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Everything posted by CMP

  1. Thoroughbred Horses are a good place to look to really study the popular sire effect - the records are so good and the results so obvious. I am learning in order to take over a private breeding program that needs to make sure at least 20 healthy, usable dogs are always in the right age bracket. My great grandfather was a science-guy and so we were lucky to have avoided any line breeding issues and regularly enough (from a genetic perspective) add new blood so that we have maintained a fairly healthy and vigorous population. It is my understanding, based on the many breeding notebooks I have been reading (almost through the NINE boxes now), that this was accomplished by being able to track dogs through their lives through many contiguous generations. As noted, sometimes whole lines were abandoned because three or four generations in, litters with this or that commonality were faring badly. It is very important, in my mind, that, for the sake of the breed, the trial/public lines and the farm/private lines do not continue the trajectory they are on - which is one of division. More trialers have to farm and more farmers have to trial and those dogs have to get busy with each other.
  2. Yeah, I feed a diet with a kibble base (Purina) - but augmented by meat, vegetables and rice. The oils - and powder glucosomine - get mixed with the refrigerated portion - the meat/veggies and rice. At meal time I add the right amount of kibble per dog. Then if a dog, such as the BC puppy who had so many issues with lameness, has a special supplement need, it gets added on top of whatever the base contains. The old, arthritc dogs get an extra shot of hemp. The young recovering or "with issue" dogs get extra glucosomine or salmon oil or Vit C or whatever. I have quite a little system happening for food, I tell you My dogs range from 14 pounds to 123 pounds and have wildly different dietary needs so this is the most efficient way for me to manage making sure everyone gets what they need.
  3. Good point. I believe our process involves a lot of proximity active training (sheep are close by, in view but not accessible) and actual exposure with only passive training. So, there's a desensitization process involved and the down/easy off stock biddability gradually proofs itself as it moves closer to the stock, literally. Also, to OP, others may have other takes - it's a wide world, but I heard you ask about when her tail was going to go down so she had more of a working look. You answered yourself When she thinks it is work and not play.
  4. I give oils daily. I mix food in weekly portions but that has 7 daily portions of oil, if you will. All oil intake suggestions are the same: about a teaspoon a day for a dog under 50 pounds. As long as it is cold-pressed and 100% pure, you're fine. I make my own but I know of several suppliers locally (Atlantic Healing Hemp is one) who sell it in pump bottles or by bulk. It is particularly useful as a replacement for NSAID in *MINOR* joint/inflammation issues. I have seen it used successfully on dogs in the first stages of arthritis.
  5. She looks like she has the interest and she was trying to get the animal to go a certain way (as opposed to just chasing blindly for the sheer joy of chasing something). So, as noted, she looks like a youngster most stock people would tick off as a "potential". I know it was her first time and she did observe and have to sit while other dogs worked (which can skew things) but I suppose if there was any one thing I might pick out and work on - which can be worked on without stock to move - it would be the portion of the process maybe best described as stalking. I know here that a down-stay (or at least a solid down) has to be in place before work on stock actually takes place - the theory is that it forces the dog to think for a moment and often the pause gives them a chance to work out a smarter way to move that animal where they wanted it to go. I believe it is considered the "proof" that a dog is mature enough to learn good habits before bad ones and thus training goes faster. I have seen them work younger dogs without a down but with a very solid "easy" (some dogs never get the down-stay and prefer to crouch and we let them) but that is a rarity and only happens after it seems very obvious that this is a croucher dog and not a down dog. That all said, we don't trial, so form is not important which definitely affects training schedules and processes.
