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.

Aug 2, 2009

Week 37

The dogs days of summer are upon here in sunny Southern California, and it's hot. For this reason, because I am starting over with Star after 2 weeks off, and because of his tender age we are taking it slow. I see increased maturity and confidence in Star after his summer vacation and his progress is slow, but steady. Without question the dog has talent, and now we begin to find out whether I do as a trainer. He is not necessarily my type of dog and is challenging for me to train in many ways. The bottom line is that this youngster is teaching me a great deal.

This week's lessons:

  1. Working and learning
  2. A bit of tenderness
  3. Slow and steady

Here's an excerpt:

All week, we've begun each day with simply wearing sheep to me. Initially, it takes a bit of encouragement to keep Star on his feet, but as he warms up, it gets easier for him. Every day, using voice and whistles, I practiced his flanks and finished with a couple small gathers with me positioning my body near the sheep to reinforce and keep his outruns wide and deep in both directions. He prefers to slice on the away-to-me side some of the time, but a quiet "ahhh" from me, and he hitches up and kicks out. His come-bye flanks have always been clean and remain so. What I've noticed about Star since his 2 weeks off is a bit more maturity and a bit more confidence. I'm choosing to bring him back slowly. Partly because it's so hot and partly because I am basically starting over with him. In a sense he is getting a refresher of everything he learned early on, as well as a chance to internalize each step at a slower pace than the one I initially set. At this point, he is responding to the approach and I see improved confidence, maturity and skill in him every day.

I have been asked to write about the other dogs and their training in addition to Star's daily lessons. In future digests I will talk a bit about Mirk and what it is like to handle a mature and talented imported dog that was trained by someone else.

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