Jump to content


Photo

Arena-format Trials


48 replies to this topic

#21 mbernard2424

mbernard2424

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 136 posts

Posted 29 April 2008 - 02:52 PM

I almost left the first trial I went to in total disgust. The judges were allowing dogs to go into the take pen and make sheep smithereens. I'm surprised no one got hurt, sheep, dog or human. On our last run of the day I considered not even sending my dog in, even though he's under complete control, because the sheep were so rattled. I knew I'd loose points if I went in by myself so I sent my dog in. He took them out quietly and our run was successful.

The next day was better. The judges were excusing people much quicker than they had on Saturday.

Afterwards I heard people complaining about the sheep. There was nothing to complain about, given how they were treated, those sheep worked beautifully.

It is unfortunate the lack of stockmanship goes rewarded at these trials. There's no reason for it. Aussies can do the work, if they are trained properly. Too few people want to do the training involved. What killed me was during the second show I went to, it was held in conjunction with a conformation show. There were a lot of started sheep runs. You guessed it, conformation Aussies who thought they herd. It was ugly.
Michelle T. Bernard
Spellcast Naturally Raised Border Collies
http://www.spellcastbordercollies.com

Posted Image

#22 jdarling

jdarling

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,058 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 29 April 2008 - 03:23 PM

At a trial I went to recently ... there were several pens right in a row. Let's call them numbers 1 through 5. There were sheep in numbers 2 and 4 that needed to be taken out and sent through a footbath. I was one of the first handlers up, so I'd send my dog into the pen and he'd take them out. The larger the pen, the prettier that looked, naturally. There were many handlers, however, that would open the gate to pen 5, put their dog in there, open the gate to pen 4 and the sheep would come out. Then they would stick their dog in pen 3 and open the gate to pen 2 and those sheep would pop out.

Later in the run, there were a group of 25 sheep in a larger pen. In order to get them out, people were laying their dogs down out of view of the sheep, opening the pen ... and I kid you not ... backing up while tapping their leg saying, "Here sheepy sheepy ... here sheepy sheepy." The saddest part of that is ... 9 times out of 10 ... it worked. I have to admit, that's not a method I'd ever thought of using ... for obvious reasons.

My question was (among many others), what if pens 3 and 5 also had sheep in them? How would you get your sheep out?

#23 mbernard2424

mbernard2424

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 136 posts

Posted 29 April 2008 - 03:32 PM

Later in the run, there were a group of 25 sheep in a larger pen. In order to get them out, people were laying their dogs down out of view of the sheep, opening the pen ... and I kid you not ... backing up while tapping their leg saying, "Here sheepy sheepy ... here sheepy sheepy." The saddest part of that is ... 9 times out of 10 ... it worked. I have to admit, that's not a method I'd ever thought of using ... for obvious reasons.


Oh come on, what's wrong with here sheepy sheepy?

My dog would probably leave the arena in disgust if I didn't send him in the pen for the sheep. :rolleyes:

What kind of trial was it that you attended? Sounds neat.
Michelle T. Bernard
Spellcast Naturally Raised Border Collies
http://www.spellcastbordercollies.com

Posted Image

#24 jdarling

jdarling

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,058 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 29 April 2008 - 03:43 PM

It was an AHBA large flock ranch course. It was a blast!

#25 kelpiegirl

kelpiegirl

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 4,368 posts

Posted 29 April 2008 - 03:46 PM

I have been in these sorts of trials. At one such trial, the sheep needed NO help getting out of the pen. NONE. And you know what they did when they got out of the pen? Ran to the exhaust. On my first run, I decided to not allow that sort of stuff, and downed my dog out several feet in the path of where they wanted to run. This worked quite nicely, but I lost points because my dog did not go in the pen. Now, what is good handling/stockmanship? I don't believe it means that I have to send my dog into a pen when the sheep are going to land at the exhaust in um, 3 seconds. Work the sheep calmly. The next time I ran her, I did put her in the pen, and she had to do an outrun to get them back. I have also said "here' sheepy sheepy". I said this when I had the sheep in the m cross, and I was nervous, and it came out :rolleyes: . I guess my question would be- if the take pen is a required element in asca trials, why aren't the dogs who compete in asca trials well versed in this?
Never wrestle with pigs, you only get dirty, and they like it.


http://kelpiematrix.blogspot.com/

#26 Sue R

Sue R

    Bark less, wag more

  • Registered Users
  • 12,906 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Bruceton Mills WV
  • Interests:Stockdogs, horses, chocolate

Posted 29 April 2008 - 03:55 PM

In one non-USBCHA event that I attended, the judge said that you couldn't take off points because it would "discourage" the handler. When, in one element, not one thing was done properly by multiple participants and their dogs, 1/2 point out of ten was taken off. I guess it's another issue of self-esteem? Geesh!
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

"When the chips are down, watch where you step."

