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New breeder approval process

We’ve had a lot more applications where working ability wasn’t completely apparent and have had to reject people based on the way their website came across or what not. Since it is so difficult to vet from afar,  it was suggested by our advisory committee that we go to a new system, and we always listen to our advisory committee! As of this posting, new Working Aussie Source breeder members must: Have a referral WAS breeder to vouch for you,…

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Susan Boyd on ranching with dogs on arid land

Susan Boyd is a Working Aussie Souce member with amazing photos and a recent video clip that led to this article. WAS:Can you tell us about your operation? My husband Curt and I purchased and established Boyd Ranch, LLC in 2004. It is situated on 25,000 acres and is located in Central NM about 75 miles SE of Albuquerque. The headquarters are in the old ghost town of Chupadera, NM. Over 100 years ago this town was a hopping little…

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An interview with Joe Sheeran

Ed note: I asked Joe some questions because of late he has been doing an amazing job of educating not only the Aussie folk, but the stockdog folk in general about the amazing potential of these dogs and how to use them. He plans to continue to make useful videos and hopefully his work will find its way to a bigger audience. But who is he and how did he get into these dogs for his operation? About me, I…

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An interview with Sarah Martin – Part 1, Starting to Use Dogs in a Cattle Operation

  Sarah Martin, of G-S Ranch, runs purebred red Angus with her husband and his family in northern Alberta, Canada. She is available for clinics. WAS: How did you get your first dogs? What did you look for? How did you know what to look for? Did you get what you wanted? SM: As stated above I got into my first working dog with a friend. I wanted a dog and his only stipulation was that I needed to find a working Australian…

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Tips on getting more people to look at your listings

A simple text listing really doesn’t work for people looking at the internet. To get the most out of your presence here, we suggest the following: Photos: Select high quality photos that make your dogs look good – show angles, show head type, and of course, show the dog working. If your dog is wide working, find photos that show that If your dog has bite, show it Choose your main photo for the image it conveys to a potential…

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The Stockdog Savvy Workbook, by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor

I think this is true for most Aussie people, but Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor is my first Aussie mentor. It started because her book (All About Aussies)  was the first one I bought, even before I had a dog, and it shaped my perception of the breed. Her family’s kennel name is pretty much known by every Aussie person for this reason, and the photos in those books really set a “type” for me about what these dogs should be. Moreover,…

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Genetic Testing as a Tool

You may see listings here and on breeders’ sites with a lot of alphabet soup. A number of genetic tests have been developed to better predict inherited health problems in dogs and help breeders and puppy buyers make choices about the future health of their dogs. While not all breeders choose to test or do all the tests, more information is certainly better than none at all. Below is a list of the common tests you may see listed and the…

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Add a new listing

Working Aussie Source does not guarantee or endorse any of the dogs listed in our directory. Your business transactions are between yourself and the lister. CURRENT FEE SCHEDULE: WHO CAN BE LISTED: The Breeders Directory is reserved for those who are producing Australian Shepherds primarily as a using dog for livestock work and stockdog trials. Our goal is to provide those who are looking for an Australian Shepherd purpose-bred to control livestock with a directory of breeders of that specific…

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Stockdog Library

We’ve brought together articles from many sources here; besides those commissioned by us, there are re-publications from websites, magazines, and online discussion boards. All are copyrighted to the authors unless otherwise marked, and the opinions expressed are those of the writer alone. Please remember that there are many different points of view and training techniques–not all of them will be appropriate for your dog, or your situation. A list of books and videos helpful in training loose-eyed breeds may be…

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Welcome to Working Aussie Source!

[espro-slider id=2917]If you’re a fan of the old-time Australian Shepherd, you’ve come to the right place.We maintain the largest directory of working Aussie breeders anywhere. Our goal is to be a source of information and inspiration for those who use Australian Shepherds for their original purpose, livestock management. NEWS: Working Aussie Source is under new ownership. Long time Internet community team, Amy Bradley and Kristin Tara Horowitz were invited by Kay Spencer (founder of WAS) to take over as she…

