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Everything posted by juliepoudrier

  1. I know someone who has collies and trials in AKC with them. I think the attempts at USBCHA type trialing have been abysmal failures. No one has been selecting for herding ability for a very long time, and despite what many conformation aficianados believe, you can't just "put it back in." I have been told by a corgi owner/breeder that she has dogs in Canada working "large farms," but that doesn't really make sense to me because corgis weren't bred for gathering large areas. Maybe they send the dog then go in and get coffee and breakfast while those short little legs get around the large acreages.... That said, there are breed enthusiasts who are trying their best, within AKC and perhaps AHBA frameworks to "preserve" working ability (such as it is) in their herding breed of choice. I think anyone looking for a working dog of one of those other breeds would have to do some serious research to at least be sure they're finding the best available working genetics that are out there. I have seen plenty of good working kelpies, and occasionally a good working aussie (there was one at the 2013 USBCHA finals running in nursery that was quite nice). There most certainly are others (Aussies) out working on ranches that you just don't see because they're not trialing. ETA: I see you are in the UK. The other breed that you'd most likely find with (still) strong working genetics would be the bearded collie, but again you'd need to look for dogs from working lines and not show lines. J.
  2. Some years ago, my Willow fractured a metatarsal when she planted her foot and then spun going after a ball. Treatment involved splinting, I don't remember for how many weeks, but probably at least a month. She healed fine. Not exactly what you're dealing with, but similar. J.
  3. Well, yes, and I clearly acknowledged that at least the hot-headed/tension aspect could create easy overheating, but then we're talking about two different breeding issues: breeding dogs whose intensity causes them to overheat more easily (or have less stamina), at least in early training and those who just plain don't have stamina. For the OP, I'd say if s/he's suspicious of some lines, then try to buy from lines that work all day on ranches. We are fortunate here in the US that it's possible to find lines that are unrelated, or at least not closely related, to only trial dogs. If the OP's youngster is heavily from trial lines, then ISTM the answer would be to avoid those types of dogs in the future. That is, if one is suspicious of dogs from trialing lines, it should be fairly easy to find dogs who aren't from trialing lines, and I think this would be especially true for dogs that work cattle, since there are fewer cattle trials and lots more ranches raising cattle who also use dogs (and who don't trial). As long as there are weekend warriors out there who don't need a dog to be able to manage more than perhaps a 30-min double lift, then I suppose "we" could be selecting for less stamina. That said, I, for one, believe that even dogs not genetically predisposed to have great stamina can certainly develop stamina through actual work or other exercise. And that was my point. It's a two-pronged issue. If you never actually ask for stamina in any way from a dog, how can you know whether it has real stamina? And this is a separate question from the one about youngsters running hot because of mental excitability. I think for this discussion to have real value from the OP's perspective you'd need to remove from the discussion those dogs who, at least as youngsters, are too hot/intense because I think they are a special "subgroup" so to speak and are not indicative of overall stamina capabilities in trial dogs or work dogs at large. And one final thought: Are the folks who use dogs exclusively on cattle selecting for more hot-headed dogs because they believe they need that extra "oomph" (once mature) when working cattle? Could the two desires/needs be working at odds to one another? J.
  4. Smalahundur, Would your neighbor let you buy/borrow several of his overly dogged ewes? If you could get them and put them in with your wilder youngsters they would have a calming/steadying influence once they have bonded as a group. You could start Peli in your round pen with just the kneeknockers and then slowly add in the lighter sheep as you progress. Even in the larger spaces the kneeknockers would add stability to the group and would help draw the others (the potential fighters) along with them. By the time Peli is ready to manage just the less broke sheep (who will, of course be more broke by that time), he should have the skills needed to manage the flock minus the kneeknockers, who can then go back from whence they came (if borrowed) or rejoin the breeding flock (if bought). J.
