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Make sure you are comparing like with like. Most sports people will keep and work with a less than perfectly tempered dog; many working folk apparently don't and get rid one way or another. The turnover seems pretty high from what I read on here so no wonder you see what you do at trials.

I'm a bit confused. From what conversations did you draw this conclusion? I know of some poor tempered dogs in the hands of working dog folk. If the dog is a good worker, they'd no more get rid of it than fly to the moon. Instead they manage it.

 

There may be plenty of turnover (in your opinion), but I don't think it's because someone ends up with a dog with temperament issues.

 

Once again it seems as if folks are generalizing about things that they have no real experience with. Like Sue, I have experienced the cries of "loose dog." It turns out that these cries come from people trialing in other venues (outside of USBCHA type trials) where leashing is required at all times.

 

As for dogs running around at trials, there are dogs who are well behaved and under the control of their owners and there are owners who just open their camper doors and let the dogs fly without regard for where the dogs go or what they do, as long as it's not in the owner's immediate camper space. I suspect that at any venue (sports or working) one will encounter a microcosm of the larger world: clueless people, people who have a clue but are too self-involved to care about what their dogs might be doing, people who carefully watch and manage their animals at all times, and everything in between.

 

I was at a trial once trying to walk my dogs when a handler opened the camper door and let her dogs out. One of them immediately came after one of my dogs (the set out dog, as it happens), who was minding his own business as we were heading to a big field for a walk. That handler stood in her camper doorway and did next to nothing to stop her dog from going after mine. Letting your dog do that to someone else's dog is pretty damn tacky, and her behavior that day will color my impression of her from now on--I will never forget her apparent complete disregard for me and my dogs that morning. So yeah, crap happens at stockdog trials too--it all depends on the HUMANS involved.

 

J.

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I did get a bit of a chuckle at the very few non-USBCHA-type events I've been at where the presence of an off-lead dog was an object of concern (even if it was doing nothing to concern anyone but being off-lead) that resulted in shouts of "Loose dog! Loose dog!" like a rabid dog was careening about. But maybe some of that concern was that the dog in question might be wandering and subject to loss or hurt, rather than fear of a loose dog per se.

 

I always wondered if the clarion cry of "Loose Dog!" (Usually heard at AKC events or various types) was not a hand-me-down from horse shows. A loose horse at a show in unfamiliar, and usually crowded situations can indeed get into serious trouble, and be a danger to those around it, both equine and human.

 

Early conformation dog shows were frequented by (as spectators and as exhibitors) the same moneyed crowd that made horse shows a social occasion for the wealthy (and often clueless about the animals they came to see/ exhibit). In the cases of both horse and dog shows, the animals in question might be walked around the ring by their owner, but everything else was handled by a groom or kennel man. They knew little or nothing about the animals, and often regarded them as dangerous or savage.

 

At conformation shows one sees this panic when a dog appears off-lead. And, in my experience the dog in question is often nearly as hysterical as the screaming humans it is dashing past. They get into roads and get killed.

 

I don't know if they still do it, but I know PETA used to send people into the grooming areas to let dogs out of crates. I don't have any use for conformation showing, but to turn a scared, disoriented or nasty dog loose in an unfamiliar place is just cruel. But then, when did PETA really care about animals?

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I was at an Agility trial just this weekend.

 

The warm up jump was right next to the ring, and was not enclosed in any way. There was a fence between the warm up jump and the ring, but the warm up jump was also in the middle of an area where people were walking by sometimes with dogs.

 

I happened to be sitting in sight of that warm up jump, and I saw many people take their dogs off leash, as the other dog was running in the ring, to do some off-leash warm up work on the jump. Not one dog in the ring took notice. Not one dog let off leash for the warm up jump was anything other than mannerly.

 

I saw a decent amount of Border Collies. All were mannerly. All seemed perfectly content. None displayed neurotic, obsessive, or over the top behavior.

