Border Collie training HELP!

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by mpillow, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our pup is coming Sunday...we had bird hunting dogs previously that we trained...

    The dog will have its own crate in the utility room....

    Some of my first questions...Puppy chow?....we couldnt use this on bird dog pups...do they require hi-pro? How much? How often? We only fed adults once a day pups were 2x

    "lie down" seems to be top priority for obedience....??? She will be worked slightly differently on goats

    Any reference recommendations? books, videos etc.

    I know I seem ill prepared, but hubby finally caved and the breeder helped by giving us a good deal. No its not sick or a second....he has seen one of our dogs trained and was impressed...thinks we did well...but really the dog was just SMART and we praised her...

    When are we gonna get a forum???
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Chuck would have to OK any new forums, and as noted he and Dean do have full plates trying to correct some functionality problems at the moment. You could drop him a line to let him know you want one!! I found this site HERE to be a good place to start learnign about BC training. I'm no expert dog trainer at all though!! Training them to stop working is probably the hard part, and how you approach the job kind of depends what you want the dog to do. I wanted a dog that could round up and bring me the sheep, (BC's natural calling) and to drive the sheep home (not a BC's natural calling and even contary to it) We're doing OK she'll perform all the tasks I wanted and can be directed left and right by whistles and recall on whistle, but to stop while out is trickier. I'll be interesting to read more responces!
     

  3. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks Ross!! good info!!
     
  4. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    With my kelpie the most important training command is "OFF". Which means stop what you're doing right now. Given his druthers he would be chasing goats, sheep, ravens, cats, what have you all day every day. That's just not good for any of them.

    Remember that working is a reward for them. The biggest punishment possible is to not let them work. As soon as the dog starts doing something you don't want them to, drag them out of the pasture.

    Otherwise the training is really just working with your dog and channeling it's natural drive to do what you want it to. You'll see different dogs, even of the same breed, getting the job done very differently. Some border collies have a hard eye (they look at the stock and the stock just do what the dog wants them to - really cool to see), some BCs don't. My kelpie really likes to heal (bite the back legs) - I actually really have to watch that. Healing is probably necessary on a 300 sq. mile sheep station, but I have 4 very tame critters on 30 acres.

    I haven't used whistles for training, because I'm not that good at whistling. Buster knows "right", "left", "away", "to me", and "there" (my word for stop). We're working on "barn" to get the critters inside at night. I also realized that he is always watching me, so I've added arm motions that go with the commands.

    Kelpies aren't recognized by AKC, and my guy is bigger than most others of his breed so I'm not concerned at all with herding trials or showing him. My training has just been so that we can work together as a team. If you are interested in showing or doing the trials, there are probably formal commands the dog needs to know - someone else can probably chime in with that.

    Make sure your BC knows that you are the boss. The buggers are smart and clever. If you don't take control and train the dog, the dog will actually take control and train you. Laugh if you want, but I know a lady who's sheltie has her waking up at 4:30 am to feed it breakfast and take it for a walk. The lady is retired, there's no reason for her to be up that early, but the sheltie whines and whimpers and otherwise makes a nuisance of herself until the human gets up.

    I'm pretty sure puppy chow is fine for border collies. My kelpie did just fine on it. I feed 2x a day.

    There's what I know about herd dog training. Most of all have fun!
     
  5. carly

    carly on winged flight...

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    Sooo, you are getting a BC pup!~ How old, sex, and color? Have you had a BC before or trained another dog for obiedence?

    I know there are many people here who train,<Slev, where are you?> I would recommend a good vet trip right away to check ears, general composition, (hips) and eyes. Of course, vacinnes. Have your vet recommend a good high quality food for the dog---I like CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE DOG'S SOUL , CANNED----it is a human grade food and has all kinds of excellent things in it. Costly but you cannot replace a dog damaged early by poor nutrition. "Wellness" is good too and I use them both.

