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I was put in touch with a trainer in my area and tomorrow Tess and I are going to take our first sheep herding lesson! .

Good luck to you and Tess. I hope you both enjoy it

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Whoot! Way to go - enjoy!

 

I also get very anxious, especially when it means meeting and trying to talk to people I don't know. I volunteered this past year at the Bluegrass Classic and it was wonderful. When signing up to volunteer I let them know I didn't have any experience. It was never a problem. Yeah I was nervous, and I was afraid of messing something up but everyone was super nice (I even got to meet a couple people from this board!) and I learned a ton. Because of volunteering I was put in touch with a trainer in my area and tomorrow Tess and I are going to take our first sheep herding lesson! So you can definitely do it! It's a great way to meet people with your same interests and a great way to learn about the breed you love.

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Wasn't there a thread a little while ago about how working breeders make it hard for potential buyers to find them?

 

One of the frequent criticisms of some breeders is that they breed too many dogs. Infrequent breeding is held out as the optimum but it seems that the potential demand isn't being met and those who breed and meet the exacting standards set here are hiding themselves away from all but the trialling cognoscenti.

 

How is that working as a strategy to encourage the general BC buying public to go to a reputable working breeder?

 

 

It isn't.

 

Where is the 'Like' button?

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I have too many stories like this to recount, but here's one of my favorites - Pat Shannahan judging the Northwest Championship in Scio, Oregon; me running Katie, our first Border Collie, in Open. Katie was pretty famous for Outrun, Lift, Grip (she was our first dog, after all), but in this particular run, she managed to NOT grip, so we were off to the races. We got Outrun, Lift, Fetch, Drive, Shed in about 4 minutes (10 minutes course time allowed) so I had a TON of time at the pen. The sheep were VERY hard to pen, and Katie's aggressive style was not exactly conducive to helping things. Anyway, we persevered, and worked it very hard, until the point that I stepped backward into a hole and fell flat onto my back (this was after working the pen for at least a long 5 minutes!!). I laid there for a few seconds, catching my breath, thinking I might just let the clock run out....then I realized that the judge might think I was DEAD! So..not wanting to inconvenience Mr. Shannahan, I got up and just about then, thankfully, time expired. Our score was not exactly shiny...but at least no one died.

 

Amy

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You are going about this in the wrong way. You say that you are not looking for an essay, but you have asked them for a treatise on their breeding philosophy.

 

Again. Send them an email briefly introducing yourself, briefly tell them what you are looking for, ask if they have any planned litters, and ask for the best time and number for you to call. Ask about breeding philospophy over the phone. Conduct interviews over the phone, not email.

 

These people are very busy and receive tons of email from tire kickers. At best, you can expect a 1-2 sentance email from them, but you will receive a response if you don't make them work too hard.

 

I'm not asking for an essay here, all I ask when I send out an email is if they could tell me about their breeding philosophy, if they have litter plans, and if not, if they had any recommendations for other responsible breeders in the area. I briefly list why I want a puppy, and tell them to feel free to ask me any questions (I assume a responsible breeder would be concerned about where their puppies go). I understand that they probably don't need to advertise their litters, but that doesn't seem like a reason to let an honest question go unanswered.

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My first Novice run I, or rather my very nice but very fast, pushy dog, ran the sheep over the judge. Literally. A very nice Scottish woman whose name I've blocked out. Note to self: get a handle on your damn dog! :) We never did well on that field thereafter (in Open once, the same dog ran BEHIND me to lift the non-trial sheep in another paddock... Blargh!).

 

Volunteering is great! It takes no knowledge of sheep, dogs, or trials to post scores or hand out coffee, but it's the perfect way to learn because you can ask lots of questions. Be honest about being a novice, don't talk to anyone about to go on the field or just coming off, and maybe bring cookies (my strategy), and you'll make friends fast :) Dog people are generally super friendly. It's not uncommon for someone to know of a young dog for sale or a working flunky looking for a home (you never know, though. I know a "working failure" who turned on at 3 yrs old & was doing nicely on the local trial field).

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Apologies if I'm repeating the previous thread on the difficulty of finding a breeder acceptable to the regulars on here but (and I could be wrong) it seems to me that the immediate objective should be a battle for the hearts and minds of those otherwise good breeders who don't share the vision of this board or only pay lip service to it.

 

Why does the devil have all the best tunes - or in this case the best web sites? Web sites and FB are the first ports of call for most potential buyers. Word of mouth and personal contact aren't easy in a huge country I'm sure.

 

Farmers (or at least the ones I know) are above all businessmen and need to be persuaded to come on board a concerted campaign rather than exist in their own bubble.