  6. My dogs rarely wear collars once they are fully "stay home" proofed - around 1.5 years old. Before that they wear them only when outside. For puppies and juveniles I prefer 1/2 and then 3/4 nylon with flat buckles and large top mounted rings - they make them here with all the other tack type stuff and there's always a bunch lying around and, as Henry Ford once noted, you can get it in any color you want as long as it's black. Works for me, I do not like fancy or colored collars at all. Just a personal quirk. I needed to get two new dogs licensed the other day and had to wait for the clerk and read, for the first time, the local dog bylaws. As it turns out, sheepdogs, specifically, are exempt from the requirement to wear collar or tag and there is no fine for a sheepdog found wandering as long as a tag and inoculation records can be provided upon request and the dog does no harm. It's an old law but it made me smile. Back to topic - older dogs get leather collars, plain black 3/4 or 1" with simple buckle and top mounted ring. They don't last long, whatever they are made of. As others have noted, proximity to sea water is a factor. I dislike a collar on a long haired collie so I avoid it when possible.
  7. Any of Hemp, Salmon/Fish or Coconut oils, ingested, will work. They all deliver a lot to a dog, aside from less dry skin and nicer hair/fur. They help maintain and lubricate joints and ligaments, keep the animal "regular", all the awesome Omega stuff they bring on board. All my dogs get all three, I mix it in with the kibble base they all get in weekly quantities and am done with it. If I had to pick one, I would pick Hemp as it will more or less do the all the things the other two do plus it has potential benefits in terms of general health (cancer-restricting) and blood circulation, particularly in the brain, that the other two do not offer. They all cost about the same, IME. The dogs seem to have no preference - they like all of them.
  8. My Berners say, "Child's play!" Actually, they all like them - even the Scotties who are pretty small. And, of course, the antlers are the best long term chewies ever. Moose hunting is complex around here, numbers closely checked, licenses very restricted, etc. They're large brutes with erratically waxing and waning populations. Even our guard dogs are respectful of them. Of course, you can virtually *count* on someone from the farm hitting one every year. Usually the vehicle is more damaged than the moose :/ Almost the whole moose gets used in making meal for the dogs. Same with deer and the ocassional bear. Personally, I do not like the taste of wild meat but the dogs like it best.
  9. Ah yes, bone days. The very reason my dogs get up in the morning... In case... We do lamb, deer and moose. Moose have VERY large bones.
  10. Oh my... She is really growing up fast now! She's beautiful.
  11. ^^^^ I would LOVE to see a recent pic
  12. This is Molly in the snow yesterday. We had a sudden and rather extreme snowfall which caused all sorts of problems. Stock in peril/stranded, power out, dogs injured, guard dog stranded/missing, etc. Most of us have slept very little in three or four days. Yes, I really do feed her. Really, really. Well, I try. She does not like to eat much. She does like to run and jump and leap and chase and stalk things, though, Nearly 7 months: 45.5#, even tempered (has not engaged the nasty cat), energetic (two modes: sleep or go), patient (will wait until the cows come home for almost anything), eager to please (no need for treats, she's just chuffed to make you happy), mischievous (hides things), great sense of humour (scares me randomly), stunningly adept at understanding contextual behaviour and rather stunningly stubborn in terms of timing. She never fails a recall, but she pushes the "acceptable limit of pause between hearing command and response" to increasingly new highs. I am vaguely impressed by her ability to understand points of critical mass in individual situations and endlessly frustrated/entertained by her cleverness at exploiting the little "pause before the storm", to misquote Gandalf. She knows *exactly* when I am about to go from "Yeah, that's right, puppy, get your ass over here," to "Okay, that's a fail, in the house with you. Go, go, go." Hahaha, how many times have I disciplined her (by way of not being happy with her), all the while smiling my stupid face off as I walk away - impressed, if nothing else, with the clever ways she has found of being bad. I might have told this story but not long ago she wanted a chewie on the bed and I tossed her off as the rule is no chewies on beds or furniture. A little while later I hear this rustling and dragging and what not and go into my room and there is this puppy, getting her bed *onto* my bed and hopping up onto it with her chewie. She is allowed to have chewies on her bed - not on mine. So ... hmmm... was that really bad or really good? I dunno. I laughed anyway This picture is not of Molly but I thought some folks might find it interesting. This is a Nova Scotia Holly tree. At this time of year, when everything else has gone, the berries stay on the branches, bright and cheerful. We live in what would be a forest, essentially, if we did not keep it cleared, and there are places you can go on the farm and walk all afternoon and see only two colors - shades of grey and the red berries. It's actually very cool. They will stick on the trees until well after Christmas. Back to being the worst snow plow driver ever
  13. I am just going to assume, Julie, that you refer to me. In future, I would be grateful if you could address me directly. "Real" experience is a many layered thing. I hear pronouncements all the time from all sorts of people, yourself included, about things which they admittedly have no "real" experience. We are all entitled to opinions and we are all entitled to ignore those we find distasteful. The need to belittle the people who have differing opinions is, frankly, not something I am overly interested in being the target of, so I wish you would stop, please. Maybe we could just sneer at each other as we pass in the hall instead?