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List of Working Titles

STOCKDOG TRIAL AND HERDING TITLES ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America) STD — Started Trial Dog, beginning level (consists of two obstacles) OTD — Open Trial Dog, intermediate level (adds center chute or pen, and a handler’s line) ATD — Advanced Trial Dog, advanced level (same course as intermediate but with a more restrictive handler’s line) WTCH — Working Trial Championship (prefix) (dog has attained ATD on all three classes of stock) PATD — Post-Advanced Trial Dog (advanced course on…

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ASCA Working Description

THE WORKING DESCRIPTION OF THE AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD Adopted by the Stockdog Committee of the Australian Shepherd Club of America on March 12, 2006 Introduction The Australian Shepherd was developed in the 19th and 20th centuries as a general purpose ranch and farm dog in the American West, where a tough, enduring, versatile stockdog with an honest work ethic was required. His usual work included moving very large herds of sheep and cattle from summer to winter grazing grounds and back,…

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Historic Photos

THE AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD’S ORIGIN AND HISTORY: Photo Gallery, Part One of Four by Gwen Stevenson Working Aussie Source editor’s note: Gwen Stevenson was a founding member of ASCA, who lived in Oak Run, California. She made a collection of her own and other people’s articles, photos, stories and correspondence, some of which was first published in the newsletter of the Animal Research Foundation, one of the earliest organizations to recognize the Aussie. This collection was eventually assembled into a small…

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Australian Shepherd Origin and History

THE AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD’S ORIGIN AND HISTORY by Gwen Stevenson (Working Aussie Source editor’s note: Gwen Stevenson was a founding member of ASCA, who lived in Oak Run, California. This is a collection of her own and other people’s stories, articles, and correspondence, some of which was first published in the newsletter of the Animal Research Foundation, one of the earliest organizations to recognize the Aussie. It was eventually assembled into a small book, published by Dorrance & Co. in 1972,…

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Sheepwagon Dogs

SHEEPWAGON DOGS These photos are of dogs used to herd sheep in the Western US from the 19th century onward to the present. Most are from Wyoming and Montana. It is a good illustration of the very wide variety of sheepdog types used. Most look very like today’s English Shepherds or Australian Shepherds. Whatever they were, these are the real dogs. The dogs were incidental to the photos, so these pictures are ‘cropped to the dog’ from larger ones appearing…

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Jay Sisler, an interview with his wife and daughter

JAY SISLER, THE MAN BEHIND THOSE FAMOUS BLUE DOGS An interview with his wife Joy and daughter Maggie by Andrea Scott Anyone who is acquainted with Australian Shepherds knows the name Jay Sisler. Sisler, who passed away in 1995, made the breed famous with his dogs by performing at rodeos and appearing in movies. Although many people are familiar with his dogs, less is known about Sisler. Jay Sisler first met Joy, his wife, through family in 1978 in Emmett,…

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Down or Stand?

DOWN OR STAND by Gemi Sasson-Brickson, Jamie Burns, Anne Jespersen, Maarten Walter Gemi Sasson-Brickson— I’d like to know, for those of you who use a stand-stay when working stock, how you go about teaching that to the dog. Does this just work better for some dogs from the get-go? Or do you insist on a down-stay early in a dog’s career and then later, when the stays are more reliable and the dog is more experienced at reading situations on…

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When to Start Trialing

WHEN TO START TRIALING by Tenley Dexter and Maarten Walter Question: Have been using my Aussie for chores and taken some formal lessons on herding. Question is at what point would one consider entering a trial: with what behaviors needed as a starting point. Tenley Dexter comments: Ah, this is an easy question! When I can take a young dog away to a friend’s farm to work stock that my dog has never seen, in a place that is totally…

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Starting the Drive

STARTING DRIVING by Melinda May, Dicky Renn, Jamie Burns, Maarten Walter, Kathi Schwengel Melinda May— I have a problem training the drive . . . mostly on sheep. I can get Beau to drive pretty well on cattle with a few corrections when he starts to over flank. He’s not rough on cattle but he works real intense. On sheep he’s pretty tight and I spend all my time getting him out, slowing him down, working on getting him to…