 

Is there not one informative site where litters can be advertised with links to the breeders' web sites? If not, why not? Because no one needs to advertise because they have people waiting? If that is the case what is the point of trying to interest outsiders? You can't hope to turn people away from non working bred dogs if you have nothing to replace them with. The odd person who manages to get hold of a well bred working pup after negotiating all the obstacles isn't going to change anything.

 

Publicity and marketing is needed. Brand awareness. Is there no one around with marketing expertise?

 

Call them the "Original Border Collie" - anything else is a pale imitation. Add value and use the word "working" sparingly as that can scare people off. You may not like it but if that's what it takes .....

 

And breed more otherwise the exercise is pointless. Surely breeding more from worthy stock gives more choice of which to keep in the working gene pool? But of course homes are needed for the surplus and for that there needs to be accessibility.

 

On the other hand, maybe people in general are pretty much OK with the way things work now and would prefer to keep their working and breeding activities within their own circles without worrying too much about what others are up to. I don't know these people so can't say but if the situation bothers enough of them it seems to me that a lot more could be done.

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You can't hope to turn people away from non working bred dogs if you have nothing to replace them with. The odd person who manages to get hold of a well bred working pup after negotiating all the obstacles isn't going to change anything.

 

Publicity and marketing is needed. Brand awareness.

 

Call them the "Original Border Collie" - anything else is a pale imitation. Add value and use the word "working" sparingly as that can scare people off. You may not like it but if that's what it takes .....

 

 

 

Exactly!!

 

Already three people who are looking for a Border Collie puppy have asked me where I got Bandit because they LIKE him and what they see in him as a performance prospect!! And I really don't have a go-to place to send them to look for a puppy of the same sort of breeding.

 

So . . . what am I really to tell them? I know . . . go to sheepdog trials, get to know handlers and dogs, etc. But for the average sport enthusiast, that isn't going to resonate. (And while some are interested in rescue, there are people who, for valid reasons of their own, want a well bred puppy straight from a breeder, as I did this time around). I'm not saying that working breeders should start pumping out Border Collie puppies willy nilly for the sport market, but it seems there ought to be some kind of very accessible bridge between those who are seeking Border Collie puppies and the breeders who are producing, as Pam said, the Original Border Collie (I like that - LOL!!)

 

Just a thought as a sport enthusiast who scored a super well bred Border Collie and is loving everything about the experience.

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I would like to see it less daunting for a person to find a well-bred and responsibly-bred pup. Otherwise, the alternative is that they will purchase elsewhere.

 

There are places where breeders are listed - on websites for regional/state associations and in magazines (The Stockdog Journal and The Working Border Collie, which is no longer published in magazine format but which has a website which includes breeder listings), in certain other locations (The Handlers Post, which services trials with entries and results, and also lists breeders and "for sale" listings, I'm pretty sure).

 

I think that within the community, whether it's the trialing community, the local ranching/farming community, a lot is done by word of mouth and personal association and connections. The most responsible breeders are not breeding for puppy sales, they are breeding because they want a pup or two from a particular pairing, and so not many pups are produced - perhaps compared to people producing for puppy sales, backyard breedings, etc.

 

It's a matter of it taking a bit of work to get a pup from the most responsible breeders because it's too easy to find those who simply are in it to sell pups. The internet has made that possible, the selling of pups to people who are not local and who will never see the conditions where they are produced or what the parents are really like and capable of.

 

JMO.

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As so many have indicated, responsible breeders don't (and based upon some posts shouldn't) make money on litters; so why would they want another expense (website design and maintenance) to their money loosing venture?

 

We breed every 4 or 5 years; why on earth would I want to waste money advertising (via a website) our breeding program when most of the time we won't have pups available? We breed that infrequently because we always keep pups from our litters and we cannot add pups to our pack every year if we are not having dogs leave our pack every year.

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In order for a border collie to be well bred, it needs to be bred to work. Most people breeding now, like Mark, do so to meet their own need for a puppy. Having a bunch of puppies/doing a lot of breeding and proving the parents are at odds with each other.

 

Frankly, I'm not so sure the only viable solution in there isn't actually more people doing the work - be it at trials, or on ranches and farms. Something has to give, somewhere. People who want BC are willing to pay and jump through some hoops -see also the AKC breeder process. Encouraging rescue works a lot of the time but there's a real demand for well bred pups.


Getting more promotions for the trials themselves and GOOD stock dog training being directed toward sports folks (I'm singling them out because they're already primed to do an activity with their dog and spend the money and travel) might go further than breeder websites and available litter lists for the long term future of the dogs as we know them. Something, anyway, to get the community as a whole opened up.


