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Border collie breeders for a performance dog in S. Ontario


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Hi all. This will be my first post on these boards. I hope that it's an appropriate place to ask for feedback on a few breeders who I am considering for a potential future puppy, and maybe find a few new suggestions.

 

This potential future puppy won't be for at least another year, and 2-3 years is more likely. I'd like to start talking with a few breeders and really get to know them prior to any puppy entering into the picture.

 

Who I am:

 

I work at a local dog training facility which works mostly with pet owners with a bit of agility thrown into the mix. I currently own a 3 year old female Aussie and a 8 year old female Chihuahua (who came with my husband). I live in a large city with plenty of access to off leash parks, but no access to livestock.

 

My Aussie, Cohen, is my performance dog. We compete in obedience (via CKC, currently competing in Open), agility (via AAC in Advanced) and rally (CKC, Excellent). I've just recently joined a flyball team and will be competing in our first match in 2 weeks. I am a member of a canine performance team who puts on shows at public events that mostly consist of basic agility, flyball and obedience behaviours -- the shows are fast paced and high energy and dogs are working closely with one another. I've taken Cohen out for a handful of herding lessons but with all the other activities I do with her and living in the city, herding has fallen by the wayside. She's high energy and mildly reactive towards other dogs but it is 100% under control while she's working.

 

Cohen is my first dog, and has served as my first foray into dog sports & activities. Ever since the day I brought her home she's been a dream to train. She's been focused, enthusiastic and receptive from the start. At last count she knew 75+ tricks. Basically, I'm relatively new to dogs, but I'd like to consider myself an adept trainer.

 

I don't plan on getting a new dog until Cohen has her ATCH, her UD, and maybe her OTCH. I figure by then I'll know enough to really do a puppy "right" from the start.

 

 

What I want:

 

Cohen has been a wonderful introduction to sport dogs. I'm now looking for something similar to her but with just a little bit more "oomph!".

 

I'd like a dog who...

- Is even tempered (above all else, this dog is a pet and needs to function well as one)

- Is quick to recover from stress

- Keeps his brain about him while working (this is very important to me)

- Is able to work in close quarters with other dogs (low, manageable reactivity)

- I like speed, and I like flash, but I'm willing to forego some of it to get a more even tempered dog

- Is both toy and food motivated

- Can be competitive in the higher classes of agility, obedience and flyball (though I don't need to be the best of the best of the best)

- Has a good work ethic

- Is forgiving of mistakes

- Is very handler focused (again, this is important to me)

- Has an adequate off switch assuming he has been properly exercised

- Is on the smaller side, probably between 30-40 lbs

- Is physically sound and has good structure

- Is easy on the eyes (with me looking so far in advance for this dog I feel like I can be choosy about what the dog will look like and not compromise on quality)

- Can live with other dogs (Cohen and the Chihuahua will likely still be around in a few years time and I don't want to have to keep any of them separated)

- Can live with children (I expect I'll have a child in a few years, but I have no plans for one yet)

- Comes from dogs with thorough health testing

 

Now here comes the issue. Obviously there's a debate between working vs. sport breeders (and I'm well aware this board is heavily focused on the former). Most of my experience with Border Collies has been with dogs from breeders who focus primarily on sport. They're dogs who I like a great deal and think I could be quite happy with. The few dogs I know from working breeders seem to be more independant and stubborn than I like (they're BCs, so obviously they're still handler focused and biddable compared to other breeds, but they're not exactly what I want). Plus, I tend to like the look of the dogs from sport lines compared to those from working. Obviously working breeders focus more on working ability than, say, coat type. But it's important to me to have a dog who I think is beautiful. (Call me vain...)

 

Colour is relatively unimportant. I like blacks, reds, bis, tris and merles.

 

 

Who I'm looking at:

 

Most of these breeders are in Southern Ontario. I'm happy to look further if there's someone breeding exactly what I'm looking for.

 

Creekside Border Collies http://www.creeksidebordercollies.com/ - Working - I don't know any of these dogs personally. They've been recommended to me before and they seem to have a decent reputation. I like the look of a few of their dogs, but not all of them. I don't know what type of workers they are.

