Border Collies?

On the banks of the , VA(Zone 7a)

I don't post much here, I tend to hang in the Equine Forum.

My family has a small business doing horses. We live on a family farm. LOTS of horses and no dog proof fences.

I have about 5 acres I could devote to sheep. All I know about sheep is you have to feed one end, and shave the other.

I have always, always, always wanted a working Border Collie, with an eye towards trialing. I bought a puppy 15 years ago, loved him to death, attempted to do some lessons with him and was told that "as a herding dog, he'd make a nice pet". ; ) didn't at the time have room for another BC in my life, so Pip spent the rest of his life herding me, instead. I am more cooperative than sheep, apparently.

Pip is gone now and my almost 5 yo child is finally, finally in school half day, so I feel like I have a little bit more time to devote to a dog.

I'd love to take lessons from someone, I am open to getting an older, made dog to learn with, I don't NEED to get a dog right away if lessons are the way to go....

I'm looking for some discussion on this I being fair to the dog, living on a horse farm where he absolutely must NOT chase horses? What's the best way to start..find a teacher, find a dog, go to BC rescue and take whatever got turnt in because he was herding SUVs in Yuppieland, get sheep, don't get sheep, etc...

Many thanks in advance to anyone who has thoughts to share...

Russell, KY(Zone 6b)

I would look into joining The American Border Collie Association that specializes in working Border Collies. This would put you in contact with others with much more experience in the field. There is a Maryland resident listed on the Board of Directors page that could tell you about local events.

I would definitely be looking for a mentor in a breeder of my new dog.
Attend some trials and start networking- being there in person is a great show of how serious you are.

Also found Working Border Collie magazine which I'm sure is a great source of information.

Benton, KS(Zone 6a)

I've had border collies and they are wonderful dogs. They can be around the horses without chasing them. Mine never did chase the horses or cows. They make great companions and love to work also if they can. I did work sheep with a BC and she at one time was a champ but picked up bad habits and I got kicked a few times cause of it...very frustrating. That particular dog wasn't mine so I had no way to correct her but my BC was awsome! I think you'd love working with a BC.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

If you're going to have a border collie, you need to start out making sure they know that you are the boss. It's ok to love them, but don't let them get away with anything!

I have a friend who has both cows and horses. The dogs are wonderful herders, in fact we are in the midst of a trade - our last pup out of this year's litter for her last pup out of a litter born last Christmas. But they don't "chase" horses. Actually, most bcs don't chase anything, they herd, giving the person, place or thing the 'eye' until it moves. Anyway, back to the horses, horses as a group are not much for being chased or herded, and the dogs learn fast that an unhappy horse kicks faster than a cow, and to more effect. In other words, I don't see that it would be a problem.

There are many ways of training border collies, and most trainers think their way is best. What works for you and the dog is the best way for you. Our first bc pretty much trained us, and we've used her lessons on our other dogs.

This is mama Sadie.

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Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Love your BC. Here is mine. His name is Galloway Sky but I just call him Galloway. He is mostly a pet but now we have horses again and he gets to go to the farm. He does help me herd the ducks off the road. Listens very well and he works on commands. Always looking to me for instructions. Even when I take him out to "do his business." No kidding. He waits for me to tell him when and where. PITB on cold mornings. LOL He has never had any training. We just work things out between us in a way that works for us. He is 7 now.

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Luna, you asked if you're being unfair to the dog on a horse farm where he must not chase horses.

I have a border collie, and we have a herd of 20 horses.

A border collie MUST work. Eating is secondary. But the trick is, she'll work what she fixates on...or, better put, what you permit her to work. If you don't get a handle on the horse thing from DAY 1, she will work the horses from then on, and you won't be able to stop it. You will, however, be able to limit the type and extent of work she does "for" you.

