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Herding Dogs Progressive Training


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#1 KrisK

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 12:10 PM

I'm just reading Vergil S. Holland's book "Herding Dogs, Progressive Training". I am a total newbie and have had a couple of lessons with a trainer. I think this is a reasonably good book for a beginner like me because the explanations are clear and there are some easy to understand pictures. Has anyone else read this book?

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#2 PSmitty

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 12:15 PM

I have read it, Kris. I'm as green as can be, and agree with you that it's a good book for beginners. Easy to understand and the little diagrams are helpful. I would recommend it to anyone interested in getting started with their dog.
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#3 1sheepdoggal

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 01:02 PM

It is my "go to" book, and Ive had mine for 5 or 6 years. I think he wrote it with the beginer in mind, but I like the way he has put "possible problems and how to handle them" at the end of the chapters as well. Very thoughtful. There is a lot of very useful info in the book, and the diagrams are very easy to comprehend. I have several others avalible to me by other authors, but this is the one I utilize the most, especially when starting young dogs, it reminds me of things I tend to sometimes forget. I give a good re-read now and then. Darci
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#4 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 01:07 PM

It's a really good starter book. Vergil is so clear with his terms and explanations that it gets a newbie sufficiently up to speed to get the most out of further training. I even recommend it to people who have never seen dogs work, who are interested in learning more about the process and vocabulary.
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#5 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 05 November 2007 - 01:26 PM

I just got the book out and glanced through it to give it more justice.

The diagrams are both clear and entertaining - that will help a beginner remember a concept pretty easily!

Here's an exerpt to show how he really gets into the basics:

Wear or Wearing--refers to movement of the stock with the handler in the lead and the dog following behind the stock, holding the stock to the handler, in small circles, large circles or straight lines. Early in training you may be walking backward in order to keep an eye on your dog and direct her, as necessary. Later, you may be walking with your back to the dog and sheep, occasionally looking over your shoulder in order to keep an eye on the stock and the dog.


Something that struck me while I was leafing through it, was that it offers to the somewhat more advanced handler, many exercises to refine a dog's responsiveness to commands. One wouldn't want to hammer on these, but one thing I've learned recently is that confidence in taking direction even when it doesn't make sense, is an important part of a stockdog's development.

It really is one of the "must have" books for even a non-working Border Collie owner.
Becca Shouse - Irena Farm, Semora, NC
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#6 Sue R

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 07:50 AM

As this book is not only confined to discussing Border Collies, I passed my copy on to my dear friend who has a working-bred Aussie. There are not many references that are so worthwhile for those with "other" breeds.

I do especially appreciated the "problems" section at the back. That is very practical and helpful as many books tell you what to do when things are going right or predictably, but not when they are going wrong and you don't know how to deal with a particular problem that arises.
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#7 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 06 November 2007 - 08:23 AM

For me, the "problems" section was useful in probably a more amusing way. I was so ignorant that reading the "problems" sections made me say, "Oh, that's not supposed to happen?"

There used to be a series in one of the Border Collie mags called "My Run Fell Apart . . ." "--At the Post" "--At the Lift" etc. Was it Kent K who did that or Vergil? Anyway, that was the same thing. "Dang. No wonder that went so badly."
Becca Shouse - Irena Farm, Semora, NC
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#8 Lizmo

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 06:36 PM

I'm a total newbie and this book is great! I am about half way through, so far so good!

#9 MickeyDogs

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 10:06 PM

I read and reread this book! I kept going back to pieces of it trying to understand what my dog was doing and what I could do to help her (both novices we were!). I found the section on working dog traits really interesting - the traits of a strong dog, traits of an intense dog, etc. Great book!
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#10 M.L.

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 10:07 PM

I just found this book at a used book store and I can't wait to start reading! I'm hoping it helps me out. It looks easy to understand and as a newbie I need all the help I can get!

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#11 njnovice

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Posted 16 December 2007 - 02:02 PM

I'm just reading Vergil S. Holland's book "Herding Dogs, Progressive Training". I am a total newbie and have had a couple of lessons with a trainer. I think this is a reasonably good book for a beginner like me because the explanations are clear and there are some easy to understand pictures. Has anyone else read this book?


Our trainer just told us yesterday at our first lesson to get it and read it. I just ordered it off of Amazon this morning.
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