Jump to content
BC Boards


Registered Users
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by alligande

  1. I am currently working with my third agility dog/border collie and I am ridiculously committed to the sport!  For most people it takes about a year to compete as you are figuring out there is loads to learn and I don't think anyone is really ready at the first trial, just remembering those 18 obstacles is challenging :D

    Other than the start line, none of my agility commands transfer to normal life. Everything my dogs do on the agility course is specific to the game, even when I use their name there is a specific context rather than away from agility where i use their names for all sorts of silly things. The way I train agility has changed and I now train a lot of very specific verbal commands so my dog can have independence from me and fully understand what he needs to do. As an example we are working on four specific commands for directionals on leaving the dog walk, these will not be used anywhere else.

    Start line stays are one of lifespan's great challenges, my young dog has a rock solid stay 10ft from an agility course even when other dogs are running, put him in front of an obstacle and we play "should we stay should we go" 

  2. The best think I read when we got our first border collie a long time ago now, was that you get the dog you create. If you walk it all day long, play endless rounds of catch etc that is what they will need, live in Manhattan and take them for a short walk before work and a better one after with a little trick training thrown and they will Ben perfectly happy. 

    We have had four great house pet border collies and lots of fosters. They do need to use their brains, and they do love being involved in every aspect of your lives but they are not meant to be manic machines.

    My final observation is that most sheepdogs working in their original areas, northern England, the borders etc don't work all day long every day. Some days they don't work, they might go the pub, or they might spend time ridding the quad, some days are long and arduous. A good border collie should work hard when it needs to and relax when it doesn't, a shepherd does not want an amped up dog bothering him. 

  3. My older dog is 9 1/2 and I continue to train new skills in agility with him, he still competes. That said he is very experienced with the learning new tricks and new concepts. Older dogs can learn lots of things but at 8 in the fast impact sports they probably will not be able to compete seriously as it takes a long time to master the skills, but older dogs can have lots of fun learning the concepts without ever having to jump or do high impact activities. 


  4. I would take him to a different vet and have tests ran.

    Couple of stories:

    My insurance agent's puppy golden retriever had soft stool and diarrhea from when they got her,  his regular vet suggested probiotics, changes in diet but never did any fecal testing. They went to my vet who ran tests and found a problem that she had picked up from her horses on the farm where she had been bred, some drugs and she was the happy healthy puppy a test had denied her. What really shocked me was he still goes to the original vet!

    My own dogs periodically pick up intestinal problems, a fecal test has identified the problem and within a few days of the right drugs they have been good. 


  5. From my own very limited experience an instinct test might not show you anything. Both my dogs started to learn how to work sheep this last summer, initially my youngest showed very little instinct (he is a working bred dog with decent lines) while my older 8 year old dog had lots of instinct and did amazingly well on his first few lessons, but the wheel has turned and the young one has come on very slowly and is turning into a real sheepdog, he is never going to set the world on fire but his trainer said if he had him week he would be working 100 sheep effectively, while the older one has flat lined and shown very little improvement. So basically we were welcome to keep coming initially because of one, while the trainer thought I was wasting my money with the other and now it's the reverse.  I can't help you on price as we live in Spain. 

  6. My current two dogs are entire. The decision to not neuter my older dog was a bit of an accident, initially I decided to wait till he was at least 18 months old, he was going to be an agility dog and at that time there was more documentation saying waiting was better, then I was encouraged by my vet to wait as she bred standard poodles and had seen the difference in her litters and encouraged her “responsible” clients to wait. Well we waited and then my other dog got sick with huge vet bills so we waited some more by which time it did not seem worth it, he was a good boy with zero interest in girls. With my younger dog who is 2 1/2 I have never planned on neutering, and can’t see any reason to do so. I am conscious though that he likes girls so I do watch him when there is a BIS with future dogs I have no plan to neuter (we are a boy dog house)  We live in Spain and the majority of dogs/bitches are entire especially in agility circles.

  7. Both my boys are large and a 36" crate is to small for them. My youngster had one as a car crate but had outgrown it before he was one. He used the xl crate that my older dog flew across the Atlantic in, normally you could fit a huge dog in it it made luxuries accommodation for a puppy and I never had to make it smaller for house training purposes. Both dogs slept in crates until about a year old, and had full run of the house at 18 months.