 

TNT Border Collies http://www.tntbordercollies.com/ - Sport - Again, I don't know any of these dogs personally. They're probably TOO sporty for me. I'm probably not looking for that level of competition, but I could see a more mellow pup working out.

 

Powertripp Border Collies http://www.powertripp.org/home.cfm - Sport - I know quite a few of the dogs this kennel produces and overall they're quite nice. One dog that I know from pure sport lines may be a little too soft and easily spooked for my liking. Another dog from mostly working lines is more aloof and independant than I like. But I could see myself being happy with a pup from here. Looks-wise, these dogs are quite nice.

 

Ewenique Border Collies http://www.eweniquebordercollies.com/home.cfm - Working - My agility instructor has a dog from this breeder and she's quite nice. Good drive and she seems sweet. She is the only dog I know from here, and I've only seen her a handful of times. They were recommended by my instructor.

 

Cedar Border Collies http://www.cedarbordercollies.com/ - Sport - These dogs are gorgeous. I'm a bit hesitant about them since they seem to breed for colour. I don't think I know any of their dogs personally. Garrett's Buzz is from here, and he's not the type of dog I'm looking for, but I'm wondering if they're still breeding those types of dogs these days.

 

Rival Border Collies http://www.rivalkennels.com/ - Sport - Again, these dogs are gorgeous. I saw one of their co-owns recently and she seemed to be a very very nice little dog. I was told that the breeder was good at telling people "no" if she didn't think they were a good fit, which I really liked. I'm heavily leaning towards contacting this breeder first to chat and see what she's like.

 

Hollowshot Border Collies http://www.hollowshotbordercollie.com/ - I only know one dog from this breeder. He's very mellow (maybe a bit too mellow? He often seems depressed and uninterested) but is a nice agility dog. I know next to nothing about this kennel. They seem to be a show kennel for the most part but seem to be relatively well rounded in both herding and sport.

 

 

Anyways, at the risk of this post getting longer, I'll cut it off here. I'd love to hear some constructive feedback on what it is I should be looking for. Let me know if I've left anything out. Cheers.

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Flame suit on here, why are you asking / looking for input on, what by your own statements, will be a sport dog on what is/was/suppose to be a board geared to working Border Collies that is against breeding for any purpose other than work? Just curious, so many of the recent posts seem to be veering away from working Border Collies, which is a shame since there are untold number of boards,groups, etc for people who want the latest, bestest, sportiest bred whatever you can name...........

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If people are not interested in the sport breeders I've mentioned I'd love for input on the other breeders. Or I'd love for some anecdotes about the differences you've found, temperament wise, between the two varieties. Are working BCs all more aloof and less handler focused? Or has that been my skewed sample pool? If you feel working BCs are superior, please feel free to extol the traits which make you feel that way, especially when compared to sport dogs.

 

I also would like to get more exposure to the working BC world. As I mentioned, my only real exposure has been via sport. After reading the stickies in this forum, it was my impression that people didn't much mind what I did with the dog (ie, sport) if it's from proven stock-working parents.

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Are working BCs all more aloof and less handler focused? Or has that been my skewed sample pool? If you feel working BCs are superior, please feel free to extol the traits which make you feel that way, especially when compared to sport dogs.

 

Sekah - I can give you my own experience from here in Texas. I compete in agility, and naturally I see a lot of BCs. I'm generalizing here, but I think that in NADAC I see more rescues, and in USDAA I see more purpose-bred sport dogs. Many of the rescues around here are ranch bred (by saying ranch bred I mean that they were born on local ranches and eventually surrendered... no judgement on the quality of the breeding or parents is meant to be implied). Performance wise, the main differences I've noticed have come down to the quality of the trainers. Behavior wise, I've seen more sport models that are much more over the top intense about their toys and watching the other dogs run than their ranch/working bred counterparts. At least down here, I've never noticed the sort of independence or aloofness that you described in working dogs.

