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Collie Behaviour

Collie Games and Play

Collie Lifestyle

Collie Myths

Collie Pups

Collie Quirks

CollieLearners

  • Collie Learners
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  • Hard Dog Soft Dog
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  • Learning in Play
    Learning is always happening during play within each repetition and you need to be fully awake and fully aware of those changes.
  • The Dopamine Bath
    When the Collie is anticipating movement they are experiencing a DOPAMINE BATH. Their system is being flooded.
  • What IS the Work?
    The work we are asking of the dog is varied and often contradictory. One moment the dog is asked to hold a distance off the sheep and the next close in and push them along to hurry them up.

CollieWiki

Connection

  • A deep trust and love for each other
    I learnt about connection with my horse Magnum. He was untouchable when he came to us, caught wild, taken to the sales – and ended up with us – because my daughter fell in love with him.
  • A lesson in connection
    At first, it barely made it through the door. But it kept tapping and when I let it in, it had connection written all over it. It surprises me that it is a lesson I need repeated so often.
  • Connection is a dynamic quantity
    Connection is a dynamic product of three ingredients: an emotional bond, memory and mental focus.
  • Connection is reinforcing
    Dogs will often choose how they maintain their connection with you. This connection, the thread that binds the pack, is an invisible and easily dismissible element. Connection is not black and white, it comes in lots of shades of colour and intensity and it is developed between both recipients.
  • Connection starts with invitation
    Connection thrives in the absence of expectations, a precious freedom that fills the space between two beings when there is no agenda, no time limit, no “have to get it done.”
  • Connection: A Conversation for Life
    In the busy-ness of life connection can be the last thing considered. Living with a dog is about developing a relationship and all successful relationships are based on connection. So just what is connection and why is it important?
  • Feeling comfortable
    We take time to train, but how connected are we as their trainer?
  • In praise of naughty dogs
    .. a desire for solutions to problems that weren’t problems until someone else outside of the relationship suggested they were.
  • of yogis, dogs and humans
    Connection, as expression of trust, relationship, and finally of the deep attraction, which develops so easily between dogs and their human fellows, stains every single interaction and can be used as a potent reinforcer.
  • The Joy of Learning
    Curiosity, discovery, success, confidence, understanding, growth: all of these things can nurture a joy of learning for its own sake
  • What does connection look like?
    It comes in many forms. Walking together, sitting quietly together, sharing a mental or physical task. Individuals can be connected without looking at each other; just feeling each other’s presence is perhaps the strongest type of connection. These activities can all be done with or without connection, but with connection they appear fluent.

FarmWork

  • Inherited Behaviours
    Whether your dog is directly “from the barn” or several generations removed there have been hundreds of previous generations with strong sheepdog behaviours.
  • What IS the Work?
    The work we are asking of the dog is varied and often contradictory. One moment the dog is asked to hold a distance off the sheep and the next close in and push them along to hurry them up.
  • Working on the Farm
    Understanding the heritage of the Collie and appreciating the differences in working styles can help us appreciate the breadth of their skills and the diversity among them.

