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Bridging division between Working Border Collie Tradition vs. “Working” Agility Dogs+Other Disciplines

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But the idea that "it's just a game so there is no work involved" just doesn't ring true to me based on my own experience and the work that I see my fellow participants putting into training and preparing their dogs for performance sports.

 

People have said "It's just a game." I don't recall anyone saying "so there is no work involved." I do recall everyone who has spoken on the subject saying that participants typically put much work and effort into it. If that was your point, Root Beer, I don't see anyone disputing it. To my mind that does not make the sport of agility "work," but at least I think most of us agree that it is not "the work" for which border collies should be bred.

 

Does anyone else get the sense that this thread has outlived whatever usefulness it might have had? Maybe we should act on that perception.

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Well, <_< lucky for me that a game called Reining sure paid my bills for many years! :lol: Or rather the desire of others to have me train them for the game! ;)

And that process was work!!! :blink::lol:B)

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To my mind that does not make the sport of agility "work," but at least I think most of us agree that it is not "the work" for which border collies should be bred.

 

Well, on those two points . . .

 

1. The sport of Agility is not "work" - I disagree. For some teams, it is, indeed. Enjoyable work, certainly. Not a livelihood for most, but a "work" that the dog and handler pursue together. Absolutely.

 

2. It is not "the work" for which Border Collies should be bred. - I agree.

 

And honestly, I'd say #2 is the far more important point, when it comes down to it.

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People have said "It's just a game." I don't recall anyone saying "so there is no work involved." I do recall everyone who has spoken on the subject saying that participants typically put much work and effort into it. If that was your point, Root Beer, I don't see anyone disputing it. To my mind that does not make the sport of agility "work," but at least I think most of us agree that it is not "the work" for which border collies should be bred.

 

Does anyone else get the sense that this thread has outlived whatever usefulness it might have had? Maybe we should act on that perception.

Root Beer -

sorry for the misunderstanding.

 

Julie -

You're probably right.

 

Eileen -

You're probably right too. Here's me, signing off this one. Let's all go see what Terrierman is doing. :)

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He's Shuan the sheep

 

He's Shuan the Sheep

 

 

 

Oh I know I will be singing that song softly on my death bed now.

 

 

Goodnight all.

 

 

 

Goodnight dear thread.

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Does anyone else get the sense that this thread has outlived whatever usefulness it might have had? Maybe we should act on that perception.

 

That'll do? :rolleyes:

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So, I made myself cry last night, and I'm tearing up now just thinking about it.

 

I went through and re-read some of my very old posts when Kellie was still a puppy. As far back as 2005. In one thread I found I had posed the question about training a dog on stock... I can honestly say now that I didn't get what everyone was trying to tell me then. All of it was so foreign... until I put Kellie on stock.

 

Even now, I'll admit that I still learning; I doubt I'll ever stop. Kellie and I had a remarkable journey, and even now, two years after she was violently taken, I'm grateful for everything she taught me and how she opened my eyes.

 

I don't think words can truly express our emotions. I think working a border collie on stock is the only way to understand what our words have failed to do for the past 13 pages. Watching it really isn't enough; you have to experience it.

 

I, too, am bowing out of this thread. The definition of insanity: repeating the same experiment over and over and expecting a different result. Nope, not unless you change the variables.

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I love Tea. I love Tea for her mind. And she makes me smile. :) And best of all, she makes me think.

 

~ Gloria

 

 

 

On another note......humour me...ok?

 

(Serena.......) :)

 

Everyone stop what you are doing and take a good long look at your dog.

 

Ok

 

 

Now take a good long look at yourself.

 

 

Ok

 

 

In this world

 

In all of time and creation

 

This pairing between you and this creature will never ever happen again.

 

 

 

You are both....One of a kind

 

Never to be repeated

 

Like snowflakes.

 

 

 

Everyone is of infinite value

 

 

 

Irreplaceble.

 

 

 

Sorry I can't spell.

 

My old Pop used to say this.

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1. The sport of Agility is not "work" - I disagree. For some teams, it is, indeed. Enjoyable work, certainly. Not a livelihood for most, but a "work" that the dog and handler pursue together. Absolutely.