    A crate is good for potty training and nitetime/bedtime. But a pup should NEVER be left in one over 2 hours during the day. First thing in training is sit, stay, lie doon <down>, and as he/she grows and learns, add fetch, come to me, walk with me, come up easy, go out, and many more.

    I taught Jake to drop in the field on a drive by using a hand signal-----I put my left hand up to my right shoulder and draw my hand sharply to the left at shoulder level. This took a few attempts for him to know I wanted him down, so in the beginning I used my voice and also stamped my foot out a step from my body. He learned by the third try and now I just use my hand lightly.

    He is trial material but I can't do that; no time, and I must work every day. I am an artist and travel around to shows so my work time is my $$ making time....I can either pay the mortgage or trial Jake............hhmmm.

    You will love training this pup, but please give him all time time he needs or he will become distructive, and bored, plus he will go bonkers. You need to have him out playing, training and around other people, dogs and critters as much as possible. No laying around for a BC, or at least not much.
    Be prepared to be an active person from now on. When I first got Jake I lost 15 pounds the first month!!! A good thing.....

    Everyone else will chime in here and give you much more and better advice than I can...........I am an obiedence trainer and learned to train sheepers after that.......much more fun! Also don't forget if you've a mind and body to, you can do agility with your dog....now there's some fun!! :haha:

    Let us know how it goes.
     
  6. adnilee

    adnilee Well-Known Member

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    We have a 5 month old Border Collie and 19 sheep/40 acres to work her with. We haven't done much but basic commands yet as it has been nasty outside all winter and she is still a little young.

    She has a bad habit of sneaking through the horse pasture gate and herding our 2 horses about 1/4 mile up to the gate. She thinks she is doing well, but I am affraid that she is going to get kicked. About another month and she won't be able to squeeze throught the gate any more.

    We have fed Puppy Chow from the start and she is growing well, her coat is great and she has PLENTY of energy!

    Has anyone used an electric training collar? We have been tossing the idea around. At first, we thought they were inhumane, but the more she doesn't listen (I know, lack of training), the more we consider getting one. She listens perfectly in the house, but when outside its a whole nother ball game.

    We have a round pen and were considering putting a few sheep in it this spring and working her from the outside. I was told this was a good way of teaching directions.
    Any advice would be appeciated. I will be watching this topic also.
    Here is a picture of our "Cassie" about 4 months old.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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    "Training and Working Dogs for Quiet Confident Control of Stock"
    Scott Lithgow

    Best book I have seen.
     
  8. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    Your BC is so cute. We have Aussies and know what is meant by they train you. Our pup is full speed toward the goats. She learns a little each day but still won't listen to come. She knows "No" and her name. We hope to get sheep this year as they should be easier than goats. I am afraid she will get hurt.
     
  9. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have a border collie. He is the first dog I trained using a clicker. Works great.

    A puppy will lie down or sit quite readily, so it's easy to teach these to him while he's still young. The reaching over the head with treat will teach him "sit" quickly, and lowering your hand to the floor (with treat) will teach the down quickly, and the hand signals at the same time. I've found also, that teaching him to stop/wait/stay while standing will work for you when he is actually on sheep. If you have him lie down all the time, that popping up and down willl spook some sheep. Also, if you don't need him to stop for an extended period of time, there's no need to have him down every time he needs to wait a second.

    The first thing my puppy learned was that the trash is icky (place vinegar doused paper towel on top for averssive training), and "leave it".

    I would also keep the crate in my bedroom at night until he no longer needs a crate.
     
  10. Lana

    Lana Active Member

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    adnilee,your Pup is much to young to train on stock. Teach her good manners and develop a good relationship with your pup while she is young. Teach her to respect you and be a fair leader. Most folks dont start a dog on stock until they are 10-12 months old.

    Find somebody who trains BC in your area and ask for help. DONT use a shock collar unless you want a neurotic robot dog who is not your partner and not truly a stock dog that reads, understands, and controls stock.