 

I've seen qualities I like in both working and sport bred dogs (handler focus, willingness to work, drive, stability of temperament)... I've noticed the biggest temperament difference in the conformation bred dogs. They are always, well, kind of boring, and lack the spark that the others can have. I would suggest staying far, far away from anyone that breeds for and shows in conformation.

 

My own girl, Penelope (my avatar pic), is a ranch bred girl that I got from a local rescue. I don't know anything about the working ability of her parents... so can I really call her a "working-bred" dog? Probably not. Nor is she sports bred, though. One of her littermates is now living on a sheep ranch in NM and apparently doing some great work. Penny has not been started on livestock, so I don't know about her. She is, however, the most handler focused dog that I have ever gotten to work with and has been a joy to train. She is always keen to work, picks things up easily, and is also just a sweet, sweet dog (though shy of strangers).

 

Two of my friends have working-bred dogs from a local rancher (with nice working dogs! who is willing to sell to agility folk!) that are also super handler focused, extremely friendly, easy to train, just nice, nice dogs. If he has a litter coming up when I'm next in the market for a pup (years away, now), I'd pick one up in a heartbeat.

 

I would say you'll just have to meet some dogs, watch them work, and watch them interact with their people. If you are committed to getting a dog from working stock (and I think you should be), you may have to look around a bit to find a breeder whose dogs suit you, and hopefully someone else will be able to recommend someone to you, but I am sure you will find one.

 

After reading the stickies in this forum, it was my impression that people didn't much mind what I did with the dog (ie, sport) if it's from proven stock-working parents.

 

I think, by and large, that is true. The tone of the boards varies a bit thread by thread (I've been lurking for a while, but only posting recently)... but by and large, people seem to be OK with those of us that are sports only with our collies, so long as we don't buy from sports breeders.

 

The reason to get a dog from a working breeder rather than a sports breeder is that a working breeder is preserving and improving the Border Collie breed. BCs are the dogs that they are because they have been bred for a purpose (herding). Turns out, that also makes them awesome sports dogs, and charming companions... but if you breed for sports, or companionship, or whatever, the dogs you end up with will cease to be Border Collies.

 

In all likelihood, there are probably sports and working bred dogs in your area that will suit you and be what you are looking for. Because you are a sports person, it will probably be easier for you to find sports bred dogs - that is, after all, where your people in your network probably got their puppies. You'll have to decide if it is important to you to support the improvement of the Border Collie breed, and if you are willing to put in a bit more effort to finding a breeder whose dogs suit you.

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The reason to get a dog from a working breeder rather than a sports breeder is that a working breeder is preserving and improving the Border Collie breed. BCs are the dogs that they are because they have been bred for a purpose (herding). Turns out, that also makes them awesome sports dogs, and charming companions... but if you breed for sports, or companionship, or whatever, the dogs you end up with will cease to be Border Collies.

 

^^ This.

 

But, Hi! And welcome to the Boards.

 

If you are truly interested in learning more about working dogs then check out the local sheep dog club in Ontario.

 

http://www.ontariobordercollieclub.com/ourclub.cfm

 

Also, the current "expert" in the working dogs section is Amanda Miliken who hosts the Kingston SDT annually. She also was one of the handlers who was featured in the recent documentary "Away to Me".

 

http://sheepdogmovie.com/

 

The best way to meet good working dogs is by going to sheep dog trials (SDTs). In my experience handlers are open to answering questions and talking with people (just don't catch them immediately before or after a run). The sheep dog community is one of the nicest group of folks and they love talking about dogs.

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Call me crazy, but all of your wish list can easily be checked off by a dog from a working breeder just as easily as from a sport breeder (not to mention a rescue, but I won't focus on that). Since the working breeders are trying to preserve what we all love the most about Border Collies, why not support that type of breeder over a sport breeder?

 

As for your list of breeders, I know a Creekside dog. I've known him since he was 8 weeks old, and if anything happens to his owner, he's mine. :D He's a wonderful dog. Gorgeous, good temperament but high drive. He works sheep and is a great agility dog, too. The only thing he doesn't fit on your list, is he is not a small dog, jumps 26".

