits necessary to get a superior conformation champion, that is what you will get. If you select only for those traits necessary to get a top notch agility line, that is what you will get.

 

To get, and keep, top notch stockdogs you need to select for those traits necessary for stock work in every generation and every breeding. There is no debate in that regard. Several thousand years of animal husbandry have shown that to be the case.

 

If all you have is a hammer, you can try to use it to put in screws but don't expect it to work as well as a screwdriver would. The Show Border Collie, Sport Border Collie, and Working Border Collie are three very different animals. Eventually, they'll be three different breeds (it's pretty much that way with Show Border Collie and Working Border Collie now. When was the last time you saw a bare-skinned, tri-colored, prick-eared Border Collie capable of a 600 yard gather winning Best In Show, or Ch anything placing at a major trial?)

 

Pearse

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How is that different then agility?

 

 

I dont know much about herding. I know when Cressa 1st saw sheep she didnt hesitate and seem to know what to do. Out of all of our border collies at the time(3), she was the best. Also she was one of the best dog the trainer had saw(not saying much she was in all-breed trainer who was also novice level). On the second day for whatever reason the trainer decided to see if Cressa could go into the stall and get the rest of the sheep out(6-9 sheep were in the stall). -we trained in a horse barn and the rented sheep were kept in a stall.- Cressa was in way over her head on what to do. Maybe if Cressa was from top herding lines she wouldnt have balked in the tight stall on her 2nd day?! IDK.

 

While herding is yes instinctual... there is still a lot of refining and training that seems to go in it. I dont know if it other stuff happens but it seem in beginner levels border collies videos most start off with 3 sheep or a very small herd. If they can work sheep instinctual and understand livestock with out issues why not just used them from the get go on the full herd and skip working them on smaller #'s?

:) Sorry for my lack of working vocab!

BUt does splitting the sheep up also come natural?

I could be misinterpreting some treads since it almost seem as if some are saying that you dont "train" herding the dog just gets it because of instinct.

 

 

Sorry to quote myself, but I think these comments that I made a couple of pages back answer your question, so I'm pasting it the relevant parts here:

Where this is a disconnect for me is that in its most fundamental form what makes a border collie a stockdog (what makes a border collie a border collie) is the genetics that enable it to read the intent of livestock and use that information to control those animals. Without that most basic characteristic a border collie will never be capable of being an adequate stock dog. I don't see how that most fundamental characteristic relates to agility at all. From that POV, working stock is about instinct and being successful at agility is about training. With little or no training, a well-bred working border collie can do the basic tasks a farmer needs. There are plenty such border collies out there, working on farms every day largely on instinct and with little or no input from the farmer (except perhaps for some cussing when things go wrong). [emphasis added]

<snip>

That's not to say that one doesn't need to train a stockdog, just that with no training the dog will be able to perform certain basic, generally useful tasks that can make its presence helpful to the farmer. [emphasis added] An agility dog can certainly jump, climb, walk across things with little or no training, but putting those into something that enables to dog to even complete a very simple course requires training.

 

 

You said:

Agility is different since you can still get an amazing dogs no matter if the instinct is there or not.

 

This is exactly what many of us have been saying.

 

That's the very distinction I was making in this quote from my same post:

Although a border collie set loose in an agility arena might choose to engage with some of the obstacles, either appropriately or inappropriately (e.g., going partway into a tunnel and then backing out), I don't think anyone can argue that a dog can complete an agility course (and certainly not with the skills necessary to compete) on instinct alone. Therefore training is required.

 

You say:

~IS it just me or this thread going down into the old agility vs herding debate?~

 

I don't think so. This discussion is taking place within the confines of the proposition by the OP that working breeders should be willing to "refresh" agility lines with working lines because the OP supposes that doing so will help maintain the characteristics from working genetics that also make these dogs excellents sports competitors. The discussion is about why this assumption on her part is mistaken.

 

J.

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~IS it just me or this thread going down into the old agility vs herding debate?~

Is doesn't look like it to me. I see a lot of contention about what makes a good stock dog vs. what makes good agility dog. And there is of course the idea that Border Collies should only be bred for stock working ability. (Which most if not all but the OP seem to support.)