Maybe. I don't know. I don't know that there are any solutions. I'm probably not the person to talk about this - I got my puppy for twenty five dollars from a farm oops litter and one parent may not even be purebred. I'm happy with her and that but I'll be honest - my next BC is also like to be a 200.00 farm bred BC advertised on craigslist, as long as I can meet the parents and see them being useful on the farm.


Is that cream of the crop? No. But it's ACCESSIBLE. I can *find* that, get to that, and achieve that.

Well, okay, actually by then I like to think I'll have been to some trials know some people and have word out, but that's now and a pretty big maybe. Apparently there are sheep trials and herding demos around but heck all if I knew that before I started digging hard - and after I had Molly.

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I'll tell you why it would be worth the expense of website design and maintenance, which really isn't that expensive especially if you don't have many updates or you do it yourself.

 

To educate new prospective buyers/owners. You may not have pups but once every few years but you (as in anyone that breeds occasionally) could still set up a nice information based page that stresses the message of quality selectively bred working dogs that can be networked to other pages that would help people find available pups and planned litters.

There are a few pages, handlers post for one that could be linked, there is also a breeders page on the USBCHA.com website along with classified sections on regional or state club websites.

 

Pups don't have to be available to create a larger presence and to help new buyers find someone that may have something that would suit them.

 

Call it donating a little to promote the breed and your little corner of it. Great way to also share with others around the nation and world as to what your dogs look like, work like and how you use them, videos, photos, what not.

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I live in Florida where sheep are rare, trials are rarer, and working Border Collie breeders are next to nonexistent(I do happen to live right down the road from one, and my next pup may be from him, even though we have philosophical differences about where the dog should be when not working). I would be happy to travel anywhere in the southeast to get the right puppy. I would be just fine with a long wait for a puppy. But first I have to find the breeder. And on that note, if anyone should want to PM me with suggestions, I would be greatful.

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To educate new prospective buyers/owners. You may not have pups but once every few years but you (as in anyone that breeds occasionally) could still set up a nice information based page that stresses the message of quality selectively bred working dogs that can be networked to other pages that would help people find available pups and planned litters.

 

There are a few pages, handlers post for one that could be linked, there is also a breeders page on the USBCHA.com website along with classified sections on regional or state club websites.

Exactly!!! :) And that would provide places to send people who are looking for Border Collie puppies. They might not be able to get a dog from you right now, but there would be points of contact that would help people get on a track in their search.

 

A lot of people probably would still choose sport bred Border Collies, as the supply is so plentiful (when people heard I was looking for a puppy, I was directed to several sport breeders randomly by people - not here - even though I had never asked for sport breeder references) . . . although . . . more and more people that I talk to at trials are getting their Border Collies "from farms". I don't know to what degree these farm breeders are working their Border Collies on stock but I am seeing a very noticeable shift among Border Collie enthusiasts in dog sports, at least in my area, when it comes to what they are looking for in a breeding.

 

I think there is an openness to consideration of very well working bred Border Collies in this population, but with nobody to send them to . . . they go where they can - sport breeders or random farms.

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My point was that I am contacting people who do have websites, with contact info on a puppy page that says to contact them (through email) if you have questions about upcoming litters. I don't see why expecting an answer in that situation is so unreasonable. It would be one thing if I were contacting people without websites. Then of course I would call. Also if they don't have litter plans, it only takes a moment to send an email politely saying so, and possibly recommend somewhere else. It also only takes a moment to say "I would rather you contact me by phone to discuss this"

 

As for educating the general public, I think that if it is something you are passionate about, it is a responsibility to share that knowledge with others. Especially others who are genuinely trying to figure out what is right. No matter what the subject. I work in a field of research that many people are highly opinionated about, and yet there is little knowledge or understanding. I would always rather sacrifice a few minutes of my free time to educate someone with questions, than to allow the popular, but uninformed opinion to continue.

 

I would feel better about getting a dog from someone I've met anyway, so flock n paws trial, here I come!

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Thanks for clarifying, rwinner!

 

Enjoy the trial and utilize it as a way to meet people and make connections. I can't think of a better way to do so.

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NEBCA (and any of the other regional clubs) is insufficient as a point of contact for finding breeders? Most, if not all of these have listings of breeders.

 

But who outside your world knows that? Is an acronym the best way of inviting in newcomers? Rather a turn off for some i would have thought. What sort of page rating do their web sites have?

 

There is a list of ISDS breeders available but if I weren't already pretty savvy I would never have thought of digging deep to find it.

 

Bells and whistles and user friendliness is what is needed. Cold information is not enough.

 

I'm sure you and others already do a lot but how much of what you do is visible to outsiders?

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And "working-bred" alone is no guarantee of good breeding. Someone can put together any working-bred dog and bitch but that doesn't mean they are good dogs expected to produce good pups in any sense of the word.

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