Jump to content
BC Boards
Serena+Eluane B.C.

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

Recommended Posts

Is that one of the sheep from Wallace and Gromit? Because it seriously looks like it!!

It's a spin-off TV series from Wallace and Grommit. Shaun first appeared in one of the Wallace and Grommit movies about a sheep-rustling caper. Shaun had been, ahem, shorn, (hence the name) and was cold, so they knitted a sweater for him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a spin-off TV series from Wallace and Grommit. Shaun first appeared in one of the Wallace and Grommit movies about a sheep-rustling caper. Shaun had been, ahem, shorn, (hence the name) and was cold, so they knitted a sweater for him.

 

Got it. I actually don't remember the sheep one all that well, although I saw it a couple of times. I love the one where they go to the moon and I've seen that one the most.

 

Sorry - off topic!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

P.S. Thank you, everyone, for engaging in some of the most passionate, articulate, erudite discussions of the working border collie I've ever seen. You've encouraged me to even more deeply examine my beliefs on our wonderful breed, and for that I'm grateful. Thank you!

 

~ Gloria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And I applaud evreryone for being so civil and patient.

 

I must have been reading a different thread.

 

The one I've read is a hectoring attack (by some) on a person with an admitted learning disability in which she has been accused of lying, being a troll and an apologist for the AKC, intransigent and by implication stupid. I hope you perfect specimens who have made snide comments are proud of themselves - you managed to goad Serena into shouting, something I have never seen before. Ironic that it's the show people who have been accused of being nasty.

 

Serena's only "crime" is of hyper enthusiasm which unfortunately leads her into a stream of consciousness when she tries to explain herself. I don't know her personally but I have come across her elsewhere and she has always come across as a thoroughly nice person who wants people to share her passions and be happy. Is that so bad?

 

And stupid she most definitely isn't. Learning disability doesn't equal dumb. Misguided sometimes maybe, but aren't we all?

 

Some posters have certainly remained civil and patient but others have fallen far short of that ideal.

 

This thread didn't have to be 16 pages long and everyone who has continued to post after stating their case has collaborated in its length. It isn't compulsory to keep posting after you have put your pov as best you can and you don't think you are getting anywhere - just walk away. Your choice if you carry on so don't complain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with Mum24Dog, to some extent.

 

I loved reading most of the posts, especially the passionate but logical responses from Diana A and Gloria Atwater. I also enjoyed Eileen's down to earth explanations.

 

However, some of the posts came across as very personal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope you perfect specimens who have made snide comments are proud of themselves

 

I realize that you are speaking to a multitude of posters in saying this, but I still want to make the following comment.

 

I don't believe there is anything snide in my challenge to Serena to move out beyond the small portion of the Agility world that she has experienced, which, based on her description, is highly out of the ordinary (in the US), and find more in Agility than ribbons, accolades, etc. She may very well find room to grow in very substantial ways through exploration of other venues and having an open mind toward what is actually happening within those venues.

 

Her choice of words that she uses to describe herself as an Agility participant, like "nobody", are quite sad.

 

I don't believe that implies perfection. I certainly acknowledge that I have a lot to learn about Agility and training and handling and both the joy and challenges that are to be found in the discipline. At the same time, I recognize an elitist attitude when I see it and I feel that Serena can do far better for herself than that.

 

I stand by this and make no apologies for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And now we come to the predictable "You all are so rude; I will now weigh in only to tell the rest of you how I disapprove of your input (not to bother to say anything constructive about the topic at hand myself, of course)" portion of the thread. Well, that rather proves that people have generally been pretty patient and civil, as it took 16 pages for the posting police to show up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^Good point Laura.

 

Mum24dog,

For the most part the posts have been quite civil, and many have been quite eloquent. Yes, there were a few rather unkind posts, but I think (as I know I said earlier), most of those are borne out of frustration at the OP seeming to completely ignore most of the input here and continue on the same trajectory of thought as if no one has voiced a contrary opinion. I, for one, can understand the frustration that sometimes bubbles to the surface when people are trying to get through to other people and nice doesn't seem to be working. But I think it's fair to say that no one was outright bitchy from the start and those sorts of posts showed up only after the OP repeatedly ignored questions, suggestions, etc., and continued to post in the same vein as if she were just talking to herself. I think people getting frustrated is a prime example of people being *imperfect*, but of course the only thing you've managed to add to this thread is some sniping comments about other posters, so I don't really see how that makes you much different from the people you're chiding. Pot, kettle and all that....

 

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, that rather proves that people have generally been pretty patient and civil, as it took 16 pages for the posting police to show up.