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The Rule of Ten

THE RULE OF TEN by Jay Homan, Rose McCleod, & Darlene Lasko 1. TRUST YOUR DOG! 2. LEARN TO WALK BACKWARDS 3. KEEP MOVING 4. WATCH YOUR SHEEP! 5. KEEP YOUR DOG OFF THE SHEEP 6. DON’T WALK STRAIGHT ONTO YOUR SHEEP 7. PUT A GOOD STOP ON YOUR DOG 8. BE AWARE OF WHERE YOUR DOG IS 9. DON’T FOLLOW YOUR DOG 10. ALWAYS BRING THE LARGER NUMBER TO THE SMALLER NUMBER— DO NOT CHASE A SINGLE THAT’LL DO!…

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Flipping Away on One Flank

FLIPPING AWAY ON ONE FLANK by Melinda May, Anne Jespersen, Tenley Dexter, Marsha Westerman Melinda–I’m looking for suggestions on positioning and timing for how to correct a pup that is short sided on one flank. I’ve got a pup that is just starting on stock. We are working on the “shuffle” and using moderately heavy groupy ewes, not knee knockers that would follow me whatever the pup is doing…the pup has to be fairly correct. He is working quietly and…

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Memories of Working Aussies of Yesteryear

MEMORIES OF WORKING AUSSIES OF YESTERYEAR A pastiche of several discussions which have taken place on the internet board Aussie-Herders. Because of the nature of yahoo boards, there has been much editing to fit an article format. Dogs mentioned include Zephyr’s Crimson King, Angel Fire’s Hoo Doober, Slash V Slide Me Sweet, foundation Slash V dogs, Mini Acres Peppermint Patty, Oliver’s Romulus Five. Video added from the Aussie Archives – TheAustralianShepherd.net May 23, 2002 Dana MacKenzie– . . . Jumbuc’s…

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My Buddy Buzz

MY BUDDY BUZZ by Roger Moore This is a story that has been shared with others, but I always enjoy the opportunity to “talk dogs”. I hope RDT readers will enjoy and appreciate this story as much as I have enjoyed working stockdogs the past few years. Each dog that I have worked has their own individual thinking and working abilities. The longer I work with dogs the more I am reassured that a working dog is more than a…

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What, Where, and How

WHAT, WHEN, AND HOW an interview with Australian cattleman Tony McCallum by the staff of Ranch Dog Trainer Magazine Working in different types of terrain, most of it heavy timber or mountains, means that Tony McCallum, New South Wales, Australia, sends his dogs for stock that can’t be gotten to on horseback. Tony emphatically states, “In a lot of areas in Australia it’s not ‘`do people use dogs there’, rather, if they run stock in that country they have dogs.…

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The Aussie Style and Outrun

THE AUSSIE STYLE AND OUTRUN by Terry Martin I have said the ideal Australian Shepherd is one who will grip both the head and the heels. Every ranch or farm has unique situations that the dog will encounter. When stock are refusing to move, the dog or man has to use some kind of force. If they are facing and challenging the dog, he is going to have to be able to handle a confrontational head situation or nothing is…

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Working Corners

WORKING CORNERS by Butch Larson The purpose of working corners is to build confidence and to teach your dog the correct way to approach livestock in a tight spot. So many times have I seen a dog run in at the pen or at an arena trial because the dog felt the pressure from the fence and the livestock. If a dog runs in when one is working cattle, he could possibly get his head kicked off. Placing yourself in…

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History of the Australian Shepherd

HISTORY OF THE AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD by Maryland Little (editor’s note: Maryland Little was an early breeder of Australian Shepherds in Riverside, California. A paragraph about her was included in the ASCA 1977 Early Aussie Breeders retrospective written by Phillip Wildhagen. The photograph at right is of a dog of her breeding, McConkey’s Tiger Britches, (Littles Mr. Robert x Littles Pimenta Chica) born in 1965. The drawing below was included in the article; it is of Arrogante, a Spanish sheepdog imported…

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Selecting Whistles

SELECTING WHISTLES by Beverly Lambert Teaching a dog to work on whistles is very easy and saves an enormous amount of effort over the long haul. A dog working any distance away front the handler, or in strong wind or against loud background noise can hear a whistle much more easily than he can hear a spoken command. The need to yell and shout to have a spoken command carry any distance is tiring to the shouter and can easily…

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The Whole Cattledog : Side Commands