Our border is not permitted to work (Kathleen is right, they don't "chase") horses, kids or cars. But, we're in a flight path for jets at an air force base, and she is permitted to herd the jets. Every time a jet approaches, she gets ready, then two big circles around the house as the jet goes over. This is the work we have permitted (asked) her to do. And we give verbal commands as she works the jet; this reinforces the perception that she is working for us and pleasing us, which is critical to their instinct. This takes the pressure off the horses. A border collie will, to her death, work whatever you ask her to work.

Now, we erred when she first came to the farm, and she immediately went to work the horses, which ran, which caused her to continue to run with them (which looked like chasing). This caused her to fixate on horses...and so it is the rest of her life. So, over time, we've limited the work we permit her to do with the horses, but we cannot take her mind of them.

To understand how to limit her work with them, you must first thoroughly understand the way the border works. It is a "header" not a "heeler." A border collie works the head of the animal, to turn it around so that it then brings the animals TO you. It does NOT herd animals in front of you as you walk. This is why border collies get hit with cars, because they get in front the car and instinctually try to turn it around. A "heeler," in contrast, works the animals' heels, driving them in the direction that the handler is walking...with the animals out in front. With a border collie (a header), the handler walks where he wants the animals to be, and the dog turns and brings the animals to the handler. This works well with cattle and sheep, but horses don't work well this way. This is critical to understand for whenever YOU wish to go out and herd the horses. Because if you are behind them and driving them forward through a gate or down a lane, that border collie is going to desperately try to turn them around on you and bring them back to you. This is the main reason that borders and horses don't mix well, because horses need to be driven forward, and the border wants to stop them and turn them.

Therefore, one critical thing you must train your border to do is to leave the area, and wait outside of a fence. Easily done. Really no training to it; all she has to do is understand your language. Shout "OUT" and chase the dog out until she is just outside the fence, then say, "Good dog," over and over. Repeat this a few times, and she'll understand "OUT" means leave the area. She will then pace back and forth behind the fence but not come in. This will leave you free to herd the horses forward. The only other kind thing you can do when you want to go out and drive your horses to some area is to pen the dog while you are doing it.

(Assuming the dog is fixated on horses:) Any time you're out with the horses, the dog will be there too, desperate to work. Permit her to work only by laying down on command and waiting. Invite her to you, or to move to a new spot around the horses opposite from you, but then lay again. Her job becomes ensuring that the horses don't run off. But it minimizes the impulse to get them to move anywhere. When you leave the area, have her come with you, and praise her for a job well done. Again, she MUST work the horses, but you can LIMIT what that means.

If you have any other animals you can get her to fixate on other than the horses, that would be great, and you must do it from the DAY 1 that he/she arrives on your farm. Some people use Indian Runner ducks; some will use sheep. Whichever animal is presented first for the work, and which you consistently make available for the work, will be the primary animal she fixates on. Hopefully, it won't be the horses.

I want to say, too, that I liked Kathleen's comments on training.

When it comes to training a pup border collie for trialing, it is easiest to work them with already trained dogs and let the mature dogs effectively train the pup, which will learn through observation.

But as an individual on your own farm, you may not have this option available. So, be aware that if the dog has a strong working instinct, you really don't have to train him; he already knows what to do. All that he really has to learn is your language. And you'll quickly see that no dog understands the human language as thoroughly as the border.

The way to get him to understand your language is through simple association. While most dogs are trained by giving a command, then showing them the desired behavior, a border collie can learn in reverse of that. Catch him doing what you want, then while he's doing it shout out the command you want associated with that action. For instance, to get him to go clockwise with the traditional "come by" or counterclockwise with the traditional "'way to me," just catch him going in that direction and shout the command. When he starts on his own to go the other direction, start shouting that command. Pretty soon, he'll put two and two together, and you can start getting him to change direction when you change your command.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

I am enjoying this thread so much and learning so much. Do you think it is too late to teach my dog anything? He has tons of natural herding instinct. I just don't have any knowledge to give him or to use what he already has.