  8. I think some of it depends what you want the dog for. I have the breeders first choice of male pups, I had first pick of the boys but as I could not meet them due to distance I let the breeder choose, in reality there wasn't much difference between them but we when met all of them mine was definitely the thinker and watcher. What he has grown into is a very thoughtful but cautious dog, he is my next agility partner at 2 1/2 I thought we would already be really competing but he finds competitions over stimulating  (progress is being made) and he can be very frustrating to train as he literally stops dead if he is at all unsure of what's wanted, on the upside once he completely understands then he owns the exercise with total confidence and is ridicoulsly fast. The first time he saw sheep he was useless, he still doesn't have much oomph but our trainer commented last time we went he is turning into a solid dog that if he had him a week could be working a 100 sheep around the farm but he would not be taking him to compete. The breeders are really surprised as they thought he was going to be much more outgoing.

  9. She certainly looks and sounds like she has a lot of border collie if not all border collie. Welcome to the wonderful and weird world of living with a border collie, this is one of the best places to learn about them. We adopted our first by mistake as well, I would never have dreamed of owning a sheepdog living in a town but I fell in love with a pretty face, we are now on border collie #4 and could not imagine having another breed. 

  10. My older dog is still competing in agility at 9 and amazing people how old he is, we are stuck in grade 2 due to huge inconsistency and only being able to compete on a limited basis due to living on an island,  to move up we don't just need clears we need some serious speed as well, our last point gained in agility was done at 4.6 meters a second which earned a point towards going to the Spanish championship but not progression.  My youngster is 2 1/2 and although entering competitions hasn't completed a full course as competition environments make his head explode and he forgets all his skills so it's all about making it fun, luckily in Spanish FCI we can take a toy in the ring to train. My focus is entirely agility, they do get to work sheep a couple of times a month which has been a great experience for all of us.

    I am amazed how much training I am doing with my youngster to get the skills I want, when I started competing with Rievaulx coming up on 8 years ago, we went to class once a week and did a little at home, with Fen it's at least 4 times a week at the club between running contacts, independent weaves, strong verbal commands for a multiple variety of turns etc etc the list of skills just seems endless and we slowly work our way into them both learning more and more, while Rievaulx is also still learning new skills alongside his baby brother, while I learn to handle an even faster and more responsive dog, when I started to run Rievaulx I compared the difference between him and Brody as going from a chevy to a Porsche, now I have an F1 car! 

  11. As soon as I saw the title of this post I had a really bad feeling. Mr McCaig contributing so much to the world of Border Collies, I read Border Collie wars when I first joined these boards and although I had an understanding of the fight, the dedication that went into the fight was was inspiring. 

    I will miss his insightful comments and simply his love of dogs. 

  12. Nothing on their website says breeding for working ability, they are breeding pretty dogs for pet homes. Any time you see duel registered AKC/ABCA it's a red flag, I did not look at all their dogs but none where working sheep. 

    This board supports breeding border collies for one purpose, working livestock, those dogs might go and be pets and sports dogs but their origins are livestock work. In the US it's hard to tap into good working dogs but the members of this board can help point you in the right direction.

    As others have said rescue is a really good option, you get some amazing dogs coming into rescue simply because their owners did not realize what owning a border collie meant. Our first three border collies were rescues, first two were adults when got them and my older dog was a puppy, all were/are great dogs with very little baggage, some weird traits but all border collies have those. My youngster is an ISDS pup from Scotland and a lot of thought went into getting him, and why I wanted a pup from a breeder (I compete in agility and wanted to minimize the risks of dysplasia and other health issues, my current and previous border collies had dysplasia) 

  13. I reckon your gut is right, as someone else said the comment about needing sheep and herding is a big red flag. If you both enjoy training at home but not at class, then don't go, there are loads of online courses like Fenzi Academy to provide structure. Or watch Kikopup videos. Border collies are notoriously sensitive, my young dog is developing into a great agility dog _ at home_ in a competition environment he is stressed by all the activity plus the travel and sleeping in strange places. Every competition we go to he improves and shows a little more that he capable of. I am very patient, make sure he has success and don't ask to much of him. 

    PS both my dogs have awful leash manners its just not something that is that important to me, as long as I can walk them I am happy, but they both know loads of agility skills and the youngest is developing some great running contacts because that is what is important to me.


