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Mark Billadeau

Pet Homes vs. Working Homes

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AMEN Sista! I want a pup who has been socialized and well-prepared for the life it's going to lead. It just makes sense when you think about it. For me, that's sports, where the dog will have to tolerate crowds, noise, airports, elevators, etc... If I was a working farmer looking for my next stockhand, I doubt I'd care about that kind of stuff.

 

 

And here is the problem. If you have to have a pup and won't consider a working bred youngster, a year to 18 months, that isn't working out or too many dogs are being kept, for farm/trial work, why should working litters be bred more? Have you ever tried a older pup? What makes you think they won't tolerate all the above you mentioned? A well bred pup will adapt and will most likely be more sensible than a pup will be.

 

I know plenty of high caliber sport homes, these people are adamant about taking a pup at 7 weeks. Makes me wonder if they think no one can socialize a pup except them? There's a lot to be found in a year old pup right off the farm. I know, that's where I started, and my oh my what a journey it's been!

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I know of folks who do both agility and "hobby herding" with their border collies. I don't know of anyone who does serious stockwork and agility, but that could just be because of where I live. More likely, though, I think folks are likely to focus on one activity or the other. That being said, many sport people are weird. I can say that because I do sports with my border collie. Many of the so-called "real agility people" have some of the most back-assward beliefs, IMO. They are usually the same ones that think that rescue dogs could never be top agility dogs and that only a sport breeder could produce a top agility dog. Again, that could just be because of where I live. There simply aren't many good working breeders in this area. So, most of the agility folks I interact with don't even give working breeders a second thought.

 

That hasnt really been my experience. I do both agility and stockwork and know some very experienced agility people who move in the real sheep trialing world. I have a young rescue Koolie and I am pretty sure he is going to be a great agility dog and there is a lady who is one of out top agility people and her dogs are all rescue kelpies, albeit adopted at a puppy age. I also adopted a working bred kelpie that wasnt working out as a working dog for her owner just simply because their personalities werent well matched, but I think she will do okay for me.

 

Yeah sure I think agility people do prefer to get their dogs as baby puppies and that is their choice and I can understand why it is this way, I dont have a problem with that, and I do know that some of our experienced agility people have the ability to offer working bred dogs a great home, and many of them do seem to prefer working bred dogs. I dont see why they should have to also work those dogs so the breeder can assess them, many wouldnt have the time or the desire.

 

My working bred collie I got at 10 weeks old and he is definitely more advanced socially and in his bond with me than my 2 dogs I adopted at a later time. I have had to put a lot more work into gaining their trust and getting them used to things my BC was brought up with. He also has a better understanding of value of rewards like toys and foods for agility training than my adopted farm dogs where I have to spend considerable effort building value.

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And here is the problem. If you have to have a pup and won't consider a working bred youngster, a year to 18 months, that isn't working out or too many dogs are being kept, for farm/trial work, why should working litters be bred more? Have you ever tried a older pup? What makes you think they won't tolerate all the above you mentioned? A well bred pup will adapt and will most likely be more sensible than a pup will be.

 

I agree with this, too. As I said, I'd have no problem taking a working bred youngster. I don't think we should assume that taking one of the herding flunkies means they will have spent their first year in a box somewhere...as Karen said, there's nothing to say they wouldn't adapt just fine to all that's been mentioned.

 

ETA: I'm not saying, however, that sport people should be limited to only 12-18 month old dogs. People will still want puppies, and they have to come from somewhere.

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And here is the problem. If you have to have a pup and won't consider a working bred youngster, a year to 18 months, that isn't working out or too many dogs are being kept, for farm/trial work, why should working litters be bred more? Have you ever tried a older pup? What makes you think they won't tolerate all the above you mentioned? A well bred pup will adapt and will most likely be more sensible than a pup will be.

 

I know plenty of high caliber sport homes, these people are adamant about taking a pup at 7 weeks. Makes me wonder if they think no one can socialize a pup except them? There's a lot to be found in a year old pup right off the farm. I know, that's where I started, and my oh my what a journey it's been!