 

But I'm hearing a lot of support from stock dog people for involvement of Border Collie owners in the sport of agility. (Not to mention from those who do both!)

 

I think most here see agility as a great way to engage and deepen a relationship with a dog. While I do not see it as work - as in the sense of livelihood - I do think it is a worthwhile endeavor. Certainly it is work - in the sense of effort - and requires discipline and intelligent application of skills to excel in it. Like most things I see people in it for different reasons and with different ends in mind. Some I admire and some I don't. In that it is no different form any other dog sport, or any endeavor which pairs dogs and humans, including "sheepdogging." I've even seen Seeing Eye Dogs that I felt sorry for.

 

Agility and stock work are, as someone else said, apples and oranges. I am not at present involved in either, but I fervently hope that my situation will change to allow me to get my feet wet in the latter. I have my fingers crossed!

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I think it does matter...since you seem to try to be the "spokes person" for doggie sport competitions on this forum...when you actually aren't doing any real dog sport competitions..

 

Video titles I understand are a new concept and that's great for people who can't quite train for live events or for people/dogs with disabilities etc. but they are not considered a competitive event. If anything it's a way for people to make more money and to flaunt the fact that they got another "title" by doing a few manuevers with there dogs in there backyard/home training facility. Live competition is part of the package in dog sports, it's what makes dog sports difficult.

 

APDT(American Pet Dog Training) Rally is not really considered a competitive event, Rally in itself is the most BASIC level you can be for "obedience-type" events...It even says on it's website it's a GREAT way to INTRODUCE people to dog obedience sports, is a great family-type event, or for teams "beginning there show career"....but that isn't the beginning level for you trying to work up to an actual Obedience trial..that is ALL you do is Rally..and that's FINE! But you try and ACT as if you are some big time sport trainer and it's just MADDENING!!!

 

And you are participating in this agility debate coming off as if you are scouting out the next agility champion and have actually been competitive in the past but you're not even competing!! I don't doubt you are training for it...training and competing in a reputable organization and being able Q are two completely different things!!

 

I know everyone has there opinion and everyone is welcome to it on these forums but your attitude is just astounding...(I apologize all...)

 

Back to the topic at hand...

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Oh, my gosh, the Thread That Will Not Die is off and running, once more! :lol: :lol:

 

Okay, what the heck.

 

.... But the true stock working dog will survive because they have numbers on their side - as long as enough of the real thing is being bred, the population can afford some bleeding out of the line to other divergent lines (like what happened with the conformation border collie) and still survive. But just because they will survive does not mean those causing the split will be welcomed with open arms or that those on the other side will want to build a bridge to contribute to that divergence.

 

 

That. Thank you.

 

 

That's not to say that one doesn't need to train a stockdog, just that with no training the dog will be able to perform certain basic, generally useful tasks that can make its presence helpful to the farmer. An agility dog can certainly jump, climb, walk across things with little or no training, but putting those into something that enables to dog to even complete a very simple course requires training.

 

YES! Thank you, Julie! Serena, this is our POINT!

 

No one can take a dog with no training whatsoever onto an agility field, and successfully run an agility course. I can get my dogs to run over the balance beam thingie or up and over the A-frame, and possibly even over the teeter-totter. But unless I urge them to do it ... they won't touch the equipment, at all. They'll just sniff around the stuff. They certainly won't address the equipment in any voluntarily useful manner.

 

However, there are any number of border collies out there on farms and ranches, with little or no formalized training, who nonetheless have enough instinct to help their owners bring in the sheep or move the cows. The dog's instincts are sufficient for it to effectively and usefully perform certain work, even without much human input.

 

And what sets the Border Collie apart, is the "instinct package", if you will. The Border Collie does not abandon that part of himself in the Agility ring.

 

Of course a border collie doesn't stop being a border collie, when he steps into an agility ring!! :) No more than a cow horse stops being a cow horse because his owner trains him as a trail class competitor.