 

This was a small trial, but there was a mix of breeds, and levels of training. There were several handlers who had dogs who needed some space from other dogs (none Border Collies), and they were considerate about asking for that space, and the participants were courteous about providing it.

 

There were no dog fights. There was very little barking. There were a lot of dogs hanging out together, politely minding their business.

 

It really was about as "rainbows and unicorns" as it gets, as far as that goes.

 

Not all trials I've been to have been this way, but do trials where the dogs, Border Collies and dogs of other breeds alike, coexist peacefully happen? Obviously they do. And in my experience this has not been an uncommonly rare thing.

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Although I attended several long days at Crufts, that was my one experience of British agility and obedience. Many of Crufts agility Border Collies seemed near-hysterical and I was warned not to get too close to the agility dogs in the parking lot.

 

And yet you generalise by comparing the behaviour of some dogs that you know in their familiar environment with dogs pursuing a completely different activity with which you are not familiar. I wouldn't make any such comparison based on the few sheepdog trials I have seen.

 

Crufts is nothing like agility as it is conducted in this country and if your one visit was several years ago it was even more different then.

 

At least now the dogs are benched in a quieter area without Jo Public staring and poking at them, and they don't have to run the gauntlet of the crowds and get trampled on before they get to the ring.

 

I don't blame them for getting hysterical; it's hell on earth for humans never mind dogs at knee level.

 

Imagine several flyball teams all crushed together in a gangway with people, trolleys and wheelchairs pushing through and next to one of the busiest stands in the whole place. Most of the dogs BCs and in the charge of kids from 6 to 18. That's what we had to put up with one year - and amazingly to some noone got bitten.

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I would also consider the fact that many dogs being shown are with handlers they may not know well. If I hadn't said to hell with the whole conformation racket, and I were a professional handler, handling a new client dog, and it got loose, you had better bet I'd err on the side of caution and cry "loose dog".

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I'm a bit confused. From what conversations did you draw this conclusion? I know of some poor tempered dogs in the hands of working dog folk. If the dog is a good worker, they'd no more get rid of it than fly to the moon. Instead they manage it.

 

There may be plenty of turnover (in your opinion), but I don't think it's because someone ends up with a dog with temperament issues.

 

A kelpie breeder who "culls hard" and works on the basis that God will make more dogs. Not directly relevant except that the post that mentioned it passed without comment afair, giving the impression, rightly or wrongly, that it's considered totally acceptable to treat dogs as totally disposable in that way.

 

I totally agree with you that no sphere of canine activity has a monopoly on well behaved dogs and owners. Luckily for us all the majority fall into that category or nothing would be achieved by anyone or their dogs. It's unrealistic to expect all dogs to behave in the same way, just as it is to expect the same of people.

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I have heard that holding a dog's head underwater is the correction for a dog going to water when working (the dog is hot and wants to cool down by getting into a water tank, trough, tub, stream, etc.). To have the most impact, the dog is held underwater until it thinks that it's going to die. Unfortunately, there are still "trainers" who feel that this is an appropriate correction for a working dog. I have heard of other barbaric tactics that have been used in years past, and let's hope that all of these methods will soon become extinct (along with the jerks who utilize them).

 

Regards,

nancy

 

I've heard this mentioned maybe once or twice over the last 20+ years, never seen it done, have no trouble believing it's happened, but would have a lot of trouble believing it's happened more than very rarely. Also, it's not unique to stockdog trainers. Vickie Hearne -- a name dog trainer but never a stockdog trainer; an English professor, not a crusty old farmer -- advocated (in her book Adam's Task, pp. 67-68) curing dogs of digging holes in the yard by happily digging a hole with them, happily filling the hole with water, and then happily putting the dog's head in the hole. "I do this every day for three weeks. If there is no new hole, I redig the old one. It is not long before . . . [the dog] stops digging holes and devotes herself to preventing the very thought of holes from coming into my mind."

