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Reading the "advice for pup" thread comments made me curious to how did your dog learn best? And how long did it take you to figure it out?

 

I only have two border collies who, for me, are night and day different (size, gender, temperament, thought process, etc). :) i look forward to what my next border collie will teach me.

 

Cressa was my first border collie and basically my first Dog. It took me about 1.75 years to truly form a bond with her (think independent girl who had no use for me). But through her i found the joy of having a dog who LOVES to think and quickly picks up on tricks and commands. Througn Cressa i also found the art of free shaping. She taught herself countless tricks and we just click in our thinking general. You know thoughs friends who you can read each others minds? That is what i feel about Cressa. We just get each other.

 

Troy i thought would be the same. I knew he was a different dog but still expected another Cressa. I know poor Troy. :( While Cressa might be able to understand what i want with a glance Troy needed me to be more specific. What exactly did i want and how did i want him to do it. Mental games held no interest and general worried him. Troy doesnt like being wrong and unless direction were given wouldnt budge from his choosen position. It took him to 7 or 9 months to understand what i wanted with free shaping. Even now at 4 years old i let him watch Cressa training session before i work him. But it took me to about 2 years old to realize he learns better when i just show him what i wanted. Where Cressa doesnt perform as well when i lay out a plan Troy excels at it. While i may never have the same connection with Troy as i do with Cressa. He is still an awesome dog that taught me a lot but most of all taught me to relax and listen to what he needed.

 

Eta: i hope i am able to pick up what my next dogs needs faster then Cress and Troy. Rereading what i wrote makes me feel like the worlds slowest learner. >.<

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Missy was my instant partner. She seemed to learn through watching and interacting. I would show her what I wanted, put a name to it and she had it. All I had to do was figure out how to show her what I wanted and she did it. It was amazing. She would learn tricks by watching me teach Kipp. I'd have a bowl of food and a clicker out working with Kipp, and Missy would be over in her corner and start in doing things that I was training Kipp - like "hey, I can do it too, where's my food?"

 

Then I got Kipp :blink: where Missy was a deep thinker, Kipp was simple minded. Instead of figuring things out (unless they directly benefited him), he wanted to be told what to do. Kipp is a dog that needs consistency, structure and a game plan. He is highly driven, won't quit and will work all day for sheep, a frisbee or food. Loves to work sheep. Loves to work searches. Loves to learn stupid pet tricks. He wants to please, but he also wants his reward. Show him how to get that reward and he's good to go. He wants to do things right, but is also pushy. Very different from Missy in many ways, but still with the same great work ethic.

 

Kenzi is smart and energetic, but doesn't have the same *need* to do something that the other two did. She is more excitable and less focused. She needs lots of affirmation and wants you to be happy with her. She wants human interaction during training and craves it when we're just hanging out. She isn't as high strung or as pushy as Kipp which makes it a bit easier to train random behaviors, but a bit harder to get consistent results. She more sensitive and seems to second guess herself which can lead to things falling apart if they haven't been proofed. But when she's confident, she's spot on.

 

With Missy, I was a complete novice and we just figured each other out. With Kipp I kind of stumbled through the learning process, too - he was different, but his drive/work ethic made up for my shortcomings. With Kenzi I started out with expectations that where too high and treated her a lot like Kipp at first. It took me about a 1.5 years to tailor myself to her - mostly by trial and error. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty that I've been a bit dense with Kipp and Kenzi at times (when you start with Lassie, it's kind of hard to adjust down...). But then I look at them and they're pretty happy, they're pretty fulfilled, they definitely enjoy life and I keep learning so they don't have it too bad

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Reading the "advice for pup" thread comments made me curious to how did your dog learn best? And how long did it take you to figure it out?

 

Speedy has always been a very action oriented, "more, more, more" kind of learner. He never tires of learning, and he actually adores drilling. The more you ask him to do one particular thing, the happier he is to do it.

 

He has always been a fast learner, but he does best with hand signals and visual cues. We have always had to work harder at transferring cues to verbal only (which is required in WCFO Freestyle).

 

He doesn't care if he is learning through luring, shaping, capturing, or targeting - he eats it all up. He is very food motivated and I have always pretty much used food to train him. Toys stimulate him too much and he loses his thinking brain when toys are in the picture, so I have never play trained him.

 

Speedy and I learned training together, and I can't really think of a time frame during which I figured out what worked for him. A lot of it happened in small increments.