 

But I wonder if this is a matter of semantics, that what some call "instinct" may be better explained as "intuition." As has been noted, if we just open the gate to an agility field and let a working-bred border collie in, he won't instinctively engage the equipment. We have to show him. Then, of course the border collie's innate physical prowess and nimbleness allows him to, with training and time, intuit the moves he must make on an agility course, and so he excels at agility above other breeds. His history has produced and preserved those qualities.

 

But see, here's the thing. Instinct tells birds to build nests and fly south for the winter. Instinct tells squirrels to gather nuts and mothers to suckle their young. And instinct tells a border collie to gather sheep. There's nothing in the border collie package that tells him how to do agility, with no human input whatsoever.

 

There is much that's innate to the border collie that enables him to excel in many areas. He brings physical excellence, intuitive reasoning and that wonderfully keen border collie focus to all his endeavors. But though I've watched agility, I have friends in agility and I even respect dogs who do well in and clearly love their sport ... I do not see that instinct to work livestock in the agility arena. If the dog possesses working instinct, of course he brings those in with him, along with the white tip on his tail. But I don't see that working instinct employed, in agility. Lots of other border collie qualities, yes. But not the working instinct.

 

Oh, this thread is like a multi-car accident! We just can't stay away from the films running on TV! :P

 

 

~ Gloria

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LOL! Go Gloria! But seriously, very good points.

 

 

 

And Pearse, very nice post!

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I think it does matter...since you seem to try to be the "spokes person" for doggie sport competitions on this forum...when you actually aren't doing any real dog sport competitions..

 

I am not trying to be a "spokes person" for anything.

 

I actually am a Border Collie owner who participates in dog sports. That's a fact.

 

Whether you consider the venues that I choose to participate in "real" or not is your opinion. You are entitled to it. We disagree on that point. So be it.

 

Video titles I understand are a new concept and that's great for people who can't quite train for live events or for people/dogs with disabilities etc. but they are not considered a competitive event.

 

Not so new as you think. WCFO has offered video competition for many years. There is a long thread on the sport section on this topic, so I refer you there.

 

If they aren't your preference, don't participate. Those who find them enjoyable, beneficial, and worthwhile will participate. And we honestly don't care if there are people who hold the opinions that you have on them. We are focused on accomplishing the goals that matter to us, and that we enjoy working toward with our canine training partners, not on the opinions of those who disapprove.

 

If anything it's a way for people to make more money and to flaunt the fact that they got another "title" by doing a few manuevers with there dogs in there backyard/home training facility. Live competition is part of the package in dog sports, it's what makes dog sports difficult.

 

If you haven't earned any video titles, you actually don't know what challenges it involves. Again, I refer you to the thread on "Cyber Rally" in the sport section. We had an excellent debate on the topic in that thread.

 

The reality of the internet has provided us with a new format for participation in dog sports. I have enjoyed watching my fellow participants work with their dogs through this venue and I have enjoyed sharing my work with my dogs with them. It's here to stay, and it is only going to grow.

 

Now live competition is one way of participating in dog sports. Video is another. More sports and more venues are very likely to adopt this format in the future.

 

APDT(American Pet Dog Training) Rally is not really considered a competitive event,

 

If I recall correctly, you have never participated in APDT Rally yourself. It is quite different from AKC Rally, with far more exercises, far more challenging exercises, longer courses, and some very challenging Championship titles that one can work toward.

 

And yes, APDT Rally is a stand alone competitive event. It is not a stepping stone to obedience and it is not connected to any other sport. It is a sport venue in and of itself for its own sake.

 

I do understand that you are not familiar with it first hand.

 

Rally in itself is the most BASIC level you can be for "obedience-type" events...It even says on it's website it's a GREAT way to INTRODUCE people to dog obedience sports, is a great family-type event, or for teams "beginning there show career"....but that isn't the beginning level for you trying to work up to an actual Obedience trial..that is ALL you do is Rally..and that's FINE! But you try and ACT as if you are some big time sport trainer and it's just MADDENING!!!

