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Geonni, I pm'd you.

 

Ruth and Gibbs

I didn't get your message. Dunno what happened to it. Can you send it again?

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It said your mailbox wasn't accepting it, maybe it's full? Anyway, I live about 5 miles from Joyce. If you'd like some moral support, and our schedules coincide, I'd love to come 'meet' you in person. Let me know.

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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That'd be ducky! We're going up there for noon on Sunday. Nice to meet you, and have another pair of eyes to look at Maid's work (or lack thereof.) You reckon I should let her know you're coming?

 

You were right. Message thingie was full. I fixed that.

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Big Smile. I know about a teaspoon's worth of stuff about working sheep, compared to Joyce's ton of experience. But it will be a chance to meet a BC Board member and another border collie, or two if you're bringing SugarFoot.

 

Ask Joyce if you can bring a polite spectator, I'll leave Gibbs at home. PM'ing you my phone # just in case.

 

This Sunday, Nov. 2, right?

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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Firstly, kudos to you Geonni for your generous intentions and considerable effort to salvage and moreover, enhance the life of what appears to have been a "throw away" dog from the get go.

Trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together and sort out the math: Correct me If I don't have the story straight…history of the breeder, pedigree and initial owner who relinguished her is unverified/unknown. You obtained the bitch at 11 months months after she'd pent 3.5 months in rescue, i.e. ~ 7 ½ months old. Given her circumstances and regardless of the species the dog is destined to capably work, its highly probable that giving her a breather to adjust from her previous unpleaseant circumstances and allowing additional time to bond to you is priority number one.

 

am taking her to a woman named Joyce Shephard in Santa Rosa for an afternoon sometime in the next week or two. (Unless someone gives me a good reason not to.

 

Surely you jest.

 

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Firstly, kudos to you Geonni for your generous intentions and considerable effort to salvage and moreover, enhance the life of what appears to have been a "throw away" dog from the get go.

Trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together and sort out the math: Correct me If I don't have the story straight…history of the breeder, pedigree and initial owner who relinguished her is unverified/unknown. You obtained the bitch at 11 months months after she'd pent 3.5 months in rescue, i.e. ~ 7 ½ months old. Given her circumstances and regardless of the species the dog is destined to capably work, its highly probable that giving her a breather to adjust from her previous unpleaseant circumstances and allowing additional time to bond to you is priority number one.

 

 

Surely you jest.

 

No, serious. I have had her almost 3 mos. I was guessing around 9 mos. when I got her. Guessing now 11 mos. going on a year. She's doing pretty well with me, and she had a great time at Joyce's. Has been noticeably happier since that day. Less fearful with me, finding her feet in my home and a bit less fearful outside - it comes and goes. Doing less defensive barking at new people and sometimes making friends with new people now. (She never met a dog she didn't like.)

 

She did very well at her evaluation - everyone said so. Will be going back in 3 or 4 weeks for another go. No pressure. If she's not happy we ease back - on whatever is happening at the moment, be it play, stock or walking around my neighborhood. I have never seen her so calm, happy and focused as she was in the round pen on Sunday. Occasional stock lesson may be the Rx she needs. Time will tell. I have her back, and I think she is beginning to understand that. Worry not.

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Good news on all accounts. Your comments regarding her tension/fearfulness (thankfully improving) are, as I'm sure you are aware, hallmarks of negligently/improperly raised pups and youngsters. Quite likely she went from frying pan to the fire, i.e. from the "propagator" to a dolt disappointed in her cattle working ability in spite of the fact that she was a mere baby. You can go to bank the latter didn't have a clue about correctly starting her and simply threw her to the wolves. Pox on them both.

 

She's very lucky indeed to have landed in your life.

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Well, I cropped some of the photos to show just the dog and the sheep, and on some others I pixelated the trainer and the surrounding location. I have sent them to her with a request to post. If she says OK I'll put them up.

 

ETA. She said OK, so here they are. They are shown in the order they were taken. Maid did a bit of running around at first, and then settled.

 

Don't know how much you can tell from a few still photos, but here they are. I posted them down in the "south 40" too.

 

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post-10533-0-72449600-1446942912_thumb.jpg

 

 

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Maid and I will be going back to Joyce's place for a lesson. On Dec. 2. I can hardly wait!

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I don't know how far you are from Suzy Applegate but I recommend her

 

I would be very interested to go to her if she were closer. I can only get rides to within an hour from me. But thanks for the recommendation, I have heard great things about her.

 

Hope you continue toward full recovery, and are feeling better.