 

Maddie was the polar opposite. Where Speedy was always, "you say jump and I'll start jumping as high as I can" kind of dog, Maddie was always more of a "convince me it's worth my while and then maybe I'll consider learning it" kind of dog. She had to do many, many, many physical repetitions of a behavior with lavish food lures before she could even do something on a physical cue, and most things never made it to verbal alone with her. She didn't need that, though, since she did Agility, where physical cues are allowed and encouraged.

 

As we grew together as a team, she did come to learn faster, and even did some free shaping after we had a good amount of training experience together. It took a few years before she and I clicked as a training/performance team, but when we did, it was a beautiful working partnership. I often felt like we were dancing when we ran together.

 

Dean threw me for the biggest loop of any of my dogs. Since he was a Border Collie, like Speedy, I expected him to learn, and to approach training, like Speedy. He couldn't have been more different. Dean wants to know who, what, when, where, and why before he tries something. He is very concerned about being right and can stress at the drop of a hat. I was grateful that CU came along shortly after I adopted Dean because it saved our training partnership. CU gave me the tools I needed to help him learn not to stress and to enjoy training.

 

Dean actually doesn't learn quickly, which surprised me because he is highly intelligent, and quite the thinker. But he tends to need quite a few repetitions before he masters a new behavior or concept. Once he gets it, he has it, and he performs it better than any of my other dogs. He is highly precise. But it can take a while for him to get there. He is willing to try new things, but he doesn't master new behaviors or concepts quickly.

 

Dean is very verbal. He will work on physical cues, but he picks up on verbal cues quickly (once he has the idea of a behavior down) and he tends to prefer verbals. That tends to be handy, as long as I remember to get the right cue out! I confuse the heck out of him if I say the wrong word!

 

Dean does not enjoy drilling - it stresses him. So, I always break multiple repetitions of the same behavior up through a Give Me a Break structure. That game has truly been a Godsend for Dean and me. We keep things short and fun, and mix it up as much as possible.

 

Dean is 6 now and I really have come to appreciate him as a training and performance partner. Considering the fact that he does have an anxiety disorder, he has done very, very well. It took a couple of years for us to really click as a team, but I've learned more from Dean than I have from all of my other dogs combined.

 

Dean is food and toy motivated and I mix up food reinforcers, play training, and use of environmental reinforcers with him, depending on what is most appropriate in a given situation.

 

Tessa is also very different. She is a thinker, too, but she is nothing like Dean when it comes to learning style. Often Tessa needs to come to understand that a new behavior is safe before she really goes to town on learning it, but once she gets to that point (which doesn't really take all that long), she does learn pretty quickly.

 

One quirk of Tessa's is that she carries things out slowly until she really understands them. Once she has thought something through and really understands it, she can do it quickly. That has made Agility training . . . interesting . . . but we are making it work.

 

In some ways I feel like I have intuitively understood Tessa's learning style from the beginning. I have never felt the need to rush her and it has all happened very naturally. And, on the other hand, as we are starting to get into more formal and structured training now, I feel like we are just starting to build our training relationship.

 

Regardless, with Tessa, it's all good!! She loves to train and learn, and I'm looking forward to many good years of learning with her.

 

Tessa is food motivated, no interest in toys. With her I have also had the opportunity to use praise as a reinforcer. She is the first of my dogs who actually likes praise to an extent that she desires it enough to work for it.

 

It really is amazing how different all of them are. I've learned more than I ever would have thought possible from each of them.

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Happy-always been closly bonded with her, I have done a lot of differnt types of training with her, failing with many methodes, but that for "specific" things, for the most part she and I have always been on the same wavelength, I dont need to show her what I want, I just talk to her like I am talking to another person and she just responds. later i figered out that if she watched another dog doing something specific, I could then simpley give her the same command and she would do it, for example I taught Misty to play dead, looked at Happy, made a finger gun at her and said "bang" and she played dead. did the same teaching her to jump into my arms, she just got upset when I tried to teach her, so I taught Misty while she watched, then kicked Misty from the room and gave the command to Happy and she did it. I did this was sheep too, when she first saw sheep at 5 years she had no interest, so I put her in a stay on the bleachers and had her watch the other dogs, then when it was her turn she took to it like a pro, didnt miss a beat, listend to commands she had never been taught etc.. its awsome, BUT she is also very frusterating because she DOESNT respond to normal training, the best way I can describe it, as that she acts like being treated like a dog,(walked on a leash, talked to like a dog, heavily praised etc..) is an insult lol.