 

Journey, I've personally had and trained dogs from all backgrounds, ages and upbringings. So yeah I know what I want and what I want is a young pup, a fresh slate, and I want to get started socializing and training right away. Do I trust others to do this for me, sure up to a point IF they have the same goals as I do with the pup and know how to achieve them. Everyone has personal preferences. I can see why a serious competitor would want a pup as early as possible - there's years of training to get the dog to the level they want. If they start with 2 y.o. dog they've basically just shaved 2 years off that dog's career.

 

Personally I don't see it as a problem. I see it as a difference of goals, a different demand ergo a different supply. If working breeders want to use the sports people as their dumping ground for rejects, don't expect people who know what they want to be thrilled with sloppy seconds. For the most part, sports people don't care about the plight of the working dog. They care about health clearances, rock-solid temperaments and early training/socialization. This lofty goal of trying to combine working and sport dogs from the same pool of dogs just isn't going to happen. I used to have the same aspirations too, but through the years have seen the futility of it as I myself have gravitated towards a sports dog. I was just as shocked as everyone else who knew me. lol

 

I have two working-bred dogs (and I use that term loosely because really they were just two farm dogs thrown together out of convenience). One is a top notch competitor, but thanks to her dam she's also a scaredy-cat, sensitive soul. It didn't matter how early I got her (and it was early), she doesn't have the genetic make-up to be a rock-solid dog. However because I did get her so early, she's better able to cope with the stresses I throw at her with sports competitions. I'm pretty sure if I had gotten her one year later, it wouldn't have turned out that way. Just looking at her littermates confirms this for me.

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Here is an example of how a young adult can be good and bad:

 

I rescued an ACD at the end of Feb. She had no training for anything. Obedience - what do you mean sit, I am so happy to see you let me lunge all 4 feet off the ground full speed ahead and try to knock you down, a ball what is that, oh look your hands look like they are great for biting... This is what I have to deal with my new ACD. She is now 18 months old (confirmed as I found out her DOB). She is smart as a whip, hard headed to no end, wants to please but she was NOT socialized to people or dogs much. She has some fear aggression to get past. She will also be a fighter and not a flight dog.

 

Denali is doing great but it has not been easy. She competed for the first time in a flyball competition this past week - just a couple runs. Overall I was very pleased. When she finally gets it she could actually go sub 4s. Do I think she will I don't know. We are dealing with a few issues and constantly have to be on guard.

 

I keep saying if only I had her as a puppy she would be more the way a strong ACD needs to act. She would not be so out of hand. We are still working on many things but her training has been very hard and breaking her bad habits is almost impossible. She is actually a very dangerous dog because she is so exuberant that her lunging jumping at you causes bodily harm. Getting her as a puppy would have given us a totally different dog.

 

There are some reasons that having a younger puppy helps prevent some bad habits and start foundation training means they could have a more promising career.

 

Was Denali what I wanted in a dog, not really. I don't like puppies but I find it easier to start the foundation training as pups not young adults. And yeah Nali is learning things quickly - not many dogs can start competing with less than 6 months of training. I am lucky she is smart as a whip and wanting to please otherwise she would probably not be with me.

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This is OT and I apologize. But, this is something I see posted a lot and I just want to say that it's not always so black and white. It seems that folks always want to blame a dog's issues on lack of socialization. That may often be the case, but it's not always so simple. I use Skittles as an example. We adopted him as a fairly young puppy (still had all his puppy teeth). We socialized the heck out of him. It was easy because he was so adorable and a pretty mellow puppy, so it was easy to bring him with us everywhere. He met lots and lots of people of all ages and sizes. He started going to doggy daycare when he was a puppy. He always had foster dogs cycling through our house as he grew up. He experienced lots of things. Yet, he is my only dog with "issues." He has some fear-based behaviors that require us to be on our toes in certain situations. He is also the last of my dogs be OK with new foster dogs. Skittles isn't a border collie; he's a mix of some sort. We think he has cattle dog in him, which would explain some of his hard-headedness. But, there is nothing in his early socialization to point to a reason for him to have developed some of the issues that he has.

