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Future Sheepdog Seeks Position with Sheepdogger (or Sheepdogger-in-Training)

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And yet this thread is called "Future Sheepdog Seeks Position with Sheepdogger (or Sheepdogger-in-Training)" and in the original post, you write:

 

"snip"

 

Oh, that. That was me being the "proud parent." No-one, me and the trainer included, expected to see anything at all the first time around from my shivering little paranoid pup. I was so jazzed by the transformation. I wish I could post the pics, but Joyce says no. I was high as a kite when I got home. High on a scared little dog breezing around the pen, turning the odd sheep back to the others, firm, but never offering to grip, grinning like mad, head down, tail down, listening to Joyce. It was intoxicating. And yes, I know it means nothing in terms of her eventual ability, but it was so beautiful. The dog was happy and engaged in a way I'd never seen her.

 

So I got carried away, envisioning - what was it? Unicorns and Rainbows?

 

ETA - Thanks for the link, that was cool.

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Dear Doggers,

 

My first clinics were Jack Knox clinics at Ethel Conrad's farm in Clarke County Virginia. Like many long-standing clinics, they doubled as social affairs where the foodies took over the meals and stories blossomed over drinks in the evening. The participants varied from farmers (most got what they needed in a single clinic), aspiring trial handlers and pet dog owners whose dogs saw sheep at Jack Knox clinics period. Some blossomed in Jack's hands but were hopeless when their owners worked them.

 

Those dogs had a great time. Ditto owners.

 

Donald McCaig

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Geonni

 

I respect what you are thinking of doing. And If I hear of anyone I will let you know. I am not in your shoes, so I only can hope that the situation whether she stays or goes is good and long lasting.

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Geonni

 

I respect what you are thinking of doing. And If I hear of anyone I will let you know. I am not in your shoes, so I only can hope that the situation whether she stays or goes is good and long lasting.

This - except for knowing someone who wants a dog to work. Distance would make it rather impractical if I did.

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I can't get quotes to work but it isn't exactly true all dogs or most can do sports and really thrive and enjoy the sport/the lifestyle. It is more inclusive than stockwork but it isn't a good fit for many dogs. But that's another thread. :)

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with rehoming I just... think you may be romanticizing stock work and the working lifestyle quite a lot and downplaying the lifestyle you or another non working home could give Maid. I also believe it is ok to realize your dog is very good at something and enjoys it but realize you can't pursue it to their fullest ability. I don't think that means that you should have to give her up. I know a lot of working bred dogs of various breeds and the ones that are happy are the ones given a purpose, even if it doesn't line up perfectly with what they were bred to do.

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I can't get quotes to work but it isn't exactly true all dogs or most can do sports and really thrive and enjoy the sport/the lifestyle. It is more inclusive than stockwork but it isn't a good fit for many dogs. But that's another thread. :)

 

Absolutely true. And maybe a thread someone should start because that is an important discussion to have.

 

It might not be until one tries vainly to participate in performance sports with a dog who is not suited to it, and has experience of the contrast of a dog who is naturally suited to it and thrives that participates this fact is so clearly apparent.

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Absolutely true. And maybe a thread someone should start because that is an important discussion to have.

 

It might not be until one tries vainly to participate in performance sports with a dog who is not suited to it, and has experience of the contrast of a dog who is naturally suited to it and thrives that participates this fact is so clearly apparent.

 

That resemble that description. Amen.

 

Now someone go start a thread. I've got things to say, but can't figure out how to turn it into a standalone post.

 

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OK, I will. Just give me a few minutes . . .

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Just a quick report on Maid's fearfulness progress. Yesterday she peed outside my backyard for the first time since I got her. She has been too skittish to do so on walks up until now. This morning she had another first. I've been using a long line on our exercise walks in an open area, and today she got to drag the six-foot lead for awhile. She was very good - a little nervous, but stayed pretty close to Sugarfoot and responded promptly to recalls. (She also did all her "business" out there too.) Color me happy. My tiny, tiny yard was beginning to smell like a latrine...

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Geonni,

Just out of curiosity, why can't you post pictures? I could understand a prohibition against video, but pictures? That just makes me think there's something to hide (yes, I'm suspicious and cynical, lol). When I'm working someone's dog, I might ask them to try to not include me in the picture, but I don't care if folks post pictures of their newbie dogs (unless it's a train wreck).