Features

  • 1. We Already Know How to Live Together
    All our households are different, all dogs come with a different package of DNA and our relationships are unique.
  • 10. Is Good Intention Enough?
    We are all striving to make our dog’s lives a pleasant experience. If we are not paying close attention to the experience our puppy or dog is having we can inadvertently set them up for poor experiences. These experiences can be linked by the dog to circumstances that we never intended.
  • 2. Ethics
    Take heed of your comfort bell. If the advice or a situation makes your comfort bell start to ring with alarm then walk away. Your bell should be listened to and although it may not ring loudly in the first instance, do not ignore it.
  • 3. Dogs Can Only Behave Like Dogs
    Be alert, and probably bark when something suspicious occurs.
  • 4. But it is a Puppy
    Puppies are designed to bring on a shot of pleasure-chemicals that override common sense and risk analysis in people. We behave without responsibility.
  • 5. Relationship and Connection
    Connection is about being in tune with each other. Dog is not the enemy.
  • 6. Teach and Train
    They do not arrive knowing how to behave or live in our society, except as dogs. They will need help to learn how to live alongside us without conflict. This is our responsibility.
  • 7. Lifestyle At Home
    We breed a dog that lives and breathes to share their lives with people. Be nearby and visit often.
  • 8. Early Days Out and About
    Familiarisation should ensure that a puppy has the time to assess, observe, and become familiar with, the weird and wonderful life that will be their future.
  • 9. Primary School
    Being a puppy is a busy, over-filled learning fest. Nature has designed them to excel at being inquisitive and curious. If you do not feed that desire to learn, then the learning that happens may not be on your agenda: jumping at people, opening the waste bin, chasing the cat, chickens, skateboards, eating fox poo, unstuffing the sofa, biting off the top of the gear lever, shredding tampons all over the house.
  • A Road to Nowhere
    When familiarity is stripped away we seek recognisable signposts that will take us back to comfort and security. This is survival instinct. It is worth listening to as it keeps us alive.
  • Every Dog Every Day Introduction
    We should not be trying to change dogs but celebrating what they are and changing the world in which they live
  • Nika on Wheels
    Car travel for some pups can become a nightmare of hypersalivation and sickness.
  • The Experienced Dog
    Knowing your dog has receive sufficient preparation does not mean every eventuality, but a range of different conditions so that when the unexpected happens they will draw on their skills and solve the issue.

FEATURES Familiarisation

  • A Road to Nowhere
    When familiarity is stripped away we seek recognisable signposts that will take us back to comfort and security. This is survival instinct. It is worth listening to as it keeps us alive.
  • Nika on Wheels
    Car travel for some pups can become a nightmare of hypersalivation and sickness.
  • The Experienced Dog
    Knowing your dog has receive sufficient preparation does not mean every eventuality, but a range of different conditions so that when the unexpected happens they will draw on their skills and solve the issue.

Health

  • DNA Testing
    As carers of Border Collies, it is our responsibility to know what diseases they are susceptible to so that we can make plans for testing, prevention, and management where possible.
  • The Dopamine Bath
    When the Collie is anticipating movement they are experiencing a DOPAMINE BATH. Their system is being flooded.

History

  • Before the Border Collie
    There have been many theories about the early ancestors of our sheepdogs, but one thing is certain: there is no sheepdog without sheep farming.
  • Early Writings About Sheepdogs
    One of the earliest references to sheepdogs similar to our Border Collie comes from John Caius, who marvels at how these dogs work.
  • History of Border Collies
    A look at the background of sheep to be able to understand the specific evolution of the collie and why it differed from other stock working dogs.

Jaffa

  • Teenage Tearaway
  • The Pleasure of Puppyhood
    Taking on any young animal is a long-term responsibility which will demand more time than you imagine, more expense that you could consider, and a serious change in your lifestyle.

KayLaurence

  • Connection is reinforcing
    Dogs will often choose how they maintain their connection with you. This connection, the thread that binds the pack, is an invisible and easily dismissible element. Connection is not black and white, it comes in lots of shades of colour and intensity and it is developed between both recipients.