 

Misty-LOVES freeshaping, she goes mental for it, bring out a clicker and free shape with her and she will learn anything with insane enthusiasm lol, the only thing this didnt work for was walking nice on a leash, tryed every trick in the book..and all of them worked...until she got to a new area. finally I figered out(many YEARS later) that the tension on the leash to her meant I was with her, and that was the most important thing to her, knowing I was there corrrectionsm rewards, stopping etc.. ALL meant I was with her..finally I screwed her up, I did the tree method, but instead of forcing her to stop with me, I dropped the leash, she got about 10 feet before she realized that I wasnt with her and bounced back to me as fast as she could, did it again everyime she pulled,...she hasnt pulled since lol, Misty does NOT respond well to corrections...mostly she ignores them.

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Bear learns best with luring....he's all about the food. He needs a lot of repetition before he 'gets it' though. I tried using the clicker with him and while he understands that click means treat, I was not able to get him to understand that what he does leads to the click that gets him the treat. Also, he likes to run through every trick that he know 3-4 times before I can convince him we're going to learn something new and that's the only way he'll get his treat.

 

Meg lives for free-shaping. She learns body/hand signals quickly. Verbal cues take longer. She also learns some by watching other dogs. People in our classes never believe me when I say she's never done something before. She watches the trainers dog do it or the demo dog learn it and she gets it. We just have to fine tune 'it'.

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She also learns some by watching other dogs. People in our classes never believe me when I say she's never done something before. She watches the trainers dog do it or the demo dog learn it and she gets it. We just have to fine tune 'it'.

 

That's something I forgot about Dean because it isn't as pronounced now as it was several years ago, but he also learns from watching other dogs. I was always amazed at the way he picked things up after seeing another dog do something just one time.

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Back when I got Luke, clicker training was really starting to come into fashion and I went that route, but I didn't really know or understand anything about shaping. I just click/treat when he did what I wanted and generally I used luring with the clicker. He was a brilliant puppy and learned very fast -- probably more due to his own personality than any great skills I had as a trainer. I probably trained him more like a horse since that's where my experience was. :P He's a big boy, so it worked. lol

 

Kaiser was scared of the clicker as a puppy, so I abandoned it and did all luring with him. Even the majority of his early agility training was all done with luring. How he didn't turn out to be a super crappy agility dog I don't know. Lucky, I guess. ;)

 

One of the reasons I was drawn to the border collie breed was because of how well they take to free shaping games and learning tricks. I think the day I saw a video of a border collie blowing bubbles on YouTube was the day I decided I needed one. :lol: I introduced Secret to the clicker on her first day with me and she took to shaping immediately. She can get frustrated and quit on me if I try to go too quickly or expect to much, so she was good for teaching me to break things down into many small steps.

 

I tend to leave all of that behind once they start training in agility, but it's fun to return to it now and again to see what she does. Last night I started to work on shaping her to bring me her toy (she has *always* struggled to interact with toys when food is around). Her default is to touch/stand on objects, so it was interesting trying to see her work out how to pick up the toy whilst standing on it. :blink:

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For motivation for them in training

Cressa is just loves to work. Working is generally her best reward. Tuggs toys or frisbee are her next best rewards. Treats are last. She like treats but they "slow her down".

 

Troy works best for praise. Being wrong shuts him down fast and for him not getting praise is similar to being wrong. Depending on his mood his rewards differs. If he is worry/too high treats and clickers work best (when worry we practice a lot of CU). If he is driven and focus a frisbee is a great reward/motivator.

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Scooter, the Border Collie in my avatar, was a super fast learner. Tell him or show him once and he had it. Next?

 

Daniel, our ten year old adopted Scotch Collie, is much more quiet about learning new things and just about everything is new to him, other than walking on leash. I've learned, after the eight months he's been here, that we can work on something for a while with what seems like little success, but then one day I realize he's suddenly sitting and staying, or coming when called.

 

I don't know if this is a difference in the breeds, his personality, or if he just never had to learn anything. Sometimes when he's sleeping, I look at him and wonder what kind of dog he'd be if someone had taken the time to teach him how to behave and how to play when he was a puppy. Such a good boy though, considering his rocky start in life. :wub:

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. . . we can work on something for a while with what seems like little success, but then one day I realize he's suddenly sitting and staying, or coming when called.