 

And FWIW, I can't stand people who say sheep are stupid. Don't get me wrong, I may say "stupid sheep" (and worse)a lot, especially when catching and turning to trim feet and the like when the sheep are behaving badly, but they are not stupid. They are a prey species and they behave as such. At least one study showed that sheep can remember human faces for up to 5 years and they sure as hell can read a predator (dog) better than any human can. If any of my students were repeatedly saying "sheep are stupid" they'd be getting a little lecture from me and if their attitude didn't change, they'd probably not be my student long. Honestly, the sheep are the unwilling participants in the training of stockdogs; the least the humans can do is show them some respect (and you're welcome to quote me on that the next time you're out with Maid and someone says that).

 

J.

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Geonni,

Just out of curiosity, why can't you post pictures? I could understand a prohibition against video, but pictures? That just makes me think there's something to hide (yes, I'm suspicious and cynical, lol). When I'm working someone's dog, I might ask them to try to not include me in the picture, but I don't care if folks post pictures of their newbie dogs (unless it's a train wreck).

 

J.

I'll PM you on this...

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Geonni,

Just out of curiosity, why can't you post pictures? I could understand a prohibition against video, but pictures? That just makes me think there's something to hide (yes, I'm suspicious and cynical, lol). When I'm working someone's dog, I might ask them to try to not include me in the picture, but I don't care if folks post pictures of their newbie dogs (unless it's a train wreck).

 

I wondered also, although this isn't the only time I've heard it. A FB friend (in Canada, so definitely not the same trainer) said the same, no posting of photos per the trainer. When I asked why, she said they could too easily be "misinterpreted" by people who didn't know what was going on. Or something like that.

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I wondered also, although this isn't the only time I've heard it. A FB friend (in Canada, so definitely not the same trainer) said the same, no posting of photos per the trainer. When I asked why, she said they could too easily be "misinterpreted" by people who didn't know what was going on. Or something like that.

That would certainly be a possibility, even a likelihood in this neck of the woods.

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Odin and I have gone to see Joyce a couple of times ourselves. I'm glad to hear she's still doing her thing. I've also taken Odin other, more experienced trainers (or at least more experienced in the open trialing aspect) and several people who knew what they were doing really liked him. He has great natural balance, is upright and fluid, seems to understand the bubble very well, and makes beautiful curving outruns, again naturally. If we had ever got to focus heavily on driving (we've done a little, but not much) I'm sure that tendency to curve out might have been less of a plus, just as I'm sure I would have found lots of working faults, small and large in him as things got more complex, but we've never gotten there.

 

Just as I was really beginning to train him I got pregnant unexpectedly and since then have not been able to keep up a solid, consistent level of training. I tried, I really did. Joyce may remember me bringing my then 6-week old daughter out to her place! But, with a kid and a pretty demanding career (I am the breadwinner in my family and have to cap my weeks at 45-50 hours pretty consciously so I can make the type of time I feel is necessary for my family), and no accessible sheep especially close to me, I had to give up my dreams of training enough to maybe someday get us to a trial. And Odin is fine with this, he really is. Every time we work sheep again he is beyond happy, but he also calls off when we're done no problem, and he has never pined. He is also beyond happy when we go on a hike and loves whatever we do together. Now, Odin is sort of a one-person dog (Derek Fisher told me he doubted Odin would actually work for anyone else with the correct ethic, which was going to hamper him since I am inexperienced), but I don't think he was really so much that way at 11 months. Now we get to do actual farm chores several times a year at my in-laws which is awesome, but even if we didn't have that I have no doubt he would be fine. Your journey is yours, but I'd agree with those here that would say one day in the round pen isn't enough to know very much, and she will not be unhappy if you can't get her to sheep frequently or even ever again.

 

Now, what I AM a bit jealous about in your story is that I attempted to rescue a BC last year from a local reputable rescue (local to both of us) and although I was pre-approved with my on-file application, was rejected for actual dogs several times for having 1) Odin and 2) my kid. I am active, live in the country with ample off leash hiking trails and opportunity to swim, can take my dogs to work (even two at once), and nearly always do, and am fully committed to appropriate training and handling of a border collie. I only ever inquired about dogs that the bios said would be fine with other dogs and did not have a warning about kids, yet was rejected again and again for those reasons despite all the other things my household has going for me. How did you get such a great little rescue with another dog and a cat?!? Never mind, this question is rhetorical as I fully understand it is up to rescues to do things how they see best. But, it was irksome and I don't think I'll be seeking my next dog from rescue.