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In total agreement with Diane's recommendation.

 

I trust Joyce has a history of making her living with livestock in concert with working Border Collies and/or is competitive at USBCHA Open level field trials.

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In total agreement with Diane's recommendation.

 

I trust Joyce has a history of making her living with livestock in concert with working Border Collies and/or is competitive at USBCHA Open level field trials.

I don't know about field trials. We didn't talk about that. But she does make a living at stock dog training. I'm sure we will talk more about all that as we go along.

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Dear Aspiring Sheepdoggers,

 

In the photos Maid seems sensible and cautious. Don't be surprised if she becomes a kamikaze her second timeout.

 

Donald McCaig

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Dear Aspiring Sheepdoggers,

 

In the photos Maid seems sensible and cautious. Don't be surprised if she becomes a kamikaze her second timeout.

 

Donald McCaig

 

I wouldn't be at all surprised. She's kinda that way at home... Her favorite mode of locomotion is pronking.

 

She has been clobbered in the past, that much is clear. But she listens, so I'm crossing my fingers that she has a good session.

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Dear Aspiring Sheepdoggers,

 

I'd be a little surprised if Maid translated much of her -presumably - unhappy experience with cattle to sheep. Nothing in the photos says "clobbered dog" to me.

 

Donadl McCaig

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Dear Aspiring Sheepdoggers,

 

I'd be a little surprised if Maid translated much of her -presumably - unhappy experience with cattle to sheep. Nothing in the photos says "clobbered dog" to me.

 

Donadl McCaig

That's reassuring! :)

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Pronking?

She has been clobbered in the past, that much is clear.

How so?

don't know about field trials. We didn't talk about that. But she does make a living at stock dog training.

Anyone can hang out a shingle. Good, bad & ugly.

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Pronking?

How so?

Anyone can hang out a shingle. Good, bad & ugly.

Pronking is a gait affected by antelope, consisting of a series of leaps with all four feet together in a bunch. Maid has been known to do this quite often in play with my other collie.

 

When I got the dog she was extremely fearful - especially of men. She would not make eye-contact with me for the first few weeks I had her. She is still head-shy, hand-shy, and terrified to the point of urination if sudden moves toward her are made, especially by strangers, whereas she is quite friendly and approachable by people she knows, and has learned to trust, and she is outgoing and friendly with dogs of all kinds..

 

It is true. Anyone can hang out a shingle. Thus far I have seen nothing to arouse my suspicions of misconduct. If you have any negative experience with Joyce, you (or anyone else) are welcome to PM me regarding it. I would be grateful to hear of any substantiated complaints about her.

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I'm feeling some real hostility here on the Boards, both in this thread and the one in the "General Border Collie" section. I don't much like it, but I don't really understand what's behind it either. People seem to mistrust my motives re: taking Maid on, and some have been quite judgmental about my efforts to place her in a working home.

I went to Joyce Shephard because she was listed on the trainer’s page Redwood Empire Sheepdog Assn., which was in turn, recommended by a member of these Boards. I wanted to get a sense as to whether Maid was a good working prospect.

I don’t imagine that stockwork is a magic panacea that will cure the ills of any overstressed, abused or otherwise issue-laden Border Collie. I felt that this dog would be happier in a rural, working environment. Seeing her on stock – more than a few times - is the only way to assess her potential, so I am taking her to sheep. Taking her as often as I can swing it to have a positive and guided experience with livestock will not only help to determine whether she has the potential to be a useful working dog, but will also help the dog – has already helped the dog - in a general way.

I am well aware that I have no experience with stockwork or working dogs. I asked for help here in finding someone very close to me to supply the expertise needed to judge Maid’s ability, potential or lack thereof. I took one of the recommendations offered me here to find Joyce.

The experience I had was positive. Joyce was sensitive to the dog’s fearfulness issues, did not push her, but let her take her time, and offered guidance. The result was obvious, even to a rank beginner like myself. Maid turned on to the stock and became calm and focused. Some of that calm has remained with her.

Joyce’s sheep appeared to me to be in good condition, and the dogs I saw the day I went out to her place were not allowed to chase or harass them. One dog that seemed very grippy to me was taken off the stock. None of the sheep were injured or seemed overstressed.

Sure, I would love to go to Suzy Applegate. Her reputation is excellent and her accomplishments are impressive. Suzy is well known as a trainer and competitor. An endorsement of talent in Maid from her would be a great help. But I have no way to get there, and she's quite pricey, compared to Joyce. I am living on SSI, and things are tight. Without a car, and not being a driver, my range is quite small. I have to pay for transportation plus the cost of the lesson. And if Maid is to demonstrate the level of her working potential clearly, she must go more than a few times for work.