DEVELOPING THE WHOLE CATTLEDOG PART SIX: Side Commands by Rusty Johnson I will include this part of the series because this is what everyone wants. It seems like everyone is in such a hurry to tell their dog “Go right . . . Go left . . . down . . .”, but in all of their haste I really think people have overlooked the most important part. Sure, you see all of these great handlers giving their dogs side…

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Developing the Whole Cattle Dog: Beginning Work

DEVELOPING THE WHOLE CATTLEDOG Part 3: Beginning Work by Rusty Johnson If I remember right, we left off last time socializing. Before we move on I want to state: “Even though we are now trying to teach the pup something, socializing should NEVER stop!” The more the pup stays with you the easier training will be. This is especially true if you have a Kelpie. Kelpies, as a whole, are a more independent thinking breed than Border Collies or Australian…

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The Whole Cattledog: Socializing the Puppy

DEVELOPING THE WHOLE CATTLEDOG Part two: Socializing the Puppy by Rusty Johnson So, you’ve decided what kind of dog you want. You selected a breeding that filled the requirements of your list. Then, you got to know the breeder. Now you have your puppy at home with you and you’re a little lost. Just before you brought it home, the breeder informed you that you should not begin formal training with your new cattledog before he is one year old.…

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Building Strength in a Young Dog

BUILDING STRENGTH IN A YOUNG DOG by Rusty Johnson Let me say first on this subject, that training a dog is like sculpting a beautiful statue. The statue was there all along. The artist simply chips away the stone that is not part of the statue. However, if there are too many serious faults in vital places or the hammer is used too much or too hard, when you chip away the unwanted portions, the whole thing will fall apart.…

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The Whole Cattledog : Picking a Pup

THE WHOLE CATTLEDOG: part one: picking a pup by Rusty Johnson I am writing this series for those people who, like myself, love, honor and cherish their cattledogs. With the hope that I may change some minds about how cattle can be worked with good dogs and maybe help some people who have found themselves confronted with a dilemma, I present this article. I want to state up front that I do not know everything! Therefore, throughout this series, I…

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Do You Want/Need That Much Control?

Do You Want or Need That Much Control? by Rusty Johnson When you go to gather your cattle do you want your dog to leave your feet at a 65 degree angle and run out wide so as not to disturb the cattle? Then, go to exactly 12 o’clock; stop, and then walk up to the cow farthest from you – bite if need be, then walk up to the next one, and so and so forth. Until he has…

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Winter Work

WINTER WORK by Joan Holmes I have to say I was very pleased with my little blue dog tonight! In southern Alberta, February evenings are pretty cold. This night it was about twenty degrees below zero, centigrade–that’s about zero farenheit. Just before five p.m., we happened to look out our kitchen window, which looks directly east across our hay fields towards our neighbors Craig and Lori’s place. We noticed their cows all heading with great purpose towards the north boundary,…

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Three Stories About Rory

THREE STORIES ABOUT RORY by Mark Hodges WTCH Bear’s Aurora of Windsor RTDcs JS-E RS-O GS-N DNA-VP Urban Cowdog: I was always hearing that trialing dogs that belong to “hobby herders” such as myself probably would not cut it in a real life-working situation. Well, an accidental encounter changed my personal thoughts on that opinion. One early February morning, just past dawn, the dogs and I were driving out to the property (at this point it could not be called…

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Teaching Grip, or Unbridled Enthusiasm

“UNBRIDLED ENTHUSIASM” or TEACHING TO GRIP by Mark Hodges Ad Astra Halcyon or “Hallie” had a firm grip on what the command “Get Ahold” meant in the context of our play in the house and the back yard. She knew that whatever target object I held in my hand was the focus of her bite. It was time to apply this skill to the stock. A friend had been coming to the farm to prepare her dog for its first…

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Rebuilding Confidence

REBUILDING CONFIDENCE by Laura Hicks Confidence. It is such an all encompassing word. A dog needs it to work stock well. It is also something that is developed and built upon with time and experience. Unfortunately it’s also a fragile element. Bad experiences can shake a dog’s confidence just as the good experiences build upon it. Once you have established a solid foundation of mutual trust with a dog, it seems to be a bit harder to completely destroy a…

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Herding Glossary

A GLOSSARY OF HERDING TERMS AND COMMANDS balance point The correct positions of the dog, stock and handler relative to each other, and the dog’s sense of where this is. Also refers to the point at which the stock will move away from the dog quietly. Varies extremely with species and tameness. Finding the balance point is essential to correct rating. Also refers to the point where the stock will STOP moving, ie where they feel pinned (as against a…

