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I have been mulling over this for a while. So here it goes. I have heard time and time again about five areas that really get me irritated. This is not directed at anyone on the board.

 

1. If I only had the time, this dog would be an Open winner or win the finals.

2. This dogs has great breeding, International, USBCHA National Champions in his/her papers.

3. My dogs doesn't need hips, eyes, etc done as the grandparents had them done. And my dog never was lame and could see just fine.

4. Proof in the pudding….otherwise known, why are you breeding your dogs?

5. I take better care of my dogs that the trial people.

 

 

Let's address #1. Seriously folks, a bunch of us have full time jobs, a sheep farm and still manage find time to train our won dogs and some even give lessons. So why is it that some folks use this an excuse not to train their dogs. If you really think your dog has the attributes to be the USBCHA Finals winner, or a top Open winner, and you don't have the time, perhaps you are just full of BS. If you are too busy and think your dog is that talented, then send him/her to a handler who can showcase your dog.

 

Number #2, sure all of your dogs’ have International and National winners in our dogs lineage. But 5 or 6 generations back, it is really diluted. At 5 generation back, it is about 3% of that winner in your dogs....or something like that. I look up close and not 5 or more back. Also don’t ride on the coat tails of siblings, grandparents and so forth. Prove your dog. Just because a cousin or sibling is doing well, doesn’t mean your dog is just as talented.

 

Another one is #3 and people think since the grandparents hips are good, and they passed CERF that should be suffice for your breeding program. What especially is even better is when none of them have been done and the statement is “the parents worked on a sheep/cattle farm” and they never had any issues. Asking about eyes produced one answer, “She can fetch the ball fine so she see great”

 

Four is a favorite of mine. I worked the parents on sheep or have a couple of sheep and they work then fine. Bred the male and female together without any regard if the nick is even a good one and sell them as sports dogs. Tell the buyers the parents are working dogs. Don’t do trials as you are too busy and besides working them once in a while on your dog broke sheep proves they are super talented.

 

I saved the best for last. I have heard that “Us Trial People” keep our dogs in kennels and only take then out to work, then pop them back in kennels. That the dog is just a tool for me. That the trial folks have no regard for the dog’s welfare but only to win at all cost.

 

Nothing really happened recently that spurred me to write this but a accumulation of items over the years.

 

I prefer this thread not to be a rant session but perhaps, what actual experiences you have had of the above. MIne on based on several folks from personal or website, that I have seen. I am not going to name names and have this a bash session on any breeders.

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I think that for a lot of people herding ability is one of two things. (Sometimes on alternating days)

 

They think that the ability to work stock is just like coat color. The two dogs I put together are brindle, (or black or whatever) so the puppies will be too, right?

If a dog has dogs in their pedigree from "working lines" they will be able to work stock, Right?

 

Or,

 

I know my dog would be great at stock work but he hasn't been trained, that's all, right?

 

They don't get that the ability to work stock is a collection of many traits which all need to be present in the correct proportions, and that the training that goes into a stock dog is only part of what makes him shine. The correct balance of the agglomeration of all these traits is hard to achieve, even when breeding strictly for stock work for many generations. It is a balance which can be lost very quickly. Even the most blue-blooded working dog litter will sometimes have a dog who is merely competent to do simple farm chores. And if that dog is bred he will likely produce many pups of little or no use with stock.

 

It's a simple concept, really, but one that the average person seems to have either a difficult time understanding, or a difficult time accepting. People in the latter category seem to think, "You're making this all up, right? Just to make yourself and your dogs seem so special.

 

Well... There was a time that I thought that when I saw Lassie on TV in a field with sheep, that she was a sheepdog. "It's a natural instinct, right?" Then later when I wised up to the fact that Lassie was clueless with stock, I still imagined that my super smart rough Collie could be trained to be a great sheepdog. These notions were long held, and when they finally toppled there was a resounding thump. Is it any wonder that these folk who breed their kaleidoscopic, "versatile" Border Collies have no better grip on reality?

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I think #1 is just part of the human condition, it's not limited to Border Collies. You see it everywhere, in personal and professional settings of all kinds. If people "had more time" they'd be super fit, at the top of their industry, go back to school for this or that. Most people vastly underestimate how much can be accomplished in any given time frame, because they don't want to learn to be more efficient, or push themselves to accomplish more. People don't like to admit that time isn't what they lack, priorities are.