"The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything." - author unknown

#27 jdarling

jdarling

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,058 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 29 April 2008 - 04:02 PM

Work the sheep calmly.


This is my goal when I trial, no matter what course I'm running in, no matter what organization sanctions the trial, and no matter who is judging it. Proper effective movement of livestock. When I walk away knowing I did the best I can to put as little stress on the sheep as possible, I could care less what the piece of paper says. It's one person's opinion ... just like in any trial.

#28 Lora

Lora

    Member

  • Registered Users
  • 53 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 30 April 2008 - 11:00 AM

I guess one of the reasons I have done arena trials is because there are many offered in my local area. I looked at them as a good opportunity to develop my relationship with my dog and work through some of my handling. I tried to look at it as training with the two of us...working through nerves, cleaning up flanks, working on lines, reading sheep.....all in an arena format where not a whole lot can go wrong as long as your dog is not chasing sheep into fences and blowing up in the take pen. But then the competitive part in me came out.......I trained a cross drive panel in AHBA run once and got many points take off because I went back to make it right. I think we ended up in forth and all I kept hearing was folks with "other" breeds bragging they had beat a border collie! Humble pie is not my favorite food. Then there was the time I had really lite barbs and my dog loves lite sheep that move off her. She becomes a sheep whisperer at that point. Then the comments were..."well, what do you expect, she has a border collie"! Lastly there was the time I worked goats at an ASCA trial in post advanced and had kick butt lines hitting all the panels and the y chute in the middle. Got faulted for over handling my dog and not letting her work. Came in second to the aussie that ran the stock a bit....no line ever... My problem is that I get too competitive in my head....and I really don't handle the "us" and "them" mentality of "other" breeds. So now when I go...I certainly don't go to train through issues!


Here in the NW there are some really great USBCHA trials (especially in the winter) that support the new handler or handlers with new dogs. Once I found those and got plugged in....I find it easier to work through issues at those trials. Less perceived pressure for me in the beginning clasess and I think the "Big Hats" have taught me well....don't trial for the one run....trial for the runs to come.

I totally like it when Diane and her students go to arena trials and do well. I like it when folks get to see an open border collie and how great they work. I think that is an example of well trained dogs doing real work being able to compete in any trial situation. Of course I think Diane likes the prizes! :rolleyes: I heard she had to rent a U-haul to get her home from the last arena trial she attended...no room for the dogs and the prizes.....and she certainly was not leaving a dog behind! Diane, You go girl!!!!

Okay...off to get something done today...lambs need weaned, flock needs wormed, hooves need trimmed...the list never seems to end!

Lora
Lora

http://rockingdawgs.blogspot.com/

#29 DeltaBluez Tess

DeltaBluez Tess

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,048 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Carnation, WA

Posted 30 April 2008 - 11:53 PM

What was really interesting was some of the young dogs (three littermates at 17 months old) that my students ran did very well in the tight spaces ....and WHY?

They had done stall work all winter with worming and hoof trimming and sorting.....

They also had some of the best downs too....


Diane
*************************
Diane Pagel
DeltaBluez Stockdogs
www.deltabluez.com
www.deltabluez.blogspot.com

Carnation, WA
************************

#30 D Strickland

D Strickland

    Dave Strickland

  • Registered Users
  • 191 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:OKLAHOMA
  • Interests:Sheepdogs, sheep, travel

Posted 01 May 2008 - 10:50 AM

Hi,

I am new at this and I am training my second dog. One of the things I learned and have been told is to get away from small arenas or round pens. Small area training has it's place but should not be used too often.

Young dogs can really feel pressure of the small fields, arenas, and round pens, and being young I think it is harder for them to take that pressure and still focus on what they are trying to learn.