 

That happens sometimes with Tessa. We will work on something and it will seem like she isn't getting it at all. Then, at some point when we are not training, she does exactly what we have been working on and she's looking at me like "this is it!!"

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Dear Doggers,

 

Interesting question. I'm not sure whether sheepdogs learn differently. I do think they learn for different reasons.

 

Strong instinctual drives are best but I've seen "first dogs" with very little talent learn to be competent workers because they were devoted to their owner/handlers and the dog's wished to share the work their owners apparently valued. (Most experienced handlers wouldn't bother with such a dog - too much time for mediocre results.)

 

I'm also unsure how variable the experienced handler's training methods can be since they depend on split-second responses to what the dog is thinking/doing. Such responses are, of necessity, "thoughtless" reflexes.

 

One can, on the other hand, perceive a dog differently than one has. AHA! That's why he's gripping, or refusing, or running too tight, or . . . and adjust one's moves accordingly.

 

Training a dog for genetically extrinsic activities like obedience or agility might emphasize different dogs' learning patterns better than sheepdog training.

 

That said: almost all trial dogs are mannerly. More so, I would contend, than any other group of dogs I have seen, including trainer's dogs at conferences, dogs at agility matches and dogs at obedience matches.Sheepdog mannerliness is, I have thought, a pleasant untrained-for consequence of a dog intensely trained in stockwork. In short, one's sheepdog is mannerly in the hotel lobby because he is bonded on the trial field.

 

But that can't be true. If so, agility dogs and obedience dogs - trained every bit as thoroughly as trial sheepdogs - would be mannerly away from their competitons too. Many are of course, but a fair percentage are not.

 

Moreover, those pet terriers and sack dogs one sees under the handler's tent would be ill-mannered because they won't have had the intense training their sheepdog fellows have enjoyed.

 

I'd appreciate your thoughtful disagreement.

 

Donald McCaig

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But that can't be true. If so, agility dogs and obedience dogs - trained every bit as thoroughly as trial sheepdogs - would be mannerly away from their competitons too. Many are of course, but a fair percentage are not.

 

Moreover, those pet terriers and sack dogs one sees under the handler's tent would be ill-mannered because they won't have had the intense training their sheepdog fellows have enjoyed.

 

I'd appreciate your thoughtful disagreement.

 

Donald McCaig

 

OK, I'l bite. :D

 

Actually, the picture you paint of trained stockdogs being impeccably mannerly off the trial field is not in line with the reality that I have observed personally. I could point to some very specific examples of trained stockdogs who have behaved in my presence in a very unmannerly fashion, indeed, off the trial field.

 

In contrast, I have observed many Agility dogs (including a goodly amount of terriers), and minimally trained pet dogs, go above and beyond in the manners department in some situations that managed to surprise the heck out of me.

 

Of course, in the pet and sport worlds, you will find the entire spectrum of range of training and manners. Some are exemplary, some are downright ill-mannered, and many fall somewhere in between.

 

And among the working stockdogs that I have seen and observed, I have seen a similar range of mannerliness.

 

Of course, this boils down to what you have observed personally and what I have observed personally. Obviously there is a distinct difference in our personal observations.

 

And let me be clear, in case anyone reads what I have written and thinks that I have said that all trial stockdogs are unmannerly - that is not what I have said, nor intended to say. Indeed, many have been mannerly (although not to a degree that made me think there was anything lacking in mannerly pet or sport dogs).

 

However, I have also observed pretty much the same level of mannerliness, off the trial field, among a very high percentage of sport and pet dogs of many, many breeds. There are absolutely exceptions, but I've seen similar exceptions among trained stockdogs, as well.

 

I would say that mannerliness is tied as much to what a particular dog learns as how that dog learns. Sometimes what is learned for trial translates into good manners, but not always. And that is leaving important factors such as temperament and the individual dog's background out of the picture completely.

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Dear Doggers,

I enjoyed showing Kristine around the 2009 Finals and visiting her training class.

 

I will say that in 25 years of Trialing I have never seen a dog fight but I won't argue what is observable but unargueable. Are all or even most agility and competitive obedience unmannerly? Of course not. Is every trial dog mannerly? I have one that is not.

 

But I would be willing to bet that any objective observer who visits (a) a sheepdog trial, (B) an agility match and © a rally match would find the trial dogs better mannered.

 

Certainly spectators often express their amazement.