  14. I would have to agree with Gentlelake, there just is not enough information about the severity of the bite history. Shelters when adopting walk a fine line and cant win, they get bad press in a case like this, but on the other side shelters have been publicly lambasted for adopting dogs out that have gone on and bitten. The rescue I used to volunteer with would take border collies that had bitten but were very careful to understand the context of the bite before agreeing to take them on. There was a scary incident where a dog who we knew had shown aggression but the rescue boss had evaluated him a year earlier and thought in a new home he would be fine, first family would not agree to give him up then, but a year later they realized they could not cope, his first night with an experienced fosterer he went for her, her forearm needed surgery. We all still believe that if he had come into rescue a year earlier at 18 months he would have been fine, but another year in his original home made things worse and had a very sad ending. 

  15. Maybe take an online class so you can teach the basic skills at home, and later you can take him to school and he will already have an understanding of how to learn. My pup was home schooled, two or three times a day we would work together for 5 minutes, it was in a calm environment and he had the chance to learn about learning. Even though he is a relatively calm dog school would have been to much for him when he was little.


  16. I agree with everything that has been said. Border collies are highly trainable and usually very sensitive, I would not dream of using one unless it was a life depending situation. Find a different trainer. I had a lovely little foster dog that left me sane, or as sane as any motion reactive border collie and she came back two years later crazy and unadopatable, we found out the adopters had been using an invisible fence in the house. 

    Consider that in the UK they have been banned for training purposes. (in england and wales they can still be used for fencing) 


  17. I think having two dogs is much better. They have each other for company on walks, they can play together etc. 

    When we got our puppy our older dog was 7 and had been an only dog for 3 years (due to planning a move to Europe) he had been very depressed when our other dog had died far to young, but he also blossomed and became his own character, when he was young he was a sidekick and a bullied sibling. 

    He and I are also very bonded (he is my agility partner) and initially when we got Fen his character kind of faded away, going back to being a sidekick but at some point having a puppy around became the new normal and he came back to being himself. 

    Both dogs are jealous of the time they spend with me, but that is just tough, I don’t work with Rievaulx any less than I did before I just now have two dogs to train. 


  18. What the others have said is good advice, from your description it sounds like your dog is what is called over threshold and can't think hence the frustration. My older dog was my second agility dog but first to love the sport, he is nine and still really loves the game and is still very fast. I went through all sorts of issues with him, had stand up drag out arguments with my trainer as she thought the solution was neutering him and I also needed to slow him down, neither of which I did, but I learned a lot without losing his desire to fly. I was lucky as just when he was becoming really nuts I met Amanda Shyne from Data Driven Agility, who told me she adored my dog and would loved to have had him and I had the opportune to train very occasionally with her which kept me really focused on learning what my dog needed to be the best he could be. 

    Some ideas for you:

    Explore a concept called "capping drive" a member here introduced me to it and it really suited my over the top dog, really helped him to learn while his brain was flying high.

    Although you are just starting out, you know your dog and stand your ground with the trainer. Over the top excitment in a chase game is normal, going in for the grab and bite is not and should not be encouraged. It is usually frustration and can be a nightmare to stop if allowed to continue, one of our former club members allowed this to happen and it has literally taken years for her handling to improve enough that he can focus on the game.

    There are loads of ways to train agility, my younger dog doesn't have the over top attitude but I realized that when I use a toy he is not thinking just doing and the game doesn't sink into his long term memory, so now I start teaching him the basics of an exercise using a manners minder and use shaping techniques, then I use a toy which adds speed. With my older dog I would also introduce new concepts with food but would have to spend less time before moving onto using a toy. 

  19. On 9/18/2018 at 5:14 PM, reploidphoenix said:

    i honestly feel she may be better with just starting with the equipment. I feel she would understand better what i want from her? 

    There is a logic to all the silly foundation games, it helps with your training skills, clicker timing etc, teaches her about running with you, and many other things. It is great to read about a facility doing true foundation skills as lots of places rush into equipment as they feel that's what people want, and as they are in business they need happy clients, it is actually hard to find somewhere that is training like you are being.

    I completely messed up the my first agility partner because of bad foundation training, I started agility with the intention of competing and would have done anything to get there but did have any knowledge. Both my dogs have been through similar foundation work that you are describing (accept the cones which I can't picture) my older dog is now 9 still competing and still competive and still loving the game, the younger one is two and just getting into his stride. 

  • Create New...