Cajun, one of the most misleading and most common myths is "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." I find no difference in the ability and willingness of a dog to learn, from a pup to an old, gray-haired mongrel.

Just last night we had overnight guests (we're in a travel directory for horse overnight stays) come with a highly energetic, hard-driving, full-male labrador, about eight years old. Problem was, we have chickens running loose in the yard. Rather than pen the dog, I asked if I could teach it not to kill the chickens. The guy laughed. He walked his own dog to my training pen on a leash, and the dog was pulling and towing the guy. Basically, the dog was uncontrolled. He saw a chicken from a distance, and clearly wanted to tear into it. This is a big, strong, dog. About 30 minutes later, the dog was calm, permitted chickens nearby, no longer strained on the leash. I took the dog on a run (still leashed) through the flock of chickens, and it never threatened a one, and only rarely and lightly pulled on the leash. The guest could not believe what he saw.

So, the only question I'd have for you is, did you mean too late for the dog, or for you? --grins Just kidding.

You describe your dog as one that listens to your commands and works well. The only thing between now and teaching that border collie about anything you want is just your available time to spend with it. No dog (meaning by "average") learns quicker than the border collie. That dog will want to learn more and please you more till the day he dies.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

That is wonderful news. I have taught him a few tricks to keep his mind occupied. He is a fast learner and loves to do his tricks. He can jump over things, gives me 5, plays dead and rolls over. The only problem I have with him is that when I give him the first command he goes rapidly through ALL his tricks figuring he will cover all his bases. LOL He's always thinking ahead. Do you have any ideas for a few simple things *I* could teach him?

Here is a picture of him with our pet possum, Jolie' Pas. He is "looking for the ball." There actually is no ball and never has been. He does not know that the round thing he chews on is a ball. He just knows I want him to look for something so he searches to beat the band. He is always pleased with himself when I tell him he has done a good job. He will also pull up vines by the roots if I tell him "pull it".

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Sounds like you have a good set of commands and tricks already that you can work within.

Your dog is eager for communication, but doesn't quite understand to listen to individual commands. You start a command, and he proceeds through all of them. Teach him now that it's more than a "start your stuff" command. Teach him there is true communication going on here. That will please him more than you know.

Do it by breaking up those commands, and getting him to listen carefully for each one individually. Do not let him proceed on his own. Put the brakes on. Then start associating a command with each and every action. Always change up the order of things. When he's laying down, will he rise and "sit" on command? If you get these commands all individualized, he will be starting to listen for your instruction. You'll see him light up over it. A border collie is thrilled to learn more of your language.

Remember, this is a dog, not a person. So get your relationship into proper perspective. A relationship with a dog is *not* affection first, as it with a human. It is respect and dominance first. Affection comes later. So, it is a stronger training technique to work with dominance than it is to work with petting and loving. As you start to break his commands up, you will often find him doing things you are not asking for. Whenever you want his full attention, quickly move him upside down onto his back and make him stay there until there is no struggle to get up, just relaxation. This will not distress him...only other humans who are more concerned with their perception of doggie political correctness. The act of putting him on his back whenever you want to establishes your dominance, and his listening. As soon as he relaxes, let him up, and work on another command. In your current case, you won't have to do this in an aggressive way, of course, as it is not a correction thing; it is a "stop and listen to me" thing. Sometimes two to four times is enough, since you already have your love relationship with him. Associate the back position with "stop" or "no," and pretty soon it will take only the verbal cue to get him to lock solid and watch for the next instruction instead of going through his stuff.

For a simple new trick or two, extend the commands by distance. Your border collie should lay down immediately on command from as far away as he can hear you scream it out. So get him as far away as possible when you begin to refine his tricks. Do a "roll over" from 50 yards out, and that will truly impress your friends.

"Come" is an absolute must, even if he's chasing a rabbit at the moment. If you need any help on that, just ask.

