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Everything posted by denice

  1. I often think reading Tea's post we are kindred spirits. We would have a blast working together if that were possible and not separated by the entire country between us. Tea is right of course - the individual dog will dictate its strengths and challenges then it is up to us to be smart enough to help him where he needs it. Not all dogs are suited to on the job training. Some are excitable, some mature slowly, some come out of the womb ready to go get work done. I have had pups bred the same was that differed a great deal. I have come to understand both parties - dog and person - have to match for things to go well. I used to try and try and be frustrated with myself and the dog. I am sure the dog was just as frustrated with me. Now if I really feel the fit is wrong I move the dog to a better place and go on. I was just emailing a friend explaining that quite a few livestock producers contact me looking for nice working dog that they can get work done with without lots of training or effort on their part. That is where it is tough - judging people is harder than judging dogs. If you are type of person to read stock and dogs well and adjust to the animals there is no limit to what you can accomplish I think. If you are the type of person who thinks the animals should do things a certain way then I think you paint yourself into a corner making it tougher on everyone. I did not grow up with livestock. I did grow up riding horses. When something is stronger and bigger than you it makes you figure out ways to get things done with cooperation rather than dictating. You simply think and see things differently. When I began with Border Collies it was a slow process for me to understand sheep and cattle enough to know how all the moving parts interact - dog and me included. Then it was years of paying enough attention to learn from the dogs. Then I gradual became comfortable in my ability and my dogs ability so I could release control allowing the dog to simply work. Help in the places it needed it, correct the places it was wrong but give it time to see if the dog corrected itself. I am still guilty of stepping in to soon or trying to help to much. BUT the better the dog, the better the breeding, the more suited the dog is to you and your work the easier it will be. Not all dogs will fit, even if they are good ones. I will say it could take years but as long as you are taking steps forward be happy with that and small steps. One thing I enjoy about Bud is he seemed to enjoy each dog for what the dog was not try to make it into something different. He also took dogs allowing them to work that others would not - that comes from seeing past the surface and being confident in his abilities. I think dogs and stock - if you are comfortable read that and gain confidence themselves and relax. We all do better, think clearly when we are allowed and encouraged to relax. If I did not realize I was tense before taking a young dog to stock it is not long before they make it clear. It is amazing how quickly your emotional state affects the dog and stock. There are a few stockmen/women around that use dogs to assist in livestock production - those are people I would get to know and watch. I enjoy a thoughtful confident dog on and off stock. Much is dependent on the dogs personality but we can raise and encourage a dog to be more confident or we can raise them to need us and constant assurance.. The good dogs will teach you more about stock, working dogs, and yourself than you ever could imagine but you have to willing to pay attention.
  2. I think all dogs enjoy keep away type games. They play that way with each other. One has something then gives that chase me look/posture and the race is on. I try to "play" games that either are educational or at least provide some benefit to our relationship - ie working together. When I ask a dog for something I want them complying because they WANT to not because of what punishment or unpleasantness I can provide. Having a willing partner is more than obedience. If you teach her being with you is enjoyable then she will seek YOU out. My impression is she has learned she might not be able to trust you. You might have to start over and reward - pet, talk, food- for doing small things once or twice and move on to something else rather than playing till she does not do as wanted then correcting her. Use a long line asking her to come to you then let her know it is a pleasant experience ALL the time when she does. Now I do have them do things they do not like - nail trims ect- I just do those things as matter of fact as possible. Stand her let me do it then we can move on to fun stuff. There is not punishment but I have high standard from day 1 of what is expected being aware of what age/stage of development they are at. Look at things from her point of view, what her body position for clues to what she is telling you. If she is dropping the toy then coming or coming to you with head down, not looking at you, ears not up and happy then you have taught her that coming to you is not enjoyable. Crouch down, sit on the ground, laugh make coming to you and bringing you things enjoyable. What her approaching other people to play, I am sure there is a difference in her body language. She is telling you what the problem is you just need to listen It all boils down to your relationship.
