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.

Nov 15, 2010

Week 100

This week's journal was a report on the long-running Porterville Fall Driving Trial held for something like 27 years in California's heavily agricultural San Joaquin Valley. Hat's off to the hard working club that has produced it all these years. We had no cooperation from the sheep, or mother nature, but all that could be done, was done to make it the best it could be. Star ran twice in the open, and once in pro-novice. Stupidly, I forgot a change to the scheduling, and missed the nursery, where he really belonged, but my talented youngster ran well, and learn he did.

Here's an excerpt:
Shining brightly on Sunday, my youngster made go of it with a valiant effort. Since he knew the way from Saturday, I sent left again, and was rewarded with another perfect outrun. With increased confidence over previously trodden ground, I think he ran quicker this time and showed more confidence walking up for the lift. The sheep came right off the hay, but leaned back to the set out, and Star was slow to cover. To his credit, he angled the sheep towards me, but any chance for the fetch gates was lost to him. We got them back on line just below them though, and Star was taking every whistle. He was taking every whistle, but without enough oomph to be completely effective. All the previous work we did taking off balance flanks on the fetch came to fruition, though, and Star hardly put a foot wrong. Without that practice, those sheep would have simply leaned on him all the way back to the set out. Such was the case for more than a few of the open dogs.

Around the post was problematic for most dogs, because once behind, the ewes could feel their overnight pen, and stalled or made an outright break for it. At this point some hands did the "flank and down" taking all or most of their dog's power away. Many dogs gripped off at this point frustrated by lack of confidence, lack of power or handling. The dogs that were successful here showed patience and power, and were left on their feet. The judge was allowing sensible grips, because it was the only way for most. Oh so keen at this juncture, Star started the turn wide and I had to call him in. To let the sheep get the upper hand here meant that you may never regain it, and many runs ended before the drive began. Driving was tedious for us with the sheep stopping to turn on the dog over and over again. More than use his teeth, Star used his body to slam the sheep more than once, and we completed our drive, but the points had flown off. Once in the shed ring, time was called just as we were setting it up. Star knew what was coming, and positioned himself appropriately, and that was the only disappointment of the weekend. I had so wanted to test his mettle with a shed.

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