Key Reading

  • 50 years a student of sheepdogs
    In recognition of my half-century of being a student of collies I want to celebrate their skills as masters of my learning.
  • A Cue or not a cue?
    With thoughtful planning and a good understanding of the relevance of antecedent selection we can teach the dog the skills of sorting the wheat from the chaff, finding the bones of the exercise. This skill is critical to being able to distinguish between distractions, which are just cues for an alternative reward opportunity, and cues which signify a guarantee of success.
  • A Family of Multiple Dogs
    Another addition is not just an extra bed and bowl. It is important to build a home that is healthy, content and well-balanced.
  • A Road to Nowhere
    When familiarity is stripped away we seek recognisable signposts that will take us back to comfort and security. This is survival instinct. It is worth listening to as it keeps us alive.
  • And Why Can’t He Refuse?
    I bristle at the insistence that a dog will assent to any request we make if they understand what we’re asking and if the rewards we offer are of sufficient value
  • Back to Basics?
    The word “basic” is often derided as synonymous with “shallow,” but in its origins it is the very opposite: foundational, profound, supportive.
  • Chasm opening up?
    The more I see “sit, down, come, stay heel” as the essential basics the more I am moving further away from the general view of living with dogs.
  • Construction or suppression
    Looking at the way the behaviour is carried out is the most important element, and that is the product of all the considerations.
  • Cue Seeking is Connection
    Connection is very individual and to be authentic we have to observe, slow down, understand our dogs and meet them where they are.
  • Do you see what I see
    Doing better is the reward from doing the work. This work needs to be the right work at the right time with the right intent done in the right way.
  • Dogs are Born To Learn
    We can build tremendous learners when we get beyond the idea that “dogs are trained”.
  • Don’t Let Them Learn
    Becoming aware that we share our lives with premier learners, dogs, is about saving you frustration, despair, anxiety and endless hours further down the road.
  • Ethos: A Personal Trust Pilot
    Experience changes our ethos. There are many pathways that will broaden our choices.
  • Guidance is not dependence
    Guidance can be the lightest change in contingencies, an extra antecedent. I can place a palette of different paints and brushes next to the chair. It doesn’t mean you need to paint the chair, you could sit on the chair and paint your own shoes, but just the presence of the tools would give you guidance.
  • Heartbeat of living with dogs
    I like to regard a “teacher of dogs” as someone who meets dogs in their world and teaches them how to be their best whilst living alongside us in our world.
  • In praise of naughty dogs
    .. a desire for solutions to problems that weren’t problems until someone else outside of the relationship suggested they were.
  • It’s Not Training
    A carefully planned learning pathway, paced to suit that particular learner for their life ahead.
  • Location is Their Cue
    We begin teaching the dog to go to a target, such as a mat or platform and in this process our focus is on the outcome – the dog can place feet on the object or settle down. But at the same time this learning is happening the dog is also noting the location: where this is happening in this room, in the house, relative to the food-machine (you).
  • No room for mechanics
    If your ambition is to have good mechanics in communication to animals then you may find yourself blocked into a tight corner
  • Normal is always changing
    What was normal in training 20 or 40 years ago is not the same today. There are folk persistently maintaining the normal of 1976, but fortunately there are enough folk with a deeper understanding of the processes that have moved normal forwards.
  • Not Today and Not for My Sheepdogs
    Standard protocols of extinction, impulse control, counterconditioning are quickly grabbed off the shelf as satisfactory solutions. These solutions are unlikely to help your collie, your sheepdog as the focus is heavily on suppression of who they are and why they live.
  • Play Health Check
    When we look at play or food delivery as an ACTIVITY we share the same mindset as the dog: is there pleasure to be experienced?
  • Science Doesn’t Have All the Answers
    We lean on science in our efforts to bridge the gap as though it provides the answers to how things should be rather than describing how things are understood.
  • Shaping by rewards
    When I see a dog showing a behaviour that is heading towards potential conflict, my first question is “what rewards are available?”
  • Since the Dawn of Dog Training
    The old joke reminds us that the only thing dog trainers can agree on is that their training method in the best one. It becomes increasingly difficult to know which method is “right” and whether it will suit the dog, the situation and trainer’s skills.
  • The Answers Await Discovery
    The idea that we’re responsible for our dogs’ learning might well seem strange when we consider how we conceptualise “training:”
  • The choice of lure
    Luring teaches trainers essential skills. We learn how to use suggestion and guidance to shape behaviours. We learn how to explain dynamic movement in the cues from our hands. In combination with reinforcement, luring has without doubt, been one of the skills I value most as a trainer.
  • The Cost of Cherrypicking
    When we admit that the ideas we’re sharing are derived from the work of others, we demonstrate our own commitment to learning
  • The Experienced Dog
    Knowing your dog has receive sufficient preparation does not mean every eventuality, but a range of different conditions so that when the unexpected happens they will draw on their skills and solve the issue.
  • The Fade-in Protocol
    Even though today we are surrounded by many available protocols for teaching with positive reinforcement, there is still a persistence that a dog should be set-up to make an error. An error is simply the difference between my expectation and the dog’s response. No more “distractions”, but faded-in environments.
  • The Right Bed in the Right Spot
    Resting and sleeping are not necessarily the same state. Good sleep where we feel safe and comfortable is important for us all.
  • The Spaces Between
    At the heart of learner-centred education, the teacher acts as a guide whose role is to elicit rather than to impart, and learners quickly become empowered and equipped to transfer their knowledge and skills to new scenarios.
  • The Value of Experience
    The non-experienced, or current generation of imposters, have attended a course, read a book, got a certificate and have yet to gain experience to deepen their knowledge or understanding of the subject, protocol, method …
  • The Whole of The Dog
    We cannot divide training into compartments of fast recalls, or sit for greeting, or loose leads as everything we ask of the dogs is interrelated.
  • Think carefully
    We cannot presume a cue is a reinforcer unless we can shape a new behaviour using that cue as the marker. Read carefully. Think carefully. Consider multiple perspectives. Sometimes it seems easier to let someone else do the thinking for you and just copy, but we need to become thoughtful trainers.
  • What is a Trainer?
    I know what I am, as a trainer. But does my view of “A Trainer” coincide with, or even overlap with yours?
  • What Words Conceal
    The language across all kinds of media paints a picture of dogs and our relationships with them.
  • What’s Cooking? A Warning About Recipes
    Recipes for “training” dogs are so prevalent in how we live with and talk about them that their existence often goes unquestioned.
  • When we train a dog it grows
    Most training starts from necessity. Management is a necessity but it usually benefits all parties by a reduction of conflict. Are they expanding their skills to benefit us or for their benefit?
  • Why add fun?
    When an activity gives intrinsic pleasure we do not need to add fun.