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Wild Bison, the Ultimate Challenge

WILD BISON: THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor Bison management problems had developed during the late 1970’s and 80’s in various national parks throughout the western United States. Part of the problem was tourist liability. Tourists don’t think of this huge, nonchalant creature as a wild animal. Lone bison bulls wander into campsites or along roadsides, drop their heads and graze. They aren’t easily spooked, which makes them appear docile and easy-going. Despite many warning signs along roadsides and…

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Vanished Trails and Faded Memories

VANISHED TRAILS AND FADED MEMORIES of Australian Shepherd History by Ernest Hartnagle and Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor Some historians propose Basques and their sheepdogs from the Pyrenees played an insignificant role in the history of the Australian Shepherd breed. They believe that Basques did not to go Australia with their “little blue dogs” and then come to the U.S. with boatloads of sheep. They state further that the Basque herders came directly to the U.S., and hardly ever brought dogs with…

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Tayor Ranch Tradition

CARRYING ON THE TRADITION — THE TAYLOR FAMILIES OF LIVESTOCK story and photos by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor On a high mountain range in Utah, Joe Taylor grinned at me and offered this sage advice: “The time to gather wild horses is when you see them” –and then galloped off after a small remuda. If that sounds like a scene in a movie, it could be. Joe Taylor’s Ranch is one of the Moab area locations where Hollywood has filmed many…

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The Walt Lamar Story

THE WALT LAMAR STORY One of ASCA’s Heaviest Heavyweights by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ernie Hartnagle If you mention Walt Lamar’s name to a team roper or a steer wrestler, more than likely you ‘ll get a nod of recognition, because Walter is known for his rugged, athletic, foundation bred Quarter Horses. Lamar is also the historian for the Hancock Breeders Association. “I had always had a horse or two or three, but wasn’t serious about raising them until September…

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Lois George, Copper Canyon, and a Dog Named Red

LOIS GEORGE, COPPER CANYON, AND A DOG NAMED RED by Ernie Hartnagle and Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor Lois and Norm George developed their love for the breed in 1956. They were living on a ranch in Cuyama, California when they got Cricket, a pretty little blue female from a friend of theirs who had gotten her from the Basque sheep herders. In the fall, the Basques would bring several thousand sheep into Cuyama to winter on the stubble of the alfalfa…

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Cowology

COWOLOGY by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor Working cattle effectively requires an understanding of bovine behavior. Fifty years ago, the men and women who worked with stock still lived on the land. They were for the most part themselves a simple people familiar with the nature and behavior of animals. Today, most people come from urban, man-made environments. City people are often unfamiliar with farm animals and the land. Before the era of hobby herding, people acquired a dog to work their…

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Herding with Ducks

HERDING WITH DUCKS by Terri Hardwick Interest in herding training has been growing rapidly and many of the new people who want to get involved with the sport are not able to keep sheep in their backyard for daily practice. As we all know, regular training (hopefully daily training) is extremely important when starting a dog. For those people who want to be involved in herding but have minimal or sporadic access to sheep, don’t despair! There is an alternative!…

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The Carrillos

ROBERT CARRILLO AND CASA DE CARRILLO: A Long Established Name by Jeanne Joy Hartnagle-Taylor and Ernest Hartnagle After Bob Carrillo passed away in 2007, we were asked to write an article about him for the Aussie community. I called my parents and we started talking about the past thirty-five years that we knew him. Most people know that Robert Carrillo was associated with the ASCA Stockdog Program and at one time, he was the Stock Dog Committee chairman. This is…

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The Importance of Avoiding One-Sidedness

PREPARE YOUR HERDING DOG PROPERLY FOR HIS WORK: The Importance of Avoiding One-Sidedness by Linda C. Franklin Frequently I notice in testing dogs for herding instinct that a dog is appreciably stronger and freer-moving in one direction than the other. Those new to herding don’t always pick up on this point early on and often fall into the habit of allowing their dog to select which direction he wishes to travel. If you’re going to need two directions on your…