 

In the history of all forms of dog training there have been a lot of harsh, misguided methods used. But in every form of dog training I know of, those methods and their practitioners seem to be dwindling and dying out. Fortunately. Like Julie, I would like to see more peer pressure applied to the few trainers/handlers I know of who treat dogs harshly, but there will always be those who have a horror of seeming to be "telling someone what they can or can't do with their own dog."

 

I do wonder whether the dozen BCs that may behave impeccably at a sheepdog trial would be equally perfect if faced with the conditions that our dogs face all the time.

 

What do you mean "the dozen"? Are you under the impression that there are only a dozen dogs at our sheepdog trials? Or do you think that only a dozen of the scores-to-hundreds behave well?

 

In 28 years at sheepdog trials, I've seen one dogfight -- quickly broken up, no damage done. I've been startled by chained dogs lunging from under their trucks and barking several times, but no contact made. Don't recall seeing a dog pee on a chair under the handlers' tent. I've probably seen dogs pee on chairs just sitting outside the fence a few times, but to be honest it never made enough of an impression on me for me to remember it. That would be true even if it was my own chair. And these trials have often been in pretty chaotic settings -- fairs, festivals, Highland games (with bagpipes), loose kids running up to the dogs and latching onto them, etc. I often speak with spectators at sheepdog trials -- particularly at the finals, where I make it a point to sit in the public bleachers -- and it's a rare trial where a first-time spectator doesn't comment to me about the astonishing good behavior of "all those loose dogs."

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where can i get a unicorn? I want to use it to find the dog water boarding guy.....

 

They are in the tunnels at Agility trials. That's why so many dogs go off course running into them. :D

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I can't find that post about god makin' dogs? And culling hard....does that mean nuetering and finding a pet home or do you use a .22?

 

Dam unicorns never around when you really need'em

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I'm a bit confused. From what conversations did you draw this conclusion? I know of some poor tempered dogs in the hands of working dog folk. If the dog is a good worker, they'd no more get rid of it than fly to the moon. Instead they manage it.

A kelpie breeder who "culls hard" and works on the basis that God will make more dogs. Not directly relevant except that the post that mentioned it passed without comment afair, giving the impression, rightly or wrongly, that it's considered totally acceptable to treat dogs as totally disposable in that way.

 

Are you serious? From post #11 in this thread, you concluded that, unlike most sports people who "will keep and work with a less than perfectly tempered dog; many working folk apparently don't and get rid one way or another. The turnover seems pretty high from what I read on here so no wonder you see what you do at trials"? From post #11 in this thread you drew those conclusions?

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This has gotten rather heated. I have started doing both herding and agility with some rally here and there. I was told at my first sporting events that the AKC was highly concerned with putting a good foot forward, and dog fights were a good way to get your butt kicked out of a show. So, the correct way to behave is to never allow your dog to greet another without permission, or pet a dog without permission. I still get in trouble now and again at my agility class for letting my dog walk too close to another. Luckily theres only a handful of dogs in class that have big space bubbles. The point is that it would be very rude if you, or your dog, razzed another dog that was about to run a course. I mean as rude as talking on your cell during wedding vows. I had a woman who was almost in tears apologizing to me because her dog play bowed at mine during group excercises ( down stays) during an obedience trial. Rocket didnt budge, and she was still livid that her dog interfered with mine.

 

When the stockdog club gets together its waaaaay different. Dogs are allowed to greet. We tie them out sometimes to keep them out of the way, and out of the sheep when they arent working. They seem to get along remarkably well. Im glad Im not the only one who thinks border collies are snobs with other breeds... Was starting to think I was nuts.

 

I think that it just depends on the people and event youre at. We had an event here called dogapooloza where you paid admission for a dog day at the pool. Off leash dogs of all kinds EVERYWHERE and no fights.

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I don't get why someone would get their panties in a bunch if someone rehomed a stock dog that didn't work up to the owner's standards. I mean if you get a dog because you need one to work stock, and it doesn't do that - or doesn't do it well - why wouldn't you rehome it? Chances are a working stockman or woman doesn't want to just loll about on the sofa all day with a pet dog, (or at least, may not have time to do so.) So wouldn't it make more sense to rehome the dog to a situation where it would be a valued asset as a pet or sports dog?