Klog

  • A Clear Plan
    A clear plan of the behaviour
  • Become a Learner of Skills
    From unconsciously incompetent to consciously competent
  • Can’t not learn
    Dog, puppy or person, we can’t not learn. The environment is “playing on us” all the time, when we are watching TV, FaceBooking, listening to a podcast, in a lesson, we cannot not learn. Are you aware of what learning is happening?
  • Collie Wrong Sheep
  • Confused by Collies?
    The classic training protocols are too often about supressing the annoying behaviours without realising that a sheepdog can no more stop being a sheepdog than you can stop being a human and become a hamster.
  • Don’t Go There
    How we label, refer and view a process will have an effect on how we employ it. Words have powerful meanings that can be quite different depending on your culture, your background and your experience. But language matters, and the following are just some examples of terms we might want to consider:
  • Lure: shaping with guidance
    Learn to engage and communicate with a lure
  • More than a reinforcer
    Just delivering a treat is not enough. The delivery of that treat can become a highly valued process, eagerly sought by the dog because the delivery involves so much more than “dump-and-swallow”.
  • Pea, Chick Pea
    Chick Pea is a lone survivor. July saw a pen of 12 happy birds of various backgrounds, September left just one.
  • Pleasure for the dog?
    If we seek to teach, then we need to be skilled in the process of reinforcement. It should encompass pleasure for the dog not just convenience for us
  • Practise: Breakfast in Bed
    Develop the skills for Breakfast in Bed deliveries
  • Practise: Catch
    Good catchers learn from good throwers
  • Practise: Chaser
    Good chasers come from good bowling.
  • Practise: Table Service
    Visualising location before placement
  • SWDI Do you see what I see
  • Teach: Breakfast in Bed
    How the dog learns this delivery pattern
  • Teach: Catch
    Catching is an art and a skill
  • Teach: Chaser
    go ….Go …. GO …KILL!
  • Teach: Table Service
    Help yourself … it’s on the table
  • The life of my Time
    Time is my ninth generation of collies. He lives for being a collie and all that collies have done for generations – work in partnership and assist in what their Person likes to do. This ranges from collecting sheep off the mountain to toddling round the main ring at Crufts.
  • The need to correct an error
  • Zip Early Learning
    She is a wild running, butterfly-working dog. Or more scientifically: a dog with a compulsive behaviours that responds very fast to arousal and movement in the environment.