 

Sorry, for the brief interruption in this discussion. I just don't think it's fair to believe that any dog with behavioral issues could have been "saved" if only they had been properly socialized, or simply, obtained as a puppy.

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Mary I know what you mean. I know for a fact that Denali was not socialized and her originals took her lunging at people on walks as a sign of being over friendly when it was aggression. I have a lot of info on her. I have a bc that I got as an 8 week old pup that was well socialized with people and dogs. She has many issues and she is what she is. She is on melatonin full time to take the edge off. It helps but she is still a neurotic mess.

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Sorry, for the brief interruption in this discussion. I just don't think it's fair to believe that any dog with behavioral issues could have been "saved" if only they had been properly socialized, or simply, obtained as a puppy.

 

 

I agree with you to some degree:

 

BUT I do think they can be "helped."

 

We can never know how your dog would have turned out had you NOT done a great job socializing him.

 

I also believe that most dogs with decent temperaments do benefit greatly from socialization.

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We can never know how your dog would have turned out had you NOT done a great job socializing him.

 

Of course, everyone assumes that the rescue dogs in question don't have the benefit of good socialization, world experiences etc. and that whenever someone takes them on they are "fixing" a dog that lived in a void of positive experiences. We should not assume that, given the number of really well adjusted, well socialized etc. etc. dogs in rescue is actually quite high. Are there problem dogs in rescue? Yes. Are an equal number of them as well socialized or better raised than this discussion gives them credit for, and totally pleasant dogs? Yes. I think just sampling the number of people who comes to these boards and post questions about their problem puppies that they bought would prove that purchased pup or acquired rescue, the potential for a messed up dog is always present. There are also lots of dogs in rescue who were raised right, and are still problem dogs. Hello, nature!! Nurture is, ime, secondary.

 

I understand that sport people want pups so they can do foundation work with them. That's why I wanted a pup this time around (my caveat: My podium dog got no foundational training at ALL, so I likely did not need a puppy, I just needed the right dog. And the right instructor, which something I didn't have until recently. That being said, I wanted to try all that foundation stuff). There are, of course, lots of pups in rescue, and that's where I got mine. In fact, as mentioned earlier, I got the one that went unchosen by everyone else. I think he's the best of the lot, myself ;-) Unlike his brother, he's not sound sensitive, unlike his sister, he's not afraid of people, unlike his other brother, he's not dog-aggro and unlike his other sister, he doesn't shut down when training gets too intense. It could be me, I suppose, that made him a super star, but I doubt it - I think it's just him. I got lucky :rolleyes: Then again, I'm a dog photographer and every time I pointed the camera at him, he did this:

4158461187_4b985787f4_z.jpg

 

So maybe it was meant to be. The folks who own his siblings are all very good handlers, and many of them have lots of experience raising puppies, so they just got the dogs they got, and I think the end results (so far) are more the way their dogs were made than the way they were raised.

 

Anyway, sorry to go off topic. I find this whole discussion interesting, I just had nothing to add until the rescue shoe got dropped. I know, surprise, surprise ;-)

 

RDM

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Coming in late, but wanted to add that I am another pet home who would be thrilled to bring in a pup for training, or even have said pup boarded at the breeders for a time, as a condition of sale.

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Of course, everyone assumes that the rescue dogs in question don't have the benefit of good socialization, world experiences etc. and that whenever someone takes them on they are "fixing" a dog that lived in a void of positive experiences. We should not assume that, given the number of really well adjusted, well socialized etc. etc. dogs in rescue is actually quite high.

 

Sorry I probably wasn't clear: the poster I was commenting on said that despite socialization her dog had issues, all I meant was those issues might have been worse had she not socialized him.