I am also puzzled about why more people didn't have any comments about the pictures. They've been up over a week and only Donald had anything to say about them. I realize it's hard to make judgements based on a few still photos, but if there can be (and are) dozens of responses to pictures of a cute puppy, then why not more than one over a dog at her first exposure to sheep? Especially since I posted them in two places.

Thank you to those of you who have offered suggestions and encouragement, especially Ruth, Donald and Emily. I will keep working with and for Maid. She’s worth it!

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Geonni,

You've been here long enough to know that most of the people on this forum are not working dog people and don't show a big interest in photos of working dogs. I pretty much stopped posting working photos here for that reason. Why bother is there's so little interest? I personally can't judge a dog based on still photos. A dog can end up looking either much better or much worse than it really is and the viewer has no way of knowing. That's why I had asked about videos earlier. I understand why some clinicians don't want video--stuff gets taken out of context or misinterpreted by someone trying to use the video as a substitute for a live person helping them. Not necessarily a good thing by any means. But I, for one, can't judge Maid based on photos.

 

Regarding the trainer you are going to, I don't know her. She appears to be an all-breed trainer, which says to me that her training is probably geared more toward those venues that offer herding titles. Historically on this forum we have steered people away from this sort of trainer because their training goals generally don't match up with what many of us want out of our dogs (our own training goals). If you are happy with the situation and with whatever progress you and Maid can make as you continue on this path, then that's what really matters. I don't think you've ever said that you wanted to get to the USBCHA National Finals. You just need to be aware that someone who doesn't train and trial border collies to a high standard (competitive in USBCHA open) may not be able to train a dog to that level. But as far as I know that's not one of your aspirations. So as long as she's being kind to Maid and helping her to progress, you should be fine. Just don't expect great things out of a trainer who, by the very nature of her business, is something of a jack of all breeds and so may have fewer tools (or perhaps inappropriate tools) to address issues as they arise with Maid (that is, to be able to change her methods to suit the individual dog). But ultimately none of us is there and you are, so it's up to you to figure out if it's working for you and Maid.

 

I hope you'll continue to let us know how both of you progress. Beware of micromanaging, since it seems that Maid's start as a working dog might have been too heavy handed. If she were my dog I would spend a great deal of time just letting her work and figure things out for herself (within reason). Hopefully Joyce will do something similar and not look at Maid as a dog who needs to be able to complete an AKC/AHBA course within a certain time frame (which is likely what many of her clients are seeking) and then train her in that way.

 

My two cents.

 

J.

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Geonni,

'snip'

 

My two cents.

 

J.

Thanks for your reply.

 

My impression is that Joyce works with "herding" breeds. That includes Rottweilers. She said to me that she really enjoys working with the Rottweilers of a certain club that comes to her because the dogs were so well behaved - no hell-for-leather charging around and grabbing the sheep. The day I was there she worked Maid, another Border Collie (mine), and an Australian Cattle Dog and a Kelpie. She has Kelpies herself. The Australian Cattle Dog's owner was told that she would be better off doing sports with her dog. It was the Cattle Dog's first time out. He was removed from the round pen when he made a grab at a sheep's ear. The sheep was not hurt. Neither was the dog.

 

As you say, I don't need a world-class trainer. I need someone to work on basic skills, and see that Maid has instructive and positive experiences with sheep. If a suitable working home is found, I would expect the new owner to go with a trainer that could concentrate on specific and appropriate skills in line with his or her plans for the dog's working career, whether they were planning to try at trialing, or simply wanted a useful farm dog.

 

I know that the folks here disapprove of people who keep sheep for the purpose of getting paid to have pet owner's dogs chase them around. And I agree 100% with that. I have seen the horrifying videos of Cesar Milan & co. cheering while some feckless Giant Schnauzer or Rottweiler bites, chases, and bounces terrified sheep off fences. But that is not what I saw at Joyce's. If I did, I would leave, and not go back.

 

I have been told that Joyce has been training for a number of years. The person who told me this had a dog going to her, and expressed satisfaction with her experiences. Myself, I am satisfied that Joyce understands that what I need from her is to help Maid feel relaxed and confident in a stockworking environment, and to work on the most basic of skills, a little at a time. My job is to help Maid feel secure and loved in my home, and to keep her happy until a working home comes along. Of course, that may not happen. And if not, then I'll have two great dogs - one with some stockworking experience and one without.