  5. I'm sure that mental hyperactivity/stress can have much to do with a dog overheating, but I wonder when we talk about trial dogs vs work dogs if we aren't also missing the conditions in which those dogs are kept. Dogs that are kenneled outdoors and working outdoors for longer periods of time are most certainly acclimated to the hotter temps (and perhaps higher humidity, which is the bigger issue in my part of the world, the southeastern US) and probably have greater stamina due to acclimatization alone. I have friends whose dogs live in air conditioned spaces and when they need to be outside working on a warm/hot day, they don't last very long. My dogs live in the house (but also spend a lot of time outside), but I don't use a/c and they do seem better able to go for longer periods of time outside in all types of weather. This may not be sustained hard work like gathering a hill--it could be something like setting sheep at a trial for 12 hours in the blazing summer sun. As trialing has gained popularity as a sport and so many people have crossed over from other sports, the management of dogs among trial folks has most definitely changed and I think this plays a large factor in how dogs fare out in the weather at trials or just working in general. I also think that dogs who are going to be expected to work longer hours out in the weather need to get exercise out in the weather. With the advent of people exercising dogs from the backs of ATVs or mules/golf carts (I see this mainly with trial people), I think dogs are being conditioned for bursts of speed over shorter periods of time. I don't know many (if any) folks who ride their ATVs for 45-60 min to exercise their dogs. I take my dogs on long walks, 45-60 min. They don't run flat out the entire time--they run, they trot, they walk, they flop in the shade briefly--but I think that kind of exercise will help build stamina, especially in hot climates (we've already had days approaching and exceeding 90 degrees and it's not even officially summer yet) in a way that quick runs on an ATV or similar will not. (And I do realize that some folks just aren't physically capable of taking their dogs for long walks over hill and dale in good weather and bad--I'm just pointing out that even if dogs with less stamina aren't being created through breeding programs, they are likely being created through our own management of them.) So while I think there certainly could be a lack of stamina being bred into border collies, I also think that our own management of them can be an exacerbating or mitigating factor. J.
  6. My Kite weighed in at 30 lbs at 5 months. I think he's going to be a big one too. I understand his sire is good sized. J.
  7. D'Elle, I'd try the pepcid before wholesale changing of food or stopping breakfast. She may be at a point where she's just going to occasionally refuse breakfast, but the pepcid really may make a difference. And if you haven't tried different kibble, give that a try. I also used premium canned food to mix with the kibble, but I couldn't afford to feed straight canned. She may find a different kibble more palatable. I'd probably go with smaller bags because then if she eats for a while and refuses you're not wasting a bunch. Heck, try Purina One (Vibrant Maturity). If it meets her general nutritional needs, then I wouldn't worry about the actual makeup of the food (e.g., if there's corn or other grains). I really do feel that when they get to be that age (especially over 15) every day you get is a blessing and you're not likely to shorten their lifespan no matter what you do.... (I know that some dogs live to be 16 or 17, but I think getting past 15 is pretty darn elderly for a border collie. My Willow had a serious heart murmur and lived to be nearly 17,and was pretty spry, all things considered, until suddenly she wasn't. My point is that I don't think you can really hurt her no matter what you do at this point, unless you just go totally crazy with bad foods or the like.) For years I fed once a day, but I think it might be easier on the oldsters to feed them smaller meals more often, so I'd definitely try to stay at twice a day. That said, if she's eating kibble at night, then I think you could get by with just feeding her whatever yummy thing she might want in the morning. But I agree with staying with at least some kibble because it should be nutritionally balanced. The one food that always tempted my oldest/sickest dogs was rotisserie chicken. Maybe try that as a food topper? Mine also love things like cottage cheese, canned mackeral, and canned salmon. Some people say that sprinking the food with Parmesan cheese works. Another option is to try something like satin balls (Google for a recipe) or just try plain people oatmeal with added goodies in the morning. All of my dogs have loved oatmeal. You could also try digestive enzymes/probiotics (I use Naturvet brand on a couple of my dogs now). But really, I would give the pepcid a try first and then go forward from there. I don't know if eggs every day would be a problem--I tend to feed my guard dogs eggs daily because we have tons of them here from the chickens. No one seems to have had any ill effects yet! Just beware of using too much fat when cooking them. J.
