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Does not want to "shut off."

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#1 Petes Mom

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 09:54 PM

Do you have any recommendations for a dog that never wants to relax and stop working sheep? He calls off well enough, but after he comes back to me, he immediately is staring at the sheep again, waiting for the command to be sent out again. It seems like other dogs are much more relaxed while they are not working, but my Pete can't relax! I'd appreciate any advice.

Thank you,

Rachel S.

#2 Petes Mom

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 09:30 PM

I'm guessing that, since there has been 250 views and no replies, that maybe this is something that I should not be concerned about. Maybe, I should be glad that I have a dog that is totally fired up to work sheep, and not worry about it, since he does call off the sheep when I ask him. The reason that I asked in the first place was because someone once told me, a couple of years ago, that I had to keep his attention completely off the sheep once I call him off, or the judges in trials would take points off. Was this person talking about AKC trials, which I have no plans to enter anyway?

#3 GentleLake


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Posted 13 August 2014 - 10:08 PM

I'm guessing that, since there has been 250 views and no replies, that maybe this is something that I should not be concerned about.


There's only one person, I believe, who answers questions in this particular forum.


There may be many more of us who are interested to see what people have posted, though, which could be why you're seeing so many views. 


Please be patient and the appropriate person will respond.

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#4 CMP


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Posted 14 August 2014 - 07:58 AM

Not an expert - but "um, what?" points would be deducted because a dog is interested in the sheep? Even if he is biddable and performing on cue and sitting politely and not chasing them?

How strange. How utterly strange and counter-intuitive.

Our working dogs are always interested in the sheep - whether they're working them or not. In a three or four dog crew, which is what is usually used here, very often one, two or three of them are waiting for a command while one or two are already off ... losing their interest in the interim would be less than ideal, one would think.

Again, not an expert - that was a knee-jerk response to the notion of points being lost because the sheepdog won't stop being a .... um ... sheepdog.
"Animals are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time." - Henry Beston

#5 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 11:47 AM

Amanda Milliken is our current Expert and may be busy hosting and competing in trials at the moment.  You could post this question in the Training Discussion section where others are allowed to post answers.



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#6 ajm


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Posted 14 August 2014 - 12:00 PM

Pete's mom

Mark was right

But here I am

The turning off thing, is definitely a convenience, but that is all.  there are plenty of hands who would wish their dogs to be more enthusiastic.  Mostly decent Border Collies at trials are keeping a critical eye on the trial field, not yawning, or gaping around at pigeons.   Sheep work is not a very relaxing dog activity.  On the other hand, when a dog relaxes into a job, into a groove with his hand, we see beautiful work.  

I would be pleased with his ability not to turn off, as you say.  If points are deducted for such a thing at AKC trials, that would be just one more reason not to compete in them.

#7 Petes Mom

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 11:10 PM

Thank you for your replies!

Pete is snuggled up to me in the big chair, and I am trying to decide whether or not to take him in an ASCA trial tomorrow morning. If i do go, I'll let you all know if I have any issues with his intense work ethic outside of the field.

#8 Petes Mom

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 06:04 PM

And I will never enter him in an AKC trial, mainly because I would have to have him neutered to do so. I don't have his pedigree, so he would have to participate as an AKC partner, and would have to be neutered. That would go for any of their activities; herding, agility, rally, etc. So, I'll pass, thank you!

#9 Petes Mom

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 06:08 PM

I have been reading Vergil Holland's book on herding, and I found a section on different "personality" types. I believe that Pete fits into the "intense" dog category. He is very, very intense about herding (and absolutely nothing else!) but he is definitely not what Vergil describes as a "hard" dog.

#10 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 04:19 PM

Be happy you have a dog with that focus! In USBCHA trialing, you don't want a dog that's keen only when pointed directly at the sheep. I want my dogs to be sheepdogs 24/7. That's what a border collie is meant to be. The notion that they should shut off and lose interest the minute you call them off work is totally AKC and totally counter-intuitive to the breed's purpose. B)


Edit to add: not all border collies can sit at calmly while watching a trial field. If that's the case, you just take them back to the truck and let them rest.

Yes, I believe our resident expert is off trialing, traveling and doing things at present.

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