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Soft dog??


Cumulus Cloud
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Ok so my dog, Cloud, is VERY sensitive when it comes to verbal interactions. A slight raise in voice will have her laying low. I won't even have to yell and she could still probably sense my frustration and then tail is tucked in.

I read somewhere that soft dogs are often shy and skittish, although Cloud is not like that, I still can't help thinking she could be because she can be so sensitive sometimes. Also, Cloud isn't scared of loud noises and doesn't scamper off but she does if that loud noise is coming from a person. She is my first border collie but before, I had a german shepherd and I swear, nothing makes a difference to him. Or maybe it's because she is still young (11 months), I really don't know.

Would you say Cloud is a soft dog because shes sensitive?

 

Also, do you think sensitive dogs can do herding or are those kinds of work only ment for the hard strong dogs?

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Hum, well my Taw is very sensitive to my voice.

 

And she is powerful. I use her on cattle and in the yards at the unit.

 

I could break her heart with my voice.

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Hum, well my Taw is very sensitive to my voice.

 

And she is powerful. I use her on cattle and in the yards at the unit.

 

I could break her heart with my voice.

 

haha thanks for sharing!

 

Lets me know there are even cattle dogs out there with a personality like Cloud's smile.gif

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Ok so my dog, Cloud, is VERY sensitive when it comes to verbal interactions. A slight raise in voice will have her laying low.

 

Would you say Cloud is a soft dog because shes sensitive?

 

Also, do you think sensitive dogs can do herding or are those kinds of work only ment for the hard strong dogs?

 

Your description fits the way I use the term "soft" -- sensitive to correction. Ears go back, head gets low, that kind of thing. The dog appears to listen.

 

Very hard dogs are the ones that go about working stock as if no handler was present. The handler's corrections and commands can sometimes go seemingly disregarded and unheeded.

 

IMO a handler should understand his dog's type, and train accordingly.

 

To me softness does not always translate to a biddable dog, nor is a hard dog necessarily untrainable. Each dog type may perform better for certain trainers' personalities, and particular training methods.

 

Try not to indulge a soft dog. Quietly and firmly expect Cloud to successfully perform difficult jobs. Our insistence that the dog walk-up or whatever she is finding difficult, can bring-on the soft look, and that demeanor can appear as if she lacks power/authority. Help the dog, and if need be patiently break the task you are training into little pieces, making it progressively more complete, but require that the dog do it.

 

I have seen soft dogs accomplish confrontive close-in herding tasks, ones that his/her harder counterpart might shy away from. I don't think that soft/hard has much connection to the kind of herding tasks the dog is willing to take-on. In my estimation, a soft dog can become a fine herding dog. -- Kind Regards, TEC

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Your description fits the way I use the term "soft" -- sensitive to correction. Ears go back, head gets low, that kind of thing. The dog appears to listen.

 

Very hard dogs are the ones that go about working stock as if no handler was present. The handler's corrections and commands can sometimes go seemingly disregarded and unheeded.

 

IMO a handler should understand his dog's type, and train accordingly.

 

To me softness does not always translate to a biddable dog, nor is a hard dog necessarily untrainable. Each dog type may perform better for certain trainers' personalities, and particular training methods.

 

Try not to indulge a soft dog. Quietly and firmly expect Cloud to successfully perform difficult jobs. Our insistence that the dog walk-up or whatever she is finding difficult, can bring-on the soft look, and that demeanor can appear as if she lacks power/authority. Help the dog, and if need be patiently break the task you are training into little pieces, making it progressively more complete, but require that the dog to do it.

 

I have seen soft dogs accomplish confrontive close-in herding tasks, ones that his/her harder counterpart might shy away from. I don't think that soft/hard has much connection to the kind of herding tasks the dog is willing to take-on. In my estimation, a soft dog can become a fine herding dog. -- Kind Regards, TEC

 

Thanks for the info!

 

Because negativity works absolute in no way with Cloud, positive reinforcement is always a must when it comes to training. I'd say Cloud is the first dog I had so far that is forcing me to learn true patience wink.gif I can't say how much I appreciate that she came into my life because I learned so much from her already.

 

 

 

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Thanks for the info!

 

Because negativity works absolute in no way with Cloud, positive reinforcement is always a must when it comes to training. I'd say Cloud is the first dog I had so far that is forcing me to learn true patience wink.gif I can't say how much I appreciate that she came into my life because I learned so much from her already.

 

I understand completely. You've got to love border collies. The breed compels a handler/owner to learn how to train. They make training fun. There's so much to work with. Enjoy. -- TEC

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You've gotten good information. I'd also add that her behavior in every day training may not be the exact same on stock. That is, she may not be nearly as sensitive to your voice when she's doing what her genetics are telling her to do. One of my open trial dogs (and main set out dog) is quite voice sensitive and I can cow him easily off stock, but on stock he's a different beast altogether. That's not always the case, obviously, but it is a possibility to keep in mind when you start stock work.

 

TEC is right that you shouldn't indulge that softness. In other words, don't feel sorry for her if she gets all slinky or looks downtrodden when you correct her with your voice. She needs to be able to work past that, because if you farm and work dogs there are times when you're going to raise your voice (trust me) and those are the very times when you are least likely to want your dog quitting you. So go ahead and give her voice corrections and then move on and ignore whatever extreme reaction she has. She'll eventually learn that no harm comes to her, nor does she gain anything (your sympathy) by her soft/extreme response to a correction.

