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Posts posted by alligande

  1. Regarding coming in front of you, you never want to reward in front of you, always at the side, this encourages the dog to come to your side not your front, something you never want in agility and can be hard for border collies as many naturally circle. So when you reward with a toy, they first grab it at your side and then you can start a normal game of tug. At this point I would not worry about going between the jump uprights learning to drive through them is a more advanced skill and I am sure the instructors will help you. It's good to here that you are starting with the fundamentals as to many places rush dogs onto equipment.

  2. I had insurance on my older dog when he was a puppy as he was a rescue and you never know what might crop up. I never insured our older dog at the time he was 5 and had no pre-existing conditions. This a decision have always regretted, Brody had a serious of illnesses that were unexplained and we lost him at 8 1/2 with insurance I would have been able to explore more options. Over that time his vets bills were over 6000 more than covering the cost of the insurance and deductible.

    Both dogs are insured now, my biggest fear is orthopedic issues as they are both agility dogs. 

  3. I fully agree with what everyone has said and will add I have found border collies to breed snobs. None of my border collies have enjoyed playing with rough and tumble breeds, think labs and pit bulls. They do enjoy the company of other border collies and dogs who respect their style of play which is different. My current two will wrestle and get very physical with each other but would never play that way with a stranger not even a strange border collie. I believe it is simply a matter of trust.

  4. I just had a look at the site Parly linked to and I would say a lot of what is written is a deliberate attempt to discourage someone getting a border collie. Now we no longer have Mum24 to give the UK prospective let me see if I can add something useful. In the U.K. Collies are very common, and very cheap. Working collies are not rare, and are often still simply farm bred without papers, it's obvious when you look at the Facebook group for sheepdog puppies. 

    There is much less of a divide between working and show dogs as the Barbie variety are rare, when I went to the border collie classic which was in England last year I only saw one barbie collie. When I go for walks when visiting my mother I never see show dogs and when I chat to people about their dogs they are usually rescues or from a farm. What all this means is loads of families get one when they are completely unprepared and as a consequence lots end up in rescue. Obviously you get sports and pet bred ones but from my hunt for an ISDS puppy two years ago they cost a lot more than a farm dog, in fact that became a warning sign! You can buy an unpapered farm puppy for £200 a Labrador without papers is going to cost you three times that. 

  5. I am very new to working my dogs and I wasn't even working them, the trainer was, when I went backwards over a tractor tire that had been sliced in half. I was admiring my dog driving the sheep and suddenly realised he was very kindly bringing them to me! I managed to bruise my ribs, a thigh (which is still lumpy) a knee and an ankle, as I landed spreadeagled over a very lumpy tire! Luckily for me there was no handy phone!

  6. Reactivity in border collies and all herding breeds is very common, look for a book called "controlled unleashed" by Leslie mcdervitt, you want the puppy edition, same material just written better. 

    Border collies thrive on mental stimulation, the best advice I read when I also accidentally fell in love with a pretty face at a shelter, was that you get the dog you create, if they get 2 hours of intensive activity every day then that is what they need, if they get a leisurely walk for 40 minutes they will be happy with that. Dogs relax with a walk, let them sniff, smell and pee at their speed, if you spend the same time playing ball, they get amped up and don't relax. The best example is one of my dogs who was 3 when we got him and had never really been made to think, 10 minutes of learning a trick would exhaust him, while he could hike all day. 

  7. I think it's one of those yes/no answers. They are usually biddable and want to work with you, but they also require patience and a calm attitude that tougher breeds don't. Border collies sulk and can simply refuse to do things if you upset them. My two are very different, one over thinks everything and is so slow and questioning while he figures out the puzzle, the other hurls himself at the problem and always thinks he is right which leads to some interesting choices on an agility course! But in the end they both are fun to work with. 

  8. With the free weaves, check what the distance between the poles is, currently I think all organizations are using 24" between each pole, you can find older sets of poles with a separation of as little as 18". As you can see by that video the bigger the gap the better. To train a dog to weave like the dog in the video involves some special techniques, it is not a matter of luring them through. If you can find a trail go chat to people, I never did that as they were all along away so just dove in. There is a book that might give you some ideas its called "Agility Right From The Start" its been out a few years now but I used it for the foundation work with my older dog and it gave him a good foundation. My young dog started with Sylvia Trkmans puppy class and then we took Shape Up Agility's foundation class, but I would not recommend it for someone who has not done the sport before or does not have the chance to work with a live trainer as it assumes knowledge. Slyvia Trkmans puppy class is also a good starting point.

  9. 3 hours ago, dallasbc said:

    I am new and was wondering about maybe books or YouTube channels that would help, but that Fenzi Academy thing would be perfect! Thanks for that suggestion! I'm well excited for that. Do you have any suggestions on equipment I should purchase just to start off with? I'm on a budget, but was thinking tunnels made for kids might be good. There was someone in my area giving away weaving poles for agility on freecycle so was thinking about grabbing those as well. 

