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ajm

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About ajm

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  1. ajm

    Slides off Pressure on the Drive

    Someone should send me alerts to there being questions on this list. I look for a while and nothing and then I stop looking. I, of course, am unfamiliar with the precedents to your driving. I see a lot of dog starting that is left and right, breaking through the sheep, with new dynamics for what is balance, between dog and hand all the time--rather than letting the dog settle in behind and learn to make a good line while in the infantile stages of gathering. Once dogs get the hang of holding a line in a gather, not much of a stretch is involved, in doing it while driving, These early gathers require a hand to check a dog when it swings left or right and fall in behind the sheep. Intelligent dogs in the hands of perceptive trainers, learn to hold those lines, They can equally learn to do it in a drive. No wondering where we are headed with something--the dogs see, with the help of the hand. If you believe that you have these gathering principals down pat, you can move on to your driving with confidence. If you are having trouble keeping your dog behind, walk on one side, dog behind, sheep at right angles to you, fence on the other. The fence will keep your sheep on the straight and narrow with you on the other side. The dog will get the hang of holding a line, in what amounts to a breach of its perception of balance. The dog can accept it. It could be that your dog lacks the gas to take the sheep, whether its away from you or towards you. Judging that would be up to you or a supervising clinician. Perhaps you are confident of the dog's power, in which case, the driving should be no problem. You claim to be late in demanding a stop, which escalates a zig zag fest. Handlers who become good, must discipline themselves to see sheep turning, before they turn. Stop your dog before you think it needs to be stopped. Same with the other direction. Purify your concentration on your sheep. Your dog will reward you by seeing your logic, joining you on the job. These training sessions are anything but haphazard. The concentration involved comes as a surprise, as trainers become better. No little slips. Don't make your dog wonder where you are headed with your sheep.
  2. ajm

    Deal Breakers

    I can't get a rise out of anyone on this subject. Just because I don't like wide running dogs, doesn't mean they are unsuitable for another who wants time to make up their mind about what to do next. The wide runner will afford that--time to decide what to do next. It might be you who wants such a dog, although it may not suit me.
  3. ajm

    Deal Breakers

    I can't run dogs running too wide. In my experience, that is a problem that escalates as they get older. It starts with a reaction to pressure early on and develops into a go to behavior when dogs do not want to face the music--an easy out. Precision required of top runs is nearly impossible with such a dog, as they will take swings at moments of grave inconvenience and hemorrhage points for sloppy turns, or worse stay out of the park when you are trying to shed; or what about a criminal cast off when shovelling them in the pen is demanded. How can a wide one inspire confidence on big unfenced fields as they run out? Which nonsensicle place will they end up? I can't abide a wide dog. Nor will I breed to it. Too much eye can be a deal breaker. They will spoil outruns by pulling up early. They are shortchanged in the free flanking department. They hesitate when asked to walk up, pretending to be considering options. They lock up at the pen, letting you down even if they just laid down a good one around the course. They will hesitate when they should be fluid, enlisting sheep confrontation as the sheep will always peer back at them, an ovine equivalent of WTF. They provoke questions for which there are no answers. They explode in a cheap grip when tension gets the better of them. Don't run it. Don't breed it. I don't mind training through questionable power. Sometimes dogs, who are inspired can workout techniques to handle aggression from sheep. You as a trainer can be a confidence builder. However, be prepared for failure, as it doesn't always work out. I saw a dog last weekend who was remarkable as a youngster for being a poor outrunner--crossing, confused. Many handlers I know, me included might have given up on him, but his handler took him back to basics of short successful outruns over the training year. It worked. His handler believed in him. He has become a proper dog, with big difficult outruns under his belt. Dogs, just like people, can develop in good ways in the presence of compassion and faith. your job as a trainer is to sideline liabilities and showcase assets.
  4. ajm