Learning About Collies

  • 50 years a student of sheepdogs
    In recognition of my half-century of being a student of collies I want to celebrate their skills as masters of my learning.
  • A Cue or not a cue?
    With thoughtful planning and a good understanding of the relevance of antecedent selection we can teach the dog the skills of sorting the wheat from the chaff, finding the bones of the exercise. This skill is critical to being able to distinguish between distractions, which are just cues for an alternative reward opportunity, and cues which signify a guarantee of success.
  • Construction or suppression
    Looking at the way the behaviour is carried out is the most important element, and that is the product of all the considerations.
  • Fast does not mean better
    We are becoming surrounded by a culture of fast. We are being sold that immediate gratification is the only solution.
  • Heartbeat of living with dogs
    I like to regard a “teacher of dogs” as someone who meets dogs in their world and teaches them how to be their best whilst living alongside us in our world.
  • Normal is always changing
    What was normal in training 20 or 40 years ago is not the same today. There are folk persistently maintaining the normal of 1976, but fortunately there are enough folk with a deeper understanding of the processes that have moved normal forwards.
  • Not Today and Not for My Sheepdogs
    Standard protocols of extinction, impulse control, counterconditioning are quickly grabbed off the shelf as satisfactory solutions. These solutions are unlikely to help your collie, your sheepdog as the focus is heavily on suppression of who they are and why they live.
  • One day you will love him again
    The puppy that you adored, could do no wrong, is now a living horror story. We want to use positive reinforcement, and our mind focuses on the success of what is not happening. But reinforcement attaches itself to something happening, not an absence and cannot select for a multitude of different things that are being reinforced.
  • Shaping by rewards
    When I see a dog showing a behaviour that is heading towards potential conflict, my first question is “what rewards are available?”
  • Sheepballs Cues
  • Stop doing that ….
    Can we teach an effective Cease That Behaviour? Absolutely. We can teach that positively, without harm, and we should teach them the skills of stopping that and doing this instead.
  • When we train a dog it grows
    Most training starts from necessity. Management is a necessity but it usually benefits all parties by a reduction of conflict. Are they expanding their skills to benefit us or for their benefit?

