Jump to content
BC Boards
Donald McCaig

"Herding"

Recommended Posts

The nifty thing is that, while I can't determine the language anyone else uses, I can certainly determine the language I use!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

But the curious thing is that apart from the wonderful sea of help that I received here, for which I will be forever grateful, what helped me the most at the time when trainers in Poland were scarce, was the book Herding Dogs. Progressive Training by Virgil Holland. The book is, as most of you know, one of the most comprehensive guides, and, quite unabashed, it discusses "herding instinct", "herding principles", "herding training" and others.

 

What is even more curious to me is why, if herding is not an acceptable term (and I readily accept that it isnt), does the term appear in the Read This First text as though it is acceptable? Maybe because that section is posted for newcomers, and the term most familiar to newcomers to denote stockwork is herding? When in Rome? Maybe that is why a big hat would use it as well.

 

In any case, I had so hoped I might be able to meet Vergil Holland one day. I dont choose heroes often or haphazardly, but he has been one in my eyes since I picked up his first book. My dog knew him personally. Sadly, I never had the pleasure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

I dont choose heroes often or haphazardly, but he has been one in my eyes since I picked up his first book.

 

Me too, I even wrote once to Vergil Holland, and he wrote back clarifying a point I wasn't sure about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hum.......

Hum.......

 

When I go out with a dog it is for a specific task.

Such ask.....

 

Pete we are missing a heifer, there are cougar tracks in the canyon and I have to go find her, i have the radio, Joe, Tick and BR.

 

Or

 

I am moving the pregnant ewes gently to top corral so you can put round bale in with horses, I'll have Gunner up there if you need anything else.

 

Or I am going to this trial because all my buddies are there and they are amusing and Spock did great first two trials and not so good last trial and i want to see if i can do better with him.

 

Or, Pete so and so asked me to help him move cattle with Jake and Joe .

 

I dont think I use the word Herd except to say....hum that's a herd of cattle.

 

Tho one time I over heard someone who trials only say, ' play with cows' and that kinda freaked me out.

 

-----------------------------------------------------

 

We are now waiting for spring, alot of snow- hay running low, sub zero weather and lambing, calving soon.

 

most of the time we are feeding and watering, checking and praying. All our years money tied in with this one spring.

Dogs mostly taking it easy.

 

 

herding

hum......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hum.......

Hum.......

 

When I go out with a dog it is for a specific task.

Such ask.....

 

Pete we are missing a heifer, there are cougar tracks in the canyon and I have to go find her, i have the radio, Joe, Tick and BR.

 

Or

 

I am moving the pregnant ewes gently to top corral so you can put round bale in with horses, I'll have Gunner up there if you need anything else.

 

Or I am going to this trial because all my buddies are there and they are amusing and Spock did great first two trials and not so good last trial and i want to see if i can do better with him.

 

Or, Pete so and so asked me to help him move cattle with Jake and Joe .

 

I dont think I use the word Herd except to say....hum that's a herd of cattle.

 

Tho one time I over heard someone who trials only say, ' play with cows' and that kinda freaked me out.

 

-----------------------------------------------------

 

We are now waiting for spring, alot of snow- hay running low, sub zero weather and lambing, calving soon.

 

most of the time we are feeding and watering, checking and praying. All our years money tied in with this one spring.

Dogs mostly taking it easy.

 

 

herding

hum......

Just wanted to bump this up. It puts everything in perspective.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Just wanted to bump this up. It puts everything in perspective.

It does. It's the actual farm work that is what's most important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Doggers,

 

If stockmen didn't need our dogs the dogs would lose their abilities.

 

The sheepdog trial is a sport but not merely a sport. Occasionally judges ignore sport rules in favor of practical shepherding.

 

At the 99 Finals double lift, Ralph Pulfer had completed his shed and driven the unwanted sheep well away before jogging to the pen and picking up the rope. Dropping that rope before the sheep are in the pen earns a DQ.

 

But Ralph's unwanted sheep suddenly dashed back into the shedding ring, drawing his shed sheep out of the pen mouth and reuniting. After brief puzzlement, Ralph dropped the rope, reshed and penned.

 

The judges said what Ralph did was correct - practical shepherding - and though they didn't stop the clock, they didn't DQ him.

 

Sheepdog Trialing isn't about winning ribbons: it's about stockwork.

 

Donald

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, that.