But, less commonly done but just as important, in my opinion, is a "go" command. And there can be several specific "go's." One "go" can simply be move away from me until I say you've gone far enough. Another one is "leave this area until you are behind a determined boundary, such as a fence." And the best one is "go home," which means not only leave my area, but continue until you are in the garage and in your bed laying down. For this one, stand on one side of the house and send him to his bed, then without leaving your position ask him to return and sit in front of you. This command can be very convenient in many situations.

This gets really fun as you add more dogs to the mix. If you have three dogs, get each and every one to do this, but only the one you are talking to specifically. A command to one of the dogs should NOT be repeated by all three at once. You must be able to command each one individually, and the others are to ignore commands to another. You do this by proceeding each and every command by the dog's name.

I hope this gives you some good ideas to proceed. Border collies will pick up very easily on all these things.

Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

KSGrazier, I wish I lived closer to you. I would love to see your dogs working! This thread is fascinating. I never knew all this about BC personality and instinct, never knew how they were headers and not heelers.

GW, I have only one border collie. The others in my mix are a yellow lab/shepherd mix, a rescued aussie (formerly abused, extremely timid, no work instinct), and a rat terrier; plus, two indoor poodles, 3 and 10 lbs. The best trained of all, including essentially to the level of a search-and-rescue (not officially) is the 3 lb poodle. But the four outside are the best at listening to their individual commands. I do it just as a game. Yet the people who come here and see it always want to lend me their children for a few days! And it's fun to help visitors do a quick fix on some of their dogs' behaviors. Some of those who board their horses here will have me help them with their dogs (which have to be certified by me to run loose with our chickens).

Cajun: A pet opposum? That's outrageous! There's a new one on me! And truly a proverbial face that only a mother could love. How long have you had that fellow? I understand the natural life span of a opposum is only two years.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

She is 2 years old now. The average life span in the wild is about a year but in captivity they can live up to 10 years. We have had her since she was about 2 inches long. Found her on the road by the body of her mother and litter mates who had all been the victim of a hit and run. We did not think she would live as she was extremely dehydrated. We raised her on lactose free baby formula and pedialyte. She graduated to boiled egg yolks and then to the whites. She loves fruit and fishing worms.

This is the day we got her. She is perched on my husbands hand. Jolie' Pas means not beautiful in french. LOL But she does have a certain charm when you get to know her.

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Newark, OH(Zone 5b)

Wow, I'll be darned. Would you start a thread about her in the pets forum? I'd love to hear about what it's like to raise an opossum. Would you do that?

Benton, KS(Zone 6a)

wow have almost as many dogs as we do! lol We have a blended family and I'm just getting my schedule so that I'll have time to work with Clay's Vizsla's. Since they were his hunting dogs I never really wanted to step in and take over any training. (not wanting to step on his toes) But have found out that I really could have started their training long ago without problem! Darn...wish I had known then. However, now that we're all pretty used to each other and I know what's what....I feel more comfortable with the obedience training. I'll still leave the hunting training up to him (although I think he's got the easier part in

My dogs have always been indoor/outdoor dogs. Can't say they're perfect but for the most part they do pretty good...and like kids...test their boundries when they think they can.

Hi, m-m-m-misty! Did you notice we must live within 5 or 6 miles of each other? I'm just about a mile and a half north of 254 on Greenwich Rd.

Benton, KS(Zone 6a)

oh my'm a bit NE of Greenwich and 85th N. I did notice that you were in Wichita area and wondered how close. With that many dogs I was sure you couldn't be "in town"

You must have a neighbor somewhere close by the name of Zane Johnson.

Benton, KS(Zone 6a)

I don't know a lot of the neighbors but Clay does. He's lived here several years.


On the banks of the , VA(Zone 7a)

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back here.

Cearbhaill, thank you for those links. I've been following along on the ABC board for a while, just lurking.