 

Mannerliness is not a trial handler's goal. The "Most mannerly" ribbon ranks with "Miss congeniality:" But if I'm right and I think I am, I wonder why. Agility and obedience handlers are as skilled as their trial compatriots. Their Border Collies are often litter mates. And many of them are breeding for mannerliness.

 

Dog Fancy culture with its profound distrust of dogs might explain part of it. Off lead from the outset might explain part. Working with a dog's genetics instead of "genetics-neutral" might be part of the explanation.

 

But the phenomenon is worth investigating. In there, somewhere, might be clues how to better train not trial dogs but companion dogs.

 

As I've said, I am happy to discuss this odd phenomenon (shouldn't obedience dogs be more mannerly than dogs never trained explicitly for obedience?), but I won't argue for what I have observed and what you can observe for ourself any time you visit a traditional trial.

 

Donald McCaig

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But I would be willing to bet that any objective observer who visits (a) a sheepdog trial, (B) an agility match and © a rally match would find the trial dogs better mannered.

 

If you were at the last two Agility trials, and last three Freestyle competitions that I've been to, you would lose that bet. :D

 

Actually, I can't recall the last time I saw an unmannerly dog at a trial of any kind (of course, I don't do competitive Obedience, so I can't speak for those events). I can't say it has never happened, but I have observed it to be extremely rare. I see a lot more handlers getting on their dogs about things that I personally think do not merit that kind of a response, but that is something different altogether.

 

We can argue, "which dogs are better mannered" all day long, and cite our own personal experiences (which obviously differ, especially when it comes to observation of dogs at sport trials), but where does this tie in to a discussion of how our own dogs learn?

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For my border collie and me, it's all about keeping training upbeat and having fun. Don't believe she would let me ask of her the activities we enjoy, if she didn't think I was having a good time as well. If I were to choose a training method that works best for us it would be shaping, or successively close approximations, until the desired behavior is reached. The breed has so much intelligence, drive and biddability that, for us, training is rarely hard work. Folks who want to win at competition will search-out champions and their off-spring. I believe in training the dog you have, where it's at, with the resources reasonably available, and doing it now rather than later. Work with what you've got. Helps eliminate excuses (and I make them sometimes). For Josie and me it's about the bond, and developing her to potential, whatever that may be. IMO, a person can have a lot of fun with a beloved well-bonded herding dog, and get useful farm chore help, as well. -- Kind regards, TEC

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Dear Doggers,

Kristine wonders:"We can argue, "which dogs are better mannered" all day long, and cite our own personal experiences (which obviously differ, especially when it comes to observation of dogs at sport trials), but where does this tie in to a discussion of how our own dogs learn?"

 

Because, all other things being equal, if one training system -as an ancillary benefit of training for sport -produces significantly and observably better mannered dogs than another a comparison might suggest all sorts of interesting questions about how dogs learn.

 

I'd like to arrange a challenge this fall in Virginia during the October trial season. Perhaps there will be some agility trials Kristine can suggest during the same period.

 

Donald McCaig

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I wonder if it's not also a matter of perception/interpretation. People at, say flyball, and I imagine to a lesser extent agility, trials appreciate/want/need an amped up dog, at least for some of the time. Could an outside observer see those desirable traits, in the context of the venue, as a lack of manners?

 

Likewise, could, say, sheepdog trial people, look at a culture at certain venues that requires keeping dogs on leash except when actually trialing as evidence of dogs that aren't in control off leash? I remember the first time I heard some folks (who came from a different venue) yelling loose dog as my dog walked by ahead of me (so they didn't see me), unleashed, and under control at a USBCA type trial, I thought "What the hell?" But then I realized that they usually attended stock events that required dogs to be on-leash at all times except on the trial field. The point being that if I attended one of their events and saw nothing but dogs on leash, might I conclude that this was the case because they couldn't be trusted off leash? (And of course, it's entirely possible that some of them can't be because their owners haven't bothered to train it, because they don't need it, but I'd have no way of knowing that unless I actually saw the dog(s) misbehaving off leash.)

 

I visited with a friend at a local agility trial over several days last December. The dogs were kept on leash until they entered the ring and then put on leash before they exited. I might have concluded that this was because the owners couldn't control the dogs if they weren't on leash, but there was really no way of knowing because the rules (I believe) required the competitors to keep dogs on leash except when actually competing.

 

At the agility trials I've been to, I've not seen a lot I would call lack of manners, but that's because I just assumed that I was seeing desirable behaviors (that I might consider lack of manners in normal circumstances) for the venue in question.