  8. For me, the main thing is letting them eat what they want (if they get to the point of being picky)--within reason obviously. A couple of my oldsters really preferred Purina One, and by the time they're 14-16, my attitude becomes, "Who cares? If they like it and will eat it, then make it happen." It's not as if feeding them something that's not the best is going to kill them over the long term at that point. I also watch closely for any signs of weakness or pain associated with arthritis or other old age issues. I think it's critical to keep the oldsters as comfortable as possible so they can actually enjoy life as much as possible and so I will readily consult with the vet to make sure that the old ones are as pain free as possible. On a similar note, I've used natural remedies like cumin or cinnamon to help with inflammatory issues. I pretty much look at the individual dog and try things until I hit on the thing(s) that works. For rear-end weakness I have had great luck with Ruffwear webmaster harnesses. Both Jill (dysplastic) and Kat (FCE and vestibular) wore the harness 24/7 (for the most part) the last year of their lives. It made it easy for me to help them if they were struggling to get up, needed help up or down stairs or over obstacles, or with similar issues. Depending on your situation, helping them go gracefully through their geriatric years may mean doing things like adding runners to help them get traction if you have hardwood or tile floors, buying special orthopedic beds, building ramps (I built a ramp for Boy when he was old, it transported it when I moved. It came in handy for Jill, Willow, and Kat later on.) For dogs who get restless at night, melatonin or benadryl can help them sleep. A raised food bowl can be a tremendous help to a dog who's become arthritic. Also, several of my older dogs seemed to have issues with nausea-related anorexia in the morning, so although I was generally a once-a-day feeder, I would add a second small meal and also give a dose of 10 mg of famotidine (Pepcid) at night, which seemed to help with morning anorexia. A lot is just trial and error, knowing your dog well, and adjusting to his/her needs as you see things changing or becoming more difficult for them. ETA: I have also used acupuncture and other services from a rehab/alternative vet to help make my oldsters more comfortable. J.
  9. Has she been checked thoroughly for intestinal parasites, including protozoa and the like? Things like giardia and coccidia can be difficult to diagnose and treat, so this is something you might want to take up with your vet. Alternatively, is she having to hold it longer before she's let out midday? That is, is the time between her last potty and when she goes out midday longer than it was before you started noticing the soft stool returning? J.
  10. I made one using cattle panels and t-posts, specifically for a Jack Knox clinic. We put it in a corner where the existing fence also provided stability and used coated wire to attach panels to posts so it could be readily undone. We had posts every 8 feet and made sure that no panel ends were exposed to catch anything. One side of the corner we used already had a gate, and we added another gate partway around. We did sink wood posts for that gate. Four or five of us put the whole thing up in an afternoon. J.
  11. I've had two crypthorchids and didn't notice any behavior I could attribute to excess testosterone, and, frankly, whether the testicles are inside or outside the body shouldn't affect the amount of testosterone; rather, it could affect the viability of the sperm. I had both of mine neutered after they turned 2. There were no adverse effects related to waiting. In fact, if testicular cancer is the biggest concern, I'd think (not going to go search for facts to support that) that would be a risk that increases over time and unlikely to affect a young dog, at least not by 2 years of age. Like you, I'd be concerned that an early neuter would serve only to make him taller. J.
