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Lambert

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  1. Lambert

    How to become a Big Hat

    It appears from what I have read that there is a chain of thought that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve excellence in an endeavor, such as violin or piano or basketball. There are people in our sport who have done it for many years, in some cases the 10 years cited in Donald's article who have not achieved excellence and others who have become very competitive in the same span of time. It would be very interesting to know how much people practice. In our sport of course it is not enough for the handler to achieve excellence, you have to have a dog capable of achieving it as well. In that case of the dog while I think the 10,000 hours of practice no doubt helps I also think that you need the genetic talent upon which to lay all that practice. However, we have certainly seen that the top handlers are always top handlers. Sometimes they have more successful dogs then others. But a change in dogs does not drop them back down to the novice level. So I wonder, how much of it is practice. Beverly
  2. Lambert

    World Team

    Short of the fund raising efforts by friends that Nancy mentioned there is no sponsorship money for teams making the trek to the world trial. This is as Donald said a very expensive vacation costing close to $10K for anyone traveling with two dogs. So yes the primary selection criteria has proved to be the willingness of the handler to foot the bill and not inconsiderable aggravation of the trip. While this is perhaps not the selection criteria we would chose in the best of all possible worlds I don't feel it has led to our being poorly represented. We have sent over some top teams and will continue to do so. I think the biggest hurdle to our sending our best teams may well be the unfortunate dates selected by the ISDS that continually place the World Trial in conflict with the USBCHA National Finals. When the conflicting dates, high costs, improbability of a successful performance and difficulty of the trip are added up we are selecting for our most determined teams. Not a bad criteria. Beverly Lambert
  3. Doing nothing so I just read through this thread. Very interesting look at our "Dog Culture". It really got me thinking. To most of us our dogs are extension of ourselves. I won't say we value them as children but we don't really view them as animals either. Hence our reluctance to buy them from someone who breeds them as if they were... "animals". I know I would have no objection about buying say a Quarter horse from a an operation that kept 88 brood mares and a carefully chosen number of top stallions. The mares might have been shown as reining or cutting horses and have titles and the stallions certainly would. So far pretty comparable to the GSD commercial operation under discussion. Professional staff would work with and handle the foals and at some point in the first few years of that youngster's life I would buy him and feel I was better off then if I had made a similar purchase from a back yard breeder with one mare. I wonder why we consider dogs so differently? Why is having a professional make the determination of who gets bred to whom better then having some fond owner of a novice dog make the selection? Please believe that puppy mills and most commercial breeders are not where I would go for my next dog. But this is a reflection of the quality of these breeders, not on the concept that only someone who breeds for love can make a good breeding. Interesting thread. Thanks
  4. Lambert

    transitioning from fetch to cattle...

    Well I would guess that Jake's desire to play fetch is greater then his desire to get kicked by a cow. This shows good sense on Jake's part but may not work out in his new situation. Generally, when a dog turns away from the work to pick up something, grass, poop or a stick it is an avoidance move. However, there is a lot going on in his life right now with new work and a new home, so it is possible that he will gain confidence in this new life and be ok. I suspect that only time will tell. Confidence in his new owner will also increase his self confidence which may also help. Beverly
  5. Lambert

    reintroduction

    I doubt if you will have any problem. It may take him a bit to learn to work for you but the desire to work should remain intact. Good luck Beverly
  6. Lambert

    squaring up flanks

    I use a light weight of line (clothes line weight) and snap it to the dog's collar. If necessary I will hold the dog very tightly or I can let him range freely and just step on the line or pick it up when he is down to keep him at my side when I walk away from the sheep. The line allows me a bit more control and I find once the dog has been stopped a couple of times by my stepping on the line he is a bit more mindful of m presence on the field. Beverly
  7. Lambert

    squaring up flanks

    Its the relaxed which is the whole secret to the wide flank. If you can get him to relax he will flank out on your pressure, but as long as all he can think about is getting to the sheep he won't respond as you want. No magic formula here just needs a lot of walking around with you getting into his space when he crowds the sheep. If you keep telling him to lighten up and relax eventually he should do so. Beverly
  8. Lambert

    squaring up flanks

    Reading between the lines here I think that your main problem is not squaring your flanks but getting your dog relaxed and working his sheep. It sounds to me like he is trying to beat you around the sheep so he can slice his flank. I think working him up against the fence like this, while its easier to control (since you only have half of the circle around the flock to patrol) isn't really going to address the main problem. Also this sort of fence work with the sheep trapped tends to sort of wind up dogs and if he is uncomfortable at all with the sheep will increase his anxiety and desperation to get going. I'm afraid I also think your work area is pretty small but I'm not sure how desperate your boy is so maybe you need these tight quarters to keep a hold on him. However, I would be working on the stop and doing a little wearing in this tight area until I had control. Then I would get back out in a larger area before I did much more. I would suggest letting him drag a line and working in a bit larger area. The first thing you need to do is to get this guy to listen to you and stop quietly when told to. You should be able to stand in place and tell him to stop and he should (when you tell him if not the first time certainly the second). He needs to follow sheep quietly (wearing). Once he will do both of these things like a civilized dog you can start to move off balance and let him flank. When he does these flanks if he is not a goodly distance off his sheep then you need to step into him by coming around the sheep toward him using what ever command you use to back him off (I use "get out of that"). Its very hard to get a dog to square up his flanks if all he is thinking is "how am I going to get around this woman and get to these sheep". You need to do whatever it gets to have at least some of his attention on you all all times. Once he isn't just trying to beat you to the sheep he will begin to pay attention to what you are trying to tell him and he can begin to learn. If the above doesn't work I would hold on to one end of that line and do a little driving with him so you can control his approach to the stock. Once he is relaxed and working with you then you can widen those flanks out in a larger area where he has room to move right around the sheep and find the balance point. Hope I have read the situation correctly Beverly
  9. Lambert