KS Grazier, you really are a remarkable fount of information, and like I said in the Equine Forum, I really appreciate all the time you've taken to help me get a handle. Your input is really valuable to me. Thanks.

I had my first ever lesson with the local guy, using his wife's semi-retired open dog. It was phenomenal. I got to work in a circle balancing, I got to wear them, I got to send the dog on an outrun and a lift. The guy was funny, he actually made ME be the BC for the first part. It makes a tonne of sense, I know, I was happy to do it but it WAS funny. ;-D

My poor husband heard about sheep fencing all the way home...because I told him the sheep have to BE here so the puppy (when I get one) can focus on them and not the horses...not the puppy, THEN the sheep, which is how I might have done it left to my own devices, sonce the pup wouldn't be able to work them anyway...I just never thought about the "imprinting" factor.

Kathleen, the distinction you were making was an important one I didn't pick up on until now, after my lesson and my chats with KS Grazier in the Equine Forum. Thank you. I am a bit of a hammer head sometimes so if you feel I need it, whack me again when you've got equally good points to make. : )

Cajun, we have a possum living under a tree in our front garden. My 5 yo and I like to watch for him when he comes out.

Thanks for the follow-up story. What fun! Did you chat with your trainer about sheep-before-pup? Did he agree? I wouldn't want to mislead. He might believe if his pup is already working sheep at his place, that introduction to horses before the sheep arrived might not be a problem. While I've got a border, been around many, and have observed behaviors, I've never worked sheep with them. So check out my input.

Luna, I will presume you are aware of the risks that opposum is to your horses, via his poop.

While I like to keep all critters around that I can, opposums are one that we are always on the watch for and quickly eradicate.

We drove over to buy some hay from a fellow a while back, and his dogs had recently killed a opposum and left it in the front yard. We drove on without buying the hay. Where there's one.... And, yes, of course there are those out there we never see; but if an infestation begins, you will begin to see evidence of more than one. So reduction is as valuable as total elimination.

I would not think the pet opposum would pose much of a risk, as his exposure to viruses and such would be diminished, as well as he would not have access to rummage about in the hay barn. So, no ill thoughts sent toward the pet opposum from Kansas!

On the banks of the , VA(Zone 7a)

My house and 5 acres is a little secluded dell. All the horses are at my mom's place, which is adjoining but is 72 acres over there -----> : ) I am aware and before I move any livestock onto my place, a thorough going over/relocation/general clean up will have to happen.

So I don't think he's a huge threat at this point, although he's going to have to go sooner or later. For a while I thought he was a skunk, but then I finally saw him.

I haven't actually had the "which comes first, the pup or the sheep" discussion, because at this point we are in agreement I am probably a ways away from getting a puppy. Lessons, maybe a made up or partially made up dog, (and I'll have the sheep/dog discussion at that point, I'm sure), etc. He did tell me his dog was maxed out and I couldn't run it in the novice trials, I'd have to go pro-novice. Frankly, I don't care what I do, if I get to keep working with a dog like I did on Sunday.

Care for a cute follow-up story on the "first seen animal" concept with borders? If not, here it is, anyway!

Our dog, by our mistake, got fixated on horses first. Later we got goats. You'd think the border would want to herd them, as well. Not so. Fixated on horses, at the total ignoring of all other creatures (except the jets).

My wife wanted so bad to get the border to help direct the goats, but the dog kept ignoring them, even though she would be quite nearby.

Finally one day my wife, in her exasperation, said out loud to the dog, "Shoosh! Shoosh those goats!" She has no idea what made her think of the sound "Shoosh."

I don't know what it was that made the dog come alive, but she responded immediately to "Shoosh!" and went after the goats, as we wanted.

From that point on, any time we've wanted the dog to take after any creature other than a horse, we would instruct her, "Shoosh," and point. The dog would then watch for our physical pointing command to determine what creature we wanted her to pursue, and she would do it for us.

Sometimes it's the accidendantal communication that works!