    training conditions

    Since no one has a question, I have advice A notion that training will be done at a fixed time, has been drawn to my attention. "I will train my dogs at 6:00 pm." It doesn't work that way. The current severe heat in the east changes our opportunities to train. Six in the morning is the best window, when it is coolest. our job as trainers is to optimize conditions for a young dog. No way can they think well enough to learn if they get too hot, not to mention the damage you might do health wise, for the long run. We go for the coolest part of the day, when our canine partners can remain level headed, and clear sighted. We limit the demands we make during a hot spell: your ability to solve a problem, if one develops is constrained by how hot your dog becomes. Ending a training session on a positive note can be awkward, if you are forced to give up due to the heat. Don't go too far. Keeps sessions short and manageable. Be content with a dog re-enforcing things it may already know. No pushing of the envelope. The optimizing of conditions applies to other factors. Grass should be kept short so the youngster is not bombarded by seed heads when he is giving a flank all he's got. Sheep should be free and places with unmanageable draws that work to defeat the young dog should not be allowed
  5. ajm

    Stopping a Dog that Goes into Orbit!

    Sorry, but it's been ages since anyone has asked a question. I had one of these dogs that flew off like a wild indian around a wagon train. I couldn't wait to sell it. What can such a dog be thinking?? No balance, or grasp of for what it is getting behind the sheep. No concept of ansering to the presence of a handler. Why? I once saw a clinic Dalziel had where he put a line on a dog and stopped it, with the line. I suppose this might be an instance where that would be useful. I have always thought the requirement of the line was annoying at best. I like a dog that thinks more constructively than that at the outset. But maybe the final outcome, of a dog not flying into orbit, as you describe, would make it worth it. Try that and let us know how it came off Amanda
  6. ajm

    Spaying working dog

    I have never neutered a dog I trialled. Breeding is always part of the game. If a dog is prospective champion in all respects, why neuter it until you establish that it is not up to par. It would be impossible to tell when it was six months old. I would wait and see what sort of dog it became before I jumped the gun.
  7. ajm

    Off-balance, off-pressure flank

    Cool. Everything comes to she who waits. Try not to bore her, or she could become resentful.
  8. ajm

    Off-balance, off-pressure flank

    WEll, I think she looks pretty good, absent a sense of urgency about the direction of the flanks. Quite casual. Maybe you could convey a sense of urgency. What exactly is the question?
  9. People don't ask questions for ages and then I stop looking and look what happens. I thank Donald for his explanation. A good one. Having some eye is an asset. it brings useful balance to dogs that makes them easy to train. Bereft of the balance, the eye, dogs must be put everywhere, instead of that they go. Without a pleasant amount of eye, a dog has less to contribute to the job. We all like a useful partner afterall and that is pretty much what we are after. The dog with too much eye, the one that gets locked up and doesn't get up, really would not have too much eye if you could obedience him past the liability. If heavily eyed dogs could overcome their natural inclinations and do as we ask, the eye could be viewed as a pleasant thing. It wouldn't be too much. We want the perfect balance--free enough to be responsive but with enough eye to engage the sheep. Very free dogs are adored by western sheep, as the sheep relax in their presence. Dogs with too much eye draw sheep back to them and predispose confrontation. An honest trainer will know if he or she has trained past a propensity in a dog, like for example too much eye. It will position the trainer to make intelligent breeding choices with the dog at hand--breeding to a freer dog, if in fact the amount of eye in the bitch has been a problematic tendency. We all see dogs that may have had too much eye, but they rose above it in training to be successful dogs. They were trainable. They wanted to be partners on the job.
  10. ajm

    Three-year-old still won't lie down

    You say your dog is not a hard head or stubborn but I have to disagree. he should be easier to train than he is. The things you are describing are instincts run wild. All dogs, whether pet like or not at home let go with a new inner self when they are set loose on sheep. Sometimes all their instincts sync up with a handler swiftly, and they are a cinch to train. Sometimes they are self indulgent and the kindest companion becomes a maniac in the presence of livestock, and this one will be hard to train. Be a severe critic of your home dog in a very realistic way. That will help you grow as a handler and understand the sort of dog you want down the road. Surely that is on everyone's agenda when they start handling sheepdogs. Good clinic advice can help you learn those assessments of your own dog. "Is he betraying a trust. Is he inept." For instance, I know I do not want to do combat with a canine first thing every morning. That has no place in my personal style. I only keep dogs that want to be trained. You can spot such dogs through being a careful student of trials at an open level (novice is not helpful here). It is a breed trait. Difficult to run or train siblings and parents should set off flashing red lights in your mind. Good trainable dogs beget good trainable dogs: conversely, nut cases bring you nut cases. Look elsewhere for you new home dog. When you are a new handler, ease of training has to feature into the sort of pup you acquire. Even the pros will be frustrated with a mad man.
  11. ajm

