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.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dirty Little Secret

This is Indie, and she was a victim of abuse. After being with me for a month or so, she will just now walk into her kennel without coaxing, jump into the truck without being leashed, and enter her crate without food offered.

I suspected she was abused with a shock collar the first time I saw her on sheep. Her stop was just too mechanical, her expression too wary, and she gave ground to my pressure out of fear. I knew who had started her, a San Diego County, so-called dog trainer who is notorious for shocking dogs. The owner called the abuser, and confirmed it after I shared my suspicions. She made this excuse: "Indie wouldn't mind me." Indie was 12 months old at the time.

Now 15 months old, I tried to get Indie to sit up for these pictures, but she is far too submissive for that. It is an accomplishment just to have her jump on the rock. Previously she would have run to hide if she thought I wanted something from her.

Her owner is not responsible for this. He had no way of knowing what would happen when he put her in training. Indie was sent home, with the explanation that she was just too soft to be a sheepdog. She is a daughter of Alaisdare Macrae's Nap.

My experience with Indie is that she is a keen, stylish bitch who is afraid to use her talents. As much as her instincts tell her otherwise, she is more concerned about me than determined on her stock...but she's changing. My experience with her abuser is that Indie was too much dog for her, so she shocked her into submission to make the job easier. In other words Indie was abused out of laziness.

As I work Indie, we do lots of walking, and wearing sheep with much shushing and encouragement from me. She is beginning to come right, but it will be a slow process. I love to watch her run out, because that's where she is least afraid, with plenty of speed, style and scope. Indie is learning her whistles, off balance flanks, and has just been introduced to the concept of an inside flank. I have to be so careful not to scare her.

It may take more time, more patience, many more steps, more sheep, different fields, but there is always, always a better way. Do NOT stand by and watch dispicable individuals abuse dogs, not your dog, not anyone's dog. Do not turn a blind eye, and convince yourself that it's OK. How could you?

Shock collars are what one successful sheepdog trainer refers to as "the dirty little secret," and they are the one exclusion in his return policy on dogs he sells. If you use a shock collar on them, he will not take them back, and he can always tell. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Good for you. I wish you much success in your re-training of Indie. She's one lucky dog to have you in her life!!

    Sue Kruse