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Hollowshot does not focus at all on herding any more. She just does confirmation

 

Both Creekside and Ewenique compete in open level herding and do agility, not necessarily with the same dog.

 

Rival used to do some herding at the novice level. I haven't seen her out in years

 

The others i have no opinion on the others except that I have never seen them at any herding event

 

If you want to come out to visit the farm and see our dogs work or just to chat just PM me and I'd be happy to have you out. I'm just outside of Peterborough

 

Cynthia

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Are working BCs all more aloof and less handler focused?

 

Without going into a whole long discussion of working bred border collies vs. sports bred dogs, I'll just respond to this one statement: perhaps what you're seeing in working bred border collies and calling "aloof and less handler focused" is the fact that, for most of us with working border collies, we don't WANT the dog focused on us. We need the dog to be focused on the stock. So, genetic components aside (which I believe are 90+% of what makes a working dog a working dog), perhaps the difference is in the expectations and training of the dogs. I like my dogs to be very independent and focused on their job and the stock. When the day is done and we are back in the house, THEN they can focus on me (or not--I leave this up to their discretion),

A

 

ETA: Then again, it also depends on what calibre of working dogs you've seen. I'm thinking perhaps you've not really seen high calibre, top level working bred border collies...

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I do dog sports with my working-bred and working-line (first gen sports bred) BCs and they have excelled at the highest levels of USDAA and AAC and they've also run on winning Division 1 flyball teams. None of my dogs are aloof or not handler-focused; in fact, quite the opposite.

 

Oh and all my BCs are 18-18.5" and 30-32 pounds.

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Dear Doggers,

Fiona Robertson (Creekside) was the Canadian National team at the 2008 World Trial in Wales. She's good.

 

Ms Sekah has a wonderful advantage over most who get into Border Collies: time. She can attend Kingston in August where she'll meet the best handlers, breeders and sheepdogs in Canada (and a good many Big Hats from the Northern US too). She can expand her contact list and learn. She'll discover which of her requirements are necessities and which are words.

 

Linda Tesdahl is a formidible handler who came out of pet dog training and obedience (Her first winning open dog, Spinner, had an OTCH). Linda went to trials and studied for 8 years before she ran her first trial dog.

 

Brilliant!

 

Donald McCaig

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Performance wise, the main differences I've noticed have come down to the quality of the trainers.

 

This.

 

My shopping list will be considerably shorter than the OP's next time I can think about another dog.

 

Reasonably confident.

Happy to work and play.

Tolerant of people and dogs.

Physically sound.

 

That's about it really. What I get out of the dog after that is up to me.

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This.

 

My shopping list will be considerably shorter than the OP's next time I can think about another dog.

 

Reasonably confident.

Happy to work and play.

Tolerant of people and dogs.

Physically sound.

 

That's about it really. What I get out of the dog after that is up to me.

 

And this ^^^^ (I added the bold and underline.)

 

Oh, and I guess I would add: I want a snuggler. My current dog will only snuggle for about 5 seconds, then he wants to play. :)

 

Jovi

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perhaps what you're seeing in working bred border collies and calling "aloof and less handler focused" is the fact that, for most of us with working border collies, we don't WANT the dog focused on us. We need the dog to be focused on the stock. So, genetic components aside (which I believe are 90+% of what makes a working dog a working dog), perhaps the difference is in the expectations and training of the dogs. I like my dogs to be very independent and focused on their job and the stock. When the day is done and we are back in the house, THEN they can focus on me (or not--I leave this up to their discretion),A ETA: Then again, it also depends on what calibre of working dogs you've seen. I'm thinking perhaps you've not really seen high calibre, top level working bred border collies...

 

Yes, this is something I've been wondering about. The confidence and independence is integral to the ability to work stock. And as you surmised, I'm sure the dogs from working background with whom I've had a chance to work are probably not the cream of the crop. I've only been able to work a comparison between these dogs and the ones I've met from sport breeders and, by comparison, they've been more difficult to work with and they seem to take a bit longer for them to come into their own.

