Welcome to The Real Time Canine, Part Two

Welcome to part two of The Real Time Canine. In this edition, I will describe the daily life of a Border Collie sheepdog prospect. In weekly posts using words and pictures, I will describe what they learn and how they learn it. Each pup imparts knowledge in their own special way, and through them I will give you insight into how I train a Border Collie Sheepdog from beginning to success.

As with Kensmuir Star in the original
Real Time Canine, you will be with us every step of the way as these talented youngsters acquire the confidence, willingness and skills necessary to attain my goal for them to become a useful working sheepdog and successful trial competitor. I hope you will join us and find useful tips and technique on how to train a sheepdog.

After a lifetime with animals, dogs, horses and livestock, I am happy to share my expertise with you. I have found success at sheepdog trials at home and abroad, and have trained dogs that went on to find success with others. To learn more about me and my dogs, please visit my BorderSmith website, and my BorderSmith Blog!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two at a Time

Stop on a dime

I have the great pleasure of knowing some incredibly talented, senior handlers, who no longer start their youngsters every time. Today I began to internalize why. There's lots of movement involved, and I'm not as young as I once was.

In addition to Tam, I have young Spot in my kennel. He's 8 months old, and hasn't been doing much around here beyond grow, play and become very keen. I put him in training a couple days ago, and now there are two youngsters to train, plus open dog, Mirk.

Thankfully Tam has gotten to the fun part, past the start part, to the next part where I'm beginning to fine tune a few points and stretch him out. Confident tike that Tammie, and it's good to see. Love him! Spot, on the other hand, is a raw recruit with lots of enthusiasm, a quickness that belies his age, and a lot of style. I find myself having trouble getting out of his way, and I love him too.

Tam over eager

I set a goal on the day I started Spot, and today is day 8. I will work my pups, and ride my road bike every day for 14 consecutive days. When I start a pup, I like to stay with it daily to get him over the hump. The road bike thing has to do with my hips, which feel and look better when I exercise. I also have an eye on the calendar and Soldier Hollow, Meeker and the National Finals, which I entered today. I'm doing lots of training, and 2 pups at a time is taking its' toll.

Up at 5:30, on the field by 6-6:30am, Mirk gets the first turn. Even though he'll likely incur some heat in competition, he and I are tuning up in the cool of a morning. As Soldier Hollow gets closer, I'll reverse the order and acclimate him to heat. It's always hot at SoHo, and together with the 6,400' elevation, your dog better be in shape.

Tammy is next. He comes flying out of the truck looking, looking for sheep. He knows the drill, but he doesn't always know where they are. I like to keep him guessing, but that's getting harder all the time. He's very good at sweeping the field and locking on. And he's getting very good at running out.


By the time I get to Spottie, I've been at it for an hour, and he takes the most effort. Because of his age and beginner status, though, he's not working very long. I prefer to stop while he's craving more as opposed to putting his cha-cha at risk. We're wearing sheep, considering self-control, having a bit of fun, and learning to call off. I do love to start the pups, but the initial push is a lot of work. Luckily, he's pretty bright, and his curve will be steep.

Now I'm off to ride my bike. Day 8!

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