General Info

definitions, descriptions, and miscellany

K9 Influenza and the Traveling Dog

K9 Flu and Communicable Disease – Tips from a Pro by: Amy Bradley Last week I had the chance to speak to Dr. Cynda Crawford, DVM PhD (link: ) from the University of Florida. She is a specialist in Shelter Medicine and her PhD is in immunology and infectious disease. Outside of her numerous professional publications for the American Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Journal of Internal Medicine and similar, she has been published in major news outlets such…

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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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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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Moving Stock

MOVING STOCK by Bud Williams How do you teach your dog to continue moving stock in the same direction? This ability is especially useful if you need to leave your dog moving one group of stock toward the corral while you go out to bring in a second group. Following is an explanation of what I do. You may need to adjust the procedure a bit as each dog is different, but the principle will be the same with any…

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Sheepdog Training, an All-Breed Approach

BOOK REVIEW: SHEEPDOG TRAINING, AN ALL-BREED APPROACH BY MARI TAGGART reviewed by Kay Spencer first published in 1986, second printing 1991, Alpine Publications 1986 edition: hardback, sewn binding; paper quality excellent. Many black and white photographs. Mari Taggart is a Border Collie trainer who both owned and worked with loose-eyed breeds at a time when herding training was almost entirely focused on Border Colllies. Her first book was Heeler Power: A Guide to Training the Working Australian Cattle Dog, published…

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Stub, the Best Cowdog in the West

STUB, THE BEST COWDOG IN THE WEST by Kay Spencer If you’ve ever watched any Lassie movies or were a fan of the tv series, you might remember a few scