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Q:   As you have both border collies and Australian Cattle dog's, I was wondering if you were able to give me your opinion on which breed would be more suitable for a family dog. I do agility and obedience with my Labrador but I am after a dog that is much more easy to train and a dog that wants to work, plus a bit of speed in the agility ring wouldn't help, my lab just trots to each jump then throws himself over it!! I want a dog that is able to be a great family companion as well as a working dog ...... they have to be good with small children and other animals. Many thanks for your help.

Both breeds are very smart, clever dogs and easy to train. Both breeds are suitable for obedience / agility / jumpers/flyball etc.
The difference in training is that the Cattle Dog wants a reward (voice, attention, food etc) straight away and will show their new found skills to achieve the reward. BUT at the same time they can become bored if there is no variation in their work. The Border Collie thrives on routine, they will store anything new that they have learnt and give it back when the time is right, not necessary straight away.
Both breeds have been taken out of the paddock (trained to work wide/away) and mastered the obedience ring (working close and only on hand signals). They have been taken out of the obedience ring and thrived in activities such as agility, jumpers, flyball etc.
My daughter "Kylie" has trained a Cattle Dog "Hollie" to show, obedience, agility, jumpers and endurance tiltles, winning well at anything she tries. At the same time she is now training a Border Collie "Elle" who is as equall as far as learning is concerned and is now conquering both the obedience and agility rings.
As the Cattle Dog still has the pack instinct (in that they recognise you at the alpha/boss) they are very loyal to you and accept being chastised if the appropriate reward is forthcoming when deserved. The Border Collie has had the pack instinct bred out of them (they will see you as their equal not necessary as their alpha), formerly a one man/woman/shepherd dog, they had no need to impress as they know that you couldn't complete your work with out them. Modesty is a virtue.
Both breeds are very loyal and devoted and need to be watched when their freedom is reduced. Don't tie then to property as they become the defender of the property and if their avenue of escape is reduced then they learn to stand their ground, especialy if the intruder is another dog.
As far as children are concerned, in our 25 years of breeding, both breeds see the hand that feeds them, the person who spends most time with them, the person most likely to curl up and sleep with them as their priority, this will always be the children.
It is important to remember about ALL breeds is that the/their enviroment dictates how they grow, how they learn and how they return what they have learnt. A mistreated dog, pampered dog or a distructive dog can simply exist because they were never told that their actions where wrong, or rewarded when their action were right.
Both breeds thrive on personal attention, like children, very much like children. Our dogs are treated the same way as our children, and they have learnt very quickly as have our children. Importantly, it is important that they need to live out their childhood (in the wild this is when they learn their life skills if they are to survive) a time of play and importantly a time of learning. Both breeds will become very bored if you force feed training, simply keep it enjoyable and they will participate in anything if you are good enough to keep up with them.

Q:   I wrote to you back in march asking for your opinion on Borders and Australian Cattle dog's. I just have another question for you. Is there much difference in the personality of male and female ACD's. I have met quite a few lovely males and quite a few nice girls too. I was wondering what your previoius experience has been with both sexes.

Using our dogs as examples (which may not be a good thing) we have a brother and sister and a younger cattle dog male. They press/compete for your attention all the time, barking when one is left behind or sees you go off with one of the others. Out of the three, the girl, is the most devoted to me where the males see me as a dominant figure (alpha male) and spend their time trying to impress not necesarily displaying devotion.
With Leeanne, my wife, the males fall over themselves to be with her, when running in the house yard and when Leeanne is gardening they are always a short distance away, as if acting the part of the watchdog. The girls simply seek her out to play with, get some attention, then go back to their playing. Our old dog REX wont leave Leeanne's side when they are out together, I would hate to approach Leeanne (as a stranger) while he is there.
Kylie, our oldest daughter, trains mainly the girls, as they see her as fun to be with. She involves them in obedience, agility, jumping, herding etc. She also found it easy to train some of our older males, who were then the Alpha male in the group, as they saw her to be of equal and no threat to their dominance (there is the equivalent to male chauvenism in the breed).
It is difficult to say which would be best. I sometimes have trouble with training the males as we can be as stubborn as each other, and sometimes the male learns only because he has to. The girls are easy to train as they don't try to compete with you.
Kylie and Leeanne would say that the males are easier to train as they want to be with you all the time and will do anything to impress. The girls just want to have fun and therefore can be more difficult to train - What I should say, more tolerance should be shown when training them.
In a one on one situation, either would be fine. It is how you bring them up that is important.
As I type this our 8 month old Border male jumps an 8 foot high fence, sits at your feet and appears to demand attention, you rouse on him take him back to his run. On his return, the Border bitches drop their heads acknowledging that the boy did somethings wrong. It a pity that the ##@@@$$# young dog cant realise that it did something wrong. I hoped that I have helped.