  3. Never had the pleasure of meeting Bud, know a few people who knew him and read most of the web site. My impression of him is that he was a stockman. His stock came first, horses and dogs followed - as it should be. imo I think he was a practical man, used his horses and dogs to help him in daily management of his stock. Real world experience goes a LONG way. On the job training can be wonderful but it takes the right combination of instincts, relationship and experience. Natural dogs that excel with real work are incredible. Understanding dogs/animals like Bud did from a lifelong of working with them allowed him to see where each dog excelled and have the confidence in himself to allow that dog to work using what God gave it as opposed to believing it should only do as asked when asked. I feel that is the main difference in working ranch/farm dogs and trial dogs. I need my dogs to figure things out and take care of stock without input from me. I need to trust them in the woods, across the creek. Trials favor dogs you can place in the right spot at the right time to get the pretty lines ect. so it is more precise training. Some dogs are fine with us dictating the when and where and how others do not like that and work better without it. ( not saying some can't do both) Finding the dog that suits us and our goals is huge. Finding those that you can take out and get work done at a young age and just teach them words to what they do naturally on the job with us - those are special dogs that we are able to develop great partnerships with and when allowed will do incredible things that I would have have believed if I had not witnessed some of them. The times I have learned the most are the times when I need my dog to do something that simple commands do not cover. Those times when it is so complicated I do not think less than a conversation would ever make what I needed clear. Sometimes I simply have sent the dog, watching as they figure out how to best get the job done. Other times I do have a conversation with them, one sided verbally, somehow they do just what is needed. If I pay attention to them they are talking and teaching it just is not verbal. Want to know stock, listen to the dog. I think Bud listened to his dogs, that may be what impressed me the most when I read his stories. I know they are true because I have stories of my own similar to his.
  4. I have had that decision a number of times and been present for others as a vet tech in the clinic Never Easy. For myself when their bad days out number the good I begin to know it is time. One bc came as a pup, my first Border Collie. It was sudden with him, even with hm 16. Ate supper one night several hours later could not stand, next morning no better. My other bc at 15.5 suddenly was super confused. Would get behind an open door or in a corner and not be able to get out. A couple days later was not eating much. He lived and worked beside me with so much thought and dignity I was not going to let him end his days like that. I felt it was time. I try to do what is best for them, they give me so very much over the years. It is the least I can do for them. Rear leg weakness is common with advanced age. I will help them as long as they seem happy or content but there seems to came a time when it feels 'right'. Not easy but right. Just have to remember all the wonderful things he shared with you.
  5. I too have used pepcid or tagamet 30 min before a meal, some vets have a preference which to use. I also have fed boiled or cooked in a crock pot chicken, grilled chicken breast, liver, sweet potatoes, pasta,cottage cheese, eggs, carrot, beans... Some dogs eat when fed on/in something else like paper plate. Don't know why but it makes a difference. Sometimes warming it up a bit makes a difference. I think they eat better if I cut everything up small so they do not have to chew as much. I also tend to add a bit of water thinking they do not drink as much either. Pretty much whatever they eat is offered two or three times a day.
  6. Donald wrote, "Identifying the problem is more than halfway to solving it." I think finding the answer To WHY they do or do not do things is always pivotal in coming up with a solution. Having someone else give you a different view can be super helpful. One of the reasons I have clinics here is so I can work dogs with clinicians watching since they see small things that I often miss with my own dogs. More times than not the problem is something I need to change. One step, different tone, relaxing myself and remembering to breath - it all makes a difference to the dogs. Jack often says "The smallest change is the biggest answer" It is amazing to me how much better the dog works when I am relaxed.
  7. I try to always watch the dogs close enough to be aware of what they are thinking, or at least question what they are thinking - both on stock and off. I believe if you are observant they will teach you more unspoken lessons than you will ever learn from words. This education they provide is true for stock but has a much wider application. They have taught me about myself and life lessons that might only come by watching and working with them. I have been very fortunate to watch good shepherds work beside some awesome and not so awesome dogs. At times it is those dogs that extra effort from us that teach us the most. When I step back and am quiet allowing the dog to do the job the way they see best often results in me realizing that I should have stepped back lots sooner. Sometimes I have the mistaken idea they should work the way I see fit. They remind me that they know more about stock than I ever will. I was having a few issues with a young dog several years ago. He was great at a large group of sheep but not so good with a small group or single. He had great flanks and pace and very natural driving. I was using him for chores all the time. I really liked him but shedding was frustrating and at time he would buzz and grip on one flank. It was Jack that pointed out "He is uncomfortable close to sheep." I thought What the Heck, what does that mean I use him all the time... Jack is a man of few words, despite questioning him I did not get other clues to what he was seeing that I missed. I spent the next 6 to 8 months working and watching the dog wondering what Jack saw that I still didn't. I began working the dog in places where he was uncomfortable on occasion to try to work through some issues instead of chalking it up to a young male thing. Finally saw the problem - of course Jack was right - I could see in small spaces next to sheep he was worried. Now that I could see it I could begin to help the dog relax by using my tone and position. Understanding led me to help rather than correct which only added to the dogs tension. We are lots better now but it due mostly to Me changing rather than the dog changing. I simply stopped making it worse allowing him to relax and think then helped when he needed it. Periodically we work in small places, invent work if I need to, just to remind him and myself that we can do it. Now as part of my training when dogs are young and just starting I work in a packed pen of nice sheep to expose the dog to working up close and walking through sheep calmly. We get that lesson under our belts then easily come back later on to work on bringing sheep out of corners, shedding and look backs. It has a difference. I think we are often concerned about the dog being off sheep that we don't allow them to learn how to be nose to nose and relax. The more varied circumstances we place ourselves and our dogs in the more we are able to learn when we ask WHY, What caused that, What did I do to make the dog do that... instead of simply thinking they should do blah blah because we say.
  8. I would feed the pup when I would still have a good hour or more to spend with him so he has plenty time to potty outside before being inside/crated/ kenneled for several hours. My pups hate to have to potty inside their kennel even a 10x10 kennel so I really try not to make that necessary. I think it will depend on his personality if a puppy class that soon after his life changes is a good thing or not. If he is super outgoing and loves to explore and investigate new things then might be fine. If it takes him a bit to settle in, more shy, concerned pup then might wait a bit. I don't worry about formal 'training' I just incorporate them into my life teaching as we go. Makes it enjoyable for both of us.
  9. I have been using Border Collies to assist me in managing my flock for 17 years. I have worked both cattle and sheep with dogs, mostly sheep. Learned a ton in that time. There are days I am still reminded I have more to learn but more often than not heading to the pasture with a couple dogs is a very pleasant experience. I love it all - sheep, good dogs, training the young ones, working with the experienced dogs that read my mind... I have learned working bcs is not about obedience, it is a combination of great genetics and awesome relationship that makes it look effortless. In reality LOTs of work goes into the training and building that trust and confidence in each other. I enjoy dogs so even when we are not working or training they are with me inside and out. I feel this only adds to our relationship. My problem is in trying to get across to livestock owners just how complicated, how many small details are involved in training and learning to work the dogs. All the things matter to them - tone, position, gestures, intent... it is not simple like just asking a dog to sit. People seem to assume buying a bc is the END POINT, They just need to take the dog to stock when there is work to do and the dog will do it then go back to the kennel or yard. They do not consider the training that it will take FOR THEM to learn how to use a bc or time daily for simple activity and building that relationship. Some are willing to spend the money for an older trained dog but when I tell them that is only part of the solution I do not think they believe me. They still seem to expect to treat the dog like a tractor, put it in the kennel get it out when needed. I have been around plenty bc to have experience with those that spend the majority of their time alone and confined - they develop odd behaviors at best. Livestock folks often have full time jobs off the farm, family ect does a working bc really fit into that lifestyle? This is rather long winded way of asking how do you convince people of the commitment of time and training and money involved in having a good working bc, even After one is purchased?
  10. I do not know what SCC are but NCC are larger than Border Cheviots. NCC withl new lambs are not apt to run some will come at a dog. The Border Chev are flightier sheep
  11. If he was purchased from a breeder I would also put in a call to them. Often there are odd behaviors that the parents also exhibited so they would be the ones to know that. Hopefully if that is the case they worked through issues and will be upfront with you. I would also treat all the dogs the same, not allow one to be pushy with the other dogs or you or demand attention from you. Usually I find the oldest male dog is in charge where other males are involved. With females it does not hold true.