  14. Good question, about the independence thing. Evidence? None I can enter into the record, I am afraid. Since it is an important distinction in this case, I did not intend to make a claim but rather express an opinion. I will be more clear in the future and instead of relying on telepathy, I will add the standard "imo". Best I can offer to give weight to my opinion, is that I have considerable peripheral experience with trials (attending, being related to/knowing people who trial, following the trial world by way of reading and discussing with other interested/involved people), have some interest in breeding and have spent most of my life involved with working dogs. I will inherit a share of a large working farm where dogs are important to the operation and I am currently in the mode of "learning the business" and breeding is one of the areas I will be very involved. I have been engaging in discussions all over the place and, trust me, you are not the first person I have annoyed Additionally, there are several younger members of the family who would like very much to trial and I would like to help make that happen for them. To do that, I need to make a good case for it. So I am expanding my understanding by participating in discussions and putting forth ideas and learning from the responses. The suggestion is that I don't trial a dog or handle the dogs on stock ergo I am lacking in knowledge about those matters. That would be a mistake. And one you seem much too intelligent to actually make except from pique. Okay. This makes sense. We have not defined independence to a standard and therefore cannot argue about it because we are likely arguing separate ideas. To me, independence means that a dog is biddable but may not be obedient. It will bring the sheep, but may make a field decision that either contradicts a command you have given or one you would be likely to give (goes against training), because he has decided it was a bad command and will cause him to fail at the task. In other words, a dog that does your bidding, but does not always follow the guidance you offer to get the bidding done. One that will outright disobey you under those circumstances. I do not mean a dog that will go chasing butterflies instead of get the sheep or one that defies your commands when not in the midst of doing a job that could be considered to have arisen his natural instincts. I have seen very very good stock people have to really *insist* their dog do a thing - as in give the command a few times and then give it in the "boss voice" way - because the dog was intent that it was a wrong thing and was not going to do it. You'd think that would bother them, but it does not seem to. Most of them seem to let the dog have its way most of the time. You can do that on a farm. You can't at a trial. That is what I meant. I have never met an old timer, and I have met a lot being one myself, who did not have a story about the time his dog saved his ass (or his sheep or whatever) BECAUSE he did not listen. They tell those stories with the best smiles.
  15. Ha! Tables turned, um, I don't really have answers for most of that - the same way you may not have answers for the counterpart queries. But you make an interesting cut into the discussion (turning tides always do that) from which a thinking person could come away with: Yeah, there really is no perfect solution. Maybe the "most perfect" solution is the one that exists in this bi-partisan community: challenging one another so the *discussion* is engaged. I don;t know about anyone else, but I have never read one of these threads and not had my understanding or appreciation altered, however minutely. And the dogs will go on...
  16. I want to *like* this post. As usual she said in one sentence what took me a few paragraphs
  17. When I talk about stamina, I am talking more about the ability to do it every day, some days for many hours a day (if one has a large farm and grazing is done on hillsides or in remote places, as an example) and less about the ability to withstand many contiguous hours of work (that does happen, but it happens infrequently). The dogs here are with their people all day, not necessarily *working* the sheep in the sense you mean it, but they're trotting around with them, doing this or that, and those people get up and sunrise and quit when the light does and they do that almost every day (we are not a single proprieter farm, so days off happen, of course). *That* is what I mean. Not sure what other people mean. If I had to pick a single thing that I would pinpoint as lacking in trial dogs, if such a thing actually exists, is independence. No trial person wants a really independent dog and most farmers need one and some farmers need a *really* independent dog. Stamina would not be high on my list except in the big picture way.