 

I have seen the pocket dogs at sheepdog trials be obnoxious, largely because--as elsewhere--at least some people don't feel a need to teach a little dog manners. In that regard my experience is different from Donald's, though I will say that the dogs I refer to belonged to specific handlers and I don't see those dog/handlers any longer--and the small dogs I see at trials now do seem to be well behaved.

 

Just my two cents.

 

J.

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Because, all other things being equal, if one training system -as an ancillary benefit of training for sport -produces significantly and observably better mannered dogs than another a comparison might suggest all sorts of interesting questions about how dogs learn.

 

"All other things being equal" is really the key ingredient here. There is almost no way to make all other things equal.

 

For all other things to be equal, all other things (Training goals, Effort put into training, Consistency of time, effort, and goal among all handlers/dogs at the event in question, Type of distraction, and level of distraction, that dogs in question are encountering, Etc.) must be equal - and, in reality, they are not.

 

I could bring my own dog - trained completely through reinforcement based training - and walk around with her loose at a stockdog trail (as permitted) and she would behave impeccably. I could (if such a thing were permitted, and it is usually not, and I obey such rules as a matter of principle) walk around with her loose at an Agility trial and her behavior would be identical. Same dog, same method of training resulting in behavior at the two different events.

 

That's an "all things being equal" comparison.

 

If I brought my neighbor's shock collar "trained" dog . . . well, neither of us would want him loose at either event - believe me.

 

That's an "all things being equal" comparison. Same dog, same method resulting in behavior (or lack thereof, in this case) at the two events.

 

The other thing that simply cannot be equal is that not all Agility competitors train their dogs through the same training system. If you sat down with 20 Agility competitors, you would find far, far more variation in training approach than you might expect.

 

So, all things are not equal in that regard, either.

 

I'd like to arrange a challenge this fall in Virginia during the October trial season. Perhaps there will be some agility trials Kristine can suggest during the same period.

 

Sure, there is an event in Maryland that I plan to attend in October, weather permitting. Anyone who would like to be there is more than welcome. I can get pertinent info to anyone who is interested in observing the behavior of the dogs present at this event.

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But I would be willing to bet that any objective observer who visits (a) a sheepdog trial, (B) an agility match and © a rally match would find the trial dogs better mannered.

 

Certainly spectators often express their amazement.

 

Some people with limited experience are easily impressed. I've met people amazed that a dog will sit when told, or come back when called.

 

In any group of dogs fights are rare - it just isn't in their interests not to get along. (I exclude those dogs screwed up by humans to fight for their entertainment.) In a single breed group it is probably even rarer - and if there is any truth in what you claim, which I doubt, I suspect that a contributing factor is that the dogs you are talking about comprise one breed in the main - a breed that many of us can attest from our own experience on the whole tends to get along better with its own kind.

 

How many dogs at the sort of trial you are talking about?

 

2000+ of all shapes and sizes like we had at our own recent agility show? A recipe for trouble? Actually no, nor would I expect it to be.

 

And we held a Rally workshop and competition midweek for those "badly behaved" agility dogs that had never done it before. 20+ dogs ranging from a JRT pup to a GSD crammed into a marquee because of the rain. Any trouble? Of course not. A good proportion of qualifying scores though, including the little pup.

 

Don't forget that sport dogs have to be adaptable. They are carted around the country to stay in strange places and then perform in unfamiliar surroundings. Why would most of them not be "mannerly"? Not much different from trial dogs in their travels I guess.

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I wonder if it's not also a matter of perception/interpretation. People at, say flyball, and I imagine to a lesser extent agility, trials appreciate/want/need an amped up dog, at least for some of the time. Could an outside observer see those desirable traits, in the context of the venue, as a lack of manners?

 

Likewise, could, say, sheepdog trial people, look at a culture at certain venues that requires keeping dogs on leash except when actually trialing as evidence of dogs that aren't in control off leash? I remember the first time I heard some folks (who came from a different venue) yelling loose dog as my dog walked by ahead of me (so they didn't see me), unleashed, and under control at a USBCA type trial, I thought "What the hell?" But then I realized that they usually attended stock events that required dogs to be on-leash at all times except on the trial field. The point being that if I attended one of their events and saw nothing but dogs on leash, might I conclude that this was the case because they couldn't be trusted off leash? (And of course, it's entirely possible that some of them can't be because their owners haven't bothered to train it, because they don't need it, but I'd have no way of knowing that unless I actually saw the dog(s) misbehaving off leash.)

