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#21 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 07:36 AM

If someone came here decrying the lack of working ability in the border collies they have tried and then it turns out they were all from AKC "working" lines we would advise them to look for better dogs.  I would offer the same advise here.  If the dogs that have been tried on the ranch lacked the desired stamina; look for different working lines.  Not everyone who breeds working dogs breeds to exactly the same criteria or the same goals.  This is even true for those breeding for ranch dogs; they are breeding for their own goals colored by the work needed on their ranch which may not be what you need/want.

 

People need to give up this notion of the idyllic ranch bred dog; it is no more or less than a dog being breed to goals that were developed to meet the needs on that ranch (not all ranches and therefore ranch work is created equal).


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#22 Smalahundur

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 08:49 AM

And therefor no concerns may be voiced without being backed up by a sturdy peer reviewed methodologically sound research?
I am getting a strong feeling of deja vu here....:)

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"


#23 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 09:50 AM

Concerns can be voiced; one could ask if the issue is breed wide. Making statements about the issue being breed wide should be backed with more evidence than local/limited observations.
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#24 Maja

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 10:40 AM

My Theory that Explains Everything :D

 

When we first start with sheep dogs - I think it's fairly safe to say this - for just about everybody there is no way to go about the business of sheep-dogging except to be a little bit starry-eyed about the dogs that compete at a high level. 

 

 

Oh, wonder!

How many goodly sheepdogs are there here!
How beauteous canine is! O brave new world,
That has such dogs in ’t!
 

[here endeth the Shakespearean paraphrase]

 

But, as we progress in our own training and in the training of our dogs, and as we advance in competition, we begin to notice more and more, the shortcomings of our hitherto canine heroes. Our perception becomes sharp, discerning, and critical. The dogs of the future will never match the heroes of our beginnings, of those dogs that inspired us. And as we, at first, stared in wonder at the dog that outruns 700yds at full speed and then goes on to do everything else, so now we see that this dog preserves the strength with forceful but steady stride, while that one runs with abandon and that its stamina, be it of mind or body, will come short for the task still at hand later.

 

So maybe it is not the dogs that have changed, maybe it is us? 


"Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds" - Prov. 27-23


#25 Smalahundur

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 10:57 AM

I see disturbing parallels in the horseworld.
Dressage horses of today are completely unfit for the work the dressage sport was once supposed to be a test of.
Closer at home I see a comparable development in the icelandic horse breed where the expensive sport horses are not really very usefull for the kind of work that shaped the breed until relatively recent.
Now I don't say this will happen to bordercollies, but it doesn't hurt to be conscious of the risks involved in putting results in competetive sports (as trialling is) as the supreme goal in breeding programs.

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"


#26 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 11:24 AM

One major difference between the horse events you list and working Border Collies; dealing with another species as part of the evaluation at trials. Focus on the sheep being used at trials and the level of difficulty and variety in the fields (as opposed to consistentancy in venues) and we can ensure we select the better dogs. This is no different than breeding selection in ranch only dogs; the work (field and stock) sets the bar/standard. There will be those who breed based upon a lower bar (easier trials or ranch work) and there will be others who set the bar higher. Choose wisely.
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#27 Smalahundur

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 11:36 AM

Yeah, that is always a good idea Mark, choosing wisely. Thanks.

And talking about wisdom, you shouldn't distract yourself with the differences, focus on the similarities, then you might get my point.

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"


#28 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 11:48 AM

The akc has herding events as do usbcha and associated organizations. Should we focus on the similarities of the events by the akc and usbcha even though the differences are more important?

I did address your main point about using trials for selecting dogs for breeding; make sure the "work" required at the trials is hard enough. I'm sure we all can list some trials with "work" that is hard enough that dogs that place in these will have no difficulty in performing the work on ranches.

It isn't trial vs ranch; it is the difficulty of the work that matters.

Do you think a "trial" dog that sets range ewes at a trial and then trials is incapable of ranch work?
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#29 Smalahundur

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 12:02 PM

Wow, is the subject matter really thàt sensitive?
What you imply with that rhetorical question is not worthy of a reply.
And as you are clearly not interested in discussing this matter as your evasive manouvres clearly show I will just leave it at that.

