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7th time for both of us [beginners]

Emelie M

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(sorry for my bad english)

First of all a little presentation about us. My name is Emelie, im 19 years old, and Yim is my first border collie. Hopefully he will be able to work on my aunts sheepfarm in the future. (they are in a desperate need of a herding dog - but they don't have the time or knowledge to have one. They have about 100 sheeps today on the farm)


Me and Yim have began our training, and I think Yim is doing great. But I don't know what it should look like in his age. Whats good - less good, and so on. (many people have told me he don't have that much "eye" - but I find him very easy to work with anyways.) Many people have also told me a merle dog can't work, that I should get another border collie with another colour instead. (I didn't know this before I bought him) I don't know, perhaps that's true. But I find it hard to believe that ALL merles can't work.


Yim: reg. ISDS.

Hipscore: A-A (free)

Elbows: 0 (free)

Patellaluxtion free 0/0

DNA normal for TNS

DNA normal for CL

Eyetest (2012): clear


I would love to get some training tips. smile.gif This is our 7th time on sheep.



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Nice looking dog. His balance work appears to be right on pace for the lessons he has had. Yim has a nice down, and thought I saw a little driving. IMO maintaining balance on the drive (and not overflanking) is somewhat advanced for a dog with just a few times on sheep. I think you're smart to integrate driving early-on. Otherwise, in order to begin pushing sheep, handlers sometimes have to overcome an already ingrained fetch pattern. You and Yim are doing fine.


Do you have a coach? Did I see two handlers in the clip? If so, look primarily to her for advice/suggestions. "Many people" (as mentioned in your post) are well-intended, but they may not understand all the circumstances. Discuss advice with a qualified person, if available, who knows your dog well.


Border Collies have varying styles, and I wouldn't be concerned that Yim works a little more upright than some. There's a whole range of good styles. My border collie works upright and medium eyed. IMO there are lots of advantages to a dog that flows and moves freely/easily. Doesn't look like a dog that will be sticky, or tend to freeze-up on hard-to-move sheep. He has plenty of keenness.


Talk to your adviser about perhaps starting some off-balance work. Yim looks like he will soon be ready for it. In other words, you stand-back a little distance from sheep, and have Yim take flanks which don't necessarily keep the sheep between you and him. Have him flank, walk-up a couple steps, then another short flank, and repeat. That is the beginning of inside flanks in which the dog comes between you and sheep. Be sure to discuss these exercises with your instructor. Just some thoughts to advance Yim's skills along.


Continue the practice sessions as often as you can, and keep it fun. You'll find yourself looking forward to stockwork as much as Yim. -- Kind regards, TEC


PS -- Sure looks like eye to me in the above photo. Beautiful dog and great field.

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A working dog should be judged on how it works, not how it looks. While there tend to be fewer dogs "of color" (merle, red, other less-common colors) that have proven themselves as good working dogs, it certainly doesn't mean that there are not talented dogs that are something other than black-and-white or black-and-white-tricolored.


There is often prejudice in the working dog world against these colored dogs because there are people who like them because of their color and not any real working merit; there are people who breed them because of their color (and not their working merit or in spite of a lack of working merit); and they are very popular among sport and pet owners, and so are bred for color and not working merit.


In my opinion, f your dog works well in real situations (not just on training sheep in a small-scale training situation) that are equivalent to Open level work in the challenges they present, then that is the criterion for determining if Yim is a good dog. If he does well for you in whatever work situation you need him for, then he will have proven himself as a useful dog.


He may not have a lot of eye although he seems to have quite enough. Many people prefer a dog without too much eye as that can make a dog very sticky, prone to not moving as freely as many people prefer.


He looks like he doing nicely for a young dog in training, focussing on his sheep but listening to the handler, seeking balance, and respecting his sheep. I might like to see a little more "push" and a little less "obedience" in a young dog this early in his training (it is easier to moderate push than it is to put push into a dog that lacks it) but I certainly wouldn't mind a dog like this at all (I have one with a bit more push than I like, myself).


There are people here who are qualified to give you an opinion based on the short video you have supplied. I think he looks like a nice dog at the beginning of his training.

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I'm a not-even-novice handler, so I really can't comment on how well Yim is doing (except to say I'd be thrilled if this were only my dog's seventh time on sheep!).


I'd take anything people say about "merles can't work" with a big grain of salt. While it is true that the majority of merle Border collies in the U. S. were probably bred for "dog sports" rather than for their working ability, I have seen two merle Border collies running in Open at local trials, and know of a third merle dog that has run successfully in Open in North America. So... as with most generalizations, there are exceptions to every rule. I'd guess you have one of them!


And I've heard the same thing that Sue mentions: too much "eye" early on can be less than ideal; a lot of dogs, I've heard, develop more "eye" as they get older, and you don't want them to get too "sticky".


Also - I *LOVE* the photos you posted in the "People's Border Collie" section! You certainly have the "good" sort of eye (and talent for action shots!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you all. smile.gif We have had a little break now because of the cold weather and snow. But today we began our training again. Almost no commands at all (just some smaller vocal corrections when he became a bit insecure with the situation. You'll see it in the short movie when he tend to run a little to fast sometimes towards the sheep),


He was "on his feet" almost all the time. (didn't want to command him at all, just walking around the sheeps without any high demands, just wanted to see what he would do if I didn't do anything to help him. Very intresting)

One of the sheep was on a bad mood today. But altough she tended to challenge Yim a bit, I think he solved it pretty nice. Still, it's only his 8th time on sheep, and he thought this was very HARD. (I could see that in his eyes) *very proud owner* rolleyes.gif

He was a bit tired when we recorded the clips in the short movie. (recorded at the end of our training)


I have a lot of help from my friend. We are both novice though. Hope to contact another coach too, with perhaps a little more experience. Just to get another ones point of view. But im very very pleased to just be training with my friend too.


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