 

ETA. I wish you would post pictures of your dogs working. Not only would I love to see them, I'd have the opportunity to ask all manner of stupid questions!

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Regardless of the topic, seeking advice on internet chat sites is dicey at best, typically spawns a plethora of worthless drivel and it goes without saying, opens the door to all manner of scrutiny. The old saw if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen comes to mind.

 

I repeat...kudos to you for going the extra mile to rehabilitate and or re-home a youngster who apparently had a less than auspicious start in life.

 

FWIW:

 

While often as not paved with good intentions, the easiest and/or cheapest route inevitability falls far short of the mark.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong but it appears Joyce is affiliated with AKC. As I'm sure you are aware, mega red flag.

 

Her website proclaims that she has:

  • An extensive breeding program in place which includes importing new bloodlines with the intent to produce better all around stock dogs.

God spare us.

 

One dog that seemed very grippy to me was taken off the stock.

 

You admitted that your working stock dog experience is nil so how is it that you can pass judgement and proclaim a dog "very grippy"? Assuming the dog was a working bred BC or Kelpie and not a mentally unhinged stock killer, a talented savvy handler would have effectively made inroads into resolving the issue. Doing otherwise i.e. taking the dog off the stock is a patent indication that the so called trainer was sadly clueless.

 

I am also puzzled about why more people didn't have any comments about the pictures.

I am equally puzzled that you opted to disguise someone who "makes their living" training stock dogs.

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Regardless of the topic, seeking advice on internet chat sites is dicey at best, typically spawns a plethora of worthless drivel and it goes without saying, opens the door to all manner of scrutiny. The old saw if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen comes to mind.

 

I repeat...kudos to you for going the extra mile to rehabilitate and or re-home a youngster who apparently had a less than auspicious start in life.

 

FWIW:

 

While often as not paved with good intentions, the easiest and/or cheapest route inevitability falls far short of the mark.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong but it appears Joyce is affiliated with AKC. As I'm sure you are aware, mega red flag.

 

Her website proclaims that she has:

  • An extensive breeding program in place which includes importing new bloodlines with the intent to produce better all around stock dogs.

God spare us.

 

 

You admitted that your working stock dog experience is nil so how is it that you can pass judgement and proclaim a dog "very grippy"? Assuming the dog was a working bred BC or Kelpie and not a mentally unhinged stock killer, a talented savvy handler would have effectively made inroads into resolving the issue. Doing otherwise i.e. taking the dog off the stock is a patent indication that the so called trainer was sadly clueless.

 

I am equally puzzled that you opted to disguise someone who "makes their living" training stock dogs.

 

First of all, though I may be a rank novice at sheepdogging, I was taught some manners. One of main the reasons I've been coming to this forum for over 5 years (it's one of only 2 that I visit) is that most people are usually polite. Not always, but usually. I have also benefited from a lot of useful information on a range of dog-related subjects that turned out to be factual! :)

 

I have not discussed the AKC - of which I am not a fan - with Joyce. I didn't go to her website either. She didn't mention having one, and the Redwood Empire site that I was directed to posted only her e-mail address and her phone number. I called her.

 

The dog described as "grippy" was certainly not a working-bred Border Collie or Kelpie. He was an Australian Cattle Dog. I don't know if he was working-bred or not. He was "proclaimed" (nice word, that. Has a ring to it.) "grippy" by all and sundry there watching. So it was not only my clueless impression. The other folks there watching all shared it. We were well back from the round pen, so I don't know if the trainer or the owner used it. I don't know if the other watchers were clueless or not. I didn't ask for their résumés. It did seem to be the word that fit, since he spent most of the two times he went into the round pen trotting behind the sheep reaching for their hocks. He was thwarted, gently but firmly, a number of times, but did not seem to give up the hope of having lamb shanks for lunch. The sheep were moving calmly but well, and so seemed to need no physical encouragement. I have heard/read that the word for a dog that is inclined toward frequent and unnecessary biting is "grippy." If that is not the case, then I bow to your superior knowledge.

 

I have explained twice now that the photos were photoshopped because the trainer asked that no pictures be posted on the Internet. As someone else here said, it is easy to misconstrue what you are looking at in a still photo of a dog working, and it is equally possible to impute cruelty toward an animal by the depiction of a trainer holding a stock stick - especially if one knows nothing of the normal use of a stock stick. (One must be ever vigilant for the PETA nutballs!) I called her and asked if I could pixelate her (and her evil stick) out of the picture, along with the surrounding area. She gave her permission. Hence the altered photos.

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