 

That said, I also think people in general can't tell the difference between liking the idea of something and the reality of it. I, for instance, like the idea of being a marathon runner. I absolutely despise the reality of it however. You can pretty much bet that if I'm running you should call the cops, because someone is after me. Boy, do I like the idea of crossing that 26.2 mile finish line though. I think it might be that way with working dogs, too. People like the idea of working dogs, but don't actually want to put in the work that comes with that reality. They have a hard time seeing and admitting that though. And I think this, to some extent, leads to the lack of priorities. People don't make it a priority, because in the grand scheme of things they don't actually want it.

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They think that the ability to work stock is just like coat color. The two dogs I put together are brindle, (or black or whatever) so the puppies will be too, right?

If a dog has dogs in their pedigree from "working lines" they will be able to work stock, Right?

 

 

I think this is very true...for most people, including casual Border Collie lovers, they don't really understand the complex set of behaviors that allow for a dog to work livestock well. They see it as a gene that you have or you don't have. Its a Border Collie, it must know how to herd sheep. Its a Lab, it must be able to retrieve in the water. Its a husky, it must know how to pull a sled.

 

I have a friend who did a training clinic for a group of Entlebucher Mountain dog enthusiasts several years ago, and they were very interested temperament testing as they planned on breeding only healthy dogs with good temperaments. When she asked them how they tested the dogs herding ability, they blinked and told her that of course the dogs could herd, they were Entlebuchers. They felt no need to actually test this, they were sure the genes their dogs carried that they carefully try to preserve via inbreeding would mean the dog could herd. It had never occurred to them that this might not be true.

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You'll get none of that #1 stuff from me. Not only is my dog of dubious lineage, but after yesterday, I'm pretty sure she thinks she's a greyhound.

 

 

 

ETA: And it goes without saying, I am personally out of my element

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Ive often wondered how many beautiful dogs slip through the cracks because of bad training, and will never get to pass on their gene because of it. Clearly, more goes into a good dog than genes, so Ive simplified the issue a bit. But, trialing may not be the best objective test of a great dog either. Breeding for behavior is a very difficult thing.

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The points that diane makes are very valid.

 

I'll add another one, breeding a dog that has never "worked" a day in its life. There are many a good trial dog that hasn't spent all day in the pens vaccinating or moving 300-800 sheep down a road, keeping them out of neighbours gardens, real work on a real flock. Not work on a small herding flock. Now that being said, I've seen some dogs that look tremendous on their 2000 ewe flock. Take them off the farm and away from familiar areas and they don't look great...probably training and flexiblity in the dog but??? who knows?

 

The last point that we don't care about our dogs, they are just tools is interesting. I certainly like my dogs but I'm no where near as neurotic about my dogs and what they get into, act, eat, when they get massages, chiro care etc as the majority of pet or sport people. They aren't livestock, i'm not implying that, but they are my right hand and i treat them well, just not like little children

 

Cynthia

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I certainly like my dogs but I'm no where near as neurotic about my dogs and what they get into, act, eat, when they get massages, chiro care etc as the majority of pet or sport people.

 

Is that not just as much of a generalisation as saying that people who work their dogs don't care about them?

 

I live in the world of pet/sport people and know very few who fit your picture of them - I certainly don't.

 

Don't be fooled into thinking that everyone is like those who agonise on the net about matters such as you mention. I do care about treating my dogs fairly and understanding them but I don't waste money pampering them (or myself) or subjecting them to any sort of treatment unless it is really necessary. I'm not a sucker for every new supplement or miracle cure that comes on the market either.

 

14 years and 6 dogs - none has ever had a massage, been to the groomer, been fed expensive food or been on any kind of untested supplement "just in case". We've tried hydro for boosting fitness for a big competition in the past but I wouldn't bother again, and one dog has seen a chiro once (and then only because she happened to be at the same show). And they don't have a wardrobe of collars and coats or a huge toybox to choose from.

 

I want them fit and healthy, free from discomfort and able to lead a relatively normal dog's life, as far as being a pet can allow. Most of my friends are the same.

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Boy I have to agree with Diane.

 

About the color. I have mostly black and white dogs. One red, one mostly white- (Those are Cap and Gunny, rescues both fixed.)

And Tick who is a HTCD who is a red spotted kind of dog. I guess merle.

 

I don't really care what color a dog is. It makes no difference if it can work hard at home on sheep and goats and cattle and trial at Open then who cares. I guess I don't really see the color as much as what the dog can do.