 

Do people get upset that retired guide dogs get rehomed? It makes perfect sense to me. In the words of a "puppy raiser,"

 

"A guide dog begins working at approximately 2 1/2 years and will on average work for six to eight years. The guide dog user will decide when it is time to retire their guide dog and has the choice to either keep the dog as a pet, give it to a family member, or return it to Guide Dogs of America. It can be difficult on the retired guide dog to be kept as a pet because the dog will sometimes become jealous or depressed over the new guide dog partner. You have to remember that the Guide Dog team has been almost inseparable for 6 to 8 years. How would you feel if you saw someone else assume your normal role in the guide dog team?

 

Guide Dog RejectRetired Guide Dogs that are returned to Guide Dogs of America are put into the adoption program The original puppy raisers are called first and asked if they wish to adopt the dog. I have not been in the puppy raising program long enough to experience this, but I have seen some of our puppy raisers receive their retired guide dogs back after ~10 years. If the puppy raiser does not take the guide dog back then the dog is given to a pre-screened individual from the GDA adoption waiting list. The GDA website says there is currently a 4-6 year wait to adopt a career change or retired guide dog."

 

(from: http://puppyintraining.com/what-happens-to-a-retired-guide-dog/)

 

If we grant that the average purchaser of a working dog wants a dog able and willing to do the kind of work it was selected for, it doesn't seem so hard to understand some turnover. Of course some folks will want to keep their retired working dogs, just as many people who compete in sports will hang onto a dog for it's whole life.

 

But I personally feel that some people get carried away with this whole notion of a "forever home." Life is lumpy. And I've seen many a dog kept by owners who were not happy with the dog because their circumstances took an unforeseen direction, and it no longer worked for their needs/situation. Not all those dogs were cherished. Some were seen as a burden, but guilt kept the owner form rehoming the dog because it wasn't politically correct in their doggy crowd. Better the dog should go to a place where it was a good fit. Better for the dog.

 

As for unicorns... I've heard that they hang out in forests, resting their heads in the laps of virgins. (Which might explain why virgins seem to be scarce too.) :P

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But I personally feel that some people get carried away with this whole notion of a "forever home." Life is lumpy. And I've seen many a dog kept by owners who were not happy with the dog because their circumstances took an unforeseen direction, and it no longer worked for their needs/situation. Not all those dogs were cherished. Some were seen as a burden, but guilt kept the owner form rehoming the dog because it wasn't politically correct in their doggy crowd. Better the dog should go to a place where it was a good fit. Better for the dog.

 

Well said. I've placed 3 dogs that were not a good fit. The first was a dog given to me as a gift. She was not a breed I would have chosen and needed a home where she could be a spoiled pet. That's exactly where she went. The second was a Border Collie whose personality clashed with mine. She was also a superbitch and the tension level in my house was unbearable. No one was happy. I still cried when I said goodbye to her, but she went to the perfect home as a goose dog. The third was an adolescent Border Collie who was not fitting in to my pack (withdrawing) and not my style of dog on sheep. She is now a well only loved pet and gets a long hike every day.

 

I have also placed 3 adult, retired dogs with family members who are themselves retired. Once they reach an age when they can no longer work they can sometimes get depressed when the younger dogs take their place (just like with the guide dogs). My former working dogs get to hang out with and be pampered all day by the retired humans. The humans get a fully trained, well behaved, vetted canine buddy to keep them company.

 

I am currently thinking about placing yet another dog that isn't taking retirement well (jealous of the younger dogs).

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Early conformation dog shows were frequented by (as spectators and as exhibitors) the same moneyed crowd that made horse shows a social occasion for the wealthy (and often clueless about the animals they came to see/ exhibit). In the cases of both horse and dog shows, the animals in question might be walked around the ring by their owner, but everything else was handled by a groom or kennel man. They knew little or nothing about the animals, and often regarded them as dangerous or savage.