 

When it only took 2, here.

 

(Now, I'm just teasing. Your correction was mild and appropriate.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terrecar, I was really trying to spare you from feeling like you needed to keep defending yourself in that thread. I suppose I could have made that point in a kinder way, or a more private one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terrecar, I was really trying to spare you from feeling like you needed to keep defending yourself in that thread. I suppose I could have made that point in a kinder way, or a more private one.

 

You were not at all unkind. I truly needed to be saved from myself :)

 

Honestly, I don't think all of these posts have been useless.*** Sometimes it takes a while before something sinks in. I mean hell, look at me. I supported the whole conformation showing thing for years. It took me a REALLY long while to figure it out. Serena may just come back to this and gradually change her point of view.

 

 

 

ETA: ***Except for the tangents, for which I am largely responsible

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There were many great posts in this thread. And to those for whom the OP seemed lacking whatever, there was always the choice of silence. I don't think that anything that the OP said justified some of the posts. The pity here is that I know that you can read a hundred nice posts, but the one nasty one still hurts all the same. And the whole kindness that was required here was refraining from expanding energy on being unpleasant and contributing to the ugliness of the world of which we have plenty already.

 

Another thing is that I think people don't always remember, realize, or have patience with is that changing views is a process. And it is a process that is often opaque. Forgive me the comparison, but how often you try to train something in a dog, and it seems like it falls on deaf ears over and over, and then one day wham! It just happens. It's not that the dog was blowing us off all that time, but that there was a learning process in progress all the time, and that that last day the process reached the conclusion. But we didn't and couldn't see the process itself.

 

It happens to people too. Hence, so often it seems like the argument falls on deaf ears, but little by little, and a person comes to see the other point of view. It is a very gratifying experience to present an argument and hear "yes! you are right!" but it does not happen very often. Most of the time, a person walks away, thinks about it, and maybe in conjunction with other discussions and events comes to a conclusion. But it's rare that we would be there to see it and have our contribution acknowledged because by then the thinking is assimilated and has become an intrinsic part of that person.

 

So most (but not all) of the frustration comes from the failed pursuit of that gratification. [Of course I am not saying that a person should to refrain from expressing their frustration, but there is a proper form for it, and I won't put a link to the topics where people have expressed their frustration at me and rightly so :) ]

 

Maja

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread didn't have to be 16 pages long and everyone who has continued to post after stating their case has collaborated in its length. It isn't compulsory to keep posting after you have put your pov as best you can and you don't think you are getting anywhere - just walk away.

Does this also include Serena?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must have been reading a different thread.

 

The one I've read is a hectoring attack (by some) on a person with an admitted learning disability in which she has been accused of lying, being a troll and an apologist for the AKC, intransigent and by implication stupid. I hope you perfect specimens who have made snide comments are proud of themselves - you managed to goad Serena into shouting, something I have never seen before. Ironic that it's the show people who have been accused of being nasty.

 

Serena's only "crime" is of hyper enthusiasm which unfortunately leads her into a stream of consciousness when she tries to explain herself. I don't know her personally but I have come across her elsewhere and she has always come across as a thoroughly nice person who wants people to share her passions and be happy. Is that so bad?

 

I have a learning disability, I'm hyper enthusiastic about many things, and I try to engage in conversations and see things from another person's point of view.

 

I strongly disagree with your implication that someone with a learning disability is incapable of receiving criticism (good or bad) appropriately, and responding and engaging in it, and so shouldn't be offered it. Serena's as capable as the next person of engaging in discussion like this, and has done so so well as to make discussion of her disability irrelevant.

 

The criticism here has been of reasonably good quality- naturally after a thread's been going for a few days you'll see a few rude people, and also some people will tend to discard the 'softly-softly' approach when it becomes clear it's not working. When you've repeated your argument a few times and not had it engaged with, it's hard to find a way to call attention to it that won't be rude.

 

It's also a hard thing to do to change your viewpoint, especially when you're told so often that the kennel club is the way to go, that they're the people who really know dogs. It took me a few years and a lot of reading and observation to realise the truth, so I'm not expecting 10 or 20 days to do much.

 

 

But the conversation can and will be of use to people in the questioning stage, and I know a lot of old discussions here have been of use and interest to me. It's not pointless. Other people will come along, look at all the discussion, and make their own decisions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Todd's Mom, thank you for your thoughts...I have read every single one line you've written. I will write about your quote, but not before I answer Stockdogranch -much apologies to Stockdogranch, there's been so many responses; hold on a second I'm grabbing your thread word by word...

 

OK, so, first of all, it's not stockINGdogranch, it's stock dog ranch; get it?

