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SoHo

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  1. It was an impressive read. The full name is Working Sheepdogs, a practical guide to breeding, training, and handling It this book he goes over all the things to look for in a new pup, what qualities you want, what to avoid, and they affect the dog's working style. It's really in depth. Then he shows how you can test for natural talent in a pup at 8 weeks (or something like that). The main thesis of the book is that quality of the current working stock dog is absolute junk and he blames stock dog trials as the main culprit and the breeders who cater to them. He goes over why trials don't test the qualities of a good stock dog and explains which types of dogs typically win. He also has a chapter on genetics and thoughts on how breeders can improve the breed. Then it's a whole section on training where he gives you a command system that helps you communicate with your dog better and then a step by step guide how to train your dog. To become a open trial competitor, he estimates it should take about 4 months. All you do in those trials are command your dog like a robot around a course. In the end, he critiques the trials rules and scoring system, then offers suggestions how they could be improved which would help improve the working breed. It would be nice to hear some thought from trialists about this book. So far it's the best book about BC training I've ever read. Highly recommend it.
  2. I was looking at some of the cow dog breeders' websites the other day and was noticing that they were all breeding for big, heavy boned, fearless, hard biting dogs. I saw males up to 60 lbs and females up to 50 lbs. And I wasn't see upcoming litters where there was a mismatch in size between parents. It was big with big. For someone like me who prefers a smaller dog (30 - 35 lbs,), I don't think I could hope to find a pup out of any of those cattle lines/cow dog breeders that be that small. So I started perusing sites of some sheep dog breeders, looking to compare sizes in general. I wasn't able to make an easy comparison, though, because unlike the cow breeders, the sheep dog breeders don't emphasize weight at all. So I had to measure using the always reliable eyeball test. And my findings are that, indeed, the cow dog is bigger on average than the sheep dog, and he's more uniform in size as well. I think I'll be going the sheep dog route for my next pup.
  3. I've posted about her first full training session and attached a short clip showing part of that session. Here's the link to the post: http://www.bordercollie.org/boards/index.php?showtopic=37756 Here's the youtube clip. It was a very interesting experience. The trainer answered a lot of my questions I had about my pup. Most of my inclinations were spot on, though a few things I got totally wrong. And a few are still unanswered. It was also interesting to see how my friend's dogs reacted to their introductions to sheep and how our dogs differed. The next lessons I get I want to be in there learning how to handle my dog. The only way I can stay interested in this hobby is if I'm participating.
  4. You're going to have a good sized dog there, probably a bit over 50 lbs when full grown.
  5. Going to back to the earlier debate that prompted me posting her training videos, is it obvious that my pup comes from a less than stellar pedigree? I was curious about whether a dog who has only one side of working dogs in her ancestry will be missing vital ingredients that make up a good sheep dog? Maybe drive, stock sense, natural outrun, power, trainability, bidability, eye, whatever. Can you already tell at this age that she's not from strong breeding? Would you expect different if you knew the parents were both open level trial dogs? Nothing will change how I feel about her, so feel free to be blunt. I am just interested in the science of heredity as it relates to the herding ability of these dogs. If I were to post video of a border collie from strictly confirmation lines being introduced to sheep, would you be able to tell that it wasn't from working lines? Any giveaways you'd look for?
  6. Thanks. It's interesting that so much can be gleaned by, what appeared mostly to me, was a dog just running circles around sheep. What Maxi said is pretty much what the trainer told after the lesson. I'm not in a rush to put my dog through training, so some time off is okay with me. I'm only interested in pursuing it if my pup is. She doesn't have to be a herding dog if she doesn't want to. I'll post the next lesson after it happens. Thanks for the input.
  7. I can give her a little time to mature. The next time she goes in there I'd like her to treat it like work and not play. She doesn't take this as seriously as she does other things, and I'd like to see that change. Considering I just showed my dog in what was the most unflattering light possible (quitting), what potential did you see in her? I don't have experience with working dogs so I can't make an informed opinion. I'm curious what qualities you see in her?
  8. Thanks for the feedback, Maxi. You're incorrect about my feelings about the trainer. I actually liked her and will book lessons again in the future. I had so many questions for her, mostly questions I'd had in my mind for a long time, that I forgot to even ask what the point of the lesson was. I think you answered it, though. Her first impression after the first half of the lesson was that my dog was pretty hard and not sensitive to pressure. I think of my dog as having a somewhat sensitive nature and being on the softer side in general, but in certain circumstances find her to be absolutely hard headed and pretty much oblivious to corrections no matter how harsh. I think that's what the trainer was referencing. Here's a link to her first introduction to sheep: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjbSBoqQtKM. It's the last third of the lesson I filmed, but it pretty much ends the way it started - with my dog pretty much ignoring what the trainer wanted. She even bites at the rake the trainer used to push her back, thinking it was a game. One lesson I learned from all this is to never take a lesson without knowing exactly what is supposed to be taught and how it's supposed to be learned.
  9. And something else that struck me as odd after she had her little episode. She would flank around the big metal gate that was in the pen. For most of the lesson, she ran pretty tight circles and didn't notice the stuff in the pen, but she started going all the way around that metal thing for some reason. In the video I panned to her and you see her standing still by the gate unsure what to do for a second.