  12. I know quite a few people who began herding with a less than ideal dog, be that a mix or a rescue or a purebred bc. They learned by attending clinics and lessons as well as doing other things with that dog. Some just enjoy occasional herding, a handful of times a year. Others LOVE it and decide to pursue it so their next dog is bought with that in mind. Many a sheep farm was begun because of a Border Collie and many sheep caused livestock producers to get a Border Collie. I would rather someone explore herding for a bit first and see if its interesting, doable with their lifestyle/situation, location...and then get a working bred dog and find out in 2 years they have lost interest. Most likely not the norm but I often let those coming for lessons take one of younger dogs into the round pen just to get a feel for things. Sometimes they want to come help with chores and see the dogs really work. It is a bit of the blind leading the blind for a novice handler to start working livestock with a pup, especially if they do not know stock. It is always easier to learn a ton with a dog who knows herding already. Is a mix breed the Ideal herding dog, nope. Is is possible to learn things with that dog - sure is. Sometimes the more difficult dogs / less natural dogs teach us things that we not learn with easy ones. There are dogs that are never good enough to work in a big field or compete but we can learn with every one. I agree the place to begin is with mentors, clinics ect but I would also say with the right instructor and sheep you might be surprised what you can accomplish with the dog you have. There are ways to introduce the dog to stock so things go well and are more controlled so everyone stays safe. Learning to use a working dog well is a life long journey -it is as much about your relationship with your dog as it is the dog's instincts. You have to begin the road to see how far you can/want to go.
  13. Lots of folks compete in herding competitions for fun , it does take a lot of time and discipline to train. I know dogs that were started as adults and do reasonably well. there are different venue options but it is most dependent on how talented/ how much natural ability and instinct the dog has. It can take some time to figure that out, maybe a year, it can be a long haul. There are herding clinics across the country to get your feet wet. What state are you in?
  14. Distemper can cause some neurological symptoms. Possible spinal injury? Any vomiting, diarrhea, high temp If you hold her nose in the palm of your hand and look into her eyes are they normal? Standing knuckled under may not be not be weakness, it is neurological typically. Loss of conscious proprioception, should find quite a bit of articles online There should be good articles in a vet magazines explaining neuro exams online also
  15. I honestly feel when you work beside each other, dog and handler, there can be a more intensive bond formed. It becomes a partnership, a mutual dependence on each other that is not necessarily the case in other circumstances. I think how they transition depends some on the dogs personality and partly where it is placed. How closely does the new owner and work suit the dog? I believe we can take our time and do the dog and person justice and find that real good match or we can simply see the dog. As Liz said even the pups that I am sure from the start are not staying are raised like the ones that do. I think the best possible situation is to try to match the dog with the home and work needed. Sometimes that happens and in a couple weeks to months it all is wonderful. Sometimes things do not go as planned. I believe most younger dogs adjust very well. I have bought working dogs as old as 6, some do not miss a beat It is as if they were always your dog- others take some effort to form a good bond, still others never seem to click. I know my mom who is here daily has no problem with my younger dogs - getting them in /out of crates, kennel the house, feeding and the dogs eating ect. The older dogs - the ones I have really bonded with over time they are more difficult. Some will not eat, some look for me, some will not go back to the kennel ect. I would think it is potentially more disruptive to sell/ rehome the older dog than to a younger one. They are more set in their ways just like people. I also feel those that did not have the greatest life if they get to a place where things click bond fast and forever. I imagine it is more than just feed me and I will be happy.
  16. Pups understand that older dogs need to be respected. I do not find that unusual at all. The young dogs that exhibit behaviors like barking, growling, snapping at older dogs do it mostly from fear. I would verbally correct all/any snapping at people. For me it is not acceptable under any circumstance. I let young dogs work out for themselves if they are mouthing each other, they will let the other pup know if it is to rough.
  17. Hard to say if is simply bad manners and lack of respect or something else. Are you able to video? Might have her vision checked if you do not think she actually sees where you are.
