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Old 12-09-2008, 02:56 AM
mom2dogs mom2dogs is offline
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I was talking with a BC breeder last Friday and visiting with one of her litters and the discussion of herding came up (very briefly, but enough to raise curiosity).

I am no expert whatsoever and know very, very little on herding. But I was told by someone awhile back (we shall call her A) that if you are going to do herding to not practice the "focus" "look" etc command as you do not want the dog looking at you constantly while on sheep and to encourage them to look at you isn't done normally (lol, this is pretty much the first thing I teach my puppies, but I don't do herding).

So here's my first question: for those in herding and have been around the block so to speak, do you feel a dog can excel in both herding and agility? Is teaching the "look" command really as taboo as A made it out to sound?

Another question: how often do you feel a dog should be worked with sheep?

FYI, I did not get into a serious discussion with the breeder and these points weren't really raised.... and mods I wasn't sure if this belonged in general or training?
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:39 AM
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ihartgonzo ihartgonzo is offline
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Ok... this is just IMHO. I only do herding classes with Gonzo for fun, and I am by no means an expert!

However, I don't feel that Agility, Obedience, Conformation, etc training interferes at ALL with herding... in fact, it is great to have a dog who will listen to your commands/pay any attention to you while on stock. I think that a bigger obstacle for most people, unless their dog has no instinct or is very insecure around livestock, is to get their dog to listen to commands at all the first few times.

I also teach "watch me" and encourage my dogs to check up on me and keep an eye on me, but with a well-bred herding dog (particularly a Border Collie), you are not going to need to worry about them looking at YOU. They'll be much too busy hynotizing sheep! I feel that a Border Collie should be worked with sheep as often as possible. They are never happier, and it's a lot of fun just to watch them do what, for the most part, comes completely natural to them.

If you want answers from people who have REAL stockdogs, check out BC boards.
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:59 AM
mom2dogs mom2dogs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihartgonzo View Post
I feel that a Border Collie should be worked with sheep as often as possible. They are never happier, and it's a lot of fun just to watch them do what, for the most part, comes completely natural to them.
I meant how often should a BC be worked with sheep in order to compete (I worded it totally off base). Hard question to answer as I'm sure every dog is different. Often would be ideal, but not realistic for a lot of people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ihartgonzo
If you want answers from people who have REAL stockdogs, check out BC boards.
I considered it, but I didn't want to join just to post one thread. I am looking through past threads on one board, though.
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Old 12-09-2008, 05:05 AM
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ihartgonzo is right, a BC don't look at you when he's herding. My two males BC's do herding just for fun and agility. the commands for herding are done with a whistle. BC's are very versatile dogs and they learn all the commands you want, as long you have patient to teach them. And yes, herding is their favourite work.
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Old 12-09-2008, 05:12 AM
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I'm in no way an expert. But I know a lot of breeders do both conformation and obediance. Conf needs the dog to stay standing in the show ring, obediance requires automatic sits etc. And the dogs can tell the difference between the two things.

When I get my next dog, I plan on doing herding and agility and probably obediance (probably not as much herding as I would like though) and I think its possible to do both.
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Old 12-09-2008, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2dogs View Post
I meant how often should a BC be worked with sheep in order to compete (I worded it totally off base). Hard question to answer as I'm sure every dog is different. Often would be ideal, but not realistic for a lot of people.
Ohhh... well, it would definitely be dependent on what kind of trials you want to compete in (as far as the level AND the club). It also depends on how quickly you catch on, and can handle the dog... for example, I'm TERRIBLY awkward and I have been told it would take a lot of work for me to ever handle Gonzo in a trial.

If I had to guess, I would say it would take at least a few months of weekly/semi-weekly classes to get anywhere beyond the equivalent of a PT (pre-trial)/Junior/Started title. But, most of that is YOU learning how to handle the dog and feeling more comfortable.
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Old 12-09-2008, 08:44 AM
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If you go to a corgi specialty, you'll see many dogs that do conformation, obedience, agility and herding. The training is situational. The dog knows the difference between heeling and herding.
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:21 AM
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I am sooooooo glad someone asked this question- I have been meaning to ask for a while, and I may do an additional post in training or dog sports.

I would LOVE to try herding, but i am afraid to spoil my dog for obedience. I NEVER intedned to compete in obedience, but my dog had other ideas............she loves it and she is really good ( we only do Rally, but doing waaaaay better than I ever dreamed) and I dont want to spoil her.
when I took her herding, ( we did the instinct test) she was in the beginning only watching me for commmands- didnt even LOOK at the sheep, which is amazing, but the instructor was not impressed. In her second run, her instinct just clicked on and she was AWESOME.
But that following week she was kind of ignoring me a little in Obedience practice, and blowing me off- ran off to herd the cat at one point.........and i dont want to spoil what I have with her, as I can practice O, anytime anywhere for free......................and herding is $$$$$$$$$$$ and I dont own any sheep, but I have always wanted to herd

They say that herding and Obedience are two ends of the spectrum of working independantly, or on command. Can you do both well???

I asked my friend what she thought, and she said- get to the level you want in O, then go to herding............................so we got our RL2 (advanced) this fall , so I am thinking of herding now.......been dying to see what everyones opinion is????????????

Sorry to hijack thread a bit- but figured- is related and a good point to chime in
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Old 12-09-2008, 11:41 AM
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Some dogs handle the switching well. I do know people and have heard lots complain about their dog not sitting in the obed ring, but then not standing in the conformation ring

A fair number of agility people also do herding. A good agility isn't watching you (the way they do in obed) In fact there are lots of agility people who will tell you that competition style obedience focus will hurt your agility. IME this has some truth. If you want to be competitive at numerous sports.. train them concurrently. Kaiden was slow at agility for a while as he was so worried about checking in, he didn't have enough obstacle focus and would run beside me. Dekka I trained both at the same time, so we don't have any conflict. Nor do we really have much when it comes to hunting.. UNLESS there was a critter on the agility field the night before the trial. Then our run is a write off.
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Old 12-09-2008, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dekka View Post
Some dogs handle the switching well. I do know people and have heard lots complain about their dog not sitting in the obed ring, but then not standing in the conformation ring
The people who say this are usually trying to give a reason they don't do both. I do everything (have yet to compete in herding, and don't compete much in obedience) my dogs have no trouble going from venue to venue. My friend, who prefers obedience has a completely different handler for her dog in conformation, her reason is "He won't show for me, he will only heel". Well, thats not true, but she feels more comfortable only doing obedience.
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