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Training the Inside Flank

TRAINING THE UPSTANDING BREEDS : Inside Flanks by Linda C. Franklin, Belgian Terveren breeder/trainer A few of our upstanding breeds are referenced as droving (driving) dogs as opposed to fetching (gathering) dogs, but even a true driving dog can only benefit from correct fetching training as well. Having seen only one true driving dog out of the well over one thousand dogs I’ve worked with in herding, I have to believe this is a relatively rare natural quality. Who’s to…

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Teaching the Upstanding Breeds to Drive

TRAINING THE UPSTANDING BREEDS: Driving by Linda C. Franklin, Belgian Terveren breeder/trainer Provided your upstanding dog is now comfortable with and efficient at going to balance on an inside flank without sacrificing depth and width on outruns, he may be ready to start driving training in earnest. Fetching is still important As mentioned before, until you also teach your dog how to shut and lock a pasture gate, you most likely will still find it necessary to walk out to…

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Balance and Pacing

BALANCE AND PACING by Bruce Fogt Throughout the entire training process and the life of the dog, I am always trying to build balance or keep it in the dog. Balance can be taken out of a dog if you never let it develop, or if you don’t let the dog think on its own. A dog that is trained only to take commands and is not allowed to work on its own will never have a chance to develop…

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The Cow From Hell

THE COW FROM HELL by Rhonda Falk Falkland Aussies Star Rt. A, Box 736-A Atmore, AL 36502 My first Aussies were Falk’s Falkland Banjo and Sheba. Banjo (Joe) is a National Stockdog Second Step although he had several generations registered with the Animal Research Foundation. Sheba is a small (16″, 24 pound), Aussie mix, with a natural bob tail, that we rescued from the pound. I got Banjo at twelve or fourteen weeks of age, and he still had a…

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Lending a Paw in Indiana

LENDING A PAW IN INDIANA by Michelle Durkin I live in a semi-rural area of south central Indiana, where small hobby farms and livestock operations are mixed into the ever-pressing onslaught of vinyl tract homes. Our local county 4-H Fair has many a competitor that keeps pigs, sheep, goats and steers on friends’ farms because they don’t have the opportunity to live out in the country. Since so many places are small by most standards, there is not often a…

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The Difference Between Herding And Obedience Training

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HERDING AND OBEDIENCE TRAINING by Tenley Dexter A list member posted me privately that my described method for getting an obedient working dog sounded very much like the method used by top Obedience competitors, but I wanted a thinking dog and they wanted the dog to display complete blind obedience and reliance on the handler. Al, the person’s alias, said they have a dog that has Obedience titles and loves to please, a thinking dog but early…

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Concepts in Driving

CONCEPTS IN DRIVING by Tenley Dexter I like to use middle of the road sheep to start driving with, not too light and not too sticky to the handler, the reason being that they drive the easiest. Once the dog starts to understand the concept of driving on these fairly easy sheep, I start to ask them to drive harder and harder sheep. I might next move on to the stickier sheep that don’t want to leave the handler (for…

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The Old Welsh Bobtail Connection

THE OLD WELSH BOB TAIL CONNECTION by Ann DeChant Working Aussie Source editor’s note: This is an excerpt from a travelogue about a visit to England and Wales in September 1989. At the rainy International Sheepdog Trials, the DeChants get wet, so rather than sleep in their van, they decide to look for a place to spend the night. . . . We asked the men behind us if they knew of a place where we could stay for the…

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Is the Aussie Really A Scotch Shepherd?

IS THE AUSSIE REALLY A SCOTCH SHEPHERD? by Linda DeHaven a letter published in the Aussie Times Magazine in 1973 Aussie Times editor’s note: This letter was written to Linda Boysal from Liz DeHaven about some old-time Aussie-type dogs in Oregon.  Thank you, Linda, for sharing it with us.    Dear Linda, Alan is is Miami, Fla. for the next two weeks and asked me to write you.  He really enjoyed meeting you and we are looking forward to seeing…

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The Story of Dan

THE STORY OF DAN, AN AMAZING AUSSIE by Ann B. DeChant I have been meaning to write this one for a long time. We lost Dan three years ago, to being hit by a car. I always intended to tell this story while he was still alive, but it is still just as good as a tribute to him. This is the story of a working Aussie who created his own daily work as my assistant. Don’t worry. You already…