 

Now, rather than waste my time writing a lengthy response which you will apparently not read anyway, I will ask you to please just address this one issue (a point I made about 2 pages ago):

 

The missing piece that is at the bottom of all this--the foundation on which all this is built, is the relationship between the dog and the livestock. The truly well bred dog will, inherently, have a feel for its stock. It will read the stock and respond appropriately with just enough power/presence (whatever you choose to call it) for that particular group of stock on that particular day. The truly well bred dog does not have to be taught "pace"--it will automatically adjust for the stock it is working at that moment. The truly well bred dog will know when it needs to give a nip at the heels to get the stock to move, and will also know when it does NOT need to do so. This underlying feel for/reading of stock is of such paramount importance that I can't stress it enough. AND, this is absolutely GENETIC.

 

So, now please tell me how breeding for agility (or, as in your most recent post, crossing an agility dog and a working dog) will result in a dog like the above.

 

Many apologies, Stockdogranch, but I was copying your moniker and incorrectly said Stock Dog Ranch...

However, the power and pressure gait that the agility dog applies is the distance measure and control between obstacles. There is burst of speed acceleration that top champion agility dogs know how to apply similar to the racehorse in certain lines.

 

Please note Stockdogranch, I am an "unskilled" handler, but I have enough friends who are true experts and world champions in their field. Every dog has to learn the specific running style of their handler. They have to read every movement and mistake their handler makes, and compensate and "feel the grounds" for where next to go. There is in Serena-language a skimming of staying as close to that hurdle without knocking it over to propel for the greatest lateral distance - there is flanking or remaining as close to the handler without losing momentum versus the send-ahead where you have to gather the most momentum for the final finishing line. And the faster the dog, the more brilliant it must be. I completely disagree with Airbear about the running contacts. It is only 100% reliable for a slow border collie, and believe me I've seen plenty of slooooow b.cs too. They do not have the high performance drive and the edge to make split second reversals, killer changeouts of direction etc.. The faster and the more brilliant the border collie, the more extremely difficult - 98% accuracy is not enough!!! You have to have 100% accuracy, no mistakes ever in that dog's lifetime once it's past its puppy stage.... That is why the U.S. was amongst one of the lowest in ranks in FCI Worlds for this year's 2011 in the large division where it was 100% border collies. Blown contacts! and these are very experienced handlers whose border collies have messed up on contacts. Anytime you get a slower dog, running contacts are a piece of cake. Just like a World Series batter it's harder to make a hit against the speed of a World Series Pitcher. It's the matchup of levels and speed/gait that one is at that makes it sooo hard!

 

Ok agility: I keep telling everyone that agility will never replace or even hold a candle to the wondrous complexity of the working relationship between handler, the dog, and the sheepherding. Why people refuse to see what I've always said from the get-go is beyond me, I have repeated this so many times in different sentences and people complain about me ignoring? But what I'm saying is that there is a very special warm relationship agility has and it does have true value, unlike conformation. Conformation ruins because it's totally based on looks....Agility is not! based on looks at all! Agility takes the individual talents and style of each dog and its handler, it involves gaging movement, pacing, and split second bursts at key points in time, an intuition of where to drive on the course. It is a very intense teamwork too! It doesn't have the depth of complexity, the beautiful intricacy of sheepherding, but it has a specialness of its own.

 

Look at the beautiful link that Amelia gave here: which shows how magnificent the working Border Collie breed is... and to demo that I do understand that agility cannot even touch that video EVER!!!!

 

 

Then compare how even a "nobody" handler like myself, there is still a quiet softness and grace too... and there is a real engagement how Eluane is always looking for me, assessing where I'm at...

 

 

 

Then you have a very wonderful "experienced level" like my MACH friend whom I've never met face-to-face who lives 750 miles away from me, And no, he is not the same instructor as the one at my club who breeds. He does not breed border collies ever, period!!! and he and I have never met face-to-face. I've never paid him a single dime or penny and yet!!! he will spend hours trying to explain to me, like tonight, where I need to improve on in my positioning etc. He is my role model, kind, funny, and I call him Mr. Superman!! in what a great person he is! As for handling skiils, everything is so on and he is a brilliant trainer and all of his students love him too! and here he is with his young pup on his first day back from a devastating detached retina surgery this year!!! he still has no vision in his left eye.

 

And I have full confidence that my dream for him that he will make World Team will come true. What more inspiring than someone who has no vision in his left eye...In every story there will always be inspiration! And we need to understand this. But as an FYI, being a world champion or making world team Tim doesn't care a cent about. But I know that he is that good, that if he chose to, he would make World Team.