  10. Thanks for the critique, Maxi. The barking you hear wasn't from my dog. It was the other ones outside the pen. My pup is a pretty silent worker. And I'm not sure what qualifies as a strong correction or pressure since I don't have experience in sheepdog training, but this clip of video doesn't show all the constant corrections that happened in the first 2/3rds of the lesson. The trainer was using her wand to make a sharp whooshing noise over my dog's head and throwing bottles filled with rocks when that didn't work. She said she was putting much more pressure than she normally does for a dog her age, but that she was able to handle pressure very well. She said it wasn't until my dog finally submitted to the pressure that the progress began. To me it looked like the opposite. I had never seen her quit before..
  11. My dog had her first real lesson yesterday. It was her second time being exposed to sheep, the first just being what was called an instinct test. She comes from a questionable pedigree, with top notch cattle dogs on the sire's side and what I consider barbie collies on the dam's. I'm interested in finding out if she can overcome her less than glowing pedigree or if she's missing some necessary ingredients to becoming a good stock dog. This clip is from the 2nd half of the lesson and shows her at her worst. I didn't think I was able to capture the action from how far away I was so I didn't bother filming most of the lesson. You will see my dog at some point turn away and walk off to sniff something, basically quitting for a moment. She did that twice in that part of the lesson. She comes back when called by the instructor, but the training pressure the instructor was putting on her finally got to her. Most of the lesson she was keen and handled the pressure fine. Here's the evaluation I got from the instructor after the lesson. That my pup is keen and has a very high drive. Also on the 'harder' side and was able to handle more training pressure than most pups her age. My pup has a lot of push and has a looser eyed, more upright style. When asked about power, the instructor said the sheep felt her power and she was very confident. The real test will be when a sheep challenges her, but so far she has no problem going into corners and scooping them out. I was told that my pup tends to lock on to a particular sheep and be oblivious to the instructor and wasn't much of a thinker at this point. She said that my dog finally started to submit to the pressure she was putting on her in the second half of the lesson and was doing better than the first part. I was surprised as I thought the first half was better. When asked about the point where my dog basically quit, she said that my dog was reacting to the pressure, but didn't shut down and came back when asked. I don't have any experience in this area as it's my first border collie, so I have no idea if the instructor is being perfectly honest or trying to spare my feelings and get more lessons out of me. I forgot to ask about 'balance', but my judgement is that she didn't have a sense for that yet. I'm not sure if she ever downed herself the whole time. The first half of the lesson she ran around the sheep in big circles until she dropped from exhaustion. Any thoughts? Is this what I should expect from a 9 month old pup seeing sheep for the 2nd time? Is it normal for a keen dog to quit like that from pressure? Here's a youtube link of the part I filmed:
  12. I have also noticed that cattle dog breeders tend to try and breed heavier, big boned dogs weighing 50+ lbs (males, anyway). They mentioned its because a bigger dog will naturally have more respect from a cow, and they want rough and tumble dogs that can withstand more physical punishment. Since there are far more cows than sheep in the US and it's a far larger industry, will the Border Collie eventually be a cow dog in the US? On a side note, when I looked into my pup's pedigree, I found that the side that had all the true working dogs were all cattle dogs. That surprised me because she is very small and light boned. She'll top out at about 30 lbs. and has a small head. Just as surprising is that she looks very much like her grandfather (Bill, owned by Pete Carmichael) from the cattle line. He's a lean, lighter boned looking guy with a small head that looks a lot like my dog.
  13. Hopefully I'll be able to schedule something this weekend. It won't be at same place. They want $130 or $150 a lesson and that makes this hobby too expensive for me to pursue. However, there is another trainer, the highest rated trainer in AZ I'm told who pretty close to where this other farm is located, and they only charge $40 per lesson. That makes it feasible. I'm excited to get a full-on lesson, especially from someone that trains and works BC's exclusively. The other trainer owns Aussie's and does more of the AKC type trialing. I'm really interested in finding out things about my dog that I have been wondering about for awhile, like is she soft or hard? Powerful or weak? Since she's my first BC and I have no experience herding livestock, all I could do was speculate. My feeling is that she's a soft dog, though she can withstand a lot of pressure and corrections (even sharp ones) without it bothering her if she's in 'work mode.' Based on her personality (submissive and non confrontational), I think it more likely that she'll be a weaker dog. I have a hard time picturing her grabbing a nose of a belligerent sheep who challenges her. Hopefully I won't have to speculate much longer. I'll try to film what I can and post it here.
  14. I've been wondering about this awhile. If, say, you took ten working dogs (5 from cattle working lines and 5 from sheep lines) and put them in a dog park, would you be able guess which were cattle dogs and which where sheep dogs without having to actually see them work? I mean, just by their personality? Or would be just as likely to be wrong as you would right? Intuitively it seems to me that the cattle do would naturally be the confident and outgoing type (also more likely to be dominant and dog aggressive) and the sheep dog would be more likely to be the timid, passive one. But I have no experience with either, so it's really just a guess. Is there a noticeable difference in the personality or temperament of cattle and sheep dogs?
  15. After that session, I had a quick mini lesson. I couldn't film it since I was handler this time and it was just me and my dog in there. We just practiced moving the sheep from one corner to another with her on a short lead close to me, using the Away to Me and Come By commands as we moved. It was just to get us both familiar with reading the sheep and where their "pressure bubble" is. I would down her once we got to the edge of that bubble the first few times and let her try to figure it out for herself after a few tries. She definitely had a more serious working attitude doing then. She did the low, crouching movement we're all familiar with instead of the excited tail wagging play behavior. It was a lot of fun. I think I'd rather do shepherding over agility or another dog sport even though both are closer to me and cheaper. Seems like it will hold my interest longer. I'll schedule a true lesson soon and try to film some of it.
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