  12. I understand what Maja is saying about the use of the term "dealbreaker." Remember, she's a linguist, so thinks about these things in a way the rest of us may not. Like Laura Vishoot, I tend to use dealbreaker to mean something that will simply end my consideration of or participation in a particular situation, and this difference in interpretation probably reflects our use of English vs Maja's. With respect to dogs, I have been the recipient of dogs who were moved on. Yes, they had baggage they brought with them from their previous situations, but the "deal" I made when I took them was that I would work within or through that baggage. I tend to hang on to dogs who don't suit me longer than maybe I should. In most cases, it's because I really worry about what will become of them if I move them on. Maybe it's controlling; maybe it's a pet mentality, but considering what I know of the working stockdog world, I personally can't just sell a dog on without careful consideration about where that dog will go and where it might end up on down the line. That said, I have rehomed several dogs. The "dealbreakers" were (1) you don't get to attack and maim my oldsters, (2) I really don't like working a dog I have to micromanage because that doesn't fit my work situation at home (this was a good dog, fully trained although not solid on the shed, and I sent him to an active pet home on a recommendation from another handler who knew the person well, but also because I knew he wouldn't get passed on beyond that), (3) a youngster who has potential but who has some behavioral characteristics that drive me nuts (and in this case money is a consideration, but it makes me no less concerned about this fellow's ultimate fate). I keep my old dogs because they are dogs who have worked hard for me and I personally feel that the covenant I make with them is that they *can* live out their lives with me after having given me the best part of theirs. Than again, my first open dog became mine because her owner was willing to let her go (after meeting me and realizing I would be a great place for the dog), so I have benefited from that side of the equation as well. I continue to use my dogs at home as long as they're capable. Running a large open course may become more difficult for the 11 year olds, but they can still manage to work at home (and set out if the days aren't super long or super miserable weatherwise). When realistically they've got just a few years left, I don't see the point in rehoming them (i.e., there's a difference between retiring a 6-8 year old--the age at which Jill came to me--to an easier working situation and retiring an 11-12 year old to such a situation). A novice could learn from Pip, but I suspect he's beginning to go deaf at nearly 11, so his usefulness in training a novice handler would be limited (not to mention I can't imagine sending him anywhere). That said, if someone comes here for lessons, I'll let them work a retiree or near retiree to help illustrate a point in training and I will let my neighbors borrow them for chores here at the farm. Anyway, I think from a semantics viewpoint, the use of the term dealbreaker is an interesting one. J.
  13. I've had the best luck just showing what a good dog can do and then offering to help them get going with a dog they get. Of course it helps if they're willing to lay out the money for a trained dog vs a puppy, but if their level of commitment is there, then they'll do what is necessary, no matter what kind of dog they get. And if they're to type to view a dog as only a tool, then I'm not likely to encourage getting a dog in the first place. J.
  14. If health testing is non-negotiable then start there and include only breeders who register ABCA. Dismiss any breeder who doesn't do (or won't do on request) all the testing you wish to see. As for the rest of your list, 3. I had friends with children come over and play with pups because I have no children of my own. That said, I have friends and neighbors who believe in100 people in 100 days and all that stuff, and I don't think that's necessary and haven't done it with my current pup (I live on a farm and just don't get out that much). A temperamentally stable pup will adjust to new situations (including new surfaces, new people, new noises, etc.) just fine. I've never had any problems teaching any pup I bought to leave cats, chickens, etc., alone, whether they'd experienced those things before coming to me or not. 4. This may be unrealistic, and I don't think it's a plus to have dam and sire on site. Some breeders use their own sire, but many use outside studs. My most recent pup came from a bitch who was imported in whelp. The sire is still in Ireland, and the bitch is located all the way across the country. It was a lovely breeding from a working dog standpoint, and whether mom and dad are together at the owner's site wasn't important to me. I think that a breeder who uses only their on-site stud is compromising on other qualities that should be considered when considering a breeding cross. If the breeder has three bitches and one stud, I would find it hard to believe that the one stud is the BEST match for all three bitches (generally). Breeding is supposed to be