The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Friday, December 29, 2006

How do you manage your dogs?

Border collies can be too smart for their own good. Dogs live by a different set of standards than we do and I make every attempt to treat them accordingly. Things go South in a hurry when owners give dogs more prosperity than they deserve. Fetching a toy, sleeping loose in the house, and running loose are the kinds of things I avoid with my dogs until I trust that they are mindful. I raise respectful youngsters and I maintain that respect. Some dogs will take a mile if you give them an inch and those dogs won't get any inches around me. They either learn that good behavior has it's rewards or they get no rewards. They must respect me and they have to earn my respect of them. I don't allow my dogs to bark and I do whatever it takes to stop it. I don't allow my dogs to put their feet on me, pull on their lead, bolt out of their kennel or crate over top of me or fight with each other. I make the rules and I'm very consistent with them. Patrick Shannahan shared a story with me about a student who brought a dog to him saying "I don't like it when my dog does that." Patrick's response was "don't let him do that." It's just that simple. My dogs are kenneled and I don't know any successful, top handlers who do not kennel their dogs. It's good for my dog emotionally to be kenneled. They learn to quiet their incredible drive and this transfers when I train them. If you leave them loose, they're learning they can do what they want, when they want and that transfers to training as well. The point here is that they're always learning. My dogs need a place of their own that's safe and quiet, without stimulus, where they're not under any pressure from stock or from me. Kenneled they can learn to relax and that's what I'm looking for on stock. My dogs stop when I ask. They don't slow down when I ask them to stop. They don't give 5 steps then stop and they don't blow me off completely. All things I see handlers allow all the time. I don't teach a stop from 500 or even 50 yards. I teach it at hand and don't ever increase the distance until my dogs stop on a dime, then I stretch the distance as far as they listen to me. If they never listen beyond 50 yards, then that's it for them, but it seems to me that a dog's hearing is directly related to the handler's intention. If I'm wishy-washy with my dogs, that's what I'll get from them. I get what I give. I give my dogs good food, a clean, quiet kennel, consistent direction, a set of rules to live by and all the love and respect they deserve.

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