On the banks of the , VA(Zone 7a)

With my old BC, everything was a "mouse". I don't know why. I could point to the cat and say, "Get the cat." If I was lucky he might stroll over and lick it. If I pointed at the cat and said, "Get the mouse" he'd herd that poor cat all over.

Something about the word "mouse".

Oh HOLY...I just figured it out. That dog was a pup when Maeve was little. Maeve...who was born three weeks premature, had hair on her ears, and whom we called Little Mouse Ears for ten years. And I encouraged that dog to wear that kid like no one's business, even though I didn't know that's what I was doing.

Wow. You guys have just witnessed a light bulb moment.

On the banks of the , VA(Zone 7a)

And now I know why he wouldn't look at the sheep, either. He imprinted on the baby. She was one of the things he saw most often, every day. I didn't get the sheep till he was well over a year old.

Well DUH.

15 years later and I'm finally getting it.

Niiiiiice. At this rate of edumacation I should be able to get a pup when I'm about 110.

This message was edited Nov 29, 2006 6:55 AM

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Don't worry - it's not really all that hard! Oh, and all I have is an old rubber mallet, so I won't wollop you too much!

We never took lessons and expect our dogs to behave in a mannerly fashion and herd cows when necessary. Border collies generally "get it" when you make it very clear. In taking lessons, you'll find things that you will use, and occasionally things that you won't, but this dog will be yours, and you'll develope a language that the two of you understand.

The three bcs that we have now are just a bit in the deficit in training, but with Stan being the farmer by himself (i'm 'retired' due to arthritis), there just isn't the time that he'd like to have to work with them. Oh, and Tim is afraid of cows. They don't bother him much when they are standing in stalls - he's been known to walk under them to get where he wants to be - but when they are out side and need to be moved, he turns into a quivering mass and hides behind the nearest person. Poor Tim, we all think he's quite funny. Aside from this small downfall, he's generally the good dog. Mitzi, who is just a year old, is enthusiasm personified, but she's a bit of a scatterbrain. Stan thinks perhaps he can work with her, but if we find someone that wants her, she's going to a new home. Sadie is getting on, she'll be 9 next go around, and could have been an excellent dog, is still very good, but her grumpy old grandma dog was still ruling the roost when we got her and there were things that Molley wouldn't allow her to do. As you've found, things that they don't attend to early on, they consider as no gos.

I will tell you this, I don't think there is another dog breed in the world that I would have. Yes, you have to keep them busy, but for intelligence and charm, I don't think you can beat a border collie.

Kathleen, do you know why this "intelligence and charm" is true of border collies? Let me offer this for those who might not know.

For decades the border collie breeders refused to work with the AKC, which has tried to get the border collie enlisted in their grasps. Breeders would breed to and keep for breeding only dogs that showed a strong working instinct, and steadfastly refused to breed for any specific look or other criteria. As a result, the intelligence of the dog has stayed as true to the wolf as any other dog. And, this is why you don't have standard bordie collie looks; they can be widely varied in coloration, size, size ratio of head, etc.

You are right, also, in your description of how the border "gets it," and training is not entirely necessary. The border with a good instinct doesn't have to be taught; all they have to do is get that language thing worked out with you.

The AKC breeds for standard looks and characteristics. By doing so, they ignore elements of health and intelligence. This results in pretty looking dogs that have predispositions for deficits such as being pronce to cancers, deafness, early blindness, etc. And lowered overall intelligence. Take the cocker spaniel that goes blind; the dalmation that has cancer: these are now inbred characteristics of the breed. But, they look good!

Any time you breed back genetic mixtures through cross-breeding, you have a good chance of overcoming some of these deficit traits, and you get a healthier, smarter dog. I'd take a cross-breed any day over an AKC registered purebred. Or, better yet, a border collie untouched by AKC's influence.