 

If she truly is soft when working too that doesn't mean you can't progress with her. It just means you're going to have to be creative about how you correct her when she misbehaves on stock, but most of the soft dogs I know (I started with two) seem to be better able to take corrections when working vs. just learning tricks, etc. at home, so there's a good chance that she won't be as soft in a working situation.

 

J.

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You've gotten good information. I'd also add that her behavior in every day training may not be the exact same on stock. That is, she may not be nearly as sensitive to your voice when she's doing what her genetics are telling her to do. One of my open trial dogs (and main set out dog) is quite voice sensitive and I can cow him easily off stock, but on stock he's a different beast altogether. That's not always the case, obviously, but it is a possibility to keep in mind when you start stock work.

 

TEC is right that you shouldn't indulge that softness. In other words, don't feel sorry for her if she gets all slinky or looks downtrodden when you correct her with your voice. She needs to be able to work past that, because if you farm and work dogs there are times when you're going to raise your voice (trust me) and those are the very times when you are least likely to want your dog quitting you. So go ahead and give her voice corrections and then move on and ignore whatever extreme reaction she has. She'll eventually learn that no harm comes to her, nor does she gain anything (your sympathy) by her soft/extreme response to a correction.

 

If she truly is soft when working too that doesn't mean you can't progress with her. It just means you're going to have to be creative about how you correct her when she misbehaves on stock, but most of the soft dogs I know (I started with two) seem to be better able to take corrections when working vs. just learning tricks, etc. at home, so there's a good chance that she won't be as soft in a working situation.

 

J.

 

Hi,

 

I was hoping Cloud would get some strong instinct on herding from her mom (who has a herding background).

Though I got Cloud as an agility prospect, I'm thinking of starting herding training as well just for fun. Wish me luck!

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  • 1 month later...

Busy resurrecting older threads...

 

My Brodie also fits the definition of a soft dog as you use it here - sensitive to both verbal and nonverbal commands. He wants to please but if he is intimidated he gets very wiggly and plaintive.

 

I've noticed that with the sheep (as has been pointed out), he gets a great deal tougher, though he is nervy. For awhile he had to run off and poop when he first saw the sheep. Then he was so trembly with excitement he refused to lie down -- his body was so stiff it was even difficult to physically push him down. He suddenly became very good at ignoring my "growly" voice.

 

It took a combination of patience and firmness to get through this initial stage. As has been said here, I was told by my trainer to not indulge his difficulty in lying down but to become more aware of the pressure and lie him down where he was most comfortable then gradually work to more difficult challenges. It, like most good advice, worked and Brodie, while still passively disobedient at times, has come a long way. I had him at the farm yesterday with the sheep for the first time in several months though we didn't get in the paddock for any serious work training(knee a bit too fragile yet) his barn manners were very nice and he did clear the pen for me while I put out water and feed, holding his "on guard" position without needlessly challenging the hungry crew wanting desperately to get back in the door to bowl me over.

 

Another thing I've noticed with Brodie is that he does much better when it's quiet -- just him and me. He hasn't had to wait his turn in the car or deal with other distractions (DH and Lamb Chops going for a stroll, for example!). His concentration will grow, I'm sure but when we're working on new things, I think it's okay to keep things simple for him.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I read your post saying your BC is soft. If that is Cloud in the picture there I'm sorry but she is not a BC but an Aussie Shepard aka German Koolie. So if it is her in the picture then your training will have to change and also you as you said she is teaching you patience. Never should a pup be teaching an owner it is always the owner teaching the pup as this instills nervous problems, Behavior difficulties, Traits that must never be allowed to flourish. I would be teaching her basic things and let her see that when your voice has come up a tone she understands why cause if you want to put her in agility your gonna be yelling as there is so much going on around you you have to lift your voice so she can respond while hitting the obstacles.

 

Also if you decide to go for agility do not try to teach her herding at the same time. This will confuse her a damage her more than she is. There is a place in South Australia I would recommend you take your Koolie / BC it is called Working Dog Center. Look it up. You will find after going there you may see a big difference more in you and understanding the breed and why the react and the behavior traits that you see and what she may be trying to tell you but to an untrained eye you don't see and she becomes frustrated and confused. Good luck in your herding and hope you both are happy.

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You may want to some research Jeron...

 

1. Australian Shepherds are a totally different breed to Koolies. Border Collies can be Merle and/or have blue eyes and/or short coats.

 

2. There are plenty of fantastic trainers in the US, so flying a dog from Virginia to Australia for training is probably not a viiable or necessary option.

 

3. Clearly you have not seen much agility, there is absolutely no need to raise your voice to your dog when running an agility course. Dogs have really good hearing.

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my girl Jill is very voice sensitive, but is nice on stock. Advice folks have given you so far is good. Don't listen to Jeron, don't think this person knows BCs at all. Also, I do both herding and agility and there is no confusion. Confusion only happens on the handlers part, not the dogs. they are smart. Also, though it is true, we all raise our voice at one time or another, BCs in general want to please us, so almost all BCs have some level of voice sensitivity, so in most cases we don't need to go over board with any correction. But I think Cloud will do just fine.

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Uh, Jeron? You do realize that the overwhelming majority of people on this forum do NOT live in Australia, don't you? Which means someone packing up a dog and nipping over to an Australian training center is really not going to happen.

 

I suggest you withhold your sales pitch and your arrogance, and go learn about Australian shepherds. They are an American breed that evolved separately and on entirely different continents/hemispheres from the German Koolie.

 

Good grief ... :blink:

 

~ Gloria

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