Jump to content
BC Boards
Sign in to follow this  
Emersons_mom

New to border collies

Recommended Posts

I have had dogs all my life, and used them on my families farm/ranch, however I have never had a working border collie. I now have a bc who is almost a year old and I have had him since he was 8 wks old. I have been able to teach him whats acceptable to work and whats not, and he responds very well. I would like very much for us to learn how to work cows, he has shown what I believe is a very high natural instinct to work. It has been very easy for me to teach him the very basics such as coming off when I call him, and approaching cattle when I tell him. I can also send him in a general direction but not at a specific target. He completely loves working and I don't want to spoil that for him. Since he is only a year I'm afraid that too much "correcting" on my part will discourage him. At this point I am completely lost however because I have always felt more comfortable training my own animals, but since I realize his great potential I don't want to waste any of his talent. We will be going to a clinic soon and will be spending time with a professional trainer. My question now is, what is the next step that we need to work on? What specifics should I ask, and what should information can I offer to the trainer to help our experience?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have had dogs all my life, and used them on my families farm/ranch, however I have never had a working border collie. I now have a bc who is almost a year old and I have had him since he was 8 wks old. I have been able to teach him whats acceptable to work and whats not, and he responds very well. I would like very much for us to learn how to work cows, he has shown what I believe is a very high natural instinct to work. It has been very easy for me to teach him the very basics such as coming off when I call him, and approaching cattle when I tell him. I can also send him in a general direction but not at a specific target. He completely loves working and I don't want to spoil that for him. Since he is only a year I'm afraid that too much "correcting" on my part will discourage him. At this point I am completely lost however because I have always felt more comfortable training my own animals, but since I realize his great potential I don't want to waste any of his talent. We will be going to a clinic soon and will be spending time with a professional trainer. My question now is, what is the next step that we need to work on? What specifics should I ask, and what should information can I offer to the trainer to help our experience?

 

 

Hi there. Sorry I've been a little late getting back to you but after all, it is Olympics time. You are doing the right thing going to a clinic to get started and it would appear that you have raised your pup well and have some of the basic commands functional now. You very much at this time need to get as much knowledge and technique in the training of stock dogs as possible before you start with your pup. I would highly recommend a good book for novices and all others by Vergil Holland, "Herding Dogs, Progressive Training" ISBN 0-87605-644-3. You can get it through Border Collies in Action or probably Vergil himself. He also has a new book coming out or quite possibly is already out to follow up this one. The reason I recommend this book to new folks that want to try and train their own dogs without a lot of help from professionals is that there is a very good trouble shooting section in the book which I have found that other books don't have. At a year old your pup is probably very ready to "start" and this would be best done under the direction of a knowledgeable trainer. If one is not available you need to get to some trials to see what is needed from a work dog. You need to keep in mind that cow dogs need to have an abundance of courage which is the prime requisite for a cattle dog. There is no point in spending the time required to get a dog to a useful work level and find that he does not have the presence or confidence required to move cattle. Before you go to the trainer try and get a good stop on your dog so that you are not spending time getting control of him before you can start the process of learning how to start him working. You do this by being extremely consistent when you are telling him to stop and ensuring that he does it all the time. If you now have a pretty good stop ("lie down" or "stand there") off stock then take him where he can see the stock, put a long line on him (50 ft. or more) and practise stopping him when the stock is present. You'll find it will be much more difficult than when there is not the distraction of the stock. This will be the kindest thing you can do for your dog, yourself and the trainer and you'll be able to start working with him the first day if you can stop him. The normal method of starting the dog is to start teaching him to gather right of the bat. You do this by placing yourself between the stock and the dog and getting him to go behind the stock and fetch them to you. When you're between the stock and the dog, just step to the right or the left a bit so you are "off balance" and this will induce the dog to go to the opposite side that you are moving. I hesitate to get into too much right now other than some of the requirements of a dog and handler as I think it will just confuse you until you either read the book or get to your clinic. Remember, the better you get to know your dog and his qualities and the more you show him what you require of him, the better things will go. It's a process of relationship and you are the leader in the relationship. However, we are not doing formal obedience here but your dog must be obedient when you need him to be and, at the same time, capable of thinking and making decisions on his own when you can't help so don't take something out of him that you may need down the road. Cattle dogs have to be able to operate on their own when needed and you will need him to do this quite often. You need to be in control but not controlling. You need to watch him work and find out what his methods and idiosyncracies are and work with his character. Don't try and change him into something he's not. Work with what you have and improve on that. That's all I'm going to say right now but this is not the end. I would like you to get back to me after you have either read the book or gone to your clinic and then we can get busy with some specifics. To try and get you started right now, I would have to write a book and all it would do is confuse you. Please get back to me when you've had your introduction to training working dogs at your clinic and then we can get into a little deeper discussion about specifics........Good luck and have fun

 

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for your response it was the advice I was looking for! I have my dog (Emerson) around cows and he does very well. I got him when he was 8 weeks old and even then when he would try to work our livestock and I've always been able to call him off. I will for sure keep you updated on our progress and thank you again for your advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well that turned out to be a huge bust. I was really excited about going to the clinic, and then 2 days before I found out I wasn't ever register to go. So it was a bum deal but I'm sure I'll find something else. Thanks for your help though. If anybody knows of any clinics in New Mexico I would like to try and find another one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well that turned out to be a huge bust. I was really excited about going to the clinic, and then 2 days before I found out I wasn't ever register to go. So it was a bum deal but I'm sure I'll find something else. Thanks for your help though. If anybody knows of any clinics in New Mexico I would like to try and find another one.

 

 

I don't know if I mentioned this in my last post or another post but Gerri Abrhams has a training facility in Mountainair, NM. I'm sure you could google her and find it if you wanted some lessons or clinics. Try her and see if she's available. I think I may have here url and, if so, I'll let you know in a couple of days.......Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know if I mentioned this in my last post or another post but Gerri Abrhams has a training facility in Mountainair, NM. I'm sure you could google her and find it if you wanted some lessons or clinics. Try her and see if she's available. I think I may have here url and, if so, I'll let you know in a couple of days.......Bob

 

 

Sorry to jump in but Geri's website is www.freetoberanch.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked at the freetoberanch website and didn't find any dates for 2010 so I will have to contact them and see when and if they are still having clinics. I know this goes against what ya'll believe but I have also just started letting my dog work without a professional trainer. I was interested in eventually trying trials but my dog is not register and I don't believe I will have him neutered. I think that since he will not be used in competition as long as I can control him, professional training will not be a giant benefit to me. I would still enjoy clinics however. And thank you for your advice and suggestions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×