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How did you get such a great little rescue with another dog and a cat?!? Never mind, this question is rhetorical as I fully understand it is up to rescues to do things how they see best. But, it was irksome and I don't think I'll be seeking my next dog from rescue.

 

Well, but maybe other people have similar questions. The bald truth is it's a crap rescue. All breed, dogs and cats, (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) with the worst kennel protocol I've ever seen. They are in my immediate neighborhood and I know several horror stories. Dogs get away form their volunteer walkers and they sometimes are not recovered. If they have a pregnant purebred bitch, they sell the pups at market prices. One Bichon Frise litter went at $750.00 each.

 

I met Maid on the street being walked by a potential adopter. A man and a 4 or 5 year old girl. They stopped to talk to me and I connected with Maid, who was scared to death, and as we talked, Maid curled up on my feet and refused to go with them. They had to literally drag her away. This was on a Saturday. I couldn't bear the thought of her being at that place, and I called them the next day. She was still there. I downloaded their application form, and went Tuesday (they are closed on Monday) with Sugarfoot, to make sure she didn't want to eat Maid on sight.

 

They rubber-stamped my application and gave me the dog and her paperwork. She had been with them 5 days. She had been spayed by another rescue - a private woman who the rancher surrendered her to. The adoption fee was $350.00 They said she wasn't eating. She had a sinus infection which they told me they thought was kennel cough. (It clearly wasn't) and she was full of tapeworms. She had been heartworm tested, (negative), again, by the previous rescuer. I put her on Trifexis. She was very thin - they said she wasn't eating - but she inhaled anything I put in front of her. They described her as "a bumpkin."

 

So you see, another part of the emotional cocktail that led to me adopting this dog was that she desperately needed someone in her corner.

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That makes sense, thanks for answering my nosy and jealous question ;) I am so glad she ended up with you. Whether she stays with you or not I know she's going to have a great life because of what you've done and are doing for her.

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So you see, another part of the emotional cocktail that led to me adopting this dog was that she desperately needed someone in her corner.

I've been following this topic with interest and I know that life throws you curve balls sometimes and things change. I've felt all along here that you were trying to do what you felt was best for Maid, and would make your choices based on two things - her welfare and your abilities/resources/capability.

 

My kudos to you for seeing her needs and taking her on, and wanting to see her in a position (in a working home or with you) where she can be safe, well, and happy. I think that if you could not find her a working home (your first choice) but did find her an excellent non-working home, that you would make the right choice as you understood it, whether it was to keep her or rehome her. What more can a dog ask for? What more can we ask for?

 

I'm not going to hold it against you that you have a dream for her. Don't we all have dreams, for ourselves and for our dogs?

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Geonni, I, too, have been following. Something that came up a few pages back was that a couple of people suggested that if you were not so far away, they might have you farmsit. So, following along with the dream theme, and the idea that Maid came into your life to help *you* make some changes, perhaps you could become a travelling farmsitter. I'll bet you could pretty well fill a lot of your year doing just that. After a successful gig or two, word gets around, and there you go. Now, certainly, you would have to get yourself up to speed with sheep & dogs to some level to be able to do so, but for most people who will be gone for a week or so for vacation (do livestock people ever really take a vacation?) or to big trials (more likely that's why they'd be gone), we generally try to have the livestock set up so that there is minimal work involved (in other words, we try to not have the person moving stock miles to and from pastures, etc.). For example, last June I was gone to NCA Finals for a good week. A friend came and stayed; she is not a livestock person, and is almost getting used to a houseful of border collies, but she is always up for adventure. I left her with a willing dog (and three or four others, too) and she did fine using that dog to get the sheep from the night pen into the e-net and back each day (not a huge distance, but still, far enough that things could have gone south pretty quickly), and even got them out to graze for a bit on several occasions. There were also the laying hens to contend with, and she did just fine. Anyway, it might be a bit (for livestock people, probably a small bit lol) of extra income, you'd get to see lots of cool places, and your dog could get some real work in. Just a thought, and trying to see other options.