 

But it's also about winning ribbons for many people. Not only for stockmen and -women (yes, the ribbons and trophies are important to many of them), but also the many hobbyists who keep some livestock for their dogs and not the other way 'round.

 

There's something to be said, IMO, about being realistic and not allowing romantic notions to cloud our perceptions of the world as it is. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, ribbons are as much part of owning stock as shoveling manure is. When I moved to our first village I met the best scyther there (by then retired). He was very proud of it and very eager to teach us how to use the darn thing with minimum effort and fluid efficient motion.

 

The cow that gives most milk, the biggest pumpkin, the straightest furrow, the best sheep dog - in farming there is daily work and challenges, and there is also the pride and rivalry of it that has always been there. It's what has made us: not only those who were tenacious and knew how to survive, but also the people with a drive who did not just survive but were driven to excellence. Trialing is part of stock-work, and it will remain so, unless the stock-folk reject it to their own detriment (in which unlikely scenario the trialing would not survive, I think).

 

(Of interest:

1. hoeing competition http://www.spurlock.illinois.edu/exhibits/online/senufo/occupations2.html

2. more than 100 years old Canada's plowing competition https://www.plowingmatch.org/about-us/in-the-beginning)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Ms. Maja,

 

You're fortunate to have such competitions. Our very rural county fair offers a tractor pull of trucks and tractors too heavily modified to use for farm work and the traditional demolition derby. In 40 years of farming I've never seen a plowing contest though doubtless some "heritage" farms hold them. Our sheep shows have, like dog shows, harmed the animals they celebrate.

 

As a scholar you might appreciate Alexander Langland's Craeft which describes some wonderful rural skills. Harriet Ritvo's The Animal Estate is excellent on 'fat stock' and dog shows.

Donald

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Mr. Donald,

 

I think I didn't communicate my point very well. There aren't many competitions in Poland related to farm work, the neighbor was the best scyther in the area by reputation not by competition. The links I gave - one in Canada the other in Africa, - I'd chosen to further illustrate my point that being competitive in stock-work or farming has been for many people across the world an important part of it, and, that in itself, competition is not a foreign body on the organism of agriculture.

 

I think, competitiveness is an important human characteristic complementing some other qualities often highlighted when someone contrasts trials and "real farm work". They both can work for improvement; they both can work to its detriment. Harmful agricultural practices, when profit is all that counts, are all too frequent. The same goes for competitions - when winning is all that counts, bad things happen. So when comparing these two, it's not fair to compare what's bad in trialing against what's good in raising livestock (and I am not saying that you did, but I have seen that in various discussions).

 

Thank you for the wonderful book references; they sound fascinating, and I will try to buy them, particularly the first one.

Maja

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

....

I think, competitiveness is an important human characteristic complementing some other qualities often highlighted when someone contrasts trials and "real farm work". They both can work for improvement; they both can work to its detriment. Harmful agricultural practices, when profit is all that counts, are all too frequent. The same goes for competitions - when winning is all that counts, bad things happen. So when comparing these two, it's not fair to compare what's bad in trialing against what's good in raising livestock (and I am not saying that you did, but I have seen that in various discussions).

Maja

Regarding competition, the first time I saw a ribbon at a sheepdog trial, I was a bit taken aback. I had seen the phrase ribbon chasers on this board when referring to AKC events, therefore (in what wasnt one of my brighter moments) I mistakenly assumed that ribbons were not awarded at sheepdog trials.

 

Of course, a big difference between SDTs and AKC breed ring events is the underlying philosophy. One is reasonable. The other is wrong-headed.

 

I think you bring up a good point. One can easily get the impression from some discussions of this type that there is a clear dichotomy that goes something like: abusive hobbyist vs kindly disposed farmer. Just from what Ive seen from AR gotcha videos, I suspect it is a false dichotomy. It is possible there is more abuse on the hobbyist side simply due to ignorance, though. If one is not familiar with livestock, signs of stress in an animal might be overlooked. Factor in a disregard for the life of the livestock and you have a recipe for cruelty.

