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Deal Breakers

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#1 Riverpaws


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Posted 20 February 2017 - 04:18 PM

Hi Amanda,


Just wondering what sort of things are "deal breakers" in a dog for you. What sort of things constitute you sending the dog on (ie, you feel they are serious problems that you don't want to deal with), and what sorts of things do you not mind training through? 


Thank you for your time, I've loved reading your responses to questions!

#2 ajm


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Posted 28 March 2017 - 02:45 PM

I can't run dogs running too wide.  In my experience, that is a problem that escalates as they get older.  It starts with a reaction to pressure early on and develops into a go to behavior when dogs do not want to face the music--an easy out.  Precision required of top runs is nearly impossible with such a dog, as they will take swings at moments of grave inconvenience and hemorrhage points for sloppy turns, or worse stay out of the park when you are trying to shed; or what about a criminal cast off when shovelling them in the pen is demanded.  How can a wide one inspire confidence on big unfenced fields as they run out?  Which nonsensicle place will they end up?  I can't abide a wide dog.  Nor will I breed to it.


Too much eye can be a deal breaker.  They will spoil outruns by pulling up early.  They are shortchanged in the free flanking department.  They hesitate when asked to walk up, pretending to be considering options.  They lock up at the pen, letting you down even if they just laid down a good one around the course.  They will hesitate when they should be fluid, enlisting sheep confrontation as the sheep will always peer back at them, an ovine equivalent of WTF.  They provoke questions for which there are no answers.  They explode in a cheap grip when tension gets the better of them.  Don't run it.  Don't breed it.


I don't mind training through questionable power.  Sometimes dogs, who are inspired can workout techniques to handle aggression from sheep.  You as a trainer can be a confidence builder.  However, be prepared for failure, as it doesn't always work out.


I saw a dog last weekend who was remarkable as a youngster for being a poor outrunner--crossing, confused.  Many handlers I know, me included might have given up on him, but his handler took him back to basics of short successful outruns over the training year. It worked.  His handler believed in him.  He has become a proper dog, with big difficult outruns under his belt.  Dogs, just like people, can develop in good ways in the presence of compassion and faith.  your job as a trainer is to sideline liabilities and showcase assets.

#3 ajm


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Posted Today, 01:21 PM

I can't get a rise out of anyone on this subject.  Just because I don't like wide running dogs, doesn't mean they are unsuitable for another who wants time to make up their mind about what to do next.  The wide runner will afford that--time to decide what to do next.  It might be you who wants such a dog, although it may not suit me.

#4 Mark Billadeau

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Posted Today, 01:41 PM

Nope (no rise from me)


It's no different than other partnerships; there will be things that we can't stand in a partner that others are not bothered by.  No dog is perfect and there are flaws one handler hates while others don't mind; shortcomings that will require training or handling one handler hates while others don't mind.

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#5 Sue R

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Posted Today, 01:46 PM

I really appreciate what you have written, Amanda. It's great food for thought. 


I tend to like a slower, more cautious dog because that gives me time to think, and I am notoriously slow thinking and responding. But my faster, throw caution to the winds dog makes me think and react faster, and so is a dog who will teach me what the first dog might not. Each dog has something to offer. 


I love your story about the dog in the last paragraph, and I admire the owner for being understanding and working patiently to bring out the potential in that dog. That was inspiring. 

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#6 Tea


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Posted Today, 03:15 PM

i agree with too wide. in my own work in the mountains i have found any dog who does not give thought on how the outrun should progress in  unfenced and steep terrain is going to  add alot of territory in the outrun, wasting energy, and possibly losing stock. a thoughtful outrun the dog will use the hill wisely saving himself or herself then widen out at the proper  time and distance without startling stock. 


thanks for your wise insight.

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