 

2. It is not "the work" for which Border Collies should be bred. - I agree.

 

And honestly, I'd say #2 is the far more important point, when it comes down to it.

The imprecise English language and its use is causing this issue. "Work" can mean so many things: occupation, exercise, extreme effort, etc. Even the meaning of the word "job" has become blurred. Other languages do not have this issue. The other issue is that the function of working livestock can be both an occupation and an endeavor (i.e. sport/activity).

 

I for one acknowledge that agility takes effort in order to excel at the endeavor. However, this activity is not a livelihood nor simulates the activities of a livelihood which is why I do not call the pursuit of agility by a dog and handler "work".

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Isn't teaching an occupation, or work?

 

Teaching golf is a job or work (part time or full time). Playing golf is an activity unless you are getting paid to play (not just getting prize money). When you are paid simply to show up and participate in a sport it has become a job; the job is being a vehicle for advertising.

 

Painting is an activity.

Teaching painting is work.

Being paid to paint (art or houses) is work or a job.

 

Sheepdog trialing is a sport which simulates work.

Agility trialing is a sport which does not simulate work.

 

Teaching either (not teaching your own dogs but teaching other people and/or other people's dogs) is a job (assuming you get paid for this).

Participating in either is an activity unless you are paid to show up.

 

 

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The imprecise English language and its use is causing this issue. "Work" can mean so many things: occupation, exercise, extreme effort, etc. Even the meaning of the word "job" has become blurred. Other languages do not have this issue.

 

Umm, sure they do--all languages deal with polysemy . It's just in different arenas of meaning.

 

Your point is well-taken though--the term "work" has many meanings in English and thus probably not worth too many letters in further discussion on this topic (apropos Julie's most recent post).

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Isn't teaching an occupation, or work?

 

Teaching golf is a job or work (part time or full time). Playing golf is an activity unless you are getting paid to play (not just getting prize money). When you are paid simply to show up and participate in a sport it has become a job; the job is being a vehicle for advertising.

 

Painting is an activity.

Teaching painting is work.

Being paid to paint (art or houses) is work or a job.

 

Sheepdog trialing is a sport which simulates work.

Agility trialing is a sport which does not simulate work.

 

Teaching either (not teaching your own dogs but teaching other people and/or other people's dogs) is a job (assuming you get paid for this).

Participating in either is an activity unless you are paid to show up.

Nice one!

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I can't believe I'm responding. rolleyes.gif Serena, I have a border collie with running contacts. He also competes at the Open level in USBCHA sheepdog trials. Let me tell you, the discipline and impulse control required for his running contacts (or anything to do with agility really) is absolutely minuscule compared to what he needs when he's penning, or getting ready to sort off sheep, or even just holding the sheep off while I put hay down. You want fast and brilliant? Watch a good dog cast out for his sheep which are so far away, they're just dots on the horizon.

 

Running contacts, independent weave poles, obstacle discrimination ... all that can be taught with toys, cookies, and repetitions. They're just dog tricks. Yes, it's pretty when it's all strung together in a course, but almost any breed or mixed breed can do it. No matter how good a border collie is at agility, it should NEVER be the criteria for which it is bred.

 

Yes, yes, yes! This is it, Serena. Plain and simple. I don't have an Open dog that works stock like Kristi describes, but I don't have to, to be able to understand the difference. It's like night and day. Agility is a great game (and yes, lots of work goes into it), but success on an agility field is NO reason to breed Border Collies. It really is that simple. The working of stock defines the Border Collie and they should only be bred for that skill. We can keep going around and around for 14 more pages, but Serena, you are not going to change anyone's mind on this very firm opinion.

 

And yes, this from someone who does AKC events...

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Oh dear God........I am still reading this thing..........

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Gloria......

 

 

 

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

 

 

(walks off singing....)

 

 

 

"He's Shaun the Sheep!

 

He's Shaun the sheep!

 

He mucks about with folks that never bleat......

 

Life's a Treat with Saun the sheep!"