 

Its true that some rescue dogs are "broken" by stupid people who don't do a great job with them as pups, but as you say there's a lot of really nice, normal dogs in rescue who just ended up there due to unfortunate circumstances. Its also true you can't make a dog with a difficult temperament normal with socialization (although it will likely benefit the dog in some ways), nor will a dog with a great temperament be ruined without adequate socialization.

 

The best scenario, of course, is having both.

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Its true that some rescue dogs are "broken" by stupid people who don't do a great job with them as pups, but as you say there's a lot of really nice, normal dogs in rescue who just ended up there due to unfortunate circumstances. Its also true you can't make a dog with a difficult temperament normal with socialization (although it will likely benefit the dog in some ways), nor will a dog with a great temperament be ruined without adequate socialization.

 

My young Koolie is one of these, a rescue with a very nice temperament despite have very little socialisation as a pup. He will work my stock and do agility. However if I was a top agility handler I would look for a pup. Every bit of foundation work is part of well oiled plan for the top people. They are very serious about the whole business and have very definite ideas of what they are looking for.

 

For someone like me, living on a farm, I am happy to pick up a young working bred rescue or a working bred dog that hasnt worked out for someone else. If I lived in suburbia and wanted to just do agility, I would look for a dog under 6 months old, probably a puppy and I wouldnt have the time or the dollars to go traipsing off to the country to do herding. I would expect if the parents are proven there will be offspring going into working homes and that is where the assessment will be made.

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I would have no problem with a breeding like this. Both sire and dam have shown themselves to be good working dogs, and to produce good working dogs. There's every reason to think that the pups produced by this second breeding will have the qualities of a good border collie. It's known in advance that the pups in this litter will not be tested by stockwork, but also it's known that the pups in this litter will not reproduce. There are undoubtedly some working breeders who would not choose to breed in this situation, but I think many would, and I can't see where it would cause any harm to the individual dogs or to the breed.

 

 

There are a lot of "if's" in this situation. I have to ask then - why bother? If the pups won't be proven why put the bitch through the stress of whelping another litter? What's the point? Isn't this where the slippery slope begins? Breeding for something other than stockwork? All that's being accomplished by this is $$ to the breeder, no improvement to the breed whatsoever nor to the gene pool.

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There are a lot of "if's" in this situation. I have to ask then - why bother? If the pups won't be proven why put the bitch through the stress of whelping another litter? What's the point? Isn't this where the slippery slope begins? Breeding for something other than stockwork? All that's being accomplished by this is $$ to the breeder, no improvement to the breed whatsoever nor to the gene pool.

 

ISTM otherwise these buyers would get their pups from a sports breeding conducted by people who didn't prove their dogs on stock appropriately if AT ALL. In this hypothetical case, these parents are already proved on stock, and the cross has previously been proved to be productive and a good cross, in relation to stockwork! (offspring who proved themselves). By giving $$ to the breeder, it will help him/her continue to breed border collies, for stockwork. I would agree with Eileen that if the stockwork abilties were perpetuated through this cross before, demonstrably so, than why would anyone assume these collies might not be appropriate for the breed?

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Just a fast reply just to add my 2 cents. Don't know when I will be able to be on again since life is busy right now.

 

I am a sport person err more exact an agility addict.

 

If I was looking for another agility prospect. I would want a pup at less then 6 months(6 month is kind of pushing it). There is just a lot of training and experience I want my pup to have under its belt. I perfer 7 weeks since that is before a "fear" period. And the pup is so impressionable at that time. Even then 6 month would be for a breeder I REALLY trusted and already knew how the pups were raised and what they were fed. Food does have an impact on the health of the dog.

 

If I was looking for an companion and to just dabble in agility I wouldn't mind going older. :rolleyes: BUt for an agility prospect, for me, its has to be a pup. I don't mind/get very amused by border collie puppy's antics. LOL Who needs a TV when you have a pup? "How in the world did she destroy the broom? It was suppose to be indestructible!" etc...