I did a lot of big field work with my first dog and my first trial was in a 15 acre field. Yes ... we had some awesome train wrecks !!!! My first BC ( now 3 1/2 yrs ) can now better handle the pressure of small arenas ( although I don't like it much - LOL ) My thought is .... use a big field and sheep that aren't too light. For this beginning stage you want some "velcro" sheep.

Your trainer is correct in saying that you shouldn't train to trial ( ie. pattern train your dog to a specific course ). I have trialed in other venues ... and even though some are fun ... I still consider USBCHA trials as being the Border Collie standard ).

Good luck and have fun !!!!

Dave Strickland
Oklahoma
www.outrunbc.com
Dave Strickland
www.originbc.com

#31 mbernard2424

mbernard2424

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 136 posts

Posted 01 May 2008 - 11:40 AM

While BCs are thought of as the dogs that can "go the distance" it is still necessary for them to be able to work close. Their ability to work at great distances and then come in to work in a smaller area showcases the breed as the herding dog that can truly do it all. There's plenty of pressure to be had on a large field as well, it just is not as evident.

Arena trials, USBCHA trials and good old daily farm work they are all mileage and worthwhile to the end product.
Michelle T. Bernard
Spellcast Naturally Raised Border Collies
http://www.spellcastbordercollies.com

Posted Image

#32 cgt

cgt

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 1,037 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Utah

Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:15 PM

Interesting discussion!

Just a couple of comments (to underscore Michelle Bernard's comments, I guess):

I have a dog who, when confronted with particulalry wild and ornery range
sheep at a trial, would get a bit excited, lose confidence, maybe grip. A friend of mine who
I would rank as a Big Hat (though he wouldn't admit to it) suggested I spend a few days working
the dog up close, with lots of sheep in a small pen. No room to get away from the sheep, no choice but
to get in there and mix it up a bit. With encouragement and corrections that dog got pretty comfortable
in those high pressure situations. And, after all that, damned if that dog didn't do MUCH better in the open field!

There's nothing finer than a dog who can bring wild sheep in from half a mile away and then calmly deal with
a crowd in a pen. These dogs can do both, and we should expect them to.

charlie

#33 mbernard2424

mbernard2424

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 136 posts

Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:25 PM

Interesting discussion!

Just a couple of comments:

I have a dog who, when confronted with particulalry wild and ornery range
sheep at a trial, would get a bit excited, lose confidence, maybe grip. A friend of mine who
I would rank as a Big Hat (though he wouldn't admit to it) suggested I spend a few days working
the dog up close, with lots of sheep in a small pen. No room to get away from the sheep, no choice but
to get in there and mix it up a bit. With encouragement and corrections that dog got pretty comfortable
in those high pressure situations. And, after all that, damned if that dog didn't do MUCH better in the open field!

There's nothing finer than a dog who can bring wild sheep in from half a mile away and then calmly deal with
a crowd in a pen. These dogs can do both, and we should expect them to.

charlie


I am purposely doing these arena trials because my dog doesn't like pressure and when given the chance, will flank off it. In an arena trial, you need to be quick and "in there" and it has done us a world of good. We've added a new command to our vocabulary: "get in." I also like working sheep, ducks and cattle all in the same day. And yes, I'll admit it, I like the prizes too. :rolleyes:

I wish more people who had their dogs trained for USBCHA trials would attend these arena trials so that the people (not all of them of course) could see what good stockmanship is all about.

We've only done one USBCHA trial since I started doing arena trials and yes, I've seen a difference in his ability to handle pressure on the field ... especially when the rotten sheep got away and got in between parked cars. Many dogs would have gripped out in that situation. Mine did not.
Michelle T. Bernard
Spellcast Naturally Raised Border Collies
http://www.spellcastbordercollies.com

Posted Image

#34 kelpiegirl

kelpiegirl

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 4,368 posts

Posted 01 May 2008 - 02:31 PM

I think to some extent, dogs like them too. My Lucy loves to be presented with a scenario- you know, as in- okay, I want these sheep to go through this race. I will handle my end, you handle yours. It is absolutely the best for her. The other day I sent her in after a bigger group of sheep than I would have liked. It was TIGHT in there. Sheep we weren't familiar with. I weanied out and opened the gate and waited for them to go out. Nope, they wouldn't. So, I walked in with Lucy, told her away, and bam she got in, around, and downed when asked. She had to brush against their bums/legs to get there, but she did it. This sort of experience is so important. It gives them big girl breeches, (or boy) so to speak, and increases their confidence exponentially.
Never wrestle with pigs, you only get dirty, and they like it.


http://kelpiematrix.blogspot.com/

#35 DTrain

DTrain

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 591 posts
  • Location:SW Ontario
  • Interests:Training BC's For Herding, BC Goose Control, Teaching People To Teach Dogs, Border Coliies For Working.