 

In the case of Tick, I had no choice in color. I was offered that pup and I took him. I would not breed him for his color! That to me is goofy and backwards. anyway he is only appendex reg. And who can say about a pup? Although it seems alot of those HTCD are the spotted kind. But I don't know. I got him in hope that he would be good for my yard work, and I like his mom so much. (Who is red.)

 

But

I would listen to folks who have been doing this a long time for opinions and considerations in breeding so errors that will cause problems later won't crop up.

 

But preaching to the choir here.

 

As for the other folks breeding for color- their motivation is not the same as mine.

 

 

 

Personally I have always fancied the mostly black dogs.

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Ive often wondered how many beautiful dogs slip through the cracks because of bad training, and will never get to pass on their gene because of it. Clearly, more goes into a good dog than genes, so Ive simplified the issue a bit. But, trialing may not be the best objective test of a great dog either. Breeding for behavior is a very difficult thing.

 

 

I don't worry about that. I think that idea is what makes people breed dogs that are not up to snuff. "MY dog is special, if only...", etc. Sure some may slip through the cracks due to bad handling but if the genes are there, they are likely to have siblings that fell into the right hands. I doubt many of the very superior nicks get full stopped.

 

As a (very hard culling) kelpie breeder likes to say, "God will make more dogs". It is extremely rare that the loss of one dog for breeding will impact the breed overall.

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Is that not just as much of a generalisation as saying that people who work their dogs don't care about them?

 

Yep, it is. The caricature made of pet people (ewww) who I'm sure all treat their dogs like children (because, you know, I saw someone do that) is especially revealing of that same, let's-disparage-the-'other' mentality that 'some' AKC show folks have. But us vs. them is a tribal thing, and people are tribal, regardless of how they fancy themselves a friendly lot.

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The last point that we don't care about our dogs, they are just tools is interesting. I certainly like my dogs but I'm no where near as neurotic about my dogs and what they get into, act, eat, when they get massages, chiro care etc as the majority of pet or sport people. They aren't livestock, i'm not implying that, but they are my right hand and i treat them well, just not like little children

 

Cynthia

 

...and that is probably why your dogs are not neurotic messes like a lot of pet dogs. Your dogs are fulfilled in their ways not in the ways people think they need to be (fancy treats, leashes, toys, etc). They get physical and mental exercise and are well rounded animals instead of being stuck in a fenced yard all the time and not getting their needs filled. I think so many people want whats best for their dogs but don't understand that they are filling their wants and desires (ie treating the dog like a human baby) and not their dogs.

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...and that is probably why your dogs are not neurotic messes like a lot of pet dogs. Your dogs are fulfilled in their ways not in the ways people think they need to be (fancy treats, leashes, toys, etc).

 

Oh baloney. I have known plenty of nasty ass, neurotic working dogs and lots of well adjusted, well mannered pet dogs. And the reverse is also true, of course. If you want to get right down to it, more "pet" people keep and work with their neurotic messes, and more working people just sell those ones, or place them as pets, so maybe it messes with perception.

 

There are lots of downright crappy dog owners in every single facet of dog ownership who don't do right by their dogs. There are also, sad to say, a lot of downright "crappy" dogs - I don't buy into the premise that there are 'no bad dogs, just bad owners.' And while I am using the term "bad" in its loosest sense (ie, I am not arguing that dogs _choose_ to be bad) my tolerance for how much work I am willing to put into a dog with bad genetics / poor nature working against them (think fear aggressive, biters, serious neurosis) has gotten considerably less over the years of doing both rescue and working in the shelter system. I don't necessarily think that these dogs are worth the trouble, emotional toll, and liability anymore. Doesn't mean that I don't respect the people who feel otherwise, but I certainly don't assume that pet people who have messed up dogs did it to the dogs themselves by buying them leashes and toys either.

 

My pet / sport dogs have lots of toys in their toy boxes, plenty of collar and leash bling, more soft comfy beds than you can shake a stick at, the best food I can afford, my cupboards are bursting with fancy cookies and I have seen the insides of the bastards via x-rays more times than I wish to (bank ac)count. They're also pretty well adjusted, well mannered, friendly, sociable beasts with no super neurosis. One does not preclude the other.

 

RDM

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Accessories are for my enjoyment :) I get them 'cause I like them, my dogs could care less :lol: And they have no bearing on how I train my dogs.