 

I visited with a friend at a local agility trial over several days last December. The dogs were kept on leash until they entered the ring and then put on leash before they exited. I might have concluded that this was because the owners couldn't control the dogs if they weren't on leash, but there was really no way of knowing because the rules (I believe) required the competitors to keep dogs on leash except when actually competing.

 

At the agility trials I've been to, I've not seen a lot I would call lack of manners, but that's because I just assumed that I was seeing desirable behaviors (that I might consider lack of manners in normal circumstances) for the venue in question.

 

I have seen the pocket dogs at sheepdog trials be obnoxious, largely because--as elsewhere--at least some people don't feel a need to teach a little dog manners. In that regard my experience is different from Donald's, though I will say that the dogs I refer to belonged to specific handlers and I don't see those dog/handlers any longer--and the small dogs I see at trials now do seem to be well behaved.

 

Just my two cents.

 

J.

 

I agree. To form an opinion of what you are seeing it is a good idea to have an idea of what is behind it.

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I agree. To form an opinion of what you are seeing it is a good idea to have an idea of what is behind it.

 

Very true.

 

A personal example - if you saw me with Dean at Agility class or a trial - you might think he had no leash manners (and, one might assume that I had tried to train those seemingly missing manners, the that the method I used must have failed deplorably) because you would see him running to the building at the end of the leash with me trailing behind!! Not a typical sight for a mannerly dog, I'll admit.

 

What you wouldn't know is that at one time (years ago now), he was reluctant to go into the building to do Agility because he experienced a very serious noise phobic incident in there during an Agility class. That killed all of his enjoyment for the game, and any willingness he had to try. Even once in the building, his anxiety was triggered, and he couldn't do much of anything. It was a really difficult point in his life that went beyond sports.

 

It took quite a lot of time and work (which involved a lot of motivational games and taking things at his pace), but in the end, his love for the game was rekindled and grew even deeper than it was to start. So, when he started running to the building to go in and play, I encouraged it. I want him to "drag" me to the building, or the ring, to play. So, as soon as I get the car door closed, and any stuff I need gathered, I release him to "go", and I run to the building with him.

 

What might look like horrible leash manners on the surface is actually me delighting in the fact that he wants to play, and running into the building together has become our own ritual that we both enjoy. If you were to look at my face, it would be clear that I am actually enjoying this dash to the door.

 

If I need him to walk with me (if Tessa is with us or we are just doing a potty walk), I don't release him to run to the building, and he walks. And, this "dash" is also handy if I want to get Dean from the car to the building quickly if there is thunder or gunshots in a particular area.

 

To see that and consider it bad manners would be, pure and simple, a false assumption. And, actually, if you were to see us leave the building after his run, the picture is quite different. As a reward for running with me, I ask him to walk in heel or side going back to the car. But that is our return ritual, not our entry ritual.

 

This does tie in with how Dean learns. He tends to learn well through motivational games. Running to the building to do Agility is a motivational game for him. We do this, quite simply, because he enjoys it, and I enjoy it. It has helped increase his comfort and enjoyment level, which is, really the most fundamental foundation of Agility. I have incorporated that into quite a lot of his training.

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Sure, there is an event in Maryland that I plan to attend in October, weather permitting. Anyone who would like to be there is more than welcome. I can get pertinent info to anyone who is interested in observing the behavior of the dogs present at this event.

 

Is this an outdoor event, Kristine? If you're talking about the agility trial hosted by the Baltimore Sheltie club, I may be there with a friend.

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@ Donald: Why not just come to an National Agility competition?

 

USDAA has regionals per regions and I think their Nationals is in Oct and will be in CO.

 

AKC national agility competition is in March in OK.

 

Not sure where NADAC or CPE nationals are or if they even have one.

 

Also not sure where you are located.

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Is this an outdoor event, Kristine? If you're talking about the agility trial hosted by the Baltimore Sheltie club, I may be there with a friend.

 

Well, it is outdoors (hence, weather permitting!), but different event, unfortunately. This will be a CPE event in Knoxville.

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Not sure where NADAC or CPE nationals are or if they even have one.

 

CPE does - East Coast and West Coast, but both are over for the year. Location varies from year to year.

 

I am fairly certain that NADAC does, too, but I'm not sure when or where.

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