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"


#30 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 12:24 PM

I'm am fed up with reading about the mythical ranch dogs doing work that trial dogs cannot. People are hung up on those categories (trial vs ranch) and miss the real breeding selection of "work"; where the work at trials and ranches vary so widely that ranch vs trial are meaningless in terms of understanding how high the bar was set for the breeding goals. What ranch, what trial, what sheep, what kind of work, what was used to assess excellence in these tasks; these are what matter not the meaningless categories of trial vs ranch.
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#31 Tea

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 12:56 PM

i have abca reg dog that have trialed to open, that are great in heat. and some that are not.

i have crossbreds, unreg that are great in heat, some that are not.

 

 

my best crossbreds i would hope to ROM if i ever could.

 

can we please just use both the work and the trials to better the dogs for generations that come after?

 

both bring something to the table.

 

this is why i support the trials. even tho i can hardly get away. that's why i support ranching even tho i live a pretty close to the bone kinda life. 





#32 Tea

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 01:03 PM

Also I must add this. You can learn  a lot bringing your dog to a big hill trial on range ewes.

 

You can learn a lot going with a rancher to gather mountainous country.





#33 Tea

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 01:17 PM

a lady came today. that was at the bluegrass and competed in open ranch?  and she was on her way to strang ranch for a trial. she won her sheep time because i donated it to help raise funds for the Nationals.

 

she thought the sheep for the bluegrass were shipped from billings, mt.  yearlings.

 

i donated art to support the bluegrass because they are creating a true test. and its hard and expensive, but real.

 

i sat and talked with her a bit after setting sheep for her with my plain old work dog, jake.

she liked him.

 

and she had a bitch i liked very much.

 

she said, man my flanks to square.

 

i said, mine are too tight.

 

get it....get it.???

 

we are in this together

 

we gotta help each other.





#34 Sue R

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 01:20 PM

can we please just use both the work and the trials to better the dogs for generations that come after?
 
both bring something to the table.

This, I think, pertains to the point that Mark is endeavoring to make. There is so much variation *within* trials and *within* ranch/farm work that you can't paint either with a one-stroke brush. And, as Tea points out, *each* is a proving ground that can contribute to the betterment of the breed and to wise breeding decisions.

Are there trends which we can see that we do or don't like? I'm sure there are. Just as one person puts on a certain sort of trial, another person needs or expects a certain sort of farm/ranch work. And individuals make breeding decisions based on what they like or need in a dog, which can be very different from what someone else's goals are.
Sue Rayburn - Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult, but not the brightest firefly in the jar.

Celt, Megan, and Dan

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#35 Maja

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 01:30 PM

Everything you have all said points to the obvious, namely that I am right ;) .  People go to trials and they feel they miss something, they miss the feeling of awe, so they try to find reasons for its being gone.  So they talk to the person next to them who feels the same, so they search for a reason: maybe it's the mythical ranch dog, maybe it's the too-sports-oriented handlers. But all that's happening is they are getting old ;) .


"Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds" - Prov. 27-23


#36 denice

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 07:13 PM

I believe as we begin the journey with working border collies - regardless of ranching or trialing - we see the big picture of a dog using its instincts and talent to get the "work' done. The first trial I saw was inspiring and still today watching a dog do its job well giving 150% is inspiring 17 years later.  The work is different, the dogs are different, we handlers are different.  It is seeing a good dog excel at the task at hand that is thrilling for me to watch.  I personally find immense joy going out to the pasture with a dog beside me and knowing we can get the job done whatever we may find.  When I watch pups begin to discover their talents and show their strengths and look to me to help them when unsure that is the makings of a partnership like no other.  When crap happens and my dog saves the day simply because he knows his job and is allowed to use all that intelligence and instinct that will never get old.  To see it we have to be quiet and watch, those moments are awesome.