 

I would love to be able to bring my pup to their breeder for it working test. or whatever you called it. I might not be able to go everyday but would sure take them up on that offer as much as I was able.

 

Would I leave my dog with them. No, unless I had complete trust in the breeder. It not just about the training it also about the dogs well being. How well does the breeder know my dog(personality, temperment, quirks)? How do they(breeder) act in a fast happening "situation"(in the off times)? Is the breeder willing to listen to what I say/concern and take it into account while training/boarding?

 

As for the whole herding and agility... Would the working people care if their pups first 2 year of life was base in agility? As in they've had agility training as the basic foundation. I don't know when the pup could be evaluted for their ability. But would assume its not till they are at least a year if not two for some dogs. Thats 2 years that the dogs being trained to "just" focus on the human.

 

I know when I am ready I will try to find a well bred working pup if one isn't available I will look at farms pup or breeder that does both herding and agility with their dogs. I don't mind waiting up to a year for a well bred pup as define by this board. But much longer I will just go with someone else who has just of a nice breeding only for a different need.

 

Sorry for any misspelled words. It hard to focus right now thanks to increase sinus pressure. >_<

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Would I leave my dog with them. No, unless I had complete trust in the breeder. It not just about the training it also about the dogs well being. How well does the breeder know my dog(personality, temperment, quirks)? How do they(breeder) act in a fast happening "situation"(in the off times)? Is the breeder willing to listen to what I say/concern and take it into account while training/boarding?

Interesting. I would have assumed that if you bought the pup from a breeder then that breeder would be someone you'd trust with your dog. If it's not someone you'd trust to keep your dog for a period of time, why on earth would you buy from that breeder in the first place? Seriously.

 

J.

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As for the whole herding and agility... Would the working people care if their pups first 2 year of life was base in agility? As in they've had agility training as the basic foundation. I don't know when the pup could be evaluted for their ability. But would assume its not till they are at least a year if not two for some dogs. Thats 2 years that the dogs being trained to "just" focus on the human.

 

I don't know anyone that trains/trials for USBCHA trials that would want the foundation in agility. Focus on the human is not particularly what we want; ETA: I wouldn't mind if someone took my puppy and socialized it to the world and did some basic work...

 

Mainly we start serious training between 8-14 months old;

 

I have seen some agility trained pups (2 of which were out of my breeding, and one was similarly bred to a puppy I rehomed) that work but starting now, at 2 years old, are way behind the pup we kept. I also personally think the agilty trained pups are way way over the top for toys...but that is just a personal pet peeve.

 

Not dissing agility at all, but i'm not in the camp that thinks you can do both, and I certainly do not want the focus to be on the human.

 

Back on topic; I bred a litter that was a failure in my mind; thought the two would be well matched; top trialling sire, PN bitch; 4 puppies, 2 that are working on farms are working well (in their owners opinion), both of the ones i kept just didn't make it; both are in pet homes and the owners are thrilled; the one does some work in NN. So it was a failure

 

The other two litters, 5 of 7 puppies are in working/farm homes, the other two agility with some sheep work; we are very pleased with ours; The other litter was a singleton, an accidental breeding; she's hell on wheels, hardest puppy i've had to raise but she seems as if (at 12 months) she is going to be great on sheep. This accidental breeding may have created the best pup we've bred to date...

 

Go figure.

 

i'm happy to sell to agility or flyball homes, but again i breed very rarely. We've purchased most of our puppies from other working people.

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Interesting. I would have assumed that if you bought the pup from a breeder then that breeder would be someone you'd trust with your dog. If it's not someone you'd trust to keep your dog for a period of time, why on earth would you buy from that breeder in the first place? Seriously.

 

J.