Library

  • A New Puppy. Oh Joy.
    Impulse buying the wrong sofa can be rectified if you swallow the expense. Impulse buying a puppy can result in personal grief for you and your family and quite possibly result in a very unhappy future or end the life of that puppy.
  • A teaching plan
    The pathway ahead, a road map for success. Details of what, why, when, how.
  • Approval or attention seeking?
    Jumping up is nearly always viewed, by both positive and negative trainers as A Major Sin. It rates near the top of the list of an undesirable behaviour.
  • Are you coasting?
    Are we coasting or are we improving? Is time so precious that we cannot invest in doing better? Looking at “Leave it” protocols, which are just another way of saying “no”. If we focus our training around what we don’t want the dog will focus on what to avoid. Focus on what we do want.
  • Changing is growth
    We are naturally attracted to familiar ways of training or living with our dogs. We have often worked hard to learn those habits and there is a reluctance to make changes since this is hard work. It takes mentally energy to note what we are not doing well, recall what changes we need to make, find the prompts that can move us to the changes and then work on the skills those changes require.
  • Ethical questions
    What to ask before when we make a plan to teach
  • Fast does not mean better
    We are becoming surrounded by a culture of fast. We are being sold that immediate gratification is the only solution.
  • FEATURING Familiarisation
    What does familiarity look like? How does it develop?
  • How do you know what you don’t know?
    The age of trusting the professionals is fading fast. I am not sure anymore what exactly is a professional and the difference between genuine, self-styled and fake? With so much information freely available and shared when we open the gate to “looking for a xyz” we are struggling to recognise authenticity from smart marketing.
  • Isolation hell or solitude heaven?
    Strange times often give birth to new insights and understanding. Certainly a new aspect of empathy as we experience social situations that may not be of our choice.
  • More than words
    We expect our dogs to understand the meaning of words and signals, but if you have ever worked with computers you will know that what you say doesn’t always turn into an actionable response.
  • Not all lures contain food
    “the direct use of the reinforcer to elicit the behaviour” This should always be foremost in our mind, in that many alternatives lures are available.
  • One day you will love him again
    The puppy that you adored, could do no wrong, is now a living horror story. We want to use positive reinforcement, and our mind focuses on the success of what is not happening. But reinforcement attaches itself to something happening, not an absence and cannot select for a multitude of different things that are being reinforced.
  • One dog’s trick is another dog’s lifeskill
    We cannot teach something just for fun, it can never be just a trick, ride a bike for fun? – it is only a trick.
  • The Table Game
    Coming up to 20 years since I designed this game for my college students in computing – to improve communication! Who knew it would become a future piece of technology for world of training and behaviour analysis? … and cruises of course!
  • What is important … ?
    … when your dog is sick and fearful? If you have a dog who is sick and fearful you can feel lost and alone. The weight of opinion, expectation and information can be overwhelming. What is right? What is true? What is best? Throughout this journey I have allowed my ethics to guide me. The individual who is Merlin is at the heart of every choice I make.
  • Wheat or Chaff?
    What is the purpose of this video? To sell a product, to instruct or to inspire? It should be clear from the first viewing. Often we are seeing an unhealthy blend of talking head, dripping treats into bored dog, convincing you of their innate expertise.
  • When it is not rewarding
    Just because it is our intent to reward does not make it always rewarding.

Living With Dogs

  • 1. We Already Know How to Live Together
    All our households are different, all dogs come with a different package of DNA and our relationships are unique.
  • 10. Is Good Intention Enough?
    We are all striving to make our dog’s lives a pleasant experience. If we are not paying close attention to the experience our puppy or dog is having we can inadvertently set them up for poor experiences. These experiences can be linked by the dog to circumstances that we never intended.
  • 2. Ethics
    Take heed of your comfort bell. If the advice or a situation makes your comfort bell start to ring with alarm then walk away. Your bell should be listened to and although it may not ring loudly in the first instance, do not ignore it.
  • 3. Dogs Can Only Behave Like Dogs
    Be alert, and probably bark when something suspicious occurs.
  • 4. But it is a Puppy
    Puppies are designed to bring on a shot of pleasure-chemicals that override common sense and risk analysis in people. We behave without responsibility.
  • 5. Relationship and Connection
    Connection is about being in tune with each other. Dog is not the enemy.
  • 6. Teach and Train
    They do not arrive knowing how to behave or live in our society, except as dogs. They will need help to learn how to live alongside us without conflict. This is our responsibility.
  • 7. Lifestyle At Home
    We breed a dog that lives and breathes to share their lives with people. Be nearby and visit often.
  • 8. Early Days Out and About
    Familiarisation should ensure that a puppy has the time to assess, observe, and become familiar with, the weird and wonderful life that will be their future.
  • 9. Primary School
    Being a puppy is a busy, over-filled learning fest. Nature has designed them to excel at being inquisitive and curious. If you do not feed that desire to learn, then the learning that happens may not be on your agenda: jumping at people, opening the waste bin, chasing the cat, chickens, skateboards, eating fox poo, unstuffing the sofa, biting off the top of the gear lever, shredding tampons all over the house.
  • Every Dog Every Day Introduction
    We should not be trying to change dogs but celebrating what they are and changing the world in which they live