 

Folks I don't get it. We allow videos like Wallace & Gromit, and yet we don't want to bridge the bridge with real people and just throw them away by saying oh, yeah, and please don't bother showing video, we don't care and your passions are of no interest to us...whereas I want to see the SAR dogs, I want to share and hear about other people's inspirational stories and real videos of how they do things. There is a bridge, and I dearly hope this holiday season reminds us to have patience and allows us to be gentle with one another.

 

OK, Stockdogranch, I always told you directly that you do not need us, but we agility folks need you or else we will have ruined agility dogs...We need the working border collie lines. WE'RE STILL PART OF YOUR FAMILY. If one keeps the working border collie intelligence, the love of work, the keeness, the biddability the agility line can be saved instead of degenerating. I am fighting for the sake of the agility Border Collie and us needing the working border collie lines (sigh)...and continually petitioning to change AKC....People fight so hard in England, with tiny successes. WE need to do this in the US.

 

Folks, please! Agility is not breeding for looks, where does it say anywhere that agility is breeding for looks! :o No top agility champion handler in their right minds is gonna be breeding for looks. That's insane! We cherish a brilliant dog, we admire and respect the sheepherding community. But remember in agility if there is a border collie that circles too far outside, versus in toward the handler, if they have any! sort of hip dysplasia or vulnerability, if they do not have the drive of acceleration and quick change bursts, those are the edges and specifics to make a top agility champion dog in addition to real working intelligence. There is no way for us to completely test for this, that is why we rely and totally depend on the sheepherding community to do this for us. It's a blend of needing the characteristics specific to our field and yet still have the strong ideal Border Collie characteristics as well so that we do not shame or deteriorate the Border Collie. There is so much misunderstanding here about agility that it is very sad for me....In every barrel you will have bad apples and in every barrel you will have a gem, a real diamond there. We have to put aside stereotypes...Terrecar believe me, I also mentioned the cruel AKC MACH handler who told a guest not to watch the Novices because they weren't any good and she said this so loud that any novice person could have easily heard her 30 feet away (she has one of those really loud, brassy voices). But that handler was such a rare exception. Again don't let the bad people contaminate your view of us.

 

Finally thank you so much for your very, very kind words, Mums24dogs and Maja. Well, Simba to be honest that attack that I lied about my disability really angered me. It takes me hours to sift through what everyone writes, there's only so much a single person can do...Certain folks did get extremely impatient with me going on tangents, but they don't realize is that my original first post had several elements in it like SAR dogs, the art of agility etc. They only latched onto what they wanted to discuss and forgot the broad subject matters of my original intent...I do indeed go off tangents but these issues are dear to my own heart. I do have great difficulty focusing unless it's something I care very strongly about or unless it's artwork. Everything else is a minefield! I'm one of the most disorganized/scattered person on earth! Writing/artwork was almost my only ways of salvaging anything!!! As I told everyone on these boards I'm a zebra with strong feelings and passions and concerns for our border collie. And fears of the dumbing down of our agility border collies! Agility will only rise in recordbreaking numbers, hence all the urgent need to make sure that people understand the ramifications ...We can no longer close our eyes to this epidemic....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I promised I wasn't going to do this, but this really will be the last one.

 

There is nothing wrong with agility. Agility is a great sport that helps foster the relationship between the dog and the handler. It can be quiet and beautiful, especially when you see a dog that everyone thought was worthless make a connection. I run it for fun, I've run it for canine therapy, I build the obstacles, and I teach other teams how to have safe, clean runs as part of my living.

 

Meanwhile, I am also learning to work stock. From my personal experience, Serena, and as plain as I can make it, here is the difference:

 

 

In Agility, there are two species to read off of each other: the dog and the handler.

 

 

In Herding, there are three species: the dog, the handler, and x head of sheep/cattle/ducks/stock in general.

 

 

The dog must be able to read off not only the handler, but the sheep as well and make decisions, good decisions, of his/her own without waiting for a command from the handler. That one, simple yet complex trait is what border collies should be bred for, otherwise the line is diluted.

 

To bridge this, my initial recommendations stands put the agility champion to be bred on sheep to determine stock sense and if it should be bred. That is how you honor the border collie tradition and show you truly understand what the border collie is. Unless you, or anyone really, are breeding for the stock sense, in both parents, and then testing the offspring of that pairing, then you run the risk of diluting that trait.

 

The question you still have not answered is: How do you test for stock sense in the Agility ring? From where I sit, you can't because you are missing the one critical ingredient: the stock.