 

I am assuming you mean the owners (not the groom or kennel man) were often clueless, in which case I agree. In (probably) most cases, it was the kennel staff who spent all the time with the dogs, not the owners. I never even met 'in person' the owner of my first show dog. I picked him up from the handler's kennel. So, there may be some truth to what Donald was saying about show dog owners not being particularly dog savvy. However, I suspect this was much more the case very early on, though I don't have recent (after 1999) experience to say what goes on now.

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I'm the one who wrote the "God will make more dogs" post.

 

Of course, it was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Dogs will make more dogs. Not necessarily God.

 

It was meant to point out that the loss of one dog's breeding ability, whether by neutering or a .22, is unlikely to affect the breed overall. I say it all the time and it's the mantra I repeat every time I decide to spay another of mine instead of breed it. Unfortunately, there's plenty of local breeders willing to supply the Vegas population but I just tell myself I know where to get a good pup so why bother with it?

 

It was not a suggestion that working dogs are considered disposable by working folks, in general.

 

That is all.

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I am assuming you mean the owners (not the groom or kennel man) were often clueless, in which case I agree. In (probably) most cases, it was the kennel staff who spent all the time with the dogs, not the owners. I never even met 'in person' the owner of my first show dog. I picked him up from the handler's kennel. So, there may be some truth to what Donald was saying about show dog owners not being particularly dog savvy. However, I suspect this was much more the case very early on, though I don't have recent (after 1999) experience to say what goes on now.

There are many more owner-handlers from the middle class now. Dog savvy? Depends on your definition. They are in conformation, they belong to the AKC. If they believe the "party line", well...

 

But yes. Rich, clueless kennel owners or "gentlemen farmers" who never muck out, groom, feed, train, etc.

 

A friend of mine once house-sat for a guy in New York who had an immaculate, state-of-the-art metal shop. He said my friend was welcome to use the shop, so my friend did. As a good deed he tidied up the shop where he had worked, and also swept up a pile of metal bits under a massive lathe. Imagine his surprise when the owner returned and pitched a fit over the metal bits being swept up. Turns out the guy didn't know anything about how to use the fancy equipment, and those metal shavings (which had be collected at another shop) were there to create the illusion that he worked with the equipment!

 

There are plenty of show kennel owners who are like this. They may never set eyes on their champions from one year to the next. Their dogs don't know them from Adam. They don't have a pet dog at home. They just want to be able to brag about their blue-blooded ribbon-winners. Unfortunately their complete lack of knowledge doesn't stop them talking about dogs as if they knew one end from the other. And there are plenty of folks out there who believe every word they say. "They have the top winners, right?"

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There are many more owner-handlers from the middle class now. Dog savvy? Depends on your definition. They are in conformation, they belong to the AKC. If they believe the "party line", well...

 

I meant 'dog savvy' as in understanding dog behavior and care in general, sans "party line" considerations or questionable breeding philosophies. I hope I've clarified.

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Just to further my line of thought on "dog savvy" individuals... I think I initially sort of just rolled my eyes the first couple of times I read Donald's references to working folks being more dog savvy in general than show folks. However, rethinking his claim, it does make some sense. I think just the fact that working and trial folks engage dogs in a more natural (for dogs) setting would perhaps allow them more insight into what makes a dog tick. I could be off base, but that is what I have been thinking.

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Just to further my line of thought on "dog savvy" individuals... I think I initially sort of just rolled my eyes the first couple of times I read Donald's references to working folks being more dog savvy in general than show folks. However, rethinking his claim, it does make some sense. I think just the fact that working and trial folks engage dogs in a more natural (for dogs) setting would perhaps allow them more insight into what makes a dog tick. I could be off base, but that is what I have been thinking.

Well, (forgive me) but, DUH!