    Three-year-old still won't lie down

    Your signature reads "Bchaos". Try and take that out of there, maybe that will help . The flag on the whip idea has some merit. You say it works with them for a while, but never without them. Maybe you haven't carried it long enough. He is clever and knows when you don't have it. Maybe you have to carry it all the time, until he develops some habits more befitting a thoughtful Border Collie. Maybe you abandoned the tool too soon. Bring it back. For dogs that are sent over the top by a demand to lie down, it can be more helpful to split the difference and accept a gear down, so long as the easing off the sheep is achieved. Sometimes handlers from obedience backgrounds cannot tolerate the half baked lie down. "Lie down or die." But having the compromise of the job going well can make a dog feel good about the part he means to contribute to the job. So that he is not always locking horns with you, in a scrap over what amounts to details. Battles have be chosen. Your dog does not like lying down. He sounds as though he has become an anarchist of sorts, locked in a rebellion against your will. He will have to start thinking about himself as a helper and how he fits into any job, as a capable assistant--not how he can bring the whole thing to its knees. So bring out the stick and flag. Be an enforcer with limits. Let him continue with a gear down, even if he doesn't actually stop. Put the sheep in and out of places, so that you work with him on specific goals. "Oh I see! We are putting them in this paddock." Please him with little bits of work and accept the small successes yourself. Avoid chaos. Even though it is on your signature. Try that for a few weeks and report back
  12. ajm

    Does not want to "shut off."

    Pete's mom Mark was right But here I am The turning off thing, is definitely a convenience, but that is all. there are plenty of hands who would wish their dogs to be more enthusiastic. Mostly decent Border Collies at trials are keeping a critical eye on the trial field, not yawning, or gaping around at pigeons. Sheep work is not a very relaxing dog activity. On the other hand, when a dog relaxes into a job, into a groove with his hand, we see beautiful work. I would be pleased with his ability not to turn off, as you say. If points are deducted for such a thing at AKC trials, that would be just one more reason not to compete in them.
  13. ajm

    Lie Down

    That is the "long haul."
  14. ajm

    Too young?

    The ducks won't hurst him. But working in spells longer that five minutes or so may. Remember he has the concentration of a gifted kindergarten kid. No way can they keep at it for long periods of time and have it be rewarding. You might be able to teach him to lie down and left and right, but only if it pleases him. If he worries about it, stop.
  15. ajm

    Lie Down

    Best to remember that sheep dog trials are not Obedience competitions. Many new spectators watch trials and complain that "the handler told the dog to lie down and the dog didn't lie down. Does it lose points?" If the dog succeeds in taking pressure off the sheep with or without flat lying down, then don't sweat the small stuff. IF the sheep are good, the management of them was good. and the "lie down" command was successful, whether the dog actually did it or not. You are commanding your dog to manage the sheep properly, not necessarily lie down like in an obedience competition. Nothing is more irritating to see than the sheep breaking away and the dog lying there, obediently, waiting for command, doing nothing about it. Running sheepdogs is more having a conversation with your dog about the sheep management, than you saying lie down, or away, or come by. All these words are only relevant in the context of the sheep and what the sheep are doing in that moment. Obedience has no third party involved. Sheep dog trials of course, do. Having said that, a hallmark of a new handler is to fall back on stops. Lying down lets the novice regroup mentally and gives time to think, even if the sheep are running off meanwhile. So it is not so bad for that. But purifying your concentration on the sheep and the impact that you and your dog are having upon them, will be much more rewarding in the long hall. If you are asking for a lie down, at a time when it makes no sense to your dog, you will undermine his trust in your judgement. He has to trust you, and you him. If all you can see of him is his not lying down, you might be missing his assets.
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