 

I'm sorry if this or my past posts on this subject seem harsh. I have tried to be civil and chose my words carefully, but, again, language is an impure science.

 

With that, I am done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Serena: 1) Awesome video. I support your enthusiasm for the sport of agility. 2) Border Collies should not be bred for agility. It is not necessary, and it is harmful to the breed

 

Mum24dog:

Intransigent does not imply stupid. Synonyms: adamant, adamantine, bullheaded, dogged, hard, hardened, hardheaded, hard-nosed, headstrong, immovable, implacable, inconvincible,inflexible, obstinate, mulish, obdurate, opinionated,ossified, pat, pertinacious,perverse, pigheaded, self-opinionated,self-willed,stiff-necked,stubborn, unbending, uncompromising,unrelenting,unyielding, willful (orwilful)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Serena, the bone of contention is this:

 

We don't want the border collie "replenishing" anything. One doesn't have to "replenish" working stockdog bloodlines that have never been diluted, in the first place.

 

I'm going away, now.

 

~ Gloria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Folks, please! Agility is not breeding for looks, where does it say anywhere that agility is breeding for looks! :o No top agility champion handler in their right minds is gonna be breeding for looks. That's insane! We cherish a brilliant dog, we admire and respect the sheepherding community.

 

Nobody said agility was breeding for looks. What was said is that breeding for agility is AS BAD AS breeding for looks for the simple reason that you are not factoring in stock working ability in the breeding. It is the breeding for stock work that creates the force every generation to balance all the traits so carefully and what has made border collies unique among all dog breeds. Remove that controlling force and the dog will lose what makes it so special. It doesn't matter what else you breed for (agility or looks or SAR dogs or cute pets) - if you aren't breeding for stock work then it will hurt the breed the same.

 

I know you have said it is very important to keep adding back the working line to avoid ruining the agility line. So it seems you DO believe that breeding for only agility will eventually ruin the dog (otherwise why replenish the line with working dogs?). So answer this question - if the working line has to keep getting added to save the agility line, if that working line is the true source of all the good stuff that is important in the agility border collie, then why not just buy working border collies to run agility with? Why take the 'diluted' version with some of the 'pure' version thrown in to boost it closer to pure when you can have the pure 100% genuine undiluted thing? Why is there any need for an agility line??????

 

And believe me, I do understand about agility and what it takes to do well and how much fun and how beautiful it can be. I've been doing agility for more than 15 years. I teach it, both classes and lessons. I'm the training director for my club. I've been to multiple nationals with multiple dogs. I've won so many blue ribbons that honestly I save the clubs a bit of money and don't even pick up the ribbons anymore and had piles of them that I eventually ended up throwing out. So I know where you're coming from about the agility. I've also been doing stock work with my dogs for over 12 years. It's been a considerably steeper learning curve and considerably harder to get to the upper levels and do well there (we are still on our way there). I've run three different dogs in novice and pronovice, and this year started running my first nursery dog, who I think will be my first Open dog before too long. And one very important thing I've learned in all those years and different dogs is this: I can take almost any border collie and make a very good competitive agility dog out of it, and I have even done that with a non-border collie. But the over-riding factor in stock work in how well we do is what is instrinsically in the dog, the talent that was already in his head the day he was born and just waiting to develop, talent that is there due to over a hundred years of careful breeding. Breed for the stock work and you get a dog that can do both things well.

 

I have no problem with an agility person looking at a working line breeding and selecting a dog to BUY based on agility concerns (how fast do the parents run, how are they put together, which pup in the litter has the best personality for an agility prospect, how have other related dogs performed in agility, and so on). The problem that I and most other people on these boards have is when the dog is bred for those things and the stock ability is ignored in the breeding. So the best way to bridge the gap? Partner up with the working breeders, provide good homes for working bred dogs, show the working breeders you appreciate what they produce, and you respect it enough that you'll come back to them for your next dog and not breed your own if you aren't in a position to make sure you're breeding the very best WORKING border collie possible. This gives all sides what they want and preserves the best in the breed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

first, let it be known, i believe in breeding border collies solely for working ability. that is what makes a stockdog a stockdog. that being said, here is my question:

are there enough people breeding true working border collies, from dogs tested and excelling in herding, to fill the need of people wanting sport dogs? are they willing to sell these hard won pups to people not wanting to or able to carry on the herding tradition?

there seems to be a lot of agility/flyball/disc people out there and i'm not sure the true working dog breeder is up to meeting that demand.

i know all about rescue and approve of it highly, but not everyone wants to go that route. they want "proven" lineages that tend to fortell the success of the dog. i don't know the answer t these questions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...