 

If you need to be able to evaluate a dog's mind so as to get the most out of it in complex and demanding work -

 

If you need to get inside the mind of one of the most intelligent, quick-minded and multifaceted brains in the animal kingdom, to bring out and balance the myriad qualities that make a working Border Collie the quintessential working dog -

 

If you need to help, support and instruct that dog in ways that the dog can grasp and utilize -

 

If you need to keep a dog fit and sound in all weathers, in varied terrain, and while working with animals which are not always instantly amenable to the wishes of the dog or its handler -

 

If you intend to then solve the Rubik's Cube of choosing two (hopefully unrelated) individual Border Collies to not only carry on this symphony of effort and cooperation in their progeny, but to improve on it -

 

 

Then yeah, I think you have to know a good deal more about dogs that how to "buff & fluff" them and get them to trot around at the end of a lead in a big triangular pattern for a handful of dried liver or a squeaky-toy.

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Then yeah, I think you have to know a good deal more about dogs that how to "buff & fluff" them and get them to trot around at the end of a lead in a big triangular pattern for a handful of dried liver or a squeaky-toy.

 

Hold on now! Training dogs for sports vs herding are awfully different activities that each require different kinds of dog savvy. I understand that in the previous statement you probably mean the sort of out-of-touch folks that take their prized show pup to a pet counselor and send them to doggie day care.

 

BUT hear me out anyhow. A service dog will do an awful lot for a piece of dried liver... There are many folks who excel at training a dog on sheep, but would have a really hard time training a seeing eye dog, or a bomb sniffing dog. The latter working dogs need to be trained to do really unnatural behaviors on cue; which is a whole different ball game where toy rewards and treats are often involved. You need a really clear reward for a very specific behavior. Dog work that involves more natural behaviors like herding, tracking, or protection are going to involve different kind of dog knowledge still. Being able to read your dog's body language, and let them know when they've done something right without marking it with a treat. These are all drastically different skills. Could you imagine trying to treat a dog every time it did a correct "Come By"? It would be impossible to train that way. If you've trained for obedience all your life its hard to understand training without clear rewards.

 

So the savvy that a herding trainer vs an agility trainer might have are both legitimate; just different.

 

Case and point.

I've had obedience people tell me to play with my dog after each herding training session so she learns that her work is rewarded. On-the-other-hand I've had stock dog folks scoff at using treats for any kind of dog training. I think treats definitely have their place in dog training, but my dog wouldn't be a good stock dog if she needed a game of fetch to increase her work ethic on sheep. So there has to be some middle ground.

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Hold on now! Training dogs for sports vs herding are awfully different activities that each require different kinds of dog savvy. I understand that in the previous statement you probably mean the sort of out-of-touch folks that take their prized show pup to a pet counselor and send them to doggie day care.

 

BUT hear me out anyhow. A service dog will do an awful lot for a piece of dried liver... There are many folks who excel at training a dog on sheep, but would have a really hard time training a seeing eye dog, or a bomb sniffing dog. The latter working dogs need to be trained to do really unnatural behaviors on cue; which is a whole different ball game where toy rewards and treats are often involved. You need a really clear reward for a very specific behavior. Dog work that involves more natural behaviors like herding, tracking, or protection are going to involve different kind of dog knowledge still. Being able to read your dog's body language, and let them know when they've done something right without marking it with a treat. These are all drastically different skills. Could you imagine trying to treat a dog every time it did a correct "Come By"? It would be impossible to train that way. If you've trained for obedience all your life its hard to understand training without clear rewards.

 

So the savvy that a herding trainer vs an agility trainer might have are both legitimate; just different.

 

Case and point.

I've had obedience people tell me to play with my dog after each herding training session so she learns that her work is rewarded. On-the-other-hand I've had stock dog folks scoff at using treats for any kind of dog training. I think treats definitely have their place in dog training, but my dog wouldn't be a good stock dog if she needed a game of fetch to increase her work ethic on sheep. So there has to be some middle ground.

No reference to other working dogs or sport dogs was intended - unless you think of conformation showing as a sport...

In all else, of course, you are right. :)

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