about trying to create pups that exhibit the best qualities of each parent (and all the dogs behind them) and using the one dog to complement the other. (This is from a working stockdog POV, and I realize that's not what you're looking for, but I think all breeders should strive to produce better than what they've got.) On the basis of those thoughts, I'd actually like to see a breeder find a mate that has the qualities that will give the best chance of creating better, no matter where that mate may reside. Again, in the working stockdog world, we often see dogs at trials. on farms, live streaming, etc., so can get a good idea about the dog. We can network and find out about things like temperament, health issues (some), and so on. In that regard, it's not necessary for the dog to be on site to be seen on the day the pup is picked. 5. Positive training: Of the parents? Of the puppies? I can't imagine there's a lot of training going on with pups until they go to their new homes, and I would be willing to bet that even those of us who use a mix of techniques are using mostly positive reinforcement with little pups. Again from a stockdog perspective, pups and adults need to understand corrections. The best way to know if a breeder fits your criteria in this regard is to get to know the person, long before you ever get a pup from them, so that you know their philosophies and training techniques. Honestly, this criterion wouldn't even cross my mind. I kind of come from the opposite side of that thought: I don't want to deal with anyone I know to be cruel (or who tends toward cruelty--my opinion of cruelty) to their dogs. But if they use positive reinforcement *and* positive punishment, that's not a deal breaker--so much of the training a pup will undergo is going to happen with you (7-8 weeks with the breeder vs. 15-16 years, less those first 7-8 weeks, with you) that I can't believe any non-positive training in the 3-4 weeks they have their eyes open and are mobile will have a lasting adverse effect. With respect to testing, I've gotten just one pup who had the full spectrum of genetic tests. That information was great to have, but it didn't predict his noise sensitivity or some of the temperament things that I find annoying. I have bred two litters, and I produced epilepsy in one of the litters (despite being very careful, or so I thought, about checking out anything I could find on the lines I was crossing). From my POV, there are genetic issues that can't be tested for that are MUCH MORE critical (and heartbreaking) than what can be tested for. Some breeders will do all the testing required by buyers, and now that genetic testing companies bundle their tests, even problems that might be vanishingly small can be tested for. But we still can't test for epilepsy or early onset adult deafness. And hip status doesn't always predict that status for the offspring (although it may stack things in the pups' favor). So I'm flexible on testing, but, again, if that's non-negotiable for you, it's an easy way to narrow your list of potential breeders. I would also take issue with you blaming a "good" breeder for a blind puppy. Surely there's a "rest of the story" there. Genetics are tricky, and I think most potential puppy buyers would do well to recognize that no matter how much testing is done of parents and other relatives, sh!t can still happen, through no fault of the breeder. I'm not saying you shouldn't try to stack the genetic cards in your favor, but please don't be quick to blame the breeder if somehow you still end up with a pup with a genetic problem. J.
  15. Hmmm...you ask for opinions and then complain that people have opinions. If you think meeting the breeder is the right thing to do, as you've apparently thought all along, why bother to ask here in the first place? It's odd to me that you come back and then proceed to disparage the folks who thought they were answering your question and, by doing so, being helpful. If you wanted opinions only from people who have been to the breeder or bought dogs from the breeder you could have said so up front and saved everyone a lot of time and effort. Oh, and since you say you're familiar with working dogs, then surely you know they can make great pets even for less active retired people. J.
  16. Here's a couple photos from this weekend, 12 weeks. Red dog, red sheep. J.
  17. Apparently he has at least one littermate that's as big as he is, so it may be the whole litter... J.
  18. aaquick16, He weighs 18 lbs. He's a chunk. He's from a litter of 12 and the breeder was feeding mom and pups well because of their large number. I understand his near relatives are on the large side. Most of my working dogs tend toward being smaller, but I'll be happy as long as he lives up to his working potential. J.
  19. Smalahundur, Unplanned in that I wasn't actually looking for a pup at the moment. I saw pictures of the litter, made a comment, but the red pups were spoken for (wanted red for sentimental reasons), so I just made a comment about letting me know if one came available, and here he is. J.
  20. This was unplanned, but I'm hoping he'll be a good one. He's got a lot to live up to! J.
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