 

I do Rally because I enjoy Rally. I have an interest in Rally and I enjoy the challenge that Rally presents. I have no interest in obedience, so it is not a goal of mine. It never has been. I am not basing my training and competition choices, nor what I consider to be an accomplishment, on your opinion of the matter - I do what is enjoyable to me and to my dogs and the goals that I have. You and I will probably never share the same point of view on the matter.

 

My training and competition goals are within the disciplines of Musical Freestyle, Agility, and Rally in the venues that are both in line with my training and performance philosophy, and good for my dogs and myself as a team. I have met some of those goals, some with multiple dogs and some with just one dog, and I am still working toward others. Like anyone, I have learned a great deal along the way, and I have a lot more to learn in the future.

 

I am sorry that you have gotten the impression that I am trying to act like anything. I have always been very open about what I do with my dogs. I enjoy training and participation in dog sports. I enjoy discussing Border Collies, training, and dog sports. This is a public forum and I have abided by the rules of the forum in my posts.

 

In addition, I would ask that you take any discussion about me personally to PM. These comments are completely off topic and irrelevant to the discussion at hand. From my point of view, as the object of your tirade, your lashing out on this on the public message board is very poor form.

 

And you are participating in this agility debate coming off as if you are scouting out the next agility champion and have actually been competitive in the past but you're not even competing!! I don't doubt you are training for it...training and competing in a reputable organization and being able Q are two completely different things!!

 

Obviously, our point of view on what qualifies a person to actually have criteria in mind for a future canine addition to the household differs, along with who may actually discuss that criteria publicly.

 

All of what you write here, you have read into my posts on your own. I would suggest that you skip them in the future since they upset you so much. And if you do read my posts and they upset you, I would ask that you at least have the courtesy to address your feelings on the matter through PM.

 

I know everyone has there opinion and everyone is welcome to it on these forums but your attitude is just astounding...(I apologize all...)

 

You know what they say - one finger pointing at someone else, three pointing back at yourself.

 

Again, these comments would have been more appropriate off list.

 

Back to the topic at hand...

 

Yes, please!!!

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But I wonder if this is a matter of semantics, that what some call "instinct" may be better explained as "intuition." As has been noted, if we just open the gate to an agility field and let a working-bred border collie in, he won't instinctively engage the equipment. We have to show him. Then, of course the border collie's innate physical prowess and nimbleness allows him to, with training and time, intuit the moves he must make on an agility course, and so he excels at agility above other breeds. His history has produced and preserved those qualities.

 

But see, here's the thing. Instinct tells birds to build nests and fly south for the winter. Instinct tells squirrels to gather nuts and mothers to suckle their young. And instinct tells a border collie to gather sheep. There's nothing in the border collie package that tells him how to do agility, with no human input whatsoever.

 

 

Wow. Very well said. That sums it up beautifully.

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But I wonder if this is a matter of semantics, that what some call "instinct" may be better explained as "intuition."

 

Perhaps - although I would qualify that as "Border Collie intuition".

 

Labs have intuition, Shepherds have intuition, Terriers have intuition. But there is simply something different about the Border Collie.

 

But see, here's the thing. Instinct tells birds to build nests and fly south for the winter. Instinct tells squirrels to gather nuts and mothers to suckle their young. And instinct tells a border collie to gather sheep. There's nothing in the border collie package that tells him how to do agility, with no human input whatsoever.

 

Not "how to do Agility", but how to handle certain aspects of Agility. Things that are not trained, but are sometimes just there, things that go beyond training that the dog actually brings into the mix.

 

I can go with calling that "Border Collie Intuition". But where would such a thing come from . . . ? Breeding for the purpose of preserving the instinct that the Border Collie needs to work stock.

 

This point of view actually supports breeding for stockwork, not sports. If there were no connection between the "instinct package" of the Border Collie and the particular way that Border Collies excel at sports, then preserving that instinct in Border Collies that will participate in sports (I don't mean "sport-bred") would be completely moot. I would say that such a connection does, in fact, exist.

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shysheperdess:

 

While it's legitimate to point out another poster's lack of experience as it bears on how much weight their assertions merit, statements like the following are really more akin to personal attacks:

 

you seem to try to be the "spokes person" for doggie sport competitions on this forum . . . .

