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I have a 6 month old pup from an active working parent pedigree. I would like to start him on ducks as he seems to be very active (like most bc's). Is there any harm starting now instead of waiting. The closest herding trainer is 1 hour away from my home. He is willing to train us but I am not sure if he would do sheep or ducks.

 

Thank you.

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Six months is probably a bit young to put training pressure on a pup (except for those that are real prodigies), but I don't see anything wrong with taking a pup out on dog broke ducks and seeing what he does as long as he's not rough on the ducks and you do not end up putting too much pressure on him.

 

When I have a youngster, I will periodically take it to stock just to see where it is mentally. I set things up so that the pup won't get hurt or overfaced and then just see what the pup will do. But at that stage I'm not trying to put any training on it; I'm just seeing what it will show me on stock.

 

If the sheep vs. ducks comment is asking whether exposing the pup to one type of stock will be detrimental to training if you then train on another type, it shouldn't be. Just keep in mind that some dogs just don't have any interest in working poultry, so what your pup shows you on ducks might not be any predictor of what it might do on sheep or goats (or whatever). The first time I took Birdie to see ducks, she had no clue what to do with them. I took one of my older dogs in the fenced area and started him moving the ducks around and then Birdie got the idea that she could move them around.

 

I don't know your level of experience, but I think how and when one exposes a pup to livestock really depends on the human side of the equation (that is, an inexperienced person could do more harm than good, so if you are not comfortable starting a youngster, then I'd err on the side of caution when thinking of taking a youngster out to ducks or anything else).

 

This is just my opinion, of course.

 

J.

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Hi there!

I would echo Julie's response. 6 months is generally pretty darned young for actual training. Their joints and bones aren't done growing and most importantly, their minds aren't yet ready for the mental pressure of training.

Even though their instincts may be screaming to DO something, at that age, I wouldn't do anything but let a pup go around gentle, dog-broke sheep (or ducks) and just see what he's got going in his think-tank. No commands, no training. And I'd only do that once in a while. It's easy to get excited about a promising young dog, but unless you're experienced in working youngsters and confident you can judge what he can take and what might be too much, I wouldn't risk it.

In general, I find that most pups aren't really ready for the mental pressures of training until they are at least 9 months old. It's a big jump from just guiding a pup around dog-broke sheep to actually asking him to respond to you and accept the pressures of training.

Just my tuppence, others may vary. :)

~ Gloria

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Another thing is that a pup that age really can't handle much so you're going to spend two hours on the road for 5-10 minutes of running around a bunch of ducks. The dog doesn't really get anything lasting out of it, you don't really get anything lasting out of it (because the dog can change a lot by the time it's actually ready to work; anything you see now may or may not predict future capability.)

 

Unless you have your heart set on him being to a certain level of training or useful-ness by a certain age, I'd just wait until he's more mature.

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Thanks for all the input. I do have the opportunity to puchase some year old runner ducks. I do have room for them at here at our home. My thoughts were to expose him to ducks and help burn some energy off. I was thinking maybe only doing this 10 minutes at a time. I am concerned that having them here my dog will want to always run out to where the ducks pen will be. Thanks for the input about not using commands. I am not experienced at this although I have done tons of reading and going to demos. I realize I will be learning at the same time as our dog. There is a trainer who lives an hour away from me but he has been too busy right now to schedule any training times with me. It looks like the trainer will be back into town in two weeks. Maybe I should be waiting and try him at 9 months.

 

Always enjoy hearing your thoughts.

 

Hope

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I know ducks are sometimes used for pups, but I would not care to start a pup on them for a couple reasons. Ducks don't move quite like sheep and can tend to draw a pup in and cause him to work too close, which would not serve him well when it came time to put him on sheep. And their running and quacking can cause a pup to become over excited, especially if the ducks pile in a corner or run hugging the fence lines. If you're not adept at herding ducks yourself, you could inadvertently instil some undesirable behaviors in the pup.

And yes, once you've flipped that switch, he will want to go to the ducks at every chance. :P

If it were my pup, I would just spend the time building a good bond, teaching him house rules and how to navigate in your world, and let him just grow and be a puppy. You won't be missing out on anything and he's not late for anything! :) You can still spend lots of time with him teaching games or whatever, and burn his energy off just playing with you and doing stuff together.

Just my tuppence, of course, but that's what I would do.

~ Gloria

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Hi there!

I suggest you to start getting the puppy familiar with the animals for now. If you already have, carry on until about 8 - 10 months. At that age your BC will be fully phys. Mature and familiar with 'play herding' the animals.

I suggest for a first, to get him herding sheep, as ducks tend to be a bit violent for a starter. This may promote hostility in the future, while sheep are more meek and are easier for a first herd.

Anyhow, border collies are wonderfully versatile herding dogs and they have the herding instinct very deep inside them, so it would be no large problem to get your pup herding. It's brilliantly lucky that you have the facilities so close to hand.

I wish you a great time with your pup!

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Hi there!

I suggest you to start getting the puppy familiar with the animals for now. If you already have, carry on until about 8 - 10 months. At that age your BC will be fully phys. Mature and familiar with 'play herding' the animals.

I suggest for a first, to get him herding sheep, as ducks tend to be a bit violent for a starter. This may promote hostility in the future, while sheep are more meek and are easier for a first herd.

Anyhow, border collies are wonderfully versatile herding dogs and they have the herding instinct very deep inside them, so it would be no large problem to get your pup herding. It's brilliantly lucky that you have the facilities so close to hand.

I wish you a great time with your pup!

You seem to be making a number of assumptions that are not necessarily valid.

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Hi there!

I suggest you to start getting the puppy familiar with the animals for now. If you already have, carry on until about 8 - 10 months. At that age your BC will be fully phys. Mature and familiar with 'play herding' the animals.

I suggest for a first, to get him herding sheep, as ducks tend to be a bit violent for a starter. This may promote hostility in the future, while sheep are more meek and are easier for a first herd.

Anyhow, border collies are wonderfully versatile herding dogs and they have the herding instinct very deep inside them, so it would be no large problem to get your pup herding. It's brilliantly lucky that you have the facilities so close to hand.

I wish you a great time with your pup!

 

 

Hi, Laura ~

 

You've made a couple of interesting posts today, so I hope you'll take time to go to the general discussion thread and introduce yourself. :)

 

From my perspective, however, unless a person is an experienced shepherd familiar with starting young dogs, and who has good dog-broke sheep and a trained older dog to help out, OR unless a person has a skilled trainer to work with, one should be careful what they expose a young pup to. My hunch from Hope's original post is that she is fairly new to working dogs, and she does not have sheep or an older dog, and she is not yet going to a trainer.

 

She simply has a few ducks, which I'm wary of for the reasons I named. They can bring out undesirable traits in a pup, in my experience. And if she is not experienced in starting a young dog, there are a great many things that can go wrong - especially if the sheep get sour and decide they're not so meek, after all.

 

Best regards,

 

Gloria

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Hello all,

 

I did take my pup to a herding trainer. He (my dog) did very well and seemed to enjoy herding the well dog broke sheep. He would gather and bring them to the trainer or both of us. He eventually did decide he liked herding in one direction and also later on in the lesson decided just to play. He is young and I am fine with giving him a large break before trying again. It was a real joy to watch him work. I have not had him do any duck herding at this time.

 

Hope

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That sounds perfect, Hope! :)

He sounds keen to work, but the play and one-sidedness are simply indicators of his immaturity. There's no hurry at all and he won't miss a thing by just spending the next few months with you, being your pal and partner. :)

~ Gloria

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