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Grizel

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  1. Some other ideas - working bred dogs tend to work with their handlers and are often will to cover for our mistakes to get the job done. I have found they are also excellent at "mental mapping" and reasoning on the fly. They sometimes seem to have read a course map. The little speed demons the sport breeders tend to produce don't always have those attributes! I have seen some that really want to run, run ,run. You have to be a really good handler to keep up and keep safe. If you are a less than perfect handler, some of those working traits can help you get further than you would otherwise, especially if you have a fast dog.
  2. I would love to hear from someone with experience in choosing a puppy for sports from working lines: what you sought in the parents, what were you looking for in the puppy itself, and how it all worked out. I am contemplating this project myself in a few years.
  3. Nice and smooth - would never know they had been a challenge.
  4. One rule of thumb I always use when looking is website is to ask where the emphasis is. If the focus is on puppies (like this breeder's FB page), then I steer clear. I love to see breeders who are proud of their breeding stock and want to tell us all about the parents and their accomplishments.
  5. I think this is very true. I know many people who never even consider using any other technique. Sometimes they seem to think that their only other option is heavy-handed corrections.
  6. Absolutely! Someday, they will have their own money, they won't feel the need to report minor crises to me, and they will be too busy to come and help me make Christmas candy. And the other aunts may come into their own (I have the feeling they enjoy adults more than little kids). Relationships are mutable. My desire isn't for the girls to love me, but to be the best adults they can be. I have used time, money, whatever, to get their attention and build a relationship that is a platform for me to slide in other things (a love of reading, tolerance of math, etc.) that I think would help them later in life. I get to do all that because they love me now. If they don't remember my name in 50 years but have great lives, I will be satisfied. It is the same with my dog. I don't know if he loves me or not. Whatever, that isn't the point. I have used topnotch care and shared good times to build a relationship that makes it easier for me to teach him what he needs to know to be successful. That is my goal; not his love. To me, that is the essence of being a trainer. Some people (very few) have charisma that draws people and animals in. Not me - I have to work and make sacrifices to get their mental bandwidth. Whenever I want to help, teach, support someone, I start out by extending some sort of olive branch - otherwise, why would they care what I had to say? I don't have the force to compel anyone - it's just not in my DNA. Sometimes, I wish it was. Everyone should have their own unique bag of tricks (based on their personal attributes) that they can use to form relationships - it could be presence, a flair for drama, compassion or anyone of a number of things, depending on the person. And yes, the ability to supply the perfect treat at the right time can be in the bag. These relationships can be used for instrumental purposes. Everything doesn't have to be about love, which may not last. Sometimes it is about building a foundation that will last forever.
  7. My competitive drive is aimed at deeper challenges than dog training. Still, I train speed and precision because it makes agility so much more fun for my dog. Border collies (at least the old-fashioned, pushy ones) love that stuff. And believe you me, the only reason we are doing this is because he likes it. I'd be cool with him slowing down, but that's not his style. I trained with food, toys and the odd correction here and there. Also, pressure. The pressure I learned about while,herding was huge. I never use food anymore, and seldom use toys. It seems like you can reward correct performance with more agility, much like herding. I don't understand why anyone cares how other people train. I haven't always understood my friends' choices, but I always hoped they would be successful and have some fun while they were at it. One thing I try never to do is to undermine another trainer's confidence. That's deadly. I also don't think you can deny that being the provider of good things impacts a relationship. That is certainly true of my nieces... I lavish things on them and they adore me. The other aunts don't, and they are not nearly as loved. That is just the way the world turns.
  8. I know exactly what you mean. I had taken lessons for many years and did a little trialling when I came upon a thread here very much like the one you describe. After thinking about it, I decided that they were right - moving animals and stressing them for no reason was a pretty inappropriate hobby. On the other hand, a friend was doing the same thing, but she was preparing to purchase a small sheep farm so she was learning a skill she would actually need to take care of her livestock. If you want an opposing viewpoint I can give you that too. I have visited many farms for herding lessons and clinics, and in the vast majority of cases, the sheep were considered valuable and treated very well. The fees I paid for the services went to good food, medical care and safe fences. So you will have to think it through and decide which makes more sense.