Posted 22 May 2008 - 10:12 AM

Hi,

I am new at this and I am training my second dog. One of the things I learned and have been told is to get away from small arenas or round pens. Small area training has it's place but should not be used too often.

Young dogs can really feel pressure of the small fields, arenas, and round pens, and being young I think it is harder for them to take that pressure and still focus on what they are trying to learn.

I did a lot of big field work with my first dog and my first trial was in a 15 acre field. Yes ... we had some awesome train wrecks !!!! My first BC ( now 3 1/2 yrs ) can now better handle the pressure of small arenas ( although I don't like it much - LOL ) My thought is .... use a big field and sheep that aren't too light. For this beginning stage you want some "velcro" sheep.

Your trainer is correct in saying that you shouldn't train to trial ( ie. pattern train your dog to a specific course ). I have trialed in other venues ... and even though some are fun ... I still consider USBCHA trials as being the Border Collie standard ).

Good luck and have fun !!!!

Dave Strickland
Oklahoma
www.outrunbc.com


I was invited to do an indoor demonstration with my best dog this past fall for a group new owners that had just started training young dogs. These nice folks were AKC members. I had never done indoor nor had my dog. My dog has only ever done field work and open range. It was terrible, my dog did not like the closed space so crashed and banged. My demonstration amounted to not much more than a lie-down session. I saw some terrible things happen to those poor young dogs. I became immediatly convinced that there is no way a herding dog can or should be trained in a closed space. I did a demonstration a couple of weeks following this in an open field and as expected my dog worked perfectly. Take the advise from your trainer and Dave. You will have much more fun and get much more satisfaction from training and working your dogs for open field work. I have never won a trials, I have no motivation to win. I am completely motivated to have my BC's do what they were bred to do.
" Hockey season is over, it's frisbee season".

#36 Rebecca, Irena Farm

Rebecca, Irena Farm

    Together, We Can Move This Mountain

  • Registered Users
  • 6,636 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, USA
  • Interests:Sheep (dairy), assistance dog (SD/full access and Emotional Service Animals), general training, stockdog trialing, dock diving, lure coursing, flyball

Posted 22 May 2008 - 11:02 AM

95% my dogs really do is work in small areas. But, about 5% of their work is doing reeeeeaaaaaallllly big stuff. They've got to do both. And pressure is pressure - if your dog doesn't handle it well in a small area, then he can't avoid it forever in the large spaces.

This morning Ted and I had to work 30 newly weaned lambs plus a few mothers with lambs at side still, plus the old ram, out of deep woods, about 250 yards from "home" (all heavy brush and woods). He had to deal with the lambs not really having a pecking order yet, some ewes who wanted to fade back, and the old ram who's never much of a team player.

The sheep wanted to break for my landlord's lovely landscaped pond behind us, the road with the beautifully mowed verge, and the fenceline we were working them towards, contained their mothers - but further up from where the gate into their section was.

This was all a lot of pressure, in an environment that is similar to working in a stall, only every step one takes, the stall goes with you. Brush, fallen trees, low visibility, dog out of sight most of the time. Usually I work two dogs in this situation, but the lambs had to be caught before they got to the road, and I had Ted.

Ted's exact problem is pressure. But we've been working very hard on working sheep off fencelines, and out of corners, and catching running sheep at gates, and moving them in and out of stalls, barns, and small pens. Not to mention we've been shearing this week, and I've had some lamb sales (Ted holds the flock while I catch and show prospects).

