Welcome to The Real Time Canine

My name is Amelia Smith of BorderSmith Kennel and with The Real Time Canine, I am providing training technique for Border Collie Sheepdogs. Beginning with 10 week old Kensmuir Star, I will document his daily lessons in words and pictures every Sunday. Previously subscription based, the complete working journal is now available here every Sunday.

From the moment I collected Star, his training began and you will be with us every step of the way. Good manners, willingness & confidence are necessary for him to attain my goal to become a useful working sheepdog and successful trial competitor. From the first lessons on manners & socialization to his first exposure to sheep, you will be a part of Star's journey to success.

After a lifetime with animals, dogs, horses and livestock, I am happy to share my expertise with you. I have found success in 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! Cheers and thank you very much.

Jul 19, 2009

Week 35

This day signals the end of Star's summer vacation. It is so hot around here, however, that I am not sure how much we can accomplish, but we are going back to work. To mark the occasion, I bought new Dorper lambs so Star will have fresh stock on which to make his come back. They will provide new challenges for him and should help to focus his attention. I took more questions this week in the digest and, appropriately, one was about starting over.

The question:
"I have muddled through some of his training but want to start at the beginning again. What would you suggest we work on first? His downs are bad and he hates to comply. Should we work on the stop or stand or insist on the downs? From the start he chases the sheep; splits and grips to get them together. With my Sam do I let him gather the sheep and do the flanks in the round pen? Or should I continue to let him do as we have in the past which is moving left and right (he doesn't know his sides yet)? "
My response:
This is a great question, because I plan to do a bit of starting over with Star as well. It is never too late to begin again as far as I am concerned. When I imported my 2 Welshmen, Mirk and Lad, I had to essentially start over with them, because they seemed to have no idea what I wanted. While they were both fully trained adults, they were not working that way for me, so I treated them much like slightly trained youngsters until they and I understood each other. I kept them close at hand while working. I was very deliberate about my commands and made getting results a consistent priority.
I will suggest that the time it takes to correct faults in a dog's performance is dependent on your resolve, not on the dog's ability or intelligence, and the first step is to believe you can persevere. If, at first, you don't believe you can, believe that I believe you can, because I truly do. The attitude a dog has also strongly enters into the equation. When we are being too hard or too soft, we have to be observant to find the happy middle ground where our dog behaves, obeys and works willingly. Not always easy to do and the reason why it's OK to start over.

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