    Much better to take a class, agility if you have no experience is hard to learn from a book. I don't know of any reliable youtube channel to get you started, most of what you find are random clips of people training which will not provide you with a program to follow. If you want to learn more in general google agilitynerd he writes a good blog, it is not targeted at beginners but there is lots of good info. 

    the most important thing to remember is that agility is a game and is always taught positively there are no corrections in agility physical or verbal. 


  10. Are you new to agility? If so I would recommend an online class to get you going. Check out the Fenzi Academy, Amanda Shyne - Data Driven Agility to start with. Agility is a complex activity and having guidance makes a huge difference in the how much fun you will both have. I have been training agility for 10 years and I love online courses as I live in an area with lots of agility competitions but there are no great trainers so I rely on online coaches to keep me learning and improving.


  11. 6 hours ago, starry777 said:

    Just to clarify, when I threw out the examples of "OCD" and "aggression" I meant when it's bad enough to be a major problem and isn't merely caused by the dog being in an unsuitable environement. I was thinking dogs that are really disabled by their obsessions or are so aggressive that just owning them puts you in danger of a lawsuit--what if they get a hold of somebody? 

    I think the problem is that it can be hard to separate the problem from the environment, although we all know dogs that people have done everything right and the dog still has issues. If you take these boards the questions come from people struggling not those who are getting on well.

    One of our foster dogs is a good example of a dog who ended up with an obsession that was completely debilitating for her. She was our foster dog twice, the first time she was a nice young bitch, motion reactive but nothing that could not be managed, the rescue thought they had found her a lovely home and on paper it was. She came back to us two years later when the husband had died, a messed up individual. She could not ride in a car, she attacked the TV, and shadow chased .... we believe she had been entertained with a laser pointer, she went to live with the founder of the rescue as she was impossible to place, we made some progress but it was going to take much more time and effort than we had and most adopters are not willing to take on such a difficult dog. 

  12. I was going to get my puppy from a well known UK breeder that registers a lot of pups each year, in the end there was health issues with the litter ( a different story but nothing that reflects badly on the ethics of the breeder) so my pup came from a private breeder.  I gave it a lot of thought before I made the initial decision, in the end I decided they were only breeding for working ability, although as a business. In the UK ( and I believe the whole of the EU) there is a limit to 5 the number of liters a bitch can have in a lifetime which can be registered (applies to any register) so this particular breeder keeps pups from each litter to bring on, if they show promise and have serious potential that will keep them as part of their breeding and trial program and then sell them as finished dogs. If the dog doesn't show enough promise to be bred they sell the dog as a trained farm dog, they are well respected trainers and competitors so their trained dogs sell for far more than a pup. They do it right, dogs can be returned and they actively will find suitable pet homes for dogs not cut out to be sheepdogs. It is hard to make a living as a hill farmer so if breeding quality pups is a way to continue farming then I am fine with it. This is a very different to having 50 pups on the ground and breeding for other reasons than working ability. I also had a look at the breeders website and with what I have learned over my years hanging out on these boards I would not consider her as a breeder to get a dog from. 


  13. I agree with most of what has been written, all of the issues that you mention are usually aggravated by inexperienced border collie owners who do not realize what is happening. We have had 3 rescue border collies, 1 ISDS dog and fostered a lot of them. They all except my ISDS dog have been prone to obsessing about things, the key is recognizing it and not allowing it to happen, redirect them, remove the obsession etc especially when they are pups. One of our rescues came to us with some aggression problems, once we understood him it was easy to manage and keep him under threshold ( he is the reason I found these boards) but with his previous family he had been allowed to practice these habits and found them effective and so had continued. 

    When you watch the dogs work sheep they are really in-tune with the sheep and their shepherd, they are totally focused, now that focus if it is not given an outlet can easily become an obsession for balls etc. Border collies need that intensity to do their jobs, but it also makes them challenging pets and sadly is often the cause for them ending up in rescue.


  14. I have had a border collie for over 20 years now but it took moving to an island in the Mediterranean before I was able to discover the joys of your dogs working sheep. I always felt it was wrong to just let them play with sheep, and now we have a found a shepherd who we can work with on a regular basis. Over the last 5 weeks I have watched my dogs go from insecure and not having a clue to being confident and start to move sheep in an open field. The transformation in my young dog is striking, his first couple of visits to the farm he was completely useless! There were glimmers of interest but nothing that stood out, looked like my working bred ISDS dog was a washout ..... but knowing what he was like in agility I kept taking him, despite Miquel thinking I was wasting my money. 5 lessons in and he got to work sheep in an open field and a kiss from a farmer! My older rescue dog took to sheep straight away. They both have lots to learn and maybe one day I will get to handle them as at the moment it is better if the shepherd works them as they are both very handler focused as their primary job is agility, and they are both mamas boys. The most striking thing is how they are able to handle more pressure, both are very soft dogs and don't handle any sort of correction, the older one would whimp out and look for me initially now he just wants to get back the sheep, the youngest needed cheerleading and slowly has been able handle more pressure. To be honest I am hoping it helps make him more resilient. 

