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  #11  
Old 09-30-2011, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
I should add we have a ton of terriers in our triebball classes. They really excel at it. Think herding with bubble wrap. ;-)
And herding non-living things.
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  #12  
Old 09-30-2011, 03:20 PM
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And herding non-living things.
That was the point. LOL Meaning, do-no-harm: bubblewrap.

A couple of my trainer friends find it wildly boring but some love it. It's complicated, and interesting, so its worth a try for those interested but having dogs not designed for herding.
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  #13  
Old 09-30-2011, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
That was the point. LOL Meaning, do-no-harm: bubblewrap.

A couple of my trainer friends find it wildly boring but some love it. It's complicated, and interesting, so its worth a try for those interested but having dogs not designed for herding.
Ahhhhh!! I gotcha, I mistook your post for saying that terriers will excel at herding because they rock at trieball. Silly me.
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  #14  
Old 09-30-2011, 03:56 PM
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Naw, it doesn't take the instinct really, the dog is trained by shaping behaviors and it's broken down. The beauty though is if the dog bites a ball then the ball deflates, if the dog bites a sheep the sheep is hurt.
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  #15  
Old 09-30-2011, 04:13 PM
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A person I talked to recently said "Border Collies are like the Ferrari's of sheep herding. When you have them, why use anything else?" Kind of agree, there is alot of difference between a GSD and a Border Collie. I guess my advice would just be don't expect it to be like a Border Collie working stock.
The differences in herding style are exactly the point and the reason behind different herding breeds. That's a rather rude comment...
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  #16  
Old 09-30-2011, 05:38 PM
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Different dogs ABSOLUTELY have their different purposes working different stock.

Let's stick to the analogy that border collies are ferraris in that they are finely tuned and perfected for a certain type of use (sheep). For other stock, you have other dogs that can be much better suited to that type of work (cattle-bred collies, ACDs, Aussies, GSDs, etc.) that could be likened to a truck or a tractor. You would not drive a ferrari offroad in the snow, but that clunky looking truck would be wonderful for it. There's a reason there are many different types of farm/utility dogs!

Now, using that same vehicle analogy, a dog like a small terrier is a unicycle amongst trucks, sports cars and SUVs.

Terriers do not have an instinct to gather or drive like many of the herding breeds. When people put a terrier in with livestock, the dog's response is usually to chase and bite - HARD. Larger terriers rarely if ever work sheep because they will HURT them, and small terriers like westies are just as apt to mistreat the stock and be injured in the process. It's just an unwise idea, in my opinion.

If you're doing something with Teagan just for sport, why not earth dog or flyball or agility or something that does not involve putting your little girl in close contact with livestock that could hurt her?

This is all JMO and if you're dead set on trying it and have a trainer who will work with you, go for it. I've just seen dogs be kicked pretty hard by livestock before and with a dog so small and with the feisty terrier temperament, I'd be concerned.
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Old 09-30-2011, 05:47 PM
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Also, FYI, Aleron is completely correct about the way sheepdogs are trained. There are zero clickers, no treats and minimal "praise" involved in stock work. Physical corrections for inappropriate behavior happen all the time, and they are stern enough to make most pet owners flinch. It has nothing to do with Cesar Millan or being a pack leader, and everything to do with teaching the dog that harming the stock and biting without reason to is unacceptable. The sheep are animals too, and they deserve as much kindness as the dog does.
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Old 09-30-2011, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by SaraB View Post
I think the reason why it's different having non-traditional breeds herding than participating in other sports is that living creatures (sheep!) can and do get injured in the process. There is a very fine line between herding and chasing prey and it's tough for dogs that haven't been bred specifically for the purpose to walk that line. That and like others have pointed out, this isn't just a fun, yay, lets go chase sheep sort of thing. Generally a trainer is handling your dog and they will use corrections if necessary.
I'd go and watch the trainer for this reason before bringing any dog out. Strider loves to go "play" at the herding facility. Yes, he did start out wanting to eat the sheep, but I'd seen the facility owner take some seriously intense bcs and aussies and they never once got a bite in on the stock, and he never had to hurt the dogs to dissuade them. And yeah, those dogs wanted to eat the sheep really badly, not just herd. One BC in particular tried really really hard to get in and rip a chunk off the sheep.

Anyway, what that trainer told me (and he's trained a lot of unconventional dogs to herd, he had an akita and great dane as students) is that dogs with prey drive who were bred to bite and kill typically start out wanting to hurt the sheep. Once they figure out they are not allowed to hurt the sheep, one of two things happens:

1. The dog thinks that herding sucks because it wants to hunt, and loses interest.

2. The dog thinks that this could still be interesting, and is willing to learn your rules if that means it gets to interact with the stock.

If your dog reacts like #1, it's not going to be a herder. It doesn't want to. If it reacts like #2, it's got potential. It's probably going to take more work than a traditional herding breed, but the potential is there. Honestly I'd have loved to do weekly lessons with Strider because he figured out in under 5 minutes that he was allowed to be around the stock if he behaved he was allowed to do stuff with them, and he was really responsive to the trainer downing him and putting him in stays at a distance around the sheep.

Edit: I guess my point in the long rambling post, is that there are some trainers I've seen working dogs that I would NOT trust to keep the stock or my dog safe.
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  #19  
Old 09-30-2011, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
The differences in herding style are exactly the point and the reason behind different herding breeds. That's a rather rude comment...
I believe the context was using them in real farm work, like everyday chores, etc. Not in the sense that "This breed is the best, so never even try with different breeds." I agreed with this statement based on my experience with different breeds that I have seen working. Granted, I have not had the pleasure of seeing all the different herding breeds on stock, but I have seen enough to feel that I could agree with the statement. If I have a GSD or Mal (just an example) herding breed that does so-so on sheep, then a Border Collie that does even better, that Border Collie is going to be my go-to dog when I'm stuck in a bind on the farm. Does that make sense?

I did not, however, say that even though one breed might be better at a certain thing that a person shouldn't try. I -hope!- said the exact opposite. For example, Labs dominate Dock Dog trials. They just do. That's what they excel at, and with great ease. This doesn't stop me and my herding dog from going out, having a good time, and learning new things.

If the statement I quoted did come off as rude, I do apologies. The context it was taken in was not my intention.
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  #20  
Old 09-30-2011, 09:23 PM
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It makes sense, but I don't think you're making it seem any less rude. It's the same thing or possibly even more insulting: a border collie is the only breed suited for "real farm work," and everything else is, what, just playing around? Everything else is just "so-so," so why bother, because the border collie is just plain superior? I'm not sure how you can't see why that's rude.

Different herding dogs were intentionally bred for different herding styles by people with "real farm work" who needed a different herding style for different functions - even for working different kinds of sheep. In the case of the toonie dog, people who depended on their flocks for their livelihood bred away from the border collie to develop a softer dog. There's a reason for why all the different dogs that eventually founded our breeds today were bred, and I don't think any of them were bred just for fun rather than for a working need. So no, a border collie is not just plain the best of the best for "real farm work" and yes, obviously, some people DID need something else.
I don't care if you have a Ferrari if what you need is a pickup truck. The Ferrari may be a great car, but YOU NEED A PICKUP TRUCK. It doesn't mean you're just screwing around with the pickup truck either. That's what you need.

It doesn't make any particular breed superior than another - it just makes them better suited to their particular herding style, which again were developed for a reason, and that reason wasn't just to play around.
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