Nika Top

  • Building A Generous Future
    Maybe it feels like a doddle because my life with her wasn’t one of competing against who she is, trying to mould her into something else, or even just worrying about the potential fallout of every decision I made.
  • Meeting Nika
    She’s only been here two weeks, but I’m already intimately familiar with the feeling of warm dog wee between the toes (no shoes or socks in this house, and not merely because they’re so appealing to her ever-underemployed teeth) and I’m adept at standing on one leg while disinfecting the tainted foot under the shower head.
  • Nika and the Big Wide World
    I want Nika to learn about the world; to learn that there are things that happen “out there” or “over there,” to which she doesn’t need to attend.
  • Nika and the Garden
    As the breeze of adolescence gently rustles through the house, we have come to understand how much inadvertent, self-propelled learning has occurred in the garden, and how much a den of iniquity that place is for a young dog.
  • Nika and the Great Big Yip
    I didn’t even notice the magical power of her Great Big Yip as a summoning charm until I found myself half out of my chair.
  • Nika and The Hands
    Hands become objects of curiosity rather than teething toys: followed, sniffed, and even licked.
  • Nika and the Humans
    Nika’s not just a friendly dog, though. Nika’s a dog who is extremely stimulated by novel humans.
  • Nika and the Spring-Mounted Hello
    Greetings have been becoming increasingly less pleasant for all humans concerned: the sharp puppy nails combined with her developing physical strength and power
  • Nika on Wheels
    Car travel for some pups can become a nightmare of hypersalivation and sickness.
  • Nika Starts School
    I realised that instead of merely addressing learning gaps, her curriculum was going to have to build on her natural skills and abilities, to allow her input into learning design, to adapt with her as she developed.

OR1 Where to Begin

  • History of Border Collies
    A look at the background of sheep to be able to understand the specific evolution of the collie and why it differed from other stock working dogs.
  • Inherited Behaviours
    Whether your dog is directly “from the barn” or several generations removed there have been hundreds of previous generations with strong sheepdog behaviours.
  • Registration Systems
    Farmers are generally as competitive as anyone else and during August the farming tasks are low demand and led to the invention of sheep dog trials.
  • Where to Begin

OUTRUNS

  • History of Border Collies
    A look at the background of sheep to be able to understand the specific evolution of the collie and why it differed from other stock working dogs.
  • Inherited Behaviours
    Whether your dog is directly “from the barn” or several generations removed there have been hundreds of previous generations with strong sheepdog behaviours.
  • Registration Systems
    Farmers are generally as competitive as anyone else and during August the farming tasks are low demand and led to the invention of sheep dog trials.
  • Where to Begin

SeeWithNewEyes

  • Don’t Go There
    How we label, refer and view a process will have an effect on how we employ it. Words have powerful meanings that can be quite different depending on your culture, your background and your experience. But language matters, and the following are just some examples of terms we might want to consider:

Top Training

  • A Day of Learning
    A no-training day does not mean he gets a lazy day lying idly in the sun. Learning is still happening and this is significant and important for his development.
  • Cue Seeking
    Being an active learner and seeking opportunities for more rewards
  • Duration or is it Breakfast in Bed?
    Teaching duration has become a very muddied understanding or what it is and how to teach it. This is partly due to how we use words that are the same but have entirely different meanings.
  • Duration: sustaining movement
    Continuing and maintaining a specific movement
  • Evidence of learning
    When we use the words “teach” or “train” child, person or dog, the operative term implies that the process is under the ownership of the teacher or trainer. What your teacher thinks you have learned may not be what you actually learned.
  • Going Shopping
    This is a joint travelling adventure. It completely resets the learning and can easily extend the reinforcement process.
  • Luring: Hand lures
    Learning hand-lure skills, Collect the food, engage, follow, feed.
  • More than words
    We expect our dogs to understand the meaning of words and signals, but if you have ever worked with computers you will know that what you say doesn’t always turn into an actionable response.
  • Nose Target. No thanks
    Nose target is a popular behaviour taught to many dogs, and other animals. It seems easy to teach and have practical application, but it is often not such a pleasant experience for all dogs. There are many other options available that give the same practical benefit, without the unpleasant extremes.
  • Not all lures contain food
    “the direct use of the reinforcer to elicit the behaviour” This should always be foremost in our mind, in that many alternatives lures are available.
  • Obnoxious Puppy
    The delight of your new puppy is probably going to last a few weeks, maybe four if you are lucky. When 12 weeks old hits, and you will feel a slam, the Delight is going to demonstrate ungrateful, obnoxious traits.
  • One dog watching
    The other dog working or ….how to train the spectators to quietly rest and watch whilst you work, play, teach a single member of the group
  • Preparation
    Preparing before you train and the final check list
  • Reasons to use a clicker
    The concept of “being a clicker trainer” is always going to lead to argument and misunderstanding because it cannot exist alongside the science and technology. It is a “fakery” of our time. The clicker itself is a simple tool that when used in conjunction with technology provides clarity and understanding in teaching.
  • Release cue or stay cue
    Many of us begin with teaching sit or down, and this is one of the earliest experiences of training with reinforcement. Is the sit, or down, going to be a terminal behaviour, or a temporary position?
  • Remote lures
    Lures at a distance, separated from hands, pockets . Using reward stations, patterns, containers
  • Stop doing that ….
    Can we teach an effective Cease That Behaviour? Absolutely. We can teach that positively, without harm, and we should teach them the skills of stopping that and doing this instead.
  • Surprising Puppy
    Surprising Puppy. With obnoxious moments. After introducing the obnoxious puppy as a youngster I am knocked over by the Delightful Young Man he is turning into……
  • The Power of Passive Learning
    Active learning: the learner takes active choice of what to do, how to respond, is attentive and making conscious effort Passive learning: little conscious effort, reward is delivered for minimum effort.