  18. I agree. We have several dogs that are naturally "soft" and are used in fairly specific situations - and you can trace the softness through the line(s). None of them would even be considered to go work the island/wild-ish sheep or go on long drives, but they're go to with the wool sheep who are worked more often. Interestingly, the softer dogs tend to be the ones with the most white.
  19. ^^ Yes. That represents very closely what I hear as well. ETA: the other morning I watched one of the barge dogs, a very large dog we call Rocky as a nickname, essentially drag, push and intimidate a ram off a boat. The relevant human was engaged elsewhere, busy with the offloaded sheep and the remaining stubborn Ram had to come off. He did drag him a few feet, actually. He is quite biddable, but will not be told how to accomplish the minutia. He could have been called off the Ram but he could not have been told to go left or right or any such thing as that. His whole line is like that. And he is as pure a representative as we have on this farm of a "trial dog" being a long descendant of Imp Moss on both sides. So ... yeah. Go figure.
  20. Yeah, when a dog growls over something at me, I simply don't make a big deal of it. If I was just walking by, I say something like, "never mind that" (a phrase they know) but I don't much care about a warning growl. I am okay with a dog letting me know something is important to them - as long as THEY don't make any more of deal of it than a growl. If I was trying to get it, it's different. I reach down, push a shoulder away with one hand and take the thing with the other. Very matter of fact. A bunch of minutes later they get it back and we see how it goes. I don't encourage resource guarding, but I do allow for some small lee-way. They *are* dogs.
  21. Our breeding decisions are similar to the above. This or that trait should be encouraged and bred towards, on a litter by litter basis, to ensure the farm has a good supply of dogs best suited to the tasks to which they will be put. It takes a different temperament and type (strong eyed, willing to grip, aggressive, stamina) to deal with the island sheep, for instance, than it does for the hill sheep. And yet another type to handle the girls and their young ones in close quarters. Sometimes biddability is important and other times it does not matter so much. Since a dog generally is trained to a set of specific tasks which he does his whole career some dogs are bred to this or that bitch in an attempt to gain a biddable crop of puppies who will be primarily yard dogs (working with the stock close to the farm), etc. A barge dog really just needs to be a bully with good grip restraint, as I understand it, so different parents are selected. My brother claims it is not a science but an art
  22. Well, in my case, I REALLY hope it's six months But they change, not necessarily growing but filling out, until around 18 months although they are mostly done, by the eye test, around 14 months. IME. But I suspect it's all over the place. I would be very surprised if my 44# 6.5 month old got much heavier. I suspect she will finish in the 50# range and 24" in height.
  23. Yep, first heat happened last week. Weird dog. She is now 44#, same height but looks short legged again as her body gained mass. I can hardly get her to eat. She doesn't even touch food until well into the afternoon and then I have to jazz it up with some especially yummy things or she picks at it and runs to the garden and eats some beans (well, frost burned beans, now). Again, strange dog. She has crossed from puppyness into a higher state of awareness - this is the youngest any of my dogs have ever done so - you know that state, where you can see that they have started to make really adult connections. She could care less about any other dogs or people, even children now. She's fine being alone, she's fine being with me, she's fine being with the pack - alone or with me - but the days of running off to see the interesting stranger seem behind her. Could be a phase.
  24. Yes, that folks who not "really" farm (as in make a sole living at it), should be having to encourage folks who do to use a "system" that was once the sole domain of those farmers. So they gave it to the public, who made a sport of it, and that sporting public is now in a position where it is trying to sell it back to its own source. Yes, that *is* strange to me. Not bad, just strange. It is definitely something one should be thankful for. Agreed that it is not awful. Not one bit. I refuse to give up on my belief that it is bizarre. though, because I think that's valid. Maybe ironic is the better word.
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