 

Julie, my pup came from someone I trust to raise a pup to 8 weeks, but the way she continues raising differs from my ideas on how to raise a pup. I took mine back to the breeder for a play date at 6 months old, and the sibbling she kept was very timid, didn't play well with others, and in fact, wouldn't get close enough for me to pet her. The cross was good, and both dogs work very well, and the pups were well socialized towards people and other dogs at the time, but I'm not sure I'd leave my dog there. This is just based on a difference in ideas on what we expect from a dog. Essentially how a breeder breeds vs. how they manage dogs can be different things. The best breeder in the world might not be someone I'd leave my dog with for a length of time.

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I may have missed it in the length of the thread, but exactly how long are we talking about sending sport pups back to the breeder for evaluation?

 

let me make everyone mad now....

 

I can't even see 90 days of daily work providing the information I would want. I've seen a lot of 90 day wonders - got all the skills under good hands- but who knows how they respond under pressure or work and/or age? That is how about at the finals of a big event, or when a lambing ewe you need to help truly wants them dead? How do they handle the heat when you _have_ to deworm or move sheep and its over 90? Can they rate themselves back when the work is long and slow, but amp it up with its fast and hot? Do they listen during the latter? These sorts of things can't be replicated, takes years/miles to see, and they do provide information that is invaluable to what breedable qualities are in the dog.

 

Insisting sport/pet pups back to "evaluate" makes me think more and more about a working version of ack titling. What do you think you are going to "certify" to yourself in a limited evaluation? And unless you take the dog away from the sport/novice herding home for many many months you aren't going to see it.

 

If you are breeding for yourself as most good breeders are, that's one pup to prove out for potential breeding. If you get a few others in working homes that do right by the dog and you get further information that's wonderful. But don't knock a good pet/sport home because they want a pup, or hold them hostage to evaluation standards they can't meet without doing backflips to your requests. That's just another version of ack co-ownership. Either keep the pup and prove it, or pick a good home and as long as that homes remains to that standard, let. it. go.

 

If you think the novice home can and wants to prepare the dog to the level for evaluation, but it will take a really long time due to inexperience/travel issue, then you do have the option with a male pup to collect semen before it is neutered, and then *if* it is a dog you see you truly needed for the genepool 10+ years later you can use it. No options like this for females unfortunately, perhaps that will change in the future. Of course the collection and freezing costs money that may never return to you, but it is a way to save your genetics to watch the entire career of a dog who may not be trained at the speed or thoroughness you desire young because it is in a novice herding home that is learning with it.

 

I don't see the absolute need for a agility people to have pups at 8 weeks however. I see more pups messed up by some of the modern puppy for that training than anything else. They have just as many wash-outs as herding trainers, but I daresay more to injury because they can't seem to let a dog mature before they run it's legs and mind off. It's just not know as a washout, but a "placement in a more suitable home". Sounds much nicer that way.

 

In regards to repeating the litter for sport homes after the first litter proved to produce good workers as well as good sport dogs. I would not, *unless* I wanted a puppy for myself. I simply don't see the necessity of the expense (the whelping and raising) and the risk to my btch simply for what amounts to a want of $$ And no one has considered that repeat litters are often totally different than the prior. You often get different temperaments, different health issues, etc etc. Semen is an allergen, and you get your greatest genetic variation in the first cross and then the btch will respond against what her body already knows (this per Dr Boyd and other expert breeders, and I am generalizing what I'm sure can be explained more clearly by scientists). A cross that repeats well is gold and rare, but just because it repeats doesn't mean you will get the *same* stuff each time. The average is good on the golden crosses, that's all.

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What good would bringing a pup back to it's breeder for evaluation really do? It may show potential, but can you really tell if a dog can hack it as a good working dog or Open trial dog or whatever you were aiming for with the breeding in such a short time? I can't imagine any sport or pet home giving up their dog for a month or more so the breeder can evaluate it. To the majority of sports and pet homes, our dogs are our babies; we wouldn't want to be without them. I know it's commonplace for working homes to send their dogs off for months at a time for training. That's not the case for sport and pet homes. It's a totally different mentality. Besides just missing the dogs, we'd miss out on training the dog for what it's really going to be doing, which likely isn't herding.