Wrong Sheep

  • The Wrong Sheep
    A street with traffic can cause the dog to lunge out or joggers, bikes can trigger this reflex to control the movement.

Year One

  • A Day of Learning
    A no-training day does not mean he gets a lazy day lying idly in the sun. Learning is still happening and this is significant and important for his development.
  • A New Puppy. Oh Joy.
    Impulse buying the wrong sofa can be rectified if you swallow the expense. Impulse buying a puppy can result in personal grief for you and your family and quite possibly result in a very unhappy future or end the life of that puppy.
  • A Road to Nowhere
    When familiarity is stripped away we seek recognisable signposts that will take us back to comfort and security. This is survival instinct. It is worth listening to as it keeps us alive.
  • Be-toothed Learning Machines
    The thing they don’t tell you is that raising a puppy is DANGED HARD WORK. Biting everything, peeing everywhere, eating anything; not for the faint hearted.
  • Building A Generous Future
    Maybe it feels like a doddle because my life with her wasn’t one of competing against who she is, trying to mould her into something else, or even just worrying about the potential fallout of every decision I made.
  • Don’t Let Them Learn
    Becoming aware that we share our lives with premier learners, dogs, is about saving you frustration, despair, anxiety and endless hours further down the road.
  • Fast does not mean better
    We are becoming surrounded by a culture of fast. We are being sold that immediate gratification is the only solution.
  • Obnoxious Puppy
    The delight of your new puppy is probably going to last a few weeks, maybe four if you are lucky. When 12 weeks old hits, and you will feel a slam, the Delight is going to demonstrate ungrateful, obnoxious traits.
  • One day you will love him again
    The puppy that you adored, could do no wrong, is now a living horror story. We want to use positive reinforcement, and our mind focuses on the success of what is not happening. But reinforcement attaches itself to something happening, not an absence and cannot select for a multitude of different things that are being reinforced.
  • Shaping by rewards
    When I see a dog showing a behaviour that is heading towards potential conflict, my first question is “what rewards are available?”
  • Teenage Tearaway
  • The Experienced Dog
    Knowing your dog has receive sufficient preparation does not mean every eventuality, but a range of different conditions so that when the unexpected happens they will draw on their skills and solve the issue.
  • The Power of Passive Learning
    Active learning: the learner takes active choice of what to do, how to respond, is attentive and making conscious effort Passive learning: little conscious effort, reward is delivered for minimum effort.
  • What’s Cooking? A Warning About Recipes
    Recipes for “training” dogs are so prevalent in how we live with and talk about them that their existence often goes unquestioned.

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