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Everything posted by juliepoudrier

  1. There's nothing wrong with starting to learn with the dogs you have. That's what many of us did! J.
  2. There are actually generic color tests now so you could definitively determine if she carries merle. As the poster above noted, merle is dominant, do if she had the gene she should display the pattern, cryptic excepted. As for breeding, unless you can breed to improve the working border collie, I would suggest not breeding. There are scads of lovely, even tempered, smart border collies out there who add nothing special to the gene pool. If she likes to work stock and proves herself to be an excellent stockdog, then breeding might be worth considering. J.
  3. I agree with GentleLake. The younger dog may settle down with more exposure; the older dog may turn on with a few more tries. The key will be if he is willing to take direction/corrections from the trainer. He, at least, doesn't sound like a good candidate for you to learn on (just because the barking/seeming chasing will make it difficult for you to learn because you'll be worried about the stock, whereas an experienced trainer may well have the skill to redirect his instinct to useful work). The older dog may surprise you. Sometimes dogs who start slow will quickly change to being a little "wilder" once they gain confidence. The real point is that you can't know if either dog is worth training without at least a few more exposures to stock. J.
  4. My dogs all do it. I think it's just like us scratching our backs against a door jamb or similar. We do it because it feels good! Rolling in poo is another story, but suffice to say that the dogs think it makes them smell good. Ugh. Here's my good old man Pip after a good roll in the red dirt. J.
  5. Find toys she likes that aren't easily destroyed. Most of my dogs just hang out relaxing when they're out in the yard, but a couple will entertain themselves by playing with toys. Favorite toys are jolly balls (both the kind with the handle like horse owners give their bored horses and also the hard plastic kind that has a smaller soft ball inside). One of my youngsters will roll the latter type around the yard to play. Another form of outdoor entertainment: digging (which you may it may not appreciate) and chasing one another (which doesn't work with only one dog). A dog who likes balls might enjoy a tether ball. Just keep an eye on whatever toys you leave out there so you can remove them if they get damaged/chewed to the point that they could become a health hazard to your dog. J.
  6. Jim, I'm a senior member. I don't consider myself a breeder, having bred just a couple litters when I needed a working dog for myself, but I do understand color genetics in border collies. As I noted earlier, both dam and sire appear to be white factored (note the white going up past the stifle in both dogs; and one has white going across the hips). Doubling up on white factor can certainly produce piebald and mostly white dogs. The white dog I posted in my previous post is the product of white factored sire and dam. The dam was obviously white factored; you had to look closely at the sire to see it. I know because I bred him. He had several piebald littermates but they weren't as obvious because both parents also carried the gene for ticking and those pups were heavily ticked, appearing grey across the base white areas. Bottom line: those two dogs could indeed have produced a mostly white pup. They could also easily produce piebald pups. And they could just as easily produce nothing but classically marked pups. With your pup it's also possible that what you labeled as merle could have been heavily ticked piebald, unless the breeder clearly stated the bitch was a merle. The sire may have looked classically marked, but I'd be willing to bet he was white factored. J.
  7. To be clear, "idiopathic" indicates of unknown origin. Although it likely is hereditary, the genetics are so complicated that it can't be predicted, and dogs who have never themselves priduced it before from lines not known to produce it can throw epileptic pups. The sire and dam of an epi pup or pups could be bred to different dogs and never produce it again. The complexity of the genetics is the main reason there is no genetic test for it. My epi did started out having seizures during periods of high excitement (running to the creek with the pack). They happened only occasionally, about once a month and she had a multimonth period with no seizures. Later, when I moved, she started having seizures much more frequently and they occurred when she was resting (so a more typical pattern). I was convinced that something in our new location was triggering the more frequent seizures, but never could definitively figure it out. My vet put her on phenobarbital and she never had another seizure. The reason someone mentioned changes in chemical use, etc., is because dogs with idiopathic epilepsy have lower thresholds to some substances and so exposure to those things can trigger seizures. If you keep a seizure diary (recommend highly, assuming she has more) you may be able to draw some correlations between exposure to certain things and the onset of a seizure. If that's the case, then you can limit exposure and potentially prevent them from happening in the first place. But that's also fairly rare. My epi dog was a working dog and worked stock her entire life without any problems (but she was well controlled on Pb). Seizures are scary to watch, but the dog won't remember what happened. The "dazed" period after a seizure is known as the post-ictal period and is typical. Some dogs have longer, more dazed post-ictal periods than others, like much of the course of an individual dog's epi journey. The main thing you can do during a seizure is to keep your dog safe. If you have other dogs in your house a seizure can trigger those others to attack. Phoebe was perfectly safe to leave unattended in my house but I always crated her so that if she seized while I wasn't there, she'd be safe from any resulting pack behavior from the other dogs. Finally, it seems that the younger a dog is when it starts seizing the more difficult it *may* be to control the seizures over time. But there are also a lot of medications out there that simply weren't available in the past. If you're on Facebook there is a canine epilepsy group that can be helpful and supportive. J.
  8. More important to me would be whether he hears normally. I'd ask for a BAER test to make sure he hears. BTW, it looks as if both parents are white factored, so they certainly could produce all- or mostly-white puppies. That said, if you distrust the breeder, pass on the pup. Here's my mostly white smooth coat (after rolling in the red dirt):
  9. People on this forum may only be familiar with Kristi through her screen name: Airbear. I don't think she's been on here in a long while, but all of us who do any activity with our dogs, and especially competitive activities, could do well to emulate her: always finding the joy and the humor no matter how her dogs performed. I'm sure her dogs had to be some of the happiest, well-loved dogs in the world--Kristi's high expectations never included blaming her dogs. I bet Bear, Wick, and Lou were waiting for her, tails wagging, waiting for their next adventures together in heaven. Godspeed, Kristi, the world is a lesser place as a result of your departure. J.