 

If you bred a working litter and ended up with 8 pups and say 5-6 went to working homes and the rest to pet or sport homes, do you really need to assess ALL of the pups to see if it was a good cross? I think you could get the info you wanted from just those 5-6 pups. If none of them could hack being a working dog, chances are the extra few couldn't either. If most or all turned out to be superb working dogs, then that tells you what you need to know without ever testing the other few.

 

I guess I really don't see a reason or need to require a dog to come back to be tested, unless perhaps the litter was so small that you couldn't determine that from the other pups in working homes.

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In regards to repeating the litter for sport homes after the first litter proved to produce good workers as well as good sport dogs. I would not, *unless* I wanted a puppy for myself. I simply don't see the necessity of the expense (the whelping and raising) and the risk to my btch simply for what amounts to a want of $$ And no one has considered that repeat litters are often totally different than the prior. You often get different temperaments, different health issues, etc etc. Semen is an allergen, and you get your greatest genetic variation in the first cross and then the btch will respond against what her body already knows (this per Dr Boyd and other expert breeders, and I am generalizing what I'm sure can be explained more clearly by scientists). A cross that repeats well is gold and rare, but just because it repeats doesn't mean you will get the *same* stuff each time. The average is good on the golden crosses, that's all.

 

I think you bring up a lot of good points, although I would still bring back a pup I bought - however I want to learn stockwork and want any pups I buy to do the same, so I may not be the same as some pet or sport homes.

 

However, the paragraph above confuses me. If a second cross out of the same breeding is likely to be "totally" different, then why worry so much about proving that cross in the first place? I mean, if you wouldn't be any more likely to repeat said cross -- even if it turned out to be demonstrably stellar in the first litter -- due to semen allergen issues etc, than to make an entirely new and unproven cross, what exactly are you trying to learn by figuring out how good the litter was in the first place, aside from just scoring yourself on that particular breeding? I thought one of the biggest reasons to evaluate the cross was to gain information that would inform future crosses.

 

Genetic recombination will keep things mixing up between the same parents, and no two non-ID twin progeny will be genetically the same. But at the same time, all pups out of the same two parents shares, on average, 50% of the same DNA. So I find it hard to believe that on average, the second litter out of the same cross shares fewer characteristics than an unrelated litter or even a different litter out of only one of the same parents. Not to say that can't happen, but given how meiosis and fertilization works, that scenario would be way less likely than the second litter out of the same cross being more like that pair's other litter than any other litter you could produce. (Hope that made sense).

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Ooky if the litter was *extraordinary* then certainly it would be of value to repeat. There are some crosses, though not the norm by far, that even an "average" pup of that genetic combination is going to have a significant chance to be better than normal as worker. Maybe not the same as the other pups, but still better than average in overall usefullness.

 

However...if that were the case...would you be selling all of that second litter to sport homes? or considering doing a cross where that was the only serious interest and even you didn't want one? I think not. A good first working cross, is likely to have repeat customers. So again..you would be selling some work, some pet/sport as you were before at the least. The evaluation of that cross as a worker is likely to go up with that plan, rather than down.

 

the 50/50 parental influence sounds very correct, but my experience (however minimal) and the experience of breeders I've worked with (long term, many good working dogs produced) says not. I've seen second litters who were totally unlike the first - so much so that you could only say "huh?"It may be because the BC has such a low inbreeding coefficient. When you do a total outcrosses the genetic variability can be huge. A breeder friend who's degree is in cattle reproduction/genetics has applied his learning to dogs and tells me that littermates can be as little as 18% similar within the same litter. There are simply so many genetic variations within the dog.

 

I never challenged his information at the time, and would welcome more information on it. I simply took it at face value because he has the litters, and the results, to prove what he was saying.

 

Regarding the novice herding puppy owner coming back willingly to prove the pup - I applaud and welcome the effort, but I also recognize the limitations regarding that dog's potential as being a barometer for the success of the litter.