 

you try and ACT as if you are some big time sport trainer . . . .

 

And you are participating in this agility debate coming off as if you are scouting out the next agility champion . . . .

 

Even if that is your perception of what Root Beer is trying to do, by confining your comments to what her experience has been and why you think that it's insufficient to support some statement(s) she has made, you can make your point (if there is indeed valid support for your point in what she's written) without personally attacking her.

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Instinct

1: a natural or inherent aptitude, impulse, or capacity

2 : a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason

b : behavior that is mediated by reactions below the conscious level

 

I’m wondering about the idea of a working Border Collie bringing an instinct or package of instinctual tendencies to a sport such as agility that would make it better suited to do agility.

There does seem to be a consensus that the working Border Collie is the best-suited dog to excel at agility, so what, exactly, makes this so? Is it physical characteristics that give him this edge, or is it some instinct or combination of instincts? Or is it simply the Border Collie’s superior intelligence and/or biddability, or a combination of these elements?

 

It has been posited that the inherent ability to read stock or the inherent desire to work stock are not much use on the agility course, because the obstacles are static and inanimate – they show no body language to the dog to either excite his interest or provoke a response. I agree with this. But there is something on the agility course that does excite his interest and provoke a response from him – the handler.

 

Most dogs have an inherent ability to read human body language; a trait illustrated by the fact that most dogs respond to hand-signals as well or better than spoken commands. But in the Border Collie, the trait of reading stock has been developed and bred for in a very high degree. And what is more, the Border Collie is also bred to act, on his own initiative, to respond to the cues sent to him by the livestock to carry out his work. Yes, he responds to commands, but the commands he receives are more about where the handler wants the stock to go, whereas how he gets the stock to go there is largely left to the dog. His movements must be much too quick to wait upon his handler to tell him which way to turn and double to meet with and thwart the simmering mutiny of an intransigent ewe, or the truculence of a stroppy ram.

 

If we assume that a very talented handler of agility dogs issues the right commands at precisely the right instant, we may also suspect that that handler is sending unspoken signals as well. These unspoken signals of body posture, and even facial expressions might easily be reaching the dog before the spoken command is uttered. A dog with the inherent ability to read stock may be able to pick up these messages more quickly and more articulately than say, a Golden Retriever, which is not bred to interact with the game he is sent for, but to wait – firmly in place – until sent by a verbal command.

 

The unspoken cues that the master agility handler sends the dog may be one thing that makes the Border Collie master of the agility course. A micro-momentary tensing of the handler’s body may telegraph a message such as, “This is a tight turn, be quick and careful!” or mirror an unspoken thought such as, “Here is a long, straight bit – pour on the speed!”

 

This would certainly explain why you hear so many handlers of Border Collies in agility say, “All I have to do is think what I what I want him to do, and he just does it!” This may be more true than they realize – at least, he may be responding quickly to prompts that they themselves are unaware of sending.

 

(It makes me wonder if the “Early Takeoff Syndrome” described by agility folk may simply be the dog’s ultra-sensitivity to the handler anticipating the jump and inadvertently cueing an early take off. I suppose one way of testing this would be to have the dog work for several different handlers over the same set of jumps.)

 

At any rate, if my suppositions are correct, it is yet another reason to believe that only dogs of great proven ability with stock should be used to breed agility Border Collies, because only seeing those micro-momentary interactions between Border Collies and stock can prove conclusively that the dogs being used can transmit this seemingly occult foreknowledge of the stock’s intentions, and/or an agility handler’s wishes.

 

The working Border Collie’s natural physical traits of speed, maneuverability, and lightning reflexes coupled with his intelligence and biddability may make him a good prospect for the agility course. But it just may be his inborn stock-reading ability that make him a star.

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Perhaps - although I would qualify that as "Border Collie intuition".

 

Labs have intuition, Shepherds have intuition, Terriers have intuition. But there is simply something different about the Border Collie.