 

As far as expensive food, well, guilty as charged. But they're my dogs, it's my prerogative. If I feel that they're going to do better on a certain food and I can afford it, then why not? Just like it's anyone else's prerogative to feed a cheaper food that they feel is just fine for their dogs.

 

I saved the best for last. I have heard that “Us Trial People” keep our dogs in kennels and only take then out to work, then pop them back in kennels. That the dog is just a tool for me. That the trial folks have no regard for the dog’s welfare but only to win at all cost.

 

Quite frankly, I try to avoid worrying about what random people think as much as I can. Opinions are a dime a dozen. Yeah, some suck, but they're not going away. I work hard to do the best I can by my dogs. The people who know ME understand that and if people give me a chance, I'll explain it to them. But if they just want to spout stuff, then they still will. Bottom line, My dogs are happy and well adjusted. That works for me.

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I guess I can raise my hand as I do spoil the house dogs, Tess, Nan, Rainey and Maid. I also spoil the kennels dogs but not as much. All of the dogs get chiro treatment. The girls get acupunture, massage and just recently they got new collars. Tess has a huge box of toys and we have 7 dog beds in the living room for the four girls. All the dogs get Dynamite dogfood and the supplements. Each Sunday is bone day...raw or smoked.

 

BUT, the dogs run their hearts for me. They are not spoiled in the sense that they don't listen or run rampant but they get lots of love. They have a stable life and feel safe. At one time in my life, I didn't spoil them as much but over the years, we evolved. Tess was never allowed on the couch or bed, per my non-dog loving husband, and next thing you know, she got a sheep farm for her second birthday and when we got a new bed, the husband told the saleslady, it had to be big enough so *his dog* could sleep on it. (Actually you can blame Scott G. for spoiling Tess as he let her ride shotgun in his truck, sleep on the couch and be a lapdog....none of this was allowed when we sent her up to him for training!!)

 

I have found out whether you spoil them or not, what really counts it that they expect to be treated fair and have stability. Plus work. Each dog gets to helps with chores, moving the flock or training. Plus afterwards they get to swim in the pond fetching the ball. They get mental and physical work as well as playtime.

 

Other folks take great care of their dogs, not like I do but they don't treat the dogs like a tool. It doeesn't matter whether the dog lives in the house ot barn, has toys or not, it's how you care for them. I have had dogs that had NO interest in toys, they just wanted their basic needs taken care of....they prefered being a kennel dog. If you want your dog to live in the house or kennel, it is your dog.

 

Take good care of them and they will take good care of you.

 

 

Sorry to wander off topic ...back to the regular scheduled program.....

 

Oh, last year, I had person want to breed to Roo...their dog was mostly sports breed. I asked why and they said they breed sport dogs as they were faster than working Border Collies...they want to bred Roo since he was red and his half brother was the fastest flyball dog in the nation that year. I told, "Sure when i see you and your dog in the 20% at the last day of the USBCHA Finals"....oddly enough, I never heard back from them.

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Oh, last year, I had person want to breed to Roo...their dog was mostly sports breed. I asked why and they said they breed sport dogs as they were faster than working Bordder Collies...they want to bred Roo since he was red and his half brother was the fastest flyball dog in the nation that year. I told, "Sure when i see you and your dog in the 20% at the last day of the USBCHA Finals"....oddly enough, I never heard back from them.

 

 

I do have to say that I have a lot of respect for someone who will turn down a stud fee rather than breed to a bitch that does not meet the standards they espouse. That's called practicing what you preach. Not everybody does that.

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I have bred Roo only once in all of the years that I had him. I had well over 25 offers to breed to him and numerous offers to buy him for his color over the years. Most of them were agility folks but a couple of color breeders (who do not work/trial their dogs)

 

I bred Roo to Nan and the pups are outstanding. One is running in Nursery at 16 months of age. Roo was bred by his former owner to a ranch working Border Collie.

 

If I took up people who wanted to breed to my stud dogs, I would be sitting quite nicely, moneywise but then again, that's not me. I also have people who get my pups forflyball and agility BUT they go on a spay/nueter contract.

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Question out of curiosity, I have a small farm operation going on, run a flock of about 110 ewes. The most important work for dogs here is rounding up free ranging sheep in the fall (all sheep from the farms in this area graze freely in the highland, all non dogged with a pretty feral attitude). Difficult job to say the least. I am not a trialer yet, but working on it, Will try the Icelandic equivalent of nursery this fall.