Less than ten years ago you would still find the border collie listed in AKC dog breeding books as "other breeds." Recently, however, the border collie has finally been enlisted as a breed. Now establishment of standards will follow. And, sadly, within a few years the border collie will begin to lose a lot of its magical instinct, and become just another "dumb" breed, in part.

So, to those who are wanting working dogs: Be aware of the practices of your breeder. Look for a breeder who has lines that have not been touched by AKC's influences, and who breeds only for intelligent working dogs.

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Just as a side note here, The American Border Collie Association has added this to it's registry rule

"Note: The ABCA does not recognize any registry that promotes conformation showing of Border Collies. Consequently, registration with the American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club, the Kennel Club (UK), Federacion Cynologieque Internationale, Australian or New Zealand Kennel Clubs, or any such body will not be accepted as a basis for registration with the ABCA."
and this
"The ABCA is a working stockdog registry and believes that breeding for conformation standards rather than working ability is detrimental to the health and working ability of the Border Collie. Consequently dogs or bitches which have been named a "Conformation Champion" by a conformation registry are not eligible for ABCA registration, even if they otherwise meet the requirements of for registration. The ABCA will de-register any ABCA registered dog or bitch should it be named a "Conformation Champion" after January 1, 2004, and will not register the offspring of any dog or bitch named a "Conformation Champion" after that date."

We used to register with the American International Border Collie Association, but when the AKC went looking for a registry to suck up, the AIBC did everything but jump up and down to get the AKC's attention.

Ok, a little off subject here, KSGrazier, what is it you graze? We are an intensive rotational grazing dairy - 50cows plus or minus and rais about 45 head of replacements. This has been a long term project starting when we started farming 34 years ago - worked into the intensive bit over an 8 year period and went full steam when our youngest daughter was 6 or 7 (she's 31). We went all grass about 25 years ago, no corn except for purchased shelled and steamed flaked to mix in the tmr with the haylage and some straw.

Hmmm.... My first reaction was HOORAYYY! Because I didn't know of this rule against conformation breeding. But then your third paragraph threw in a confusion. It's a mixed message to me. It seems to suggest that you turned your back on AIBCA because of a disappointment.

I'm wondering, did the "AIBCA suck up" occur first, and then did they wake up later and realize what they'd put at risk and then come out with the rule? That's the best I can make of it.

Grazing: I do intensive rotational grazing for horses. Not much information on that was available when I got started. There's more coming out all the time now. Learn more about my efforts in that field at

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

Maybe I confused the issue - two different registries. ABCA is the good one. AIBC is the brand X.

Oh, now, see, I didn't even notice the two different ones in your message. Makes sense now. I take it one of them (AIBC) signed up with AKC and is going to permit the conformation deterioration. The other one (ABCA) saw it happen, and said, "No way," and came out with their rule against it.

I was reading it as one association, that they signed up, and then came out with the rule, as if to say, "Okay, we joined AKC, but we're going to defend against conformation standards." Not the case.

Hmmm.... So we still see serious deterioration ahead at the hands of AKC.

On the banks of the , VA(Zone 7a)

Do you have any idea how many Border Collies there are on

Something like four thousand.

I have to believe that has something to do with the annexation of the breed by the AKC. People with no clue bought them because they were cute.

My sweet husband watched the Macy's T Day parade with my little girl on the morning, and apparently they aired some dog show right afterward. (Now that is a piece of sheer marketing brilliance, that is, but I digress) and he tivoed the herding dogs group for me because he thought I'd be interested. I watched it, and what has been done to the German Shepherd is criminal.

You must be talking about the National Dog Championship show. If so, I watched that, too. And I remarked to my wife at the time about the German Shepherd, as well.

And, yes, many people buy a border collie without a clue as to the energy level and how much space they require. In fact, we got our own from a fellow who had it in a small yard and couldn't provide enough run space for it. Fortunately, he did something about it and let the dog go to a farm. He would be pleased to know the life she's had since.