I guess my rambling point here is that it's all very well to have a dog who works in the big field. But in eleven years of raising sheep on a small farm, the dogs have proved their usefulness most "at hand." When I watch a trial, it's how a dog handles pressure that catches my eye, for that reason. I love watching tough sheds, and difficult pens, and even the turn at the post will tell you a lot if you are watching.
Becca Shouse - Irena Farm, Semora, NC
Cord, Ted, Gus, Sam - plus Maggie, Zhi, Lynn, Jetta, Lu, Min, and Tully

Posted Image
http://irenafarm.blogspot.com/

#37 kelpiegirl

kelpiegirl

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 4,368 posts

Posted 22 May 2008 - 02:03 PM

I think it's important that a dog be able to navigate comfortably up close and personal with sheep. It isn't something you may need tons, depending on what you do with your dog, but it is fundamental. It should be started as a structured thing, with the human aspect of the team there to help if needed. Dogs who conquer their fears by working through this are immeasurably better off in the long run. Just don't yahoo it in there, and be calm- the dog will look for your attitude.
Never wrestle with pigs, you only get dirty, and they like it.


http://kelpiematrix.blogspot.com/

#38 Debbie Meier

Debbie Meier

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,632 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Alden, Iowa
  • Interests:Pretty much all stockdogs...for now

Posted 27 May 2008 - 04:30 PM

I was just talking to a prospective dog buyer, he has cattle and is looking for a dog to use to move his cattle from pastures into lots, through chutes and into alleys. His work requires a dog that can handle the pressure of small spaces. I know that there are areas of the country that still only require a dog to work out in large areas, but around here the dogs have to be able to work tight, if set up correctly arena trials actually can help identify a dog that naturally is capable of such work, I think...

It is kinda frustrating, I have a cattle group that is interested in some working demonstrations to be produced at an upcoming event, some of our members feel they want to wow the spectators with big outruns, double lifts, etc., while others feel we need to demonstrate real work situations that the people spectating face each day, small pen gathers, alley work, trailer loading...

I'm drawn more to agree with the folks that want to produce an environment simulating the work that is available in our area vs. what the dog was originally developed to do or a trial environement.

I was out working at another trainers place this past weekend, he felt I should cull my female because she was not high drive enough for me to trial to a high level, but she is awesome on the farm and reads stock great, she's my "go to" dog, when we vaccinated last week she loaded the alleys, it did not take her long to figured out that as soon as we open the head chute that it is time to get the next one loaded and just proceeded to repeat the task without being told. It made me realize how differently people value one style dog over another, it's really nice to have a dog that you don't have to manage it's every move, I just hope my other dog gets to that point someday, right now I have to watch him real close, he tends to want to create work just for the sake of it, but the trainer really likes him.....

Deb
Posted Image


http://leaningtreebcs.blogspot.com/

"Every poor one you continue to work with equates to a good one that you never get the opportunity to own"- M. Christopher

#39 Laurae

Laurae

    i'd rather be working my dogs...

  • Registered Users
  • 3,227 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:Colorado

Posted 27 May 2008 - 04:33 PM

I was out working at another trainers place this past weekend, he felt I should cull my female because she was not high drive enough for me to trial to a high level,


Errrrm, by "cull," you mean spay, right? :rolleyes:

Cheers,
Laura
5120876952_de8afa8164.jpg
Poetry in motion with Sophie, Taz, Meg, Ike, and puppy Gus!
And Craig waiting at the bridge.

See profiles of many top competitors from the 2011 National Sheepdog Finals in Carbondale, Colorado
 


#40 Debbie Meier

Debbie Meier

    Senior Member

  • Registered Users
  • 2,632 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Alden, Iowa
  • Interests:Pretty much all stockdogs...for now

Posted 27 May 2008 - 05:40 PM

Errrrm, by "cull," you mean spay, right? :rolleyes:



Meaning just don't bother putting more time into her, has nothing to do with spaying, in the horse industry we say, find a new "Zip Code". Not to worry, she's not going anywhere, if she did I have three different people that want her, all exclusively working homes.
Posted Image


http://leaningtreebcs.blogspot.com/

"Every poor one you continue to work with equates to a good one that you never get the opportunity to own"- M. Christopher



Reply to this topic



  

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

Copyright: All posts and images on this site are protected by copyright, and may not be reproduced or distributed in any way without permission. Banner photo courtesy of Denise Wall, 2009 CDWall. For further information, contact info@bordercollie.org.