Selling to someone in my position, would you demand a spay/neuter contract Diane?

Btw this is a completely hypothetical question as I have no breeding ambitions whatsoever.

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Would I say yes to you?....I ask for references if I don't know the person for a start. I have sold to workng ranches. I also sell on a limited contract ABCA....which can be a full ABCA papers later...and I have. I could not give you a yes or no answer based on above. Most of the pups are pre-sold when I do the breeding.

 

When I first got Tess from the BYB, she told me that the pups from her litter would be Open winners and could easily win the Finals. She never trialed BTW. I didn't buy Tess on that but to save her from being shot as the BYB was going south for the winter and couldn't be bother taking the pups. I asked her what made her think that the pups could win the Finals....her answer was: They work my sheep by themselves and are good at putting them in the corner.

 

Her criteria fit #1 and #2 from above.

 

 

I found out she would let the parents and Tess's older siblings work the sheep, on their own for hours on end. Some sheep died from being run down. Needless to say, a bunch of us, quickly bought or traded for the rest of her dogs....she got in Paint horses and lost interest in the Border Collies. (There is a GOD!)

 

Ironically enough, about 7 years ago, a couple came out and I worked their dog. She was quite natural and I liked how she worked. Her style was like my Tess. They went and got the paperwork on her (bill of sale) since the pups were not registered and lo and behold, she was Tess's full sister. We keep in touch as we have that family connection. Talk about a small world.

 

Getting back to the four questions, what others have experienced them?

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I purchased my dog from a rancher in central Idaho. No pedigree or anything, both parents worked but were not trialed. I found that kind of breeding to be common in those really rural areas. " You like how my dog works and I like how your dog works". I think many of the ranchers where I grew up wouldnt pay more than 50 bucks for a pup. Even if they wanted to trial, they might only be within driving distance to go to 2 trials a year. Ive been very pleased with the health and work ethic of this dog. I think there is a correlation, however, between the price of a dog and how easily it will be parted with... Which makes me sad. I think a lot of these little ranch dogs end up dead, or in shelters because theyre so cheap.

 

I think one thing we should all keep in mind is that we may violently disagree about breeding ethics (conformation breeders, BYB, working ranches, and dog trialers) we all still care greatly about our dogs. Ive been getting more active in my local dog community, and regardless of breeding ethics, most of the dogs I meet recieve excellent care. Show dog or pound puppy.

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5. I take better care of my dogs that the trial people.

I'll only speak to this one, but since someone else mentioned generalizations and you go on to mention owners/hnedlers who let dogs out only to work and go potty while implying it's not true, I think it should be mentioned that it is true. As in all walks of life, there are trial people who take excellent care (a subjective notion for sure, but let's callit giving them the best of the best) of their dogs, there are folks who fall in the middle of the bell curve, and there are those who don't take very good care of their dogs, at least by my personal standards. The latter group is one of the reasons I have often stated on this forum, when someone asks about working dog breeders being willing to sell to pet/sport people, that I would rather sell to an excellent pet/sport home than a trial home that I consider substandard. There are abuses, neglect, lack of caring, and downright cruelty among trial folks just as among the general populace. So while it's certainly untrue to say that *in general* trial people don't take care of their dogs, it's certainly true that there is a segment of trial people who take care of their dogs in ways that do not sit well with me, and probably wouldn't sit well with people from other walks of life either.

 

J.

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Thank you for being willing to say that, Julie.

 

Recently, a friend was talking about her rescue BC, who ended up in rescue when he washed out of a so called working home. Come to find out, that among other things, in this "home", he was held under water in the stock tank as punishment for some transgression when being trained on sheep. I'm amazed that good dog ever worked again, but he so did with my friend.

 

Now do I think that every working person out there treats their dogs like that? No, I know for a fact that they don't, but even if I didn't, I wouldn't assume as much. Just as I don't assume every pet/sport dog out there is a spoiled rotten brat with it's own t-shirt collection and weekly massages.

 

Generalizations and stereotypes do no good, regardless of which side of the working vs pet/sport fence you're sitting on.

 

ETA: Thank you for your great response, too, RDM.

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I'll take on #1

 

1. If I only had the time, this dog would be an Open winner or win the finals.

 

Then make the time!But trials are not the only way to test a dog, working them on a variety of stock on a daily basis both on your farm and others can help prove the worth of your dog for breeding

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