Yes I can pick some dogs apart - he is to tight, to wide, to slow...but is that the dog or us.  Did we cause that, did we train that?  People are quick to blame the dog when in fact with a different handler the dog would be different.

 

I feel the goal should be to improve our dogs.  Yes that means different things to different people which will create different strengths and challenges in the dogs.  That is fine with me because each handler is different, each farm and ranch are different.  What I need in a dog is different than Tea.  It is not this dog is better, it is this dog may suit me and my work. 

I believe when it comes down to health issues the working bc community as a whole needs to more open discussing potential problems - deafness, hip and should problems, eye defects ect.  so we can all make better informed choices.  Where work is concerned there will always be a wide variety, heck people don't even agree on flanks and outruns much less what is 'strong dog'.  We need to use our dogs to the best of our ability and help them - train - when we see areas where they can improve.  To many make excuses or change what they do or the breed of sheep to suit the dog.  Not every dog is cut out for the work we have, we need to accept that and always strive to improve ourselves and the breed.

 

If you are finding dogs not excelling in the area you need them to excel then search for folks using their dogs in a similar fashion that you do/need.  No different from horses, guardian dogs or livestock.



#37 Smalahundur

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 04:55 AM

I'm am fed up with reading about the mythical ranch dogs doing work that trial dogs cannot. People are hung up on those categories (trial vs ranch) and miss the real breeding selection of "work"; where the work at trials and ranches vary so widely that ranch vs trial are meaningless in terms of understanding how high the bar was set for the breeding goals. What ranch, what trial, what sheep, what kind of work, what was used to assess excellence in these tasks; these are what matter not the meaningless categories of trial vs ranch.

And I thought we were just talking about one specific aspect of working ability;stamina.
I get the strong impression there really is a rather nasty conflict under handlers over in your country, given your "I am fed up " remark.
Here not really, there is no split here between farmers (you could call us sheep ranchers) and trialers, they are the same crowd. Everybody roughly does the same kind of stockwork, for instance no need for cattledogs.
I really don't care about the discussion taking on this weird political direction, complete with smoke and mirror tactics of steering it away from the actual subject.
I am just interested in the dogs.

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"


#38 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 06:32 AM

In many places on this board you'll find opinions suggesting "ranch" dogs are the better/more complete dog and "trial" dogs are inferior due to breeding for the specialization of winning at trials (as if winning at trials does not require quality work that is also used on the ranch).

 

In terms of stamina; trialing assesses mental stamina (due to the required precision and intense focus) much more than ranch work while ranch work assesses physical stamina (being able to go for hours but likely with less mental stress).  Both are important for the breed.


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#39 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 06:49 AM

We seem to forget what we tell new comers to the breed; the fastest way to tire out a Border Collie is with mental exercise.  Perhaps the lack of stamina people are decrying here is not lack of physical stamina but lack of mental stamina to the pressure being put on them by the handler and/or stock.


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#40 Smalahundur

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 07:22 AM

I think we agree more than our little bout here would suggest ;)

Where do I look when prospecting for a next dog? Trials of course, they are the ultimate test of working ability, no doubt in my mind.
That said, that next dog has to be able to follow me all day long through some pretty rough terrain.

So I need one that has the sheer physical fitness and to be able to do that. I took the talk about dogs lacking stamina as a discussion of this sort of basic physical ability.
Not the lack of mental stamina (which I would suspect would come better to light under the high pressure in a trial, rather than in ranche work).

Here in Iceland I do not worry about the physical ability of that stylish, high quality trial winning dog. I know its handler has a sheepfarm and uses this dog all autumn to get them home from the highlands.

So for me the discussion is not very personal, more a hypothetical musing, what would happen if you would breed dogs only for trialing sport, with no regards to other aspects than what it needs for short bursts of great work.
Would those dogs show a diminishing of that physical stamina over the generations?

Maybe and hopefully that is just what it is, a hypothetical question that has no basis in reality. After all my personal experience (no scientific data ;))is that though I have had wash outs for different reasons, I have not yet seen a healthy bc here that lacked stamina for hillwork.

"Milli manns og hests og hunds hangir leyniþráður"



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