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Are there problem dogs in rescue? Yes. Are an equal number of them as well socialized or better raised than this discussion gives them credit for, and totally pleasant dogs? Yes. I think just sampling the number of people who comes to these boards and post questions about their problem puppies that they bought would prove that purchased pup or acquired rescue, the potential for a messed up dog is always present. There are also lots of dogs in rescue who were raised right, and are still problem dogs. Hello, nature!! Nurture is, ime, secondary.

 

This ^^

 

I can see why some people like to shape and mold every aspect of a pup's life. But if you get a dog that genetically has nice temperament and drive, then age doesn't matter a huge amount, IMO. Kenzi was left to her own devices as a pup, tied out/left out little human interaction, zero foundation work for her first 7 months. She loves getting out, meeting new people, trying new things, going new places. I can see some areas where a bit of nurturing would have been nice in those early months, but with her nature the lack of nurture isn't going to be a real detriment to her end potential.

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Insisting sport/pet pups back to "evaluate" makes me think more and more about a working version of ack titling. What do you think you are going to "certify" to yourself in a limited evaluation? And unless you take the dog away from the sport/novice herding home for many many months you aren't going to see it.

 

I can definitely see your concern. I hadn't thought about this, but given some of the very title driven people I have come in contact with through rescue I could see this being a problem with some, not all, of the people interested. If bringing the pup back is based clearly on evaluating the litter and not that pup, I think this situation could be diffused. If you don't give someone a scale to rate their dog on they can't really claim anything. I have never been told at any of our lessons if I have a dog that could be outstanding or not, as you said yourself there is just no way to tell until the dogs is at that level. The purchaser of the pup should understand up front that the evaluations are of the dog's traits and how those could be beneficial for a working dog, not if their dog can be a top working dog. I think the words testing and evaluation should be avoided unless used in reference to the entire litter. Maybe saying that the pup needs to come back periodically so you can see what traits result from the cross would be a less loaded way to say it.

 

In regards to repeating the litter for sport homes after the first litter proved to produce good workers as well as good sport dogs. I would not, *unless* I wanted a puppy for myself. I simply don't see the necessity of the expense (the whelping and raising) and the risk to my btch simply for what amounts to a want of $$

 

&

 

If you think the novice home can and wants to prepare the dog to the level for evaluation, but it will take a really long time due to inexperience/travel issue, then you do have the option with a male pup to collect semen before it is neutered, and then *if* it is a dog you see you truly needed for the genepool 10+ years later you can use it. No options like this for females unfortunately, perhaps that will change in the future. Of course the collection and freezing costs money that may never return to you, but it is a way to save your genetics to watch the entire career of a dog who may not be trained at the speed or thoroughness you desire young because it is in a novice herding home that is learning with it.

 

IMHO the ideal breeding that sells to nonworking homes would have the majority of dogs going to working homes and maybe 20%-25% or less going to sport and pet homes. This way there is still a significant portion of the genetic material from this cross available to the working pool. If a novice trainer's dog does prove themselves 10 years down the road the siblings of this dog would have been able to contribute to the working pool, and I am assuming would have proven themselves much quicker and had time to breed. If the novice dog is the only one that is a good working dog, then hopefully other breeders can make up for this one dog's absence.

 

On a side note, I have observed that a lot of the general public seems to value the rareness of a dog. It would seem to me that this fondness for a rare dog could make buying a well bred dog all the more appealing to the general public, and ensure that border collies are bred for the right reasons. Especially if the dogs adopted by the pet/sport homes from these well bred litters had a s/n contract.

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Evaluating entire litters for herding potential would provide great information, but clearly presents a ton of logistical problems. I'd be happy if a breeder took every opportunity (and created them where possible) to evaluate a litter's herding ability.

 

However, in many ways, I would rather the breeder put the time and energy into tracking health information about all members of the litter. That information would be easier to obtain. It would also be more likely to benefit the breeder's entire line.

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