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Diana, I'm glad there are some people who are still having very nice, very beautiful posts in spite of coming from completely opposite ends of that "unbridgeable bridge".... On the other hand, whereas I very much respect those like Diana and Gloria who can still voice opinions in a thoughtful manner no matter how frustrated they get with me. On the other hand, sarcasm like "mucks about" is indeed highly disrespectful and does not reflect well. I still think that some of the "condescending" tones on how just a few folks describe agility as nothing but a useless game and pastime and the stereotypes of the zoned-out, hyperamped, glaze-eyed Border Collies is very troubling to me. :unsure: Agility training can have a softness as well, a quiet side....If folks bear with me a little longer, and don't mind, I am going to borrow Amelia's gorgeous sheepherding video. Again, to prove that this truly is the most ideal, the most beautiful expression of work that a border collie indeed does. Then there there will be 2 brand new videos showing a very quiet, different style of agility training. I have to prepare these and they are not online yet... It carefully shows how lovely and soft and watchful Eluane is, and how she compensates for my learning disability... We are trying a new phase in her training because she is in Excellent level now in Jumpers, and because the courses are much more complex, my learning disability has to save enough mental energy to focus and I can no longer use the verbals like I used to. My disability makes me very jumpy, erratic and fidgety,even blurting out the wrong commands at wrong moments, but my intense ballet training compensates. You can see areas where my mind begins to freeze up and how Eluane stops in midtracks to "search" me out, all beautiful reflections of how she is still a border collie no matter what, her mind still must constantly be at work in a sense. You can see her mind work, her mental process as I struggle to work through issues, and you can actually see the "gears" in her head turning and processing that language. Also between the first video and the 2nd video, there is a span of 5 days when we are not practicing at all! And suddenly, the long-term memory kicks in when she gets it! and I start to get it! Sometimes the best demo is the personal connection. People do not know who I am. I basically barged and blundered in after a 3 year absence. Part of the purpose of the thread is to break stereotypes. Open up the bridge for communication. A video speaks a thousand words sometimes and it lets people know a tiny bit of the personal story. Just like I hope someday someone will show about their Border Collie SAR in action with this thread. How there are still those elements of beauty, refinement, and intelligence.

 

OK, this is Diana's quote that is very thoughtful, very educational, and very important for anyone new to Border Collies as a breed and new to the Boards. It is fair and right. The only thing is as Eileen says, in agility, we are at the Takers and not the Givers, we Need You. Selfish as it is, it is the truth. You do not need us...It's like the Prodigal Son; no matter what we are, we are still part of your family. We still own border collies...Takes a dedicated and loving Agility person who still wants to cross the divide. We are not just breeding for speed, but for intelligence, perception, sensitivity, biddability, keeness that is what a really good and experienced agility trainer who's been trained for decades wants!

 

Diana wrote: So now ask yourself, how is breeding for agility performance any different? It is STILL not breeding for working ability. It disregards stock working talents in the parents and does not evaluate the stock working ability of the offspring. Same as in a conformation breeding. It will ruin the breed just as surely as breeding for looks.

 

And throwing a working bred dog in there from time to time does NOT preserve or improve upon working ability. Working dog breeders do not breed just any old working dog to another. You have to match up the traits to get a good dog out of it. If you breed two 'nice' dogs together and both are very flanky and wide working, you may get a dog that won't come onto its sheep and can't get the job done. If you breed two dogs that are the top end of the pushness spectrum, you may get a dog who's too hard to train and work with. When you do breed together two dogs that seem a good match, then the next step is you test out the offspring to see how you did and determine if the breeding was good, and if the offspring now deserve to be bred (it does not matter how good the parents are if the match of the two produces a dog with reduced ability). Working ability must be thoroughly tested at each and every generation.

 

There is an art to good breeding, and breeding for agility disregards all of these considerations. The breeding you describe would be 'random' in terms of the working traits. And the outcome of this random breeding would not be fully evaluated, but if the dog is good at agility, it would be bred to make more agility dogs. It doesn't matter if you throw a working bred dog in there every generation, if the breeding is not well planned based on working ability, it doesn't matter how good ONE of the parents is if the other is unknown, random ability and likely has reduced talent (which will certainly be the case after several generations of this type of random breeding).