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The Early Aussie Breeders

THE EARLY AUSSIE BREEDERS articles by Jan Haddle Davis and by Phillip Wildhagen Editor’s note: these ten short articles were first published in the ASCA 1977 Yearbook, which included a retrospective of the past 30 years, ASCA having been incorporated in 1957. They were presented without an overall title (the above title has been given by me). Photos are also taken from the ASCA 1977 Yearbook, which contains over one hundred photographs of the earliest Aussies to be registered in…

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Hardheaded

HARDHEADED by Roy Cox Many dogs are referred to as Hardheaded by their owner or trainer due to the undeniable fact that the dog has never fully given himself over to the dominance of that person. These types of dogs are most often misunderstood. Placing the stigma of “Hardheaded” onto a dog can do more harm than good to the future of the dog’s learning capabilities. People need to honestly evaluate their dog to see what type of dog they have.…

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History of the Australian Shepherd in the Northwest

by Mrs. Roy E. Cotton Working Aussie Source editor’s note: Elsie Cotton was the 4th president of ASCA, and her dog Cotton’s Blue Bobby and his son Mays Adobe Rebel, are in back of many Aussie pedigrees today. My Uncle Earl acquired his first Australian Shepherds in either 1917 or 1918. At the beginning of World War I, he started raising sheep and tried out many breeds of herding dogs but was not entirely satisfied with any of them. In…

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Pressure

PRESSURE by CynDee Cooper Pressure comes in many different forms. There is pressure from a trainer, pressure from livestock, and pressure from the environment. Understanding pressure and how it works is one of the keys to training and using a stockdog. Training Pressure When a person starts a young dog in their training they use various forms of pressure. As an example: in order to get a dog to the other side of livestock the trainer makes it uncomfortable for…

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Training Secrets of the Pros

TRAINING SECRETS OF THE PROS by CynDee Cooper They must have secrets! They consistently train dogs that are useful, willing workers. Some of their dogs have become legends. “They” are the renowned trainers. A wealth of knowledge and an insight into their training secrets can be gained by spending even a few minutes working with trainers such as these. Having had an opportunity to observe, talk to and, in some cases, work with these sages of stock dog training, I…

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Jack, the Handiest Dog I Ever Trained

JACK, THE HANDIEST DOG I EVER TRAINED by Cyn-Dee Cooper This year I had the honor of training a really good Australian Shepherd named Jack for sixty days. Jack was bred by Elree Horton, of Buena Vista, Tennessee who has Flapper Hill Kennels. Jack is out of Flapper Hill Blossom and by Flapper Hill Sandy River. Both of these dogs go back to Lookaway Luke who is by Judd’s Chickasaw Dan. He was about 14 months old when he came…

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Cowboy Driving

COWBOY DRIVING by CynDee Cooper Whether you use a dog for ranch work or trials it becomes necessary at times to “Cowboy” drive stock with your dog. This technique can be taught to any breed of stockdog during the earliest stages of its training. Having a stop or check command on your dog helps but even if the younger dogs only respond to their name you can teach them how to work on the back side with you. Blocking a…

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Putting a Look Back on a Dog

PUTTING A LOOK BACK ON A DOG by Ian Caldicott I very rarely go out to train or work dogs with the thought that “today I need to work on a LOOK BACK”. The Look Back is something that just gets incorporated into the day’s work or a training session as a situation arises where there is an opportunity to work on it. Once a dog has a good understanding of balance and has a decent stop I start looking…

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Sorting Tips with Dogs

SORTING TIPS WITH DOGS by Tom Blasdell Here are some different ways to use your dog to help you sort. One thing the handler has to keep in mind is that sorting with a dog is going to be slower that using people. Better than having the wild helpers from town come and knock the fences down! I like to sort on a horse best. Gather the cattle into a good fence corner, hold them there and just let them…

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Old Dogs Never Die Young

OLD DOGS NEVER DIE YOUNG by Dr. Leroy Boyd (editor’s note: although this data was elicited from Border Collies, Aussies might very possibly come up with similar responses.) We have no detailed records of the trials and tribulations experienced by those responsible for domesticating the dog. For centuries we have credited the human with making all the final decisions. For several thousand years humans have spoken and written often and at length, and even filmed their interpretation of what was…