  18. The problem is a one time exposure to sheep or even months of training/lessons may not be an accurate assessment of what the dog is capable of. So much depends on other factors - your relationship with the dog, the training method, the group of sheep, the age of the dog and its disposition... If these pups came from working parents and if those parents have produced working pups then odds are they will have instinct to work stock. IF that instinct and style of working suits you as a novice and your sheep in an entire new can of worms. The breeder should be able to assist you. I would start visiting trainers to see their dogs work and see how they train. If that suits you make regular visits and see where it goes. Go to a few clinics, watch different dogs and trainers. No One can tell with a pup only seen once on sheep. I think it comes down to Are the sheep for you OR are they for the dog? If you want sheep get them, learn about them and enjoy them then get a dog to help with them. If the sheep are for the dog - invest a year or two in lessons then look at getting sheep.
  19. The Value of a registered dog in my opinion lies in the knowledge you gain from that listing of parents - knowing how they work, if won big trials, being able to watch other pups out of those parents work, learn about personalities and any genetics problems that have been seen. Without that Knowledge or asking others about the lines and Heritage and traits of those dog the Paper is simply a paper with names on it. Doesn't mean a thing. I know some dandy working dogs that do not have papers, the more ranches you visit the more dogs you will see. They know the lines and history of the dogs but it is not written down. Registrations for any animal are that way - horses, cattle- give you information on the line if you do your research. Not a guarantee on anything - except hopefully the parents. My mom and her brothers were big into foundation quarter horses in the day. My uncle in the quarter horse hall of fame - they said "you can't ride papers"
  20. Being True to the Border Collie breed I feel is important if you are a breeder. To me the Border Collie is a working dog, a herding dog. Therefore to breed for other purposes, making choices on breeding dog on other characteristics regardless of working ability, results in dogs that at their core not Border Collies. For any dog - You have to decide what are the important characteristics for you and find a breeder who makes that and whose dogs prove that.
  21. You will find there are few if any hard and fast rules when it comes to working dogs. As Ruth said it all boils down to 100s of individual traits and people and dogs that Click to make to enable a good match. What one person would call to soft may suit someone else perfectly, what One calls pushy or stubborn or determined may just be what is needed for someone else... Again the age when a dog is started on stock varies. I had had pups drop dead serious about working at 3/4 months old. Crawl through fences to get to sheep and gathered the entire herd of 60 ewes. I had to teach them to call off sheep to get them out of the pasture then we just kept going from there. They were doing simple chores well at 7/8 mo. Others are not ready till 10 mo, a year... I have bought dogs between a year and 2 yrs old because they would not work for owner, within a few days working for me quite well. It can be More about the TEAM than the dog, through no fault of either.
  22. I most enjoy a natural dog, one that looks to be a team player and is willing to give me 150%. I have had super working talented dogs that want to always do things their way, super frustrating when they are working only for themselves and you are just along to open the gate.
  23. I believe the temperament/personality of pups allows me to make an educated choice of where best to place them. The older they are the more you "know" them. I do usually choose pups for new homes, or say pick between these when you come. Their personality is an ongoing developing trait but at 8 weeks you see consistent tendencies. Within the litter there are quiet, shy, confident, outgoing, bossy, determined...For me I place the most determined, confident outgoing pups in working homes. If I have folks with cattle the most confident, level headed pups go there because cattle require that type of dog. Raised correctly I think that pup has the best shot of excelling in that environment/work. Sometimes it is a gut feeling honestly, I do not discount those. Often the pups that stay are chosen on the day they are born. As they grow and begin to play with other dogs you can see eye and outruns develop and that seems to stay consistent on stock. I have a 4 mo old pup that I bought that is beginning to show some working traits now. I also will keep two pups train them for several months to a year to get more information about the dogs I am breeding. My dogs tend to go to working farms, most folks do not train their own dogs. Raising them here, getting to know their strengths and challenges and personality I can make the best choice for them. I do turn down some homes and steer people toward a dog I think will suit them. I do not sell them if I do not think it is a right fit. Even with that sometimes it does not work out. It is easier to judge the pups than it is to judge the people.
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