    Not sure where to start

    Don't do it. If you don't think you will enjoy this don't even start it. Your dog will enjoy agility or flyball with all of the enthusiasm that border collies are bred to bring to livestock work and it will be a much easier sport for both of you to participate in living in an urban area as you do. A working border collie is an obsessive/compulsive doing their thing. Sure they love it, but you aren't going to be able to take your dog to do this kind of work very often all you will do is create an interest in your dog that neither one of you can satisfy and you don't even want to do. I would strongly recommend that you do something else with Joy that will bring you both joy. She will never know the difference unless you take her to stock and show her that there is one. Beverly PS There is also the danger that you could come to enjoy herding and ruin your life so have a care.
  10. Lambert

    sheep huggers

    If i understand your question you only have 4 sheep now so breaking them down into smaller groups probably won't work. Yeah clearly the best solution is to sell the sorry things. Sheep absolutely get like this if they are worked a lot. I'm pretty aggressive about not letting my get too close to me and they are still bad. The breed of sheep is a factor in how bad they get for this. I like a hair sheep or cheviots myself as they stay a bit fresher longer then fine wool breeds and dorset types. There is no good way to work sheep like this. They are spoiled and will not work for your dog like most sheep he will see in competition. There are ways to lighten them up a bit. Take them to a new field and they will be a lot different but it might be easier to get new sheep then a new farm. Beverly
  11. Lambert

    assessing readiness for ewe and lamb chores

    I don't like to put a dog in a situation where I don't know what will happen until I am confident that nothing that is likely to happen is likely to damage the dog's self confidence. So I am reluctant to work lambs or ewes with lambs who might hit my dog until he has shown me that being hit is unlikely to hurt his feelings. Sometimes this is not until the dog is two years old or older. Other dogs have such self confidence that I will happily take them into dangerous or tricky situations much younger. I'm afraid it will depend upon how aggressive your sheep are and how self confident and brave your dog is. Dogs become braver and more self confident with age. It is very easy for a small thing to shake the confidence of a young dog who, faced with the exact same thing, six months later would not be bothered. I tend to err on the side of caution. Beverly
  12. Lambert

    Farmer's dog to trials?

    I would not think trialing your new dog would confuse her. In order to be competitive at trials dogs need much more training and obedience than they do for daily farm work since trial work is more unexpected and exacting. This additional obedience will allow you to control your dog better during farm work. I would expect that once she is trained for trialing she will be reluctant to split through the sheep to get to their heads but you may well have enough commands and control on her by that time that you can direct her to do this. Good luck. Beverly
  13. Lambert

    My Second Time at the Post

    practice and keep it simple and close. Dogs are very like people. If they are confused, upset or stressed they can't learn anything all they can do is worry about the situation. So you need to keep her well within her comfort zone as you try and teach her something new. Keep it close and keep it easy. Beverly
  14. Lambert

    My Second Time at the Post

    I'm afraid that I find dog training mostly consists of making it smaller. Shorten up the outrun to about 5 feet and make sure she will go around the sheep on her 'bad' side. You need to look very closely at your dog as she circles the sheep. Is her flank around the stock correct? Its very easy to skip the boring "go around the sheep" stuff and move on to the outrun. But a dog that won't correctly flank around sheep will not run out correctly. You need more ground work, more up close work. Your dog should easily walk to the post at your side, set up as you tell her and never cut off the top of her outrun. Circles. Lots of circles with you very close. You need to get her running around sheep and relaxed so she can listen to you and stop when you ask her to. I'm sorry there isn't a magic bullet but it sounds like your dog is running a bit out of control with a poor shape to her flank. This is why you had trouble at the pen and it showed up even more on the outrun because you were asking for an even bigger flank there. The outrun is a big flank. You can't get the big one right without the little one is correct already. I'm guessing you are working with someone and don't have your own sheep. This makes training very hard because your dog gets out seldom and you need to try and accomplish a lot when you have an opportunity to work. The tendency is to move along through the basics as fast as possible to get to the "real" stuff. The basics are crucial to everything that will follow your dog must be relaxed and responsive. The rest will follow easily when laid on this base. Beverly
  15. Lambert

    Hesitant on One Side

    I would really shorten the distance of the outrun on the bad side. Shorten it down to 10 yards if you need to. Find the distance he will run out to with confidence and enthusiasm with no sign of hesitation. Do this very short outrun for a week or so until he is running out with complete confidence. Then very gradually lengthen the outrun. This looking back, stopping or crossing can get to be a habit really easily. You want to nip it in the bud without in any way diminishing his enthusiasm for the outrun. The behavior you describe is almost always indicative of uncertainty and lack of confidence. He doesn't like running out on that side and isn't comfortable there. You need to remedy that. Beverly
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