 

I've heard that handler focus and confidence are two traits at opposite ends of the same line. If you end up getting a dog who is extremely handler focused then expect its confidence to lack, and expect an extremely confident dog to not be particularly focused on its handler. The trick for me now is to determine what I'd a ) like and b ) can live with if Plan A doesn't work out.

 

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me about this. I'll definitely take the time to attend the trial in Kingston in the summer and in the mean time I'll try to soak up as much as I can about the breed.

 

E: Also, I'm glad to hear Creekside's reputation is a good one. I'll definitely want to know more about their dogs.

Edited by Sekah
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Dear Doggers,

 

Ms Mum24dog wrote:

My shopping list will be considerably shorter than the OP's next time I can think about another dog.

 

Reasonably confident.

Happy to work and play.

Tolerant of people and dogs.

Physically sound.

 

That's about it really. What I get out of the dog after that is up to me."

 

Yes and no. Reading Top Trainers talk about Starting Sheepdogs I was struck by how many great dogs were trained simply because they were the last one in the litter, the pup they were unable to sell.

 

That said - the pup has to speak to your heart, or at least one corner of it. Anyone who's been training dogs for years and years has preferences, usually inarticulate or if articulated deeply foolish "I wouldn't have a dog that . . ." What that trainer knows, intuitively because of long, long experience, is whether a dog/gyp might suit him/her - which varies more than novices might think. Some top handlers MUST have perfect obedience. Me, I want a MOSTLY obedient dog who thinks for himself.

 

A list of qualities can be helpful because it helps the wouldbe buyer think - but slavish devotion to such a list is a bad idea. I would never choose a dog that met my every requirement but didn't touch my heart.

 

Or, as David Hume put it a long time ago, "Reason is and ought to be the servant of the passions."

 

Donald McCaig

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I was struck by how many great dogs were trained simply because they were the last one in the litter, the pup they were unable to sell.

 

I would never choose a dog that met my every requirement but didn't touch my heart.

 

Donald McCaig

 

My Keeva was from a litter of 3 and the only one that survived.

 

The breeder new she was special and I agree.

 

Touches my heart every minute of everyday.

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Dear Doggers,

 

That said - the pup has to speak to your heart, or at least one corner of it. <snip> Me, I want a MOSTLY obedient dog who thinks for himself.

 

<snip>I would never choose a dog that met my every requirement but didn't touch my heart.

 

Or, as David Hume put it a long time ago, "Reason is and ought to be the servant of the passions."

 

Donald McCaig

This. Exactly. I have found (and have advised others) that the dog who speaks to your heart is the one you will be most likely to put your heart and soul into, no matter what. What this means is that if the dog speaks to your heart you will go that extra mile to get the best out of that dog that it can give. Even if you hit a rough patch(es), you won't give up. Why? Because the dog speaks to your heart. There's something--a very important something--to be said about that connection. I wouldn't trade it for the most perfect dog (per a list of requirements) in the world. I would have missed out on some amazing dogs (for me) if I had stuck to a rigid checklist whenever a prospect came along.

 

J.

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I've heard that handler focus and confidence are two traits at opposite ends of the same line. If you end up getting a dog who is extremely handler focused then expect its confidence to lack, and expect an extremely confident dog to not be particularly focused on its handler. The trick for me now is to determine what I'd a ) like and b ) can live with if Plan A doesn't work out.

 

The best working dog I had was both superbly confident and would turn himself inside out to obey a command. If you earned his respect he would go to the ends of the earth for you. If you didn't earn his respect, he ignored you. Occasionally his foolish handler gave a really stupid command. He had the natural skills and confidence to ignore those. Many of the dogs from his bloodline seem to be the same way.

 

I have found confidence (or lack of) and obedience (or being stubborn) to be more or less common in certain bloodlines. If you know you want a confident AND obedient dog, buy a confident, handler focused pup from a bloodline known to produce that type of dog.

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This.