    Training a well breed dog to gather sheep, drive and be lots of help on the farm can be done with some patience and learning on your part. My best advice would be dont train a dog when you are angry.if you get mad stop and go inside and try again later.These animals are amazingly talented, and can teach you a lot if you are willing to learn with them, and not force work from them.Herding is not Obedience work on stock. Lana
     
  11. Lana

    Lana Active Member

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    http://www.kensmuir.com/forum/
    http://bordercollie.heatherweb.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi

    here are two sites with good info and i HIGHLY recommend

    Product ID: DS3 Category: Videos
    The Shepherds Pup Video
    Description: This brand new 150 minutes video set/DVD is this season's most popular item. Aimed at the farmer wanting to train a dog ready for farm work. Covers the Scrimgeour method from puppyhood through the young sheepdog.
    Price: $39.95

    BEST tape you can buy and it can be found at http://www.bordercollies.com/

    GOOD LUCK!Lana
     
  12. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sorry if I don't chime in from time to time, I was out of town. If anyone would like my advice on anything, please be sure to PM me. The following long list is things I consider myself an expert in.

    #1. Eating
    #2. Sleeping
    #3. Buying that perfect gift for your wife

    Ummm..., outside of that I'm rather limited.

    I don't think a 5 month BC is too young to start, depending on several things. The most important is the dog has to be able to outrun it's livestock. <more than likely this means only ducks> Ducks with clipped wings and that have been worked by dogs before. The same holds true for the first sheep you wind up with. Most people don't start out right and therefore have bad results. The next is know the dogs limitations, which means working for a very short time. You need to know your limitations as well as your dogs, not knowing this you can screw things up more than if you just wait a little while longer. The pup should know a few things and respect your commands because you want to know something? You can have a perfect down on your dog and it will obey all of your commands until you introduce it to livestock.

    I like the longer variations of commands, like "lie down" rather than the common "down" I don't reuse words either in other commands. Like "Come to me" when you want the dog to come to you, and then if you use the popular scottish "Come-Bye" for counter-clockwise then when you first start out the dog could get the wrong idea frome the start. Of all the commands the most important one is STOP. If you can't stop the action then you are not in control. On first introductions to stock be sure to have a long but lightweight cord on the dog, and make sure it's not connected to a correction (choke) chain. Just to the plain collar will work. And don't let the little sucker start out goofing off or out of control! I've seen too many people say they just need to let their dog wind down a little. Treat the dog no different than you would a gifted child. Don't leave it alone unattended, don't give it nothing to do, and don't let it do what you want the wrong way. Accept nothing but an "A" ...well maybe just starting out accept a "B" or a "C+" but nothing less than that. A very famous handler once told me, to think of the finished dog you want and accept nothing else. Work backwords from there.

    The best bet is to find someone qualified in your area, how I'd do this is log onto the USBCHA website or the Working Border Collie Mag. or American BC Mag. (If you have BC's) There are other herding venues out there. About the only one I'd stay away from the the AKC conformation. (But that's just me) Personally I'd rather see how good a dog can work stock rather than see how good it looks like it can work stock.

    Trying to remember that most of us on here are wanting actual farm dogs and not the hard-core trialing dogs, I think I'd say I like "The Farmers Dog" Also Vergil Holland put out a good book many years ago. If you are like me and hate reading a manual, then I really like Bruce Fogt's book.

    I think the most important thing in training a dog is the same for learning how to homestead. You have to be a good thief. You listen and take and learn from others and then apply it to your own unique situation. Most of everyones advice will not work for you, but by keeping an open mind and willing to try new things you should wind up on top.

    ...now I bet you're wishing I didn't write!!!!!!!!! (Does this system have spell check...? I'm the worst but don't see it offered on here anywhere...?)
     
  13. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    ooops, forgot, my thoughts on dog food, which are posted on another thread from a while back.

    More important than making sure you don't feed too low a protien dog food, is that you don't feed a young puppy too much protien. AND make sure you don't have the dog jumping off the ground to catch a frisbee or anything.