 

My Terriers didn't have intuition. They were fun to groom and pretty to look at, but I'm pretty sure you could blow in one ear and feel a breeze coming out the other.

 

 

 

ETA: Sorry for the hijack. Just thought I'd add a little levity to the discussion

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I think we're pretty much in agreement, Root Beer. Perhaps we just have a slightly different perception of the word "instinct" or "instinctive," as applied to what a BC does on an agility course. But if it's only semantics, I think we're otherwise on the same page.

 

The package that makes the working border collie IS what also makes it a creature of excellence in so many other endeavors. So, perhaps that "border collie intuition" is part of the same package with the working instinct. We're definitely agreed that's all the more reason to preserve and breed the working lines - whatever the individual dogs actually end up doing in life. :)

 

~ Gloria

 

 

Perhaps - although I would qualify that as "Border Collie intuition".

 

Labs have intuition, Shepherds have intuition, Terriers have intuition. But there is simply something different about the Border Collie.

 

.....

Not "how to do Agility", but how to handle certain aspects of Agility. Things that are not trained, but are sometimes just there, things that go beyond training that the dog actually brings into the mix.

 

I can go with calling that "Border Collie Intuition". But where would such a thing come from . . . ? Breeding for the purpose of preserving the instinct that the Border Collie needs to work stock.

 

This point of view actually supports breeding for stockwork, not sports. If there were no connection between the "instinct package" of the Border Collie and the particular way that Border Collies excel at sports, then preserving that instinct in Border Collies that will participate in sports (I don't mean "sport-bred") would be completely moot. I would say that such a connection does, in fact, exist.

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Dear Doggers,

 

This conversation has taken an interesting turn. Kristine writes (in part): " . . . I would qualify that as "Border Collie intuition"" and Ms. Banner amplifies: "If we assume that a very talented handler of agility dogs issues the right commands at precisely the right instant, we may also suspect that that handler is sending unspoken signals as well. These unspoken signals of body posture, and even facial expressions might easily be reaching the dog before the spoken command is uttered"

 

 

Some time Ago I read an Interview in Working Stockdog news with a British SAR handler who now preferred Border Collies over his previous German Shepherds because (my paraphrase) " Border Collies always know where you are. If you're moving on one side of a mountain and they're moving on the other, they can find you quickly>'

 

The handler/dog connection is uncanny and strong. Despite our mantra that "the sheepdog must focus on his sheep", I believe we handlers at the post are cueing them every second with body and tone/whistle language. We think we are giving a single simple command "Go clockwise" when the dog is receiving "Go clockwise rather wide but quick because I'm losing confidence we'll finish the work before time runs out and finishing is vital to me and our happy life together."

 

We think we're sending telegrams when we're conducting symphonies.

 

Donald McCaig

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We think we're sending telegrams when we're conducting symphonies.

 

Donald McCaig

Which probably explains a lot of problems that I see *in my dog*. It's not my dog at all, it's me.

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Dear Doggers,

 

This conversation has taken an interesting turn. Kristine writes (in part): " . . . I would qualify that as "Border Collie intuition"" and Ms. Banner amplifies: "If we assume that a very talented handler of agility dogs issues the right commands at precisely the right instant, we may also suspect that that handler is sending unspoken signals as well. These unspoken signals of body posture, and even facial expressions might easily be reaching the dog before the spoken command is uttered"

 

 

Some time Ago I read an Interview in Working Stockdog news with a British SAR handler who now preferred Border Collies over his previous German Shepherds because (my paraphrase) " Border Collies always know where you are. If you're moving on one side of a mountain and they're moving on the other, they can find you quickly>'

 

The handler/dog connection is uncanny and strong. Despite our mantra that "the sheepdog must focus on his sheep", I believe we handlers at the post are cueing them every second with body and tone/whistle language. We think we are giving a single simple command "Go clockwise" when the dog is receiving "Go clockwise rather wide but quick because I'm losing confidence we'll finish the work before time runs out and finishing is vital to me and our happy life together."

 

We think we're sending telegrams when we're conducting symphonies.

 

Donald McCaig

 

 

 

Love this post!

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