 

My shopping list will be considerably shorter than the OP's next time I can think about another dog.

 

Reasonably confident.

Happy to work and play.

Tolerant of people and dogs.

Physically sound.

 

That's about it really. What I get out of the dog after that is up to me.

 

Yes!! Pretty much the same here.

 

I look for drive, work ethic, good temperament and healthy/sound. Other than that, I figure it's up to me ass a trainer to bring out the best in my dog :)

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Dear Doggers,

 

Ms Mum24dog wrote:

My shopping list will be considerably shorter than the OP's next time I can think about another dog.

 

Reasonably confident.

Happy to work and play.

Tolerant of people and dogs.

Physically sound.

 

That's about it really. What I get out of the dog after that is up to me."

 

Yes and no. Reading Top Trainers talk about Starting Sheepdogs I was struck by how many great dogs were trained simply because they were the last one in the litter, the pup they were unable to sell.

 

.... Me, I want a MOSTLY obedient dog who thinks for himself.

 

A list of qualities can be helpful because it helps the wouldbe buyer think - but slavish devotion to such a list is a bad idea. I would never choose a dog that met my every requirement but didn't touch my heart.

 

Donald McCaig

 

..the last dog in the litter - the one nobody else wanted.

 

OP, since you will be doing agility with your new dog, you have probably heard os Silvia Trkman (from Slovenia), one of the top European agility handlers. As I understand it, all of her dogs (both BCs and PyrSheps) are the dogs that no one else wanted - the last dog in the litter.

 

I believe that speaks to the importance of training - at least in agility.

 

Jovi

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That said - the pup has to speak to your heart, or at least one corner of it.

 

A list of qualities can be helpful because it helps the wouldbe buyer think - but slavish devotion to such a list is a bad idea. I would never choose a dog that met my every requirement but didn't touch my heart.

 

 

I do kind agree with this on one level, but on another I've found that when I look at my dogs and interact/appreciate them as individuals that they start to speak to me more. I only had one dog that really clicked with me from the get go. The connection you get with your dog is a two way street. We want them to fit into all of our requirements. How much thought do we give to fitting into all of their needs?

 

I didn't have a real connection when I got Kipp. I had my list and he fit it, but I was getting him as a working dog. The first year he kinda drove me nuts. But then I started to look at who he really was and drop my preconceived ideas of the mold he should fit (poor dog came into a home where the best.dog.ever currently lived). I became the trainer he needed and he met me more than half way.

 

I look at him curled up on the end of my bed and I love that dog. He tries hard. He wants to please. He wants to work with me. He's not perfect. But that really doesn't matter. I don't want a dog that I am constantly butting heads with, but good relationships can take time.

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I always feel like such an incompetent fool when I read those lists. And yes, nothing wrong with knowing what you want in the "ideal" dog.

I did not choose my first dog. I kept the leftovers from my own 5 litters (one being a singleton and my super dog Blimps!) Got drawn in by a lousy puppy pic once and actually brought her over here from Germany. And so on and on. Best one was Belle, who I had nagged the breeder for a year for a pup and he kept telling me he had none left. So when I got the call to pick my pup, I got the choice of the smallest or the largest! :lol: I got the smallest....

 

Pups are a crap shoot and I totally agree with the sentiment of our human part in this.

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But then I started to look at who he really was and drop my preconceived ideas of the mold he should fit (poor dog came into a home where the best.dog.ever currently lived). I became the trainer he needed and he met me more than half way.

 

 

^^This. Times a billion. My wish is that everyone who works with a dog could understand this.

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Dear Doggers,

 

I should probably add that I've owned three trial dogs, each who'd had five or more previous owners and each went on to win open trials. Not because I'm good enough to disguise a sheepdog's faults - I'm not - nor because the dogs' previous handlers were "mistaken" about the dog's worth;each dog and I found something to admire in the other. Together we try to be a little better than we are and sometimes with hard work and a little luck, we get there. That's a good day.

 

It isn't the dog and it isn't the handler: it's who they become when they marry .

 

Donald McCaig

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