Well, I've always told my wife that, to me, a border collie looks like a dog is supposed to look. (another close-to-the-wolf comment) And I think some of these people who buy them for their cuteness feel similarly. It is a pretty breed.

This message was edited Nov 29, 2006 11:57 AM

Panama, NY(Zone 5a)

We have often found ourselves talking prospective puppy buyers out of them. Right after the movie "Babe" came out, there was a big rush - everybody wanted a dog like Fly. They would have been better off with the pig.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6a)

That's the funniest and most common sense thing I've heard in a long time Kathleen :) Really made me LOL !!

We were betwixt and between when getting a dog many years back; wanted a BC so badly. But we **settled** for an ACD - Australian Cattle Doggie :) Our old Blue was the best herder that was. We took her to the local sheep farm and lent her out for hours during the week. She was the best pooch you can imagine but unfortunately or fortunately for us, didn't have the 'look' folks were interested in. We thought she was the prettiest thing on 4 feet :)

BC's are beautiful and highly intelligent dogs for sure !

On the banks of the , VA(Zone 7a)

I had my second lesson yesterday and I discovered "shoosh" is a fairly common word to move them along faster at whatever it is they are doing. Also, some handlers apparently use it to send them on the outrun. He told me to use it cause she kept stopping to eat sheep poop. Poop pops, since they were frozen. ; p

We were attempting to do driving but it was later afternoon and we were trying to drive them away from the barn, so it wasn't working out so well. We ened up in the bottom paddock (closer to the barn) and doing "clock-work"...longish outruns, finding the balance point, calling her in, driving them toward me.

It was another good lesson. The dog is wonderful, I'm not terrible, he's a good teacher, I'm enjoying it so much.

KS Grazier, I'm sorry I haven't returned your D mail, I am really interested and I want to go through the site and pay attention and I just havne't had time., might want to talk to Devil Dogs in the Equine Forum, she's in the middle of trying to figure out how to divide up her paddocks. She's a fairly new horse mom but an excellent animal person. I think she'd like to look, too. I'll pass it along if you'd rather.

This message was edited Dec 3, 2006 11:50 AM

Amazing report on the "shoosh"! Thanks for sharing! I just told my wife about it, and she said, "Well, how did Dutchess know?" Because when we got our dog it was only two years old, a backyard pet, and had never had any training of any kind.

Maybe their response to that sound has some instinctual element?? Hmmm.....

Regarding the D-mail: Why don't you pass the info on along to D.D. Call me Mr. Softsell, but I have a strong urge to resist any commercial appearance in the forums. If she thinks the innovation would help her, I think it would be better if she would initiate the call to me. Thanks! (By the way, before you do, review the Referral site on our web page; our primary marketing is word of mouth, and I'd be happy to have you involved.)

On the banks of the , VA(Zone 7a)

I'm happy to pass it along, I understand the soft sell approach. : ) I back pedal myself.

I can ask more about the shoosh thing, it got lost in the shuffle a bit yesterday because he was really letting me do it on my own and I was so busy trying to get it right...balancing me, the dog, the gate, the sheep.. I was so busy trying to remember "whoa, wHOA" doens't work...but "lie DOWN" will... it's a struggle to translate in my head to from horsespeak to dogspeak in a timely manner.

The other thing that happens to me...and I know this is going to sound ridiculous...but here it is.

I grew up doing horses, and in a family that did fox hunting. I have hunted all my life. The pony club I was a part of was associated with a hunt. My point is, I grew up in that culture and in that culture, calling a dog a DOG was as huge an insult as calling someone an ethnic slur. Good dogs are HOUNDS. "Dogs" are common, servile and ignoble. To this day I call my corgis "hounds". Good hound. Bad hound. Bad poop rolling hound. Hush up that barking, you yappy hound.

You know that shudder you have inside when you hear someone use an ethnic slur? I get that hearing the word "dog".

It is totally official, I am weird. ; )

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