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The Official Newsletter for the Lethbridge and District Kennel Club

News

photo by Sarah Novak

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Thought of the Month

The Newest pups at Seransil ! !

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photo by Ev Sera

Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies. Gene Hill

Favorite Links
• For information on CKC Events, Breed Standings, and to find a show near you- check out Canuck Dogs. http://canuckdogs.com • Check out our own website!! http://www.ldkc.net

Upcoming Events
• For information on CKC Events, Breed Standings, and to find a show near you- check out Canuck Dogs. http://canuckdogs.com

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What our members have been up to...
Members are encouraged to submit brags and photos for the newsletter. Email manymuddypaws@hotmail.ca

From Ev and Bob

Royal ( Can Ch Seransil Skyewell Roc’On Royal) wins 2 back-to-back 4 point majors this past weekend at the Panarama Poodle Club Specialty and the Spokane Kennel Club Shows, May 25 & 26.  Sage (Seransil Skyewell Petite Sage – Royal’s mother) completes her Am Rally Excellent with High In Class. Our recent litter of 7 boys from Ashton and Flirt are now 4 weeks old. 
From Keitha and Rob Cruiser aka Ch. Akadan’s Risky Business had a great weekend in Regina.  He rec’d an Award of Merit from breeder judge Carol Spritzer at the Dachshund National Spec.  At the Regina All Breed Show he rec’d a Hound Group 2 from Judge Sue Ellen Rempel.  The next day he won the Hound Group and went on to win Reserve Best In Show under mini long breeder Judge Sandy Alexander.    So all in all I say he had a great weekend and I was so proud of him, heshowed his little heart out and then came home and slept for a week.  From Jolene Kort , Ch Davenloch Storm Warning CD RA AGNS ADC SGDC SHDCh HIC VC, came home from the 2X4 Agility Trials in Balzac AB with his Agility Dog Of Canada Title and his Starters Games Dog Of Canada Title. From Amanda

Pixel, Cornerstones on Second Thought, brought home another leg towards her CDX with a High In Class. One more to go!

The cake we brought to the Medicine Hat dog show was a HUGE success! Spreading the news one dog show at a time!

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Childrens Festival Candids

Thanks to Liz (Blazingstar) for these great photos!
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H is for Herding
The fourth of a “Performance Dog” Series.

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A New Obsession
by Amanda Labadie photo by Sarah Novak

The first time I took my Border Collie for a Sheep Herding lesson I was hooked. It gave me goosebumps to see the instinct, the natural ability she had. I had done a bit of “just for fun” herding with my Corgis before but this was different. Brit was amazing. And like an addict I wanted more. I started doing lessons every week- sometimes more. In that time I have learned a lot about my dog, myself, and about this exciting sport. I hesitate to call it a sport- it is more than that. Different than anything else I have ever done with my dogs. In no other sport am I relying almost completely on my dogs instinct. It is difficult to explain but my relationship with Brit is different than any of my other dogs. When it just me, her and the sheep it is like we are all connected. There has been a huge learning curve- sometimes there is too much information to absorb or remember. I’ve taken a lot of notes, and blogged about herding more than anything else. With Herding there are no treats, no rewards other than more work, and the dog learns through mistakes. Make a mistake and there is pressure, do it right and you get to work more. It is a simple concept really. Pressure could be anything from taking a step towards the dog to move them off the sheep, waving the stock stick towards them, or throwing the stick at their feet. The Pressure is always a consequence for being too tight to the sheep, or not listening. What pressure you use depends on the dog, and on the circumstance. It took me a while to understand that. Some habits die hard though, and I still tell my dog she is wonderful. But it is more for me than for her. Keeping the flank commands (Come Bye, and Away) straight in my head took a while. I still mess them up somtimes. Good thing my dog is smarter than me! Not only did I have to learn new commands, and what to tell my dog, and to watch my dog. I had to learn about the stock! I knew nothing about sheep. Now I know to look for a leader and watch her head. Be calm and still. How to predict their path. Combine all these factors, and herding is hard!!! It can be very frustrating! But thanks to some great instructors I mostly know what I am supposed to do, and we have a lot of fun doing it! It’s been nine months since Brit was first on sheep. She’s trained to the point where we are entered in our first CKC herding trial next week. I am nervous, and excited. My dog has the skill- she is good to her sheep and responsive. As with most other sports the brunt of the problem is with the handler. ;) This has been an incredible journey, and we are only just beginning. I am excited about what the future will bring!
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Sheep Basics
By Louanne Twa.
Louanne is a herding intructor, and instinct tester out of Okotoks Alberta. She also raises and trains Border Collies (and one token Chihuahua).

My herding journey started like many people who just start out in this sport. I had an Aussie cross who really need more mental stimulation. A friend told me she was going out to do some sheep herding. I thought that sounded like a lot of fun and it has been full speed ahead ever since. I have been training and trialing stockdogs for nine years now. I started teaching all breed lessons about five years ago. I have traveled all over North America competeing with my dogs at all the major sheepdog trials. In 2011 I made the semi finals at the National Finals sheepdog trial in Carbondale, Colorado where the top 150 dogs in North America are invited to compete. I currently own five border collies and have some in for training as well. We own a small ranch of 300 acres with 200 head of sheep and a small herd of purebred cattle. Our dogs are used everday on the ranch and I could not imagine doing it without a dog. I like to try my pups on sheep when they are around 8 months old. That time will be short around 5 minutes and it may only happen once a month. At this age the dog is not mentally ready for training after all it is still a puppy. A puppy first time on sheep can look like anything from chasing the sheep to not looking at sheep at all. This is not Border collie specific- it rings true for any breed. Even though the puppy is young I still like to create some rules. For instance even as a pup or a young dog it is not okay to bite at, or take down a sheep. The correction or consequence is always age specific, and dependent on the dog. At eight months old I would simply just remove him from the sheep and try again in a month. The sheep are always my first priority when working my own dogs or teaching lessons. They are living breathing creatures. A small breed dog can do just as much damage to a sheep as a large breed dog. I have heard of more sheep being killed by small dogs the large dogs. All it takes is a little chase game and that sheep run into the fence in an effort to get away and it breaks its neck. Chasing is not herding and I am always reminding my students. By allowing your dog to chase stock you are undoing anything you have taught them.

