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Donald McCaig

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    Highland County Virginia

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  1. Donald McCaig

    Sheepdog Terroir

    The first time I worked range sheep at the Sonoma Wine Country trial I noticed some were raggedy-ass unsheared. Why? "We couldn't catch them." Predators, sure. Shepherds working off horseback not on foot. Never being handled in small groups.Youth. Donald
  2. Donald McCaig

    Dog running through splitting sheep

    There’s plenty of good Irish handlers. Find a trial at the isds website, attend, meet, learn. Donald
  3. Donald McCaig

    walking backward

    I've never had a good dog who'd abandon his sheep with a single "That'll do." Standard remedy for good-but-keen and part-trained alike is a hard down as the hander circles to the same side of the sheep as the dog. Keen dog won't happily down on the OR either. The dog who drops when he's almost off contact may not listen when worried of losing control. Donald
  4. Donald McCaig

    walking backward

    If you cannot recall off sheep you have no down and can’t use Derek’s method for widening the outrun. It’s hard to learn everything at once. Donald
  5. Donald McCaig

    walking backward

    You’ll need a good down and the willingness/ability to know when your dog is going wrong. Donald
  6. Donald McCaig

    walking backward

    Many young dogs come in too tight, up the middle, circle at the top and many novices correct them w/o leaving the post. The c-shaped OR results. The outrun is the sheepdog's psychic motor and it is much easier to screw up than improve. You can, and some have, pattern train the OR with a fence. You can, and most farmers do, simply let the dog figure the outrun on its own because dopey outruns MAKE THINGS HARDER for the dog. Most will get there in the end. The only effective, safe outrun correction I know is Derek Scrimigeors. It is also useful for redirecting a more complex outrun later. The instant the dog starts to go wrong, he downs it - sometimes five yards from his feet. He walks to the dog, saying" Down, down" so dog doesn't restart, gets between the dog and the sheep, blocking the dog and smites the earth on the error side and resends. If the dog goes wrong further out: repeat. Donald
  7. Donald McCaig

    walking backward

    You’re not pushing the dog out, you’re releasing it. Donald
  8. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/humans-are-dumb-at-figuring-out-how-smart-animals-are/
  9. Donald McCaig


    Trademark? Yep.tried that. Donald
  10. Donald McCaig

    Talking to Animals by Jon Katz

    One of the advantages of geezerhood is not needing Facebook. Life being so short and all. Nice work, Eileen. Unfortunately Cesar Milan took off as the positive movement took over dog training and, oh dear, how they hated him. Donald
  11. Donald McCaig

    Fly's Away!

  12. Donald McCaig

    Talking to Animals by Jon Katz

    Pet dog training books tend to be anecdotal. The single exception providing "do this first" information is the Koehler method. Many trainers, positive and not, have adopted and adapted his lunge line. I admire Koehler's insights but don't train pet dogs. Donald
  13. Donald McCaig

    Talking to Animals by Jon Katz

    Er ...how about: Cesar Milan is a brilliant dog trainer and Mr Katz is not. Donald
  14. Donald McCaig

    Talking to Animals by Jon Katz

    Complicated story which may not be true - I believe it. Mr Katz's first teacher was a wOman who had begun as the girlfriend/student of a notorious brute.After their breakup, she abjured all corrections. To my knowledge she competed once at Foster Fields. Beverly Lambert had the mic, Host Gene Shenniger advised the stranger there were novice classes but, no, no: she'd run open. She sent her dog who ran out 100 feet and returned to her feet while Bev explained best she could. Second time: ditto. Bev was lost for words. Poor woman. Poor Mr Katz.
  15. Donald McCaig

    Talking to Animals by Jon Katz

    Many years ago I stepped into sheepdog culture. I was animal ignorant and stubborn. How to do it and what I was seeing were patiently explained to me - again and again until I got it. I was the world’s slowest learner. Why, given so many willing, generous teachers would anyone chose to remain ignorant?