Q:   My 4 yr old bitch barks at anyone that comes to the front door & any time she hears a bell. We have only had her for six months,other than that she is the most wonderful dog.

Your dog might have been trained to "alert" when people come to the house. As a four year old she must know what "NO" and "quiet" means.
Our dogs bark every time a car or person not known to them come onto our property, but when told to be quiet or stop, they do stop.
It might mean she needs a little bit of assurance when there is a person at the door, it might mean you simply might need to show her that the person is not a danger. Though some times you should trust her instincts.

Q:   I am looking at getting a Border Collie pup, but both myself and my mother tend to work from 8:30 til about 5pm daily. A puppy has become available and is roughly 8 weeks old. Is it sensible for us to take on a pup? Should the dog be supervised during the day? My girlfriend's family have two dogs, a labradore and a husky could it be left there during the day? The Lab is about 7 years old and the husky about 2. What tips do you have to keep the dog entertained during the day?

Many people have new pups where they are left to their own devices during the day. It is very important that when you are home that you give the pup plenty of attention. They are very much like children and learn so much from watching us.
If you leave the pups at your girlfriends, my money is that the pup will round up the Lab and have one hell of a time with the husky. As their temperaments are similar there should be no conflict. Introduce the pup when you have time to stay and watch, just to make sure that things will be right.

Q:   I have rehomed a 6 month old Border Collie, however she has a few problems which are still troubling firstly she barks at other dogs when I take her for a walk and she has a very LOUD bark which either terrifies other dogs or makes them aggressive towards her so I although I take her for a walk twice aday I don't enjoy it.

Teach her to speak on command, at the same time she will learn to stop speaking when told to. This is a reward based exercise where possibly using food as a treat, you tell her to talk, when she barks you give her a treat, then when you tell her to stop and she stops, you reward her with a treat. This is also a time to get personal and for her to relate her ownership of you.

Q:   Secondly she pulls on the lead probably due to the fact she wants to chase traffic and also because she was found wandering the streets.

A:   Teach her sit stays, teach her to wait for people and sometimes their dog to approach her and be introduced to her. Let her know that if she runs off it displeases you and when she stays with you it gives you pleasure and she is subsequently rewarded. If you have been to classes and had one on one training, then I'm sure that you have been advised of this.

Q:   Thirdly she has a very doggy smell about her.

Concrete runs hold some dog smells so does some bedding, so everytime the dog uses these they regain that dog smell, so we need to clean these regularly. Dog have tendencies to roll in things, we use scents to smell better, where the dog likes to roll in something. This could also be diet based, some food have additives such as garlic etc. There are dog colognes available.

Q:   Hey Guys, I am a farmer on a large property out on the western downs country in Qld. We run large amounts of sheep and have recently lost one of our Working dogs to snake bite. We have had kelpies and healers in the past and while they are quite effective in mustering , they are stupid barstard of dogs and seem to have no idea in the yards, even after years of training. so, I have purchased a little male pup from one of the local breeders who actually trains trials dogs and has quite a few ribbons and trophies, but when asked for advice on training my new pup he said "I'm a breeder, no more, if I told everyone the secret, I'd be out of a job".
I am after a dog that is a loyal to me mainly, but will be alright for other people. I am planning to train him as a dog that will mainly work in the yards, but he also needs to be able to help with musters.
Please e - mail me with any advice as this is the first pup I have trained just by my self. All our dogs to date have been trained by my uncle, and they haven't been very good dogs, as u have read above. They can be shouted into helping muster, but something seems to snap in their heads and they chase sheep around and run them into the bars and the sheep beaks its neck, which is a very bad thing. I'm after a dog that is smart and switched on and will actually listen when told (which is what KC used to do before he got tangled up with a snake). I would prefer to ask a dog to " help " than to "Order it Or ELSE !".