 

The goal is not to breed dogs with working dogs in the pedigree - the goal is to breed dogs that WORK. Your scenario does not accomplish that goal, therefore it is bad for border collies.

 

A nice AKC handler who is currently corresponding with me, and yes we are discussing the conformation and the puppy mill issue those things so at least things like these are "discussion-worthy"...Again, like I said tons of people are unaware, even I was until someone here mentioned and I had to look up what AKC actually does in regard to this....People please remember, in England they had to work for years! trying to get laws and legislation passed versus shock collars; it took decades of work, but gradually things started to come around in certain regions of England. There are indeed laws now. Likewise exposing puppy mills with AKC papers, listing those mills and certificates, helps bring in the "shame" factor. AKC is actually composed of very nice people. Some of the nicest and kindest people I've ever encountered are real AKC judges and real AKC secretaries. They just are unaware of even these issues with the puppy mill as shocking as it may seem. I certainly was. It's just the organization which needs to be somehow changed. OK. It will be awhile but I'll post the videos in a few days...

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OK, one more time...I have twice now directly asked you to address a specific issue as regards breeding for anything but THE work. I do not have time right now to go back through the many pages to find the quote, but as I recall, it was on page 8 (at least one of the times I asked for a response). So I am asking yet again, will you PLEASE address this issue?

 

Meanwhile, I am not particularly interested in your videos, as I have seen agility before, and am not really sure what your intended purpose of posting them will be, anyway. To convince us that an agility dog could work stock (even though it's never been on stock)? To convince us that you and your dog put as much effort into training as do stockworking folks? I have no doubt that you train very hard with your dog, as do many (most) agility folks. That is not in dispute. If at all possible, can you please stick to the real issue most of us are having here, which is the idea of breeding for anything other than the work? Will it help if I put a bunch of smiley faces so that my post might be seen as "very nice and beautiful"? :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

A

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AKC is actually composed of very nice people. Some of the nicest and kindest people I've ever encountered are real AKC judges and real AKC secretaries.

 

I want what you're smoking!

 

ETA: And here is where the entire thread goes off topic. I apologize for starting this...

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Hey terrecar... most AKC agility people and judges I met are really nice too! Lol of course I be also heard our area is unique in that too.

 

Couldn't give you peoples name but I could possible give you dogs names and breed. Lol most people I know is oh your this dog mom. Or oh yay you run this breed.

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From an outsider's view (I don't have working dogs or agility dogs):

 

No one has mentioned the obvious: it is the agility breeder wanting to breed to the working dog. It is not the working dog breeder wanting to breed to the agility dog. That pretty much says it all.

 

I don't mean this to be snotty...it's just the reality of the situation. There is a reason for that.

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Hey terrecar... most AKC agility people and judges I met are really nice too! Lol of course I be also heard our area is unique in that too.

Couldn't give you peoples name but I could possible give you dogs names and breed. Lol most people I know is oh your this dog mom. Or oh yay you run this breed.

 

Now that you say "AKC agility people" I can understand why you and Serena would say that. Agility wasn't so big until after I stopped showing dogs. I remember being told that obedience people were very nice, and now that I think of it, the earth dog and field trial people were nice.

 

When I hear AKC, I think breed ring/conformation showing.

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I want what you're smoking!

 

I know quite a few AKC folks and most of them are very nice people. Almost everyone I train with runs AKC Agility (although the facility is not AKC affiliated) and they are great people. I enjoy training with them, hanging around with them, and especially sharing Thursday night classes under the lights in the summertime with them. Some of them participate in other AKC events - some do conformation. That's not my choice, yet they remain very nice people whose company I enjoy.

 

I don't say this to take the part of AKC in any way, but the fact is that there are plenty of very friendly and down to earth people who do choose to participate in AKC events, especially the performance events.

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I guess I'm being unfair, as one of my most cherished friends is a professional handler turned judge. I just remember the cut-throat types because there were so many of them.

 

ETA: Should have ended it here...

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