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About Pearse

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  1. If your Border Collie wants to herd something (ducks, birds, horses, children, even sheep if you are not asking it to herd sheep at the time), then you need to teach it not to herd anything unless you tell it to herd. That sounds obvious, and easy, but it's neither. Border Collies instinctively will try to control anything that moves. In the beginning this is just chase behavior. With training, it becomes herding. If left alone, it results in undesirable behavior. Things you don't want herded (birds, ducks at the park, deer, children) end up getting bitten because the dog can't control them. Dogs who try to herd horses get injured when the horse stomps or kicks them (or the horse/rider gets injured). Sheep get run into fences or bitten or chased. Keep the dog leashed around other animals. Teach a recall (here) and a "leave it" command (I use "leave it") to teach them to ignore what ever it is they want to engage with. A good dog obedience club in your area is the best way to learn how to do this if you aren't familiar with dog training methods. It takes work but even the best sheep herding dogs are actually trained not to work livestock unless given permission to (yes they will try to cheat but they can be called off). It's an important skill for herding dogs to learn and those who don't are generally a nuisance. Even trained dogs are not allowed around livestock or wildlife unattended and off leash. Young working Border Collies are always kept on leash until the handler is certain that they can be called off stock reliably.
  2. Whoops - sorry. I did not even realize this was in the "Ask the Expert" section. Pearse
  3. I would never allow any dog, other than a trained livestock guardian dog, to be alone, unsupervised around livestock - ever. Any dog will chase livestock, over cliffs, through fences, or just run them until they drop. An untrained stock dog with a high prey drive, will "work" livestock to death. It's not the dog's fault. The dog will do what the dog was bred to do. So yes, it's entirely possible that your dogs killed the calf. They may have just run it around until it died. They may have bitten and worried at it until it died. Or maybe they didn't. Maybe the calf died of natural causes and the dogs found it that way. Either way, it's not the dogs' faults. They were doing what is in their nature to do. They cannot be allowed to have unsupervised access to livestock - ever. Working dogs need to be trained to only work stock when you tell them to, and only work the stock when you tell them to work. Even with a fully trained dog, I would not allow them to have any access to livestock unsupervised. Don't ever let your dogs run loose with stock around the place.
  4. At a USBCHA Board of Directors meeting on August 1st, the Directors considered a bylaw amendment proposal from the Rules Committee. The change would affect bylaw 4.3 concerning the term length for Directors, extending it from 2 years to 3 years and imposing a two term limit (maximum six continuous year tenure for any Director). The reason for the change is to provide more continuity on the Board. It is felt that because we are so spread out, it takes any new Director a year to get up to speed on how the board works and what the issues under consideration are, and most directors are just becoming effective when they rotate off. The term limits are to encourage more members to represent the membership on the Board of Directors. This change will be on this year's Directors Ballots which will be mailed out to all members on August 6th. The current board voted unanimously to accept the recommendation from the Rules Committee and forward the change to the membership with a recommendation that members also vote in favour of the change. Thank you. Pearse Ward District 5 Director.
  5. I was interested in an article I came across which said that keto diets were originally developed to treat epilepsy in humans and showed some positive effects. There are some journal articles with evidence that it might have a positive effect on dogs with epilepsy too. Was wondering whether or not anyone had experience with a vet prescribing it for that purpose and what their experience with it was.
  6. You don't need to be knowledgeable about judging. That's the judges job. However, depending on the judge, you may learn a lot about judging criteria. The only way you'd be "more trouble than I'm worth" is if you insist on talking to the judge all through the run. Most judges do not mind you asking questions in between runs (some do so it's best to ask the judge or have the trial host or course director do it and tell you) but the judge needs to focus on the runs while they are happening. If the timer doesn't beep on it's own, make sure you tell the judge when time is up quietly enough that the handler can't hear. Let the judge call time. The trickiest thing is to know when to start the timer because sometimes the way some handlers set their dogs up looks like false starts (and sometimes it is a bit of gamesmanship). If you aren't sure, just ask the judge to tell you when to start the timer. If you aren't comfortable with numbers, bring a calculator, or ask the Course Director to find one for you. Some trials do shed then pen, some do pen then shed, some do shed, pen, single. If its your first time, for the first few runs, put something to the left of the score sheet to remind you which one to mark first. Trials are always short of volunteers. Trial hosts are always super grateful to anyone who wants to help. Most judges are eager to help people new to the sport become knowledgeable and interested. Please do volunteer. You will enjoy yourself and you will learn a lot. Pearse
  7. I would give him a week, or two, with no running or jumping. If it's gone by then, gradual return to exercise (walking) and if it is OK after a week then gradually ramp up to normal exercise levels. If the limp isn't significantly better after a few day's rest and gone after a week or so, then have a vet look at it. If it was yourself who came up lame after a run or a hike, you'd ice the affected muscle or joint, take NSAIDS and rest until a week after the pain went away. Then gradual return to exercise over several weeks. I think you need to give the dog the same prolonged recovery period. They are super-athletes but biology is biology and a strained muscle or ligament still takes time to heal.
  8. I recommend to anyone starting in stock dog work to volunteer working the loading pens at trials. You can get a lot of experience in a weekend practicing moving sheep in the pens without a dog (and unless you have a well-trained open dog, leave your dog in the crate for this one). Sorting and moving sheep in the setout pens can give you the type of training moment that Terrecar describes - for free. And, the trial organizers will thank you for it and invite you back next year. They might even buy your lunch.
  9. John Wentz in Portage WI grazes his sheep on a ski area in the summer. Saves them money and is more environmentally friendly than using herbicide or mowing.
  10. The flashing setting is very useful for getting found when lost (or so a "friend" told me). It's easier for search parties on ground or in the air to see.
  11. I don't understand this comment. In USBCHA trialling, there is only one course (outrun, lift, fetch, drive, shed, pen) and the only variants are right-hand vs left-hand drive and shed before/after pen. The distances and sheep will vary but the course is always the same and there are people who train their dogs by going over and over that course every day.
  12. I thought a "Scotch Collie" was a bad Border Collie who drove his handler to drink.
  13. I hear this all the time from pet BC who come up to talk to me at trials "I have a BC, and he/she herds the children. It's so cute". My response is always the same. I tell them; "stay and watch the trial a bit, especially the younger dogs. Watch what happens when one of the sheep tries to run away from the group. The dog will chase, and if he can't figure out how to stop the sheep any other way, he often will bite. Sooner or later, you are going to have a group of kids in your back yard and one will decide to go a different way than the others. When your dog pulls him down or bites him, will you (or his parents) still think it's cute? You can't blame the dog, but you will". I explain that we train our dogs not to herd anything unless we tell them to, and that it's often difficult to teach that discipline. The AKC did have their heads up their asses when they wrote that.
  14. " I hear people complain about the same things I do with him-he always lets the person writing his check win" You know, I have heard this about a couple of judges too. So, I went and looked at the scores from a number of trials that they judged. The numbers don't lie, and the numbers just didn't support the rumours. So, before I would believe that of anyone, I'd want hard proof, and even then I'd want to see someone have a truly dreadful run and somehow win the trial with my own eyes. If I've learned anything in the 10 years or so I've been competing in trials, it's don't listen to most of the s#$t said under the Handler's tent, or anything that anyone whispers behind their hands. Pearse
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