A:   Though I have trained several Borders, like others, I train them for what I wanted, which is not necessary what the next bloke wants. With this in mind, it can be difficult to teach others to train their dogs to work. I remember the first old fellow who took me out to the paddock with one of his dogs, and after seeing how he treated the dog, I swore that I wouldn't do the same with my dogs.
As every body wants different things out of their dogs and we all go about our business differently, I have always been reluctant to guarantee any dog that I sell as a worker. I have seen many good dogs broken by bad training and ignorance.
The best way to go about training is build a small yard, about the size of a house yard. Inside this build a smaller yard approx 25 ft x 25 ft. The purpose of this is that you put stock in the smaller yard, where there is sufficient room for them to move away from the pup or towards the pup. The pup runs around in the larger yard, where it has sufficent room to move wide, in close or any way it wants but still able to be controlled by you.
Let the pup have some time to itself, you have to watch, watch whether it moves wide or wants to work in closer to the inner fence and the sheep. Don't say any thing to the pup just yet, watch what happens if the stock moves towards it or to the other side of their pen. Does the dog move around to where the sheep have moved or does it sit where you left it.
It need to gain confidence in what it does. At this time it will start looking to you for some approval.
Start talking, work out what commands you are going to use, and stick with them, if you confuse yourself you can and will confuse the dog. Every time the dog moves clock wise, I used "go round", every time the dog moved anti closewise I used "move over". The dog goes into the sheep I used "push up" and every time the dog worked wide I used "stay wide".  VERY IMPORTANT, the dog has to be taught what "NO" means and what "STOP" "WAIT" means.
No means NO, Stop meant stop, go to ground ie sit or lie, wait, have a look where you (dog )are, where the sheep are, then move off again. It was a form of checking the dog. Wait meant WAIT, stay by my side until told other wise, check where you are, move when I tell you to move.
NOW it comes down to you spending time with the pup. Repetition in training and more repetition.
Briefly, every time a dog does some thing remember the relevant command, as explained above. If the dog pushes between the sheep and the fence to move them, use "Fence". If the pup demostrates the use of using its eyes use HOLD or Hold'em.
In obedience the dog knows how to sit, stand, lie down, jump over, drop - you are not teaching the dog how to do this, what you are doing in your training is relating certain commands to certain actions so every time you say drop, the dog drops. And you use rewards to enforce this behaviour.
In the paddock, the best reward is your voice - sound excited when the dog is learning or working the way you want.
You must remember that the dog does not know what is wrong until you have told the dog it is wrong. This is where NO, STOP and WAIT comes into use. While the pup is in the yard, use these words. Be strong in how you use them. When the pup is taken out of the yard and allowed to work bigger areas you will see just how important these commands are.
In training, if you become frustrated and you will (one day the dog works a blinder, the next day the dog doesn't know the front from the back of the sheep) you have to be able to control yourself. This is not easy. You want the dog to come home with you, not walk off as if a stranger.
What I did is give the dog a command where, doesn't matter what happen 5 minutes ago, and the dog is hiding somewhere because you lost your temper and it waiting for you to stop throwing rocks and insults at it, that when you use this command, its time out, its okay to come out. You stop take the dog home and leave your frustrations to the next day.
What I used is "mongrel" and various versions of "mongrel". the french version wasn't very popular at home in front of the kids. The moment I used it the dog was at my feet, wagging its tail, rolling on its back waiting for a scratch. Every thing else is forgotten. Teaching the dog this - every time I had quite time with the dog, I would call him  in using that command and played with him, never scolded him and he learnt that he was safe (from me and my temper).
MOST important. "The dog will work better when it sees its work as enjoyable. The dog will be reluctant to work under duress, illness or injury".
In relation to the bloke who sold the pup, when you can go and watch how he works, watch others with their dogs. Remember that each dog is different, they will work differently and will be trained differently.
When you have trained several dogs, your methods change slightly with each dog, be prepared to change your methods to find what suits the dog. Watch as many farmers and their dogs as possible.
Also IMPORTANT - Have a great time and enjoy yourself.


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