Danish-Swedish Farmdogs Can Herd

Well I went to dog camp the end of August, and had a great time again. I hope to go for two weeks next year, not just one. I’m excited. Since I’ll be retired, I should be more free with my time! Sorry I haven’t been posting much… but I thought I’d post about Jet and how wonderful he’s doing with herding.

At camp we went herding on Nigerian goats and some sheep. He did awesome. The goats were really heavy, so he was able to just walk behind them slowly and keep them with me. That was the most amazing herding I’ve ever done. I have only dabbled in herding in my life, mostly with my collie Levi, but I’ve always wanted to pursue the dogs sport of hearding a great deal more. So when I got back from camp, I decided I’d start lessons with a local herding instructor. So Jet and I are going to take herding lessons. We had our first lesson, and he did so well! He circled the sheep and changed directions and kept them with the trainer. When I stepped in, though, I was falling over my feet and I was a complete mess. So I have a lot to learn to get my feet under me and get into the right positions when I need to be.

Danish-Swedish Farmdog Herding
Danish-Swedish Farmdog Herding

These pictures are of Jet herding at camp. We went to Sheep Camp in Tahoe. Maybe we’ll even go back early next year and spend a few days with the instructors there.

Danish-Swedish Farmdog Herding
Jet Herding Sheep

Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are an amazing breed. Not only can they do agility, obedience, flyball, ratting, nose work etc… they can also herd. Myself and another lady are working towards getting the Farmdogs so we can compete in both AKC herding and ASCA herding. We can compete in AHBA. Though ASCA and AKC require a breed to be approved before herding in competition.

Danish-Swedish Farmdog Herding
Danish-Swedish Farmdog Herding

Jet is such an amazing boy, and I love herding with him!

Danish-Swedish Farmdog Herding
Herding Goats
Danish-Swedish Farmdog Herding
Getting close!

The Missing Element in Training

Since my post about Cesar Milan a while ago, and the comments I received on it, I wanted to post again. Not about Cesar… really. But about one of the comments (maybe more than one of them).

Someone said that Cesar is more a dog psychologist than a dog trainer. I have said, for as long as I have been around dogs… okay for as long as I’ve been around dogs as an adult.. since my early 20s, that whenever I am with a dog, I am training that dog. And from what I understood, it seems a number of people believe that dog training and dog psychology are mutually exclusive.

I beg to disagree. I think that they are intertwined. So much so that you cannot have one without the other when you are dealing with dogs.

Sure you can teach a dog to sit, down, stay, heel… you can teach a dog obedience, agility, flyball, herding, tracking… and any of the other dog sports out there. And this is all training. However, if you want to really have a good working relationship with your dog, and you want a dog that performs well and likes to work, you have to understand that dog’s behavior. The dog’s psychology.

On the other hand, you can understand a dog’s behavior up the wazoo, but in order to get a well mannered dog, either a house companion or a working dog, you have to incorporate training into the interaction you have with the dog.

I have done agility for over four years now. I am just barely starting to do serious obedience training. If you have followed my training with Chase, my border collie, you’ll know all about the trials and tribulations I’ve had with him. He knows all the agility contacts. He knows his job. He knows how to jump and how to weave and how to run through a tunnel (he especially knows how to ignore me completely and head for the tunnel all the way on the other end of the course). But a very huge piece of his ‘training’ was missing. And that was the behavioral part. Knowing why he does what he does… his drive, his motivation. Knowing that he lacked drive shaping and focus, and that he has a high sex drive, these things are critical when training him.

It seems to me that many, many people in competition events nowadays don’t understand the behavioral aspect of training. Understanding your dog, your individual companion and partner, is critical to the training experience. Having a dog that can think, and listen to you, and focus on his job.. these things are so important that I cannot express it in words. Without the behavior piece with Chase, without understanding his psychology, we never would have restarted our forward progress in dog training. Even in socialization, as he tends to not be good with some other dogs.

So really, to say that Cesar is a dog psychologist and not a dog trainer is something I disagree with. I believe he is both. I still don’t like his methods, though.

I look at dogs completely differently than I did only a year ago. Instead of just looking at their training I look at what their person has done, or hasn’t done, to shape their behavior, too. It’s fascinating. I love it. I want to spend more time doing it. Maybe after I retire I will be able to.

I want my dogs to have every opportunity to succeed. And, of course, I want to succeed, too. And now I have many more tools with which I can do this. And it’s fun!

Wags 4 Wishes!

OOoo I so want to go! I wish Levi was better at herding but maybe I’ll see if he’s up to getting on some sheep. 🙂

Wags 4 Wishes in Arizona (near Phoenix) in January. 18, 19 and 20th. Long drive, 700 miles, but not much different than camp. And my husband might want to come! I would prefer if he comes. We could make a vacation out of it.

My flyball team wants to go for the flyball. And I’d do agility too, of course. Maybe herding..? We’ll have to see. The camp sites are not too expensive.

Looks like a lot of fun. Man I’m burning through my vacation time at work, though. Ugh. I so need to retire. I wonder if they sell Celine Dion tickets down there… and Arizona in January, a good time to go!

Tatum’s ILP Pictures

I’m going to send in Tatum’s pictures for ILP. I believe her official registered name is going to be Tatum Tot Spice. To stay in line with the Spice theme started with Angel and continued with Chase.

I’m bad at names.. I’ve been considering changing her name to Pixie, which I really like… but I think it’s a bit too silly. And even though she is a silly sprite, I’d like her to have a more intelligent name, which Tatum seems to be to me. So we will leave her name as is. It’s a unique name, which I like. And it seems to fit her, and she already responds to it.

And of course this shot I had to post here, because what a cute head tilt that is! When I separate her from the other dogs she remains shy. She doesn’t like it when I walk up to her. I wanted to get a good stack on her but my Husband is playing WoW and cannot be disturbed. 🙂 but I think these are good shots anyway. She does seem to have a straight front, but many collies do. I think her back end is fairly nice, though.

Good for agility, flyball, obedience and herding!

Tired at Dog Camp

Well, us humans are beat. The dogs are still doing well. Cor and Chase are maniacs and doing well, and want to keep swimming like nutters. Levi lays on the sand and watches. Kiwi kinda wanders about and also lays in the sand. Zoe and Twist are not on the beach much, but they are having fun barking at the other dogs that swim. All in all it’s a great time.

We went on a hike today, too. No herding today. Which is good. Levi and Cor are both done herding. Cor is drained mentally. The first picture on the left is a very cute one of Chase after he was swimming, bit of tongue sticking out there. And the second one is of Levi laying in the sand being all pleased with himself.

The third one down is of Kiwi and Cor. Kiwi is the red merle aussie, and Cor is the tri aussie. Kiwi is mellow, and Cor his very hard drive. She is the one who needs to be in a performance home. She’s too high drive to be a lay-about house dog. She gets to herd, do flyball, agility, obedience, and disc dog.

The last picture is of Zoe and Twist. They are the cutest shelties. Twist is doing so awesome at herding! He is herding thousands of sheep at a time (if you ask him, anyway) he’s really moving them around. Zoe is also having fun, and we all went on a hike today.

Tomorrow is the last day. We are sad that we will have to pack up. We are going to do some obedience and a hike in the afternoon, and then it’s packing, drinking a bit of wine, and leaving early Saturday morning for the 9 hour drive home. I think the boys are going to sleep all the way home.