Im thinking about....

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by HayleyMarie, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. HayleyMarie

    HayleyMarie Like a bat outa' hell

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    Putting Teagan into a herding clinic.....:p

    There is a dog herding place an hour or so from me and they do an all breed clinic once in a while. I think it would be fun to try Teagan on sheep, although I have no idea how she would react to sheep as she has never seen sheep before.

    Hell if she enjoys it I might just keep at er' Would'nt that be funny a Westie that could herd sheep??

    This is the place that holds the clinics:
    ELF stockdogs - Training and Breeding Working Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Kelpies and Guardian Dogs,

    Im slightly a little hesitant becaues I hear they use CM methods, but I am sure if I have an issue on the methods then I just wont do them and walk away..

    And maybe I could get my mom to come with me and bring Emme, and see if she has any herding sense in that noggin of hers.

    But this is an idea mulling around in my brain.

    So what ya think?? Am I crazy :yikes:
     
  2. colliewog

    colliewog Collies&Terriers, Oh My!

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    I was testing my Collies on goats several years ago and my BF brought his Westie along. The little dude was a natural and fun to watch! I say go for it ... you may be surprised! Now, granted, his dog wasn't very terrier-ish, so was gentle and we only let him work baby goats, but it'd be a neat experience!
     
  3. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    You are not crazy! I have sooo wanted to see how Jackson would act, I almost think he'd be pretty good at it, but I haven't found a place around here yet. Well, haven't really searched very hard either though.

    Woohoo, how awesome if our terriers turned into sheep herders? LOL
     
  4. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    I'm not sure I see the point of taking a Westie or Yorkie "herding". Chasing some livestock around doesn't mean your dog has "herding ability". There is so much more to herding. I'm actually sort of surprised they have a clinic that people can bring any breed to, all of the herding events I have gone to are for herding breeds or mixes of herding breeds only.

    FWIW herding is generally not trained in an all positive manner. I doubt they use "CM methods", since I don't think CM trains herding dogs. But I can almost guarantee that they use physical corrections. If your dog acts inappropriately with the stock, you dog will likely to be whacked with a thin PVC pole or have something thrown at them. They have a priority of keeping their stock safe over making sure your dog has a good time. And dogs bred for the work with a proper temperament should have the drive and biddability to not take it personally.

    If you want to try something fun with your little terriers, there might be "Terrier Days" in your area which feature lure coursing, barn hunts, earthdog and terrier racing. They sound like a lot of fun! And if you're really stuck on the herding thing, there's always Treibball :)
     
  5. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    *shrugs* I don't see the big deal. Lots of other breeds besides terriers would love to do lure coursing, barn hunts, earth dog, and terrier races. I've seen events before where they hold that kind of stuff and other breeds besides terriers give it a try. Just because one breed of dog might be bred for something doesn't always mean they'll be good at it, but also vice versa... sometimes breeds bred for one thing end up being good at something entirely different. I think it's all about individual dog.

    I probably won't ever do sheep herding for real with Jackson because I haven't really found a place and I haven't plan on really looking hard for one. It's just always been a funny thought in the back of my mind. If I'm going to be "involved" in anything, it's going to be agility.

    I did look into earthdog, unfortunately, since Jackson is not a purebred registered "terrier" he can't participate in most of the clubs I've found. Yorkies aren't included as they are toy dogs, not terriers. :(

    But I'm not disagreeing with you, I do think herders were obviously MADE for the job but I think if someone was just trying something out non-seriously, it wouldn't be a big deal.
     
  6. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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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.

    I have no problem with people doing herding just for the heck of it. But, you (general!) MUST be able to give your dog the corrections it needs because the sheep are LIVING things that FEEL. They may be stupid as all get out, but they still feel and you MUST respect the sheep. If the dog is gripping for no reason, that dog HAS to learn that doing that is NOT okay. In whatever way it takes.

    I am curious, what makes you (terrier owners) think that your terrier has herding instinct? I've never been around them, so I have no idea. But I know quite a few members have said they would like to try them out on stock.
     
  7. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    From what I have heard, the "Terrier Fun Days" welcome all small dogs. I know someone from another forum who takes her Schip and Chi to them and often comes home with ribbons. Chasing stuff is pretty natural for dogs of all sorts, so all breed coursing and the such make sense. Herding is a much more specific set of skills than chasing a plastic bag or looking for a caged rat. There is also some risk to both the dog and the stock with herding, which is why most herding trainers have a policy of not allowing non-traditional breeds.
     
  8. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Meh, maybe the OP just wants to have fun?
     
  9. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    I should add we have a ton of terriers in our triebball classes. They really excel at it. Think herding with bubble wrap. ;-)
     
  10. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    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.
     
  11. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    And herding non-living things. :)
     
  12. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    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.
     
  13. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    Ahhhhh!! I gotcha, I mistook your post for saying that terriers will excel at herding because they rock at trieball. Silly me. :)
     
  14. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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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. :(
     
  15. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    The differences in herding style are exactly the point and the reason behind different herding breeds. That's a rather rude comment...
     
  16. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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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. :p 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. :p

    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.
     
  17. RD

    RD Are you dead yet?

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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.
     
  18. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    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.
     
  19. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    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. :)
     
  20. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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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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