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Training a herding dog is very consequence based. If the dog is doing something wrong I will put pressure on them until they give to me. Much the same as working a horse- it is always pressure and release. Pressure can vary with each dog. With a soft dog it can be just a slight “hey hey” and a little wave of my stick or flag. Or with a big powerful dog it may need more to break their fixation on the sheep like throwing a paddle at them or the ground around them. The paddle is big and noisy and usually gets their attention. It is not meant to hurt the dog in anyway. These types of dogs would also be on a long line so I can get a hold of them in case something is going wrong. There are no treats, clickers or “good boy” in herding. I will talk to a dog that is not keen and try and encourage him but once he is hooked on the sheep his reward is the sheep not you. Some owners feel disheartened when their dog is put under pressure. Most pet dogs have never felt pressure based training and it takes them a couple of times to work through it. But when they do their learning curve is so much bigger and faster. Pressure is meant to work the dog mentally it is physical. This is a very hard concept to explain on paper it is much easier to demonstrate. Herding is the hardest thing you will do with your dog. There is no black and white, all grey. It can be extremely frustrating and extremely rewarding. Even me who has been doing this forever have days where it’s easy to want to quit. A common myth is if you have a border collie it is easy. So not true it is just as hard and we have the same problems. This is not a sport that can be summed up in a one page. I could write forever and still not be do explaining. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Louanne Twa phantomridge@gmail.com

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Instinct Test
HERDING INSTINCT TEST The Instinct Test is usually done in a round pen. This is to ensure that the sheep don't hold up in a corner, making it more difficult for an inexperienced dog to move them. The dog is brought in on leash with the evaluator or tester taking the dog and introducing him to the sheep. The evaluator observes how the dog and sheep react to one another and will determine if and when the leash should be removed. The dog is encouraged to move to and among the sheep as the evaluator judges the dog's actions. During the Instinct Test, the evaluator is watching to see if the dog is non-aggressive, watching the stock, and controlling or trying to control the sheep's movements. The tester evaluates whether the dog is "gathering" the sheep or trying to "drive" them. The tester will also watch the way the dog approaches the sheep; whether the dog likes to work wide or close; whether he barks or works quietly; if the dog is easily distracted or adjusts well to direction; how responsive the dog is to the evaluator; whether the dog groups the sheep or tries to split them up; and whether the dog has a natural "balance" on sheep. The HIC is open to all breeds, aswell as Mixed Breeds.

A typical herding instinct test would involve me taking your dog in to a round pen with the sheep on a long line. I will walk around the sheep reading your dog’s reaction to the sheep when they move. It is at this time while I am walking around with your dog on a line I can determine what kind of pressure your dog is going to respond to. I am also building a working relationship with your dog. I am also establishing some rules between him and me. A HIC test usually is timed and I only have 10-15 minutes to get your dog to work the sheep. Which is really a challenge sometime and kind of like a race. The majority of dogs will go to work in this time limit but some just need more time and more work. Most testers will tell you that when they fail your dog. I have failed many dogs only to have them come back for lessons and have them work just great. Sometimes it takes 40 minutes to work through that drive and get through to the dog. ~Louanne Twa

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The Tail End
A few thoughts from the editor
I once said I’d never own a Border Collie. And then Brit fell into my lap. I once said Agility is my favorite thing to do. And then I got hooked on herding. I’ve learned to keep an open mind, and never say never! Having a Border Collie, and doing herding with said Border Collie is like nothing else I’ve done. It has been quite the learning curve (as I mentioned in the article found in this newsletter.) But I love it. The connection with my dog, the peace of the livestock. The Simplicity of it all. To give my shorties credit they did work sheep once upon a time. Wicca more so than the others. She happily trotted around the round pen for me. I enjoyed seeing the instinct, and excitement in my dogs. I highly suggest that people with herding breeds (or even non traditional breeds) try it. An instinct test is easy, and there is nothing like seeing that glimmer of interest turn on. The kennel club does hope to put one on eventually- but there are lots of clubs doing them now so it would be easy to find one on Canuckdogs.com
photo by Amanda Shigehiro

photo by Sarah Novak

Next month the newsletter will be about Obedienceanother love of mine. I would love some input from members! Memories of first trials, or even training articles would be welcomed! You must all be sick of looking at photos of my dogs, but I can only use what I have. This newsletter can only be as great as the information I am given. So the more active role you play the better!!

Next Months newsletter will be all about Obedience!!! So if you have anything you’d like to submit please do so!!!! I’d love some articles or stories about people’s first time in the ring!

Want to join the LDKC?
We are always on the lookout for responsible dog lovers to join the club! Contact Andrea at andidog@telus.net for more information!

Comments/ Suggestions/ Submissions
Editor: Amanda Labadie: manymuddypaws@hotmail.ca

P.S Don’t be afraid to pass on the newsletter to your friends! Maybe it would be incentive to join so they can show off their wins and brags too! :)

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