A

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Would that I could. Some problems: I don't drive or own a car. The reason for this is that I am agoraphobic. I have panic attacks, often without warning. When I get them, not only am I terrified, but my depth-perception, reaction time and ability to focus go to hell. This has been going on since 1979 and shows no sign of departing. (I actually got quite anxious and a bit dizzy in the round pen last Sunday, but I've got good at hiding it, and a little Xanax sorted the problem. It was so amazing I wasn't about to quit!)

 

I might well be doing house-sitting for a living already if I were not agoraphobic. Instead, I manage a rooming house/apt building and collect SSI. No salary, but I get a free place to live.

 

I always wanted to buy a vardo and a team of horses and live on the road, but I've never owned a horse. It wouldn't be an easy life, especially since all I know about looking after horses is from books, and a short period when I used to ride weekly. I had a favorite horse at a rental stable and they would hold him for me on every other Saturday morning. I would go up, pick out his feet, curry and brush him (Oh how he loved that! His eyes would close and his bottom lip would hang down and twitch. :) ) and then ride I'd him gently to a place where there was green grass. (Griffith Park in Los Angeles) I would watch him graze, for half an hour and then ride him back to the barn. He was a 7-year-old bay, of running Quarter Horse breeding. So sweet! His name was "Mine" They were always trying to get me to buy him and board him there. But I couldn't afford it. Someone else finally bought him and took him away, and I quit going up there. I hope he had a better life than that riding stable. They never groomed the horses there and they had no shelter. Just a big, dusty pen. :(

 

Anyway, sorry for the diversion. And thanks for the suggestion, but I'm currently in no shape to go from place to place. I did look after a place for some people near Sebastopol, CA for a few years during the holidays and other times they went away, but they always came to get me and drove me home, and all the livestock they had was a flock twenty or so of Call, Wood, Mandarin and Runner ducks and a half-a-dozen grey geese. (And 3 extremely irritating, un-housebroken Bichons Frise.) That I could manage. But they moved away.

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I wish I could post the pics, but Joyce says no.

How come? You said you would answer that as a PM to another person, so now I am wondering.....not only are you "not allowed" to post photos on the forum, you can't even say why you can't post photos, on the forum?? hmmmmm. :blink:

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How come? You said you would answer that as a PM to another person, so now I am wondering.....not only are you "not allowed" to post photos on the forum, you can't even say why you can't post photos, on the forum?? hmmmmm. :blink:

 

She didn't say I couldn't say why. So I will.

 

Jane said I could take all the pictures I wanted to and share them with friends and family, but she said she had a bad experience where someone posted pictures of their dog getting a lesson online and some people who saw them made a complaint of animal cruelty that caused her a great deal of trouble.

 

This is California and the nutball "humaniacs" are thick on the ground. So it is certainly possible - probable even.

 

Apparently the complaint was the presence of the stock stick.

 

I told Joyce I wouldn't post the pictures on the Internet, so I won't. (It's half killing me, though... I want so much to put 'em on my blog. But a promise is a promise.)

 

I watched Joyce work a number of dogs including a very grippy Australian Cattle Dog. It was his first time on stock. She protected her sheep, but she never hit any of the dogs she worked. She told the owner of the Australian Cattle Dog that she might be happier if she took up agility or something else with her dog.

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I don't get to read the board very much these days ut moved to post on this one.

Geonni, I have 4 very nicely bred border collies.

We live on a sheep farm. If I'm working (job not sheep) or otherwise busy the dogs get outside often but don't always get to work stock. Faye and her daughter would really really like to work sheep everyday. Everyday they go and check out the sheep and often times I see them look longingly at their sheep.

But when called off the fence they come running over and start playing. Either with each other or with me. They are so happy the shine. They smile and they gunuinely love their life. Sheep or not they are happy girls!

Once Maid gets used to her life I think you will be pleasantly suprised at how happy she will be sheep or no sheep. Or sheep once in a while.

Just suggesting you give thought to you being a very good match for both your dogs.

Sometimes it's ok to be selfish and do what feels good to you. A happy you makes happy dogs!

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I kind of understand where Geonni

Is coming from. I have 2 well bred working dogs. I worried when I first got Tommy that she would have been better off in a working home. I got over it. She's just fine and so is Joey. Fortunately, I have a big back yard for them but they are still house dogs. They are both super attached to me. I could never give one up. They have a good life here.

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