    I have always loved watching collies work but when they are your own it makes it very special.

  15. On 7/4/2018 at 4:39 AM, GentleLake said:


    If you're serious about doing stock training, either for competition or farm work, some people recommend starting a dog on livestock before beginning agility training. As Jovi points out, they're a lot different in terms of the kind of focus you want the dog to have on you and if you reinforce the handler focus it can be difficult to get the dog to pay enough attention to the livestock rather than on you. I'm sure there are exceptions to this rule, but I'd be willing to bet they're pretty few and far between. You don't want a dog who's always looking to you for direction when on livestock.

    And, yeah, we'd love to see pics. ;)


    As I am serious about agility my young dogs breeder advised me to get his foundations solid before we tried working sheep so they would not have the tendency to bend rather than run in straight lines. I can really see the intense handler focus both my dogs have, for the first time my dogs have the opportunity to learn the art of working sheep which we never had in the US, I would have had to drive to far to make a regular commitment and I was not going to do it unless they could really learn. The shepherd works both my dogs, so they can learn rather than watching me, he has had me hiding in the car! The only thing that has transferred over is their good downs, and their responsiveness to commands. 

  16. I know Knox and Yannick, they come and give us a seminar once a year, and I got to see him run in a competition wearing his glasses. This was early on and it was taking him a while to get used to wearing them. But is was really obvious that his vision changed with them on, sitting on the sidelines with him not wearing them, he was his only focused on his toy, once he had them on he started looking around and watching the other dogs.


  17. there are puppy agility obstacles out there, my club has a really cute set of miniature equipment all made to the same standards as regulation equipment rubber surfaces etc. It is mostly used for non-agility classes just to get pet-dogs doing different things, but it does get used by young dogs to get them comfortable going on the different stuff.

  18. I got my youngster at 10 weeks, the first night he slept from 11 - 5:30, then it was 10 - 10:30 to 6 or 6:30 by the time we got home with at 13 weeks he was happy in his crate for 8 hours. There were a few days that he woke me up and really had to go but they never became a pattern. For the first 3 weeks he slept beside me and I would do the hand trick as well, once home he moved into a huge crate in the living room and he was good. We counted our selves as very lucky especially as we were traveling and staying with family and in hotels those first 3 weeks.

  19. Mum24Dog's daughter shared this yesterday on Agilitynet and I wanted to share it with the boards. I had the opportunity to meet Pam last summer at the Kennel Club Agility Festival and got to her thank her in person for all the help she gave me navigating English agility and finding an ISDS pup.


    I can't quite believe I'm writing this but as some of you know, my Mum, Pam Ellwood, was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer back in January. Today, she lost her battle. The only saving grace we really have is that throughout it all, she wasn't ever in too much pain.

    Anyone who has ever met my Mum or been to Lune Valley show will know how very determined she was. Her determination was always driven by the strongest desire to make sure that people were happy and had a good time, whether that be for the time she spent as the secretary at my sisters' high school, as club and show secretary at Lune Valley or just being a great Mum. The amount of effort she put into the things she did, particularly the Lune Valley shows, CANNOT be underestimated. I saw it first hand year in, year out and I know so many of you appreciated her and the work she did for the benefit of the agility community. She didn't even run a dog these last few years, partly because I kept stealing them, but she wanted to stay a part of the community.

    I feel like this post isn't really doing her justice to those that don't know her but to those that do, you will have your own thoughts about her and I'm sorry to be sharing such dreadful news. I know she's shared many an opinion on topics on Agilitynet (and the Agility forum before that), which may well have irked some of you. But this most likely irked people that didn't really know her. Above everything, she believed in fairness and whenever she felt fairness was at risk, she would say so. Whether you agreed or disagreed with her, noone can question her motives, as they were always in the interest of fairness and equality. She was the epitome of selflessness and we could all learn to be a bit more like her in that respect.

    Agility can be such a great community and has been for the 20ish years my Mum and I have been involved. So thank you to all who have been a part of that for her (and me, but this is more about her) and really given her so many good years and friends along the way. Be kind to each other everyone and remember that we are not here for very long. Make the most of the life we have and try to be as fair and selfless as you can. I know I will. Xxx

    PS. I will be sure to share details of the funeral when arrangements have been made for anyone who would like to attend.

    PPS. Because so many of you are such wonderful people, I'm sure many of you want to send messages of condolences. Of course that will be fine but I'm sorry if I don't reply to you all. It won't be anything personal, just a little hard to take at the moment.


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