  10. You'll rarely, if ever, find brace competitions in the U.S. They are more common in the U.K. J.
  11. Hmmmm... Wolfhound Deerhound Foxhound Coonhound Windhound??? (I know, I know ... there are lots of breed names that don't match function, but windhound makes me think of a dog so dumb it chases the wind or ... something related to "passing wind" haha!)
  12. The old dogs can be a real puzzle, and you may never get answers. At Megan's age and given the infrequency of the episodes I'd be inclined to just "treat" symptoms as they happen rather than try to prevent. Although some individual border collies are quite long lived, you need to consider that you're dealing with dogs at the end of their lives. For me, that means keeping them comfortable and trying to keep them safe. When Willow had her fainting spells (what I called them) she saw multiple vets and had all sorts of tests. She has a grade 5 murmur and some heart enlargement, but we even did an EKG and couldn't find any abnormalities. And yet, she "fainted." I had an epileptic so am well familiar with grand mal seizures. Although Willow would fall over, get stiff, and whine this weird high pitched whine, I never felt that she was having seizures per se. The few episodes Boy had were even more bizarre (he stopped breathing and I couldn't find a heartbeat, but then after what seemed like forever, I'd find his heartbeat and he'd be breathing again . Afterward, he was very weak, but the weakness didn't last long). My point is that although some diagnostics might be in order, if for no other reason than to rule out the obvious, I also believe that dogs go through things as they get toward end of life that are just inexplicable. It doesn't make it any easier to bear, but I think just being a calm presence and supporting however you can in the moment can be the most useful approach. I've had so many old ones, and they've all presented unique challenges. J.
  13. I don't see any harm in bringing the pup with you while you do chores, but definitely keep it on a leash/line. It's a good time for a pup to learn patience for sure as long as you're not expecting the pup to behave for hours on end. Be careful with the pup around stock because cattle, especially, are big and cam easily (even if inadvertently) hurt a little puppy. I'd let the pup see stock but I don't know that I'd encourage work at the beginning. J.
  14. I think it's a convenient excuse because it sounds better than admitting she's a puppy broker. J.
  15. Happy birthday, Kit! At 17, you deserve ALL the love!
  16. I'm not sure why anyone was offended by GentleLake's comments: they are, in fact, true and do follow on from Edze's (I hope I got that right) comments about just trying the shed. In an ideal world we would train our stockdogs in a progression of steps and for the novice, stepwise training certainly makes the most sense from a human learning standpoint. I think most everyone who trains a stock dog has an idea about the normal progression of training. But when I give lessons, I try to encourage my students--once they understand the basics--to be open to opportunities as they present themselves because a lot of learning/training can happen in those moments. So if you're working a large group and a big hole naturally opens up, why not call the dog through, even if it's not at the "stage" where you'd be teaching a shed? I think all GentleLake was trying to say was that many people train in the moment, adjusting to what's happening in front of them, and Flora (?, not sure if that's your name) will eventually get to that point too. Flora & Molly, Barking is not unusual the first time (or first few times) a young dog is put on stock. I personally don't like it, but I won't correct it unless it's excessive and is because the dog is losing its head rather than thinking about working. They are trying to figure out what to do to move and control the stock and that's one of the tools they try. Excitement certainly plays into it. There are breeds where a "force bark" is said to be an asset, but no one typically says that of border collies. That said, I wouldn't worry about it right now--see if she settles in a few sessions. If it continues overlong (like throughout many training sessions), then I'd probably start correcting her (verbally) because by then it would say to me that her head wasn't in the right place. Of course this is a generalization having not seen Molly, but your trainer should be able to judge Molly's state of mind and deal with the barking appropriately if it becomes necessary. J.
  17. It should be perfectly fine. If she tolerated Heartgard, she'll likely tolerate Interceptor. J.
  18. I just learned of the death of Donald McCaig yesterday. This a great loss to the working border collie world. He was a tireless advocate of the working border collie and a great storyteller. If you read only one of his books, I suggest An American Homeplace, which is the story of how he and his wife Anne left the PR world of NYC for a sheep farm in the Virginia Highlands. Godspeed, Donald. J.
  19. Or just research the rescue and make sure they're doing things the right way. I know of multiple reputable border collie rescues in the mid-Atlantic states. There are plenty of border collies either found wandering or surrendered locally, and these rescues have no need to go buy from dog sales. They can barely keep up with fostering the dogs that are in need locally. J.
  20. Melatonin has been very effective for me when I've had oldsters who couldn't/wouldn't settle at night. In combination with some sort of anti-inflammatory/pain relief, it could help. J.
  21. True that. But MDR1 is likely the tip of the iceberg. If we start there and continue trying to eliminate, could have serious consequences.
  22. If the 0.5% carries the best working genetics. ABCA (and also ISDS, I think) are working hard to find ways to reduce the risk of creating dogs with these genetic problems without also diminishing the main reason the breed exists, which is its working ability. In the (Lassie) collie world, eliminating the mdr1 mutation is more straightforward because any working ability that breed had largely already been lost, so no worries about losing those complex genetics while trying to remove a mutation from the gene pool. J.
  23. Your farm is so beautiful! And I'm glad Bonnie is no longer having her heart broken. My old man is losing his hearing (normal at 12.5 years) and I formally retired him from working trials a couple of weeks ago. But I can still find some jobs for him at home to keep his heart whole!
  24. Just FYI, I've had two cryptorchid males. I waited until they were 2 years old before having them neutered. The biggest risk to retained testicles is undetected testicular cancer, which is unlikely in a young dog. There should be no harm in waiting till his growth plates have closed before neutering. J.
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