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The Crooked H Ranch

THE CROOKED H RANCH by Charlie Berthout Working Aussie Source editor’s note: this is a letter sent to Terry Martin, which appeared in her Aussie Times column, ‘Stockdog Corner’. Crooked H Ranch has winter range in the Cottonwood Basin southeast of Camp Verde, Arizona, and summer range around Clint’s Well, southeast of Flagstaff, Arizona. The homestead base is in the Long Valley at Clint’s Well. The balance of the range is cross-fenced Forest Service permit range of about 100,000 acres.…

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Sit, Stay, Heal: Diana Decker

SIT, STAY, HEAL : DIANA DECKER interview by Jen Barol It is Diana Decker’s hard-working bond with Gus and Shine and the other herding dogs she trains that keeps her fighting the illness that consumes her. Decker and her fifteen herding dogs are throwbacks to another time and place. In a society where working breeds like Australian Shepherds and Border Collies are more accustomed to car drives than cattle drives, visiting Decker on her Edgewood, New Mexico ranch feels more…

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Hip Check

HIP CHECK In the battle against canine hip dysplasia, identification, treatment, research, and careful breeding selection are the weapons of choice. by Jerold S Bell, DVM, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine (Working Aussie Source editor’s notes: C.A.Sharp writes, on the Australian Shepherd Genetic Institute website, that of the most common inherited maladies in Australian Shepherds, hip dysplasia probably is ranked fifth in frequency of occurrence, after cataracts, epilepsy, dental faults, and autoimmune disease—which she ranks in that order. Orthopedic…

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Reading Livestock

READING LIVESTOCK SIMPLIFIES HANDLING by Orin Barnes Many articles have been written about training dogs but no one has mentioned that the more knowledgeable stock person will become the better handler. Understanding the stock you are working will always give you the advantage of knowing where to put your dog to be more effective. It is important to view the world in the livestock’s perspective. Having eyes on the sides of their head gives cattle and sheep 360 degrees of…

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Population Genetics and Breeding

POPULATION GENETICS AND BREEDING by John Armstrong Editors note: This article was originally published on The Canine Diversity Project website, which contains a wealth of material on the same subject. Highly recommended reading for all dog breeders. Early genetics When Mendel’s work was rediscovered at the beginning of the twentieth century, the new field of Genetics went in several directions. The T. H. Morgan (1) school quickly got tired of crossing green to yellow peas and moved on to discovering…

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Dog Tales from a Cattleman

DOG TALES FROM A CATTLEMAN by Norm Andrews Working Aussie Source editor’s note: this photo essay originally appeared in Terry Martin’s Stockdog Corner column in The Aussie Times, with the following introduction: “I received a letter from Norm Andrews, a farmer in Nebraska who runs 150 cow/calf pairs. He has a dog of my breeding, Slash V Andrew’s Red Chickaspike OTDc. This letter is a cattleman talking to other cattlemen, really … about a dog that he loves and that…

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The Story of Allen’s Ebony Joe

THE STORY OF ALLEN’S EBONY JOE by Lilian Allen I first became interested in Australian Shepherds in the early 1970’s, watching them help with show cattle at the livestock shows. This was before the rule of “No Dogs Allowed”, and almost every show string had an Aussie. These wonderful little dogs would follow the show cattle to the wash racks, the night tie-outs, or wherever the handlers needed to take them. If the cattle became lazy and refused to go,…

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Dog-Breaking Cattle

DOG-BREAKING CATTLE A Ranch Dog Trainer staff interview with L.R. Alexander Imagine breaking cattle with dogs — a chaotic scene of cattle bawling; dust swirling in the air; dogs biting noses and heels; calves slamming into corral panels. If this is the scene that comes to your mind, you need to watch cattlemen who make their living buying and selling cattle. When a good dog handler breaks cattle with dogs, control is the order of the day, not chaos. Missourian…

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Confidence and Bite

CONFIDENCE AND BITE by L.R. Alexander Just because a dog bites the nose and heels of an animal does not make him a cattle dog. He can have balance, speed, eye and concentration, and still not make a good tough farm dog. All of the above are great but if he doesn’t have confidence when working cattle he is not the help he could be. I have said for many years lack of confidence or fear, which usually is the…

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