  9. Your story reminds me of one of my dogs. He came to me at 9 months of age after being in many homes. He had little to no training. He didn't try to jump the fence, but he would bolt out the door. It took quite a bit more time than it would to train a puppy but he eventually became a delightful, cooperative dog. It took me several months just to form a relationship and much longer to be confident in my training. Now, we were doing stockwork and that was a big advantage in forming our relationship, but I think other types of activities, for example trick training, could also help. All training takes place in the context of a relationship, and your dog needs to learn how to have one with a human first. Until then, you will likely be in the same boat I was, where you need close supervision at all times, and the backyard may have to wait. Now as a 5 year old, he is a total joy. And yes, I do let him play in my fenced backyard by himself where he does a lot of running and having fun without causing any trouble. And kudos to you for rehabbing a former stray - that is a challenge, so be patient with yourself and him. It reminds me a little bit of working with foster children, like I did in a former career.
  10. I love running with my dog too. Does anyone have any thoughts on surfaces? We usually have to run on the sidewalk, so I keep the pace very moderate.
  11. I also agree with Diana. At first, I was very annoyed by the fixation on health checks, but when I thought about the differences between the typical performance home and the typical working home, it did make sense. One story that stands out was from someone who told me they got "blacklisted" by performance breeders after rehoming a dog with medical issues. In the stockdog world, it is fine to move on a dog for any one of a number of reasons. For some people, the scales have tipped out of balance. I have had people tell me they would rather have a puppy from aggressive parents than one from parents without health testing. There are also lots of people who think that all they have to do to be a good breeder is health test. Having been in the situation where a sick dog sidelined my plans for years, I have complete sympathy. I want breeders to be knowledgeable about the health of their lines and using whatever testing is appropriate. But I also don't want people breeding dogs just because they are healthy, which seems to be a bit of a trend in some circles.
  12. Sue, I have known some people in the stock dog world who not only look out for their own dogs no matter what but are very generous with any dog in need. I didn't mean to imply otherwise.
  13. Kind of a cross between obedience and agility, but with much less demanding scoring than obedience. It's often used for baby obedience dogs, rescues, older dogs who need a less demanding occupation, new handlers or time-crunched people who want to train but not for something as rigorous as obedience. Generally, the focus is on making the most of the dog you have. It's not the kind of thing people breed specifically for as far as any type of working breeds go. Conformation breeds may very well see it a little differently (a potential title behind the name of a champion terrier perhaps) - an asset but not a focus. My senior dog and I enjoyed it immensely. The younger one found it quite boring. People vary in what they make of it as well, but it definitely has a place in some situations. Not every type of training or even competition is meant to be the foundation of breeding programs.
  14. And the "herding" and rally people fear health problems for good reasons. They are usually very limited in the number of dogs they can keep. Getting rid of a sick dog would be out of the question in their community, even if they miraculously found someone who wanted it. On the other hand, I admit I have gotten frustrated with people who prize health checks to the exclusion of everything else. That kind of thinking has become prevalent, especially with modern day people who are used to attaching measurements to everything. Many of them also want to shop on the internet without getting to know the people/dogs first hand. (To be quite honest, I have never heard of anyone getting a border collie for rally. I have a friend who got a Westie especially for rally, and even that was kind of unusual.)
  15. We just started trialing this year in CPE and learned a lot while doing so, especially from the games. More recently, we added in AKC. There are a large number of trials in my area, and balancing two venues is a challenge. Still, I enjoy meeting all the different people and seeing agility through a different lens. Later, I would like to try NADAC, but that would just be to experiment - three venues would be too many for me.
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