 

I recently saw my first injury, and I confess that it has rattled me. It was not the result of a sheep being chased, but the flock was running, and one slipped and fell. He (it was a wether) was clearly in pain, because he didnt get up right away and when he did, he came up limping. I was just an onlooker, but the incident brought home to me just how serious all of this is, and it has had me questioning if I should continue even before the start of this thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my personal opinion is that whenever we enter a competition, we deeply inside hope to win. and if we enter a competition where we already know we do not have what it takes to win (like me for example, wen I run a 5 K or a half marathon, I already know I'm not going to win) then we try to bit ourselves and do better than last time.

and yes I will want my medal as a recognition of my efforts. as I would like to get my ribbon if I will ever be able to take my dog to a skill level that will allow me to compete and win something. even us, the non professionals and non sheep owners, we do put a lot of efforts in the attempt to train our dogs.

and the trials atmosphere is always very friendly, but there are spectators, I can feel the competition, the handlers are tense, the dogs sometimes lose the focus because of the high pressure. I witnessed also some disagreement on how the points have been assigned. the ribbon is just a symbol, a recognition, but even without ribbons the competitors go there thinking that they could win and try to do so.

and I also do not think that playing with sheep, or worst cows could be a way to describe the activity. I think it is quite dangerous if not paying attention, no only for the sheep but the dog and the handler as well. I injured my self several times for my lack of skills. and I'm always apprehensive when I start a session.

I did not know that herding sheep was not a proper term to use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, what I think it boils down to is that if you are truly wanting to *learn* about the livestock, the dogs, and the handler, and their complex relationships, even if you expect you will never have livestock of your own, it's not a big deal if you (and the owner of the stock) respect the livestock, first and foremost

 

What would I call it? "Going to train my dog" because you will be training if you are using that time in a worthwhile manner.

 

Sue, it really appeals to me what you wrote because it deals with the entirety of the situation, and it includes both the people who don't have livestock as well as those who do. I know some pretty bad stories of people who have had livestock all their lives, and suddenly they see a well trained sheepdog, and they want one like that but without giving one thought to the welfare of the dog, or to the effort that need to be put into training and into making a team.

 

And it appeals to me because I know a lot of very passionate and wonderful people who love working with sheep, and its really not their fault that they have a mortgage and that their profession requires them to live in a city.

 

If I hear a newcomer say the word "play" or "fun", I explain to them what it is about, and it never happens again.

 

However, on the practical side simply saying "Going to train my dog" does not work very well:

 

- Hi, that's a nice border collie, what do do you with her?

- I do some agility and throw Frisbee, and you?

- I go training with mine.

- :blink: ?

 

So there is a need for something a bit more specific but not too specific.

 

___________

 

I also had this thought this morning, that there is another really good thing about trials. Mr. Donald wrote that what he was afraid would happen did not happen. And partly it didn't happen because during trials there is an unusual gathering of stock-folks. They, as a group, are doing a huge amount of teaching not with just what they say but what and how they do. Otherwise a person goes to one trainer and that's that, but at t trial they meet lots of people and get a good sense of what it's about, and gradually most of them become part of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, that's a nice border collie, what do do you with her?

- I do some agility and throw Frisbee, and you?

- I go training with mine.

- :blink: ?

 

How about "I train my dog on livestock [or sheep]"?

 

Sometimes I think we over complicate things a bit. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about "I train my dog on livestock [or sheep]"?

 

Sometimes I think we over complicate things a bit. ;)

Yes, we do.

 

I don't feel a need to elaborate when asked a question (sometimes but my children will probably tell you otherwise ;) ). It's easy enough to say that I am going to train my dog and, if the person asks, then give them a more detailed description - or not!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't find the pedantic arguments against the word all that compelling, but what I am getting from these posts is that the use of the word "herding" trivializes real stockwork so that it conflates the latter with ethically questionable "herding" practices. In that case, I'm all for whacking it from my vocabulary. Done!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't find the pedantic arguments against the word all that compelling, but what I am getting from these posts is that the use of the word "herding" trivializes real stockwork so that it conflates the latter with ethically questionable "herding" practices. In that case, I'm all for whacking it from my vocabulary. Done!

Good point.

Things I never thought of and am glad to learn.

Not going to use that term any more, myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about "I train my dog on livestock [or sheep]"?

Sometimes I think we over complicate things a bit. ;)

I was just pointing out that the context is important, and the context was that non-livestock people tend to use the word 'herding', and in the context I provided just saying 'training' is insufficient. I am not suggesting how people who have sheep should talk, I am showing why people who don't, do the way they do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On a related note, that there is a three page discussion about the affront of the use of a term like herding, while there hasn't been one about actual herding (sorry, stockwork training I mean!) in ages, says a lot about the current state of these forums....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...