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 14, 2010

Week 91

Star had more opportunities to travel and work different sheep on different fields. I also recognized that he may benefit from more socialization. The economy has meant more time at home, and Star hasn't had the benefit of attending many dog trials, so I made a point of including him in more extracurricular activities, and he made his first-ever trip to PetCo.

This week's lessons:
  1. Recovery
  2. Working big
  3. Introduction to the look-back
Here's an excerpt:

By the time he got there, about 500 hundred yards away, the sheep had split up, and 3hd were well in front of the other 2 on his side. He only saw the 3, and turned in on them. I tried to whistle him around on the others, but I think I might have been late. It's hard to tell at that distance, because your depth perception isn't always accurate. He lifted the 3, I decided to make lemons into lemonade, and started jogging up the field. I wanted to get to Star early enough that the 2 laggers would be close enough to facilitate my look-back lesson. When I got to him, they were another 100 yards further down-field. I flanked him come-bye around the 3hd, then told him to stand. I walked past the sheep he had and started in the direction of the others. I blew my look-back whistle then said; "that'll do." Star tried to flank come-bye to hold the 3 hd to me. I kept walking, repeated my look-back whistle, and said again; "that'll do." He began to flank again, and I repeated my lesson, then said "here," which caused him to look towards me now well past his sheep, and see the others. At that point it was a simple matter of giving him a verbal "away-to-me," and he was off for them like a shot. Dogs tend to love to go back for more sheep. They are getting more sheep after all. To them, that can't be bad. This is a lesson easily learned by Border Collies when taught correctly, and because of that, I will use it sparingly. Honestly, I had planned to introduce it about now anyway, but then thought better of it after last week's surprising incident. I decided to stay with what we know in the interest of confidence, instead of introducing something new. But the opportunity presented itself today, and it was just too good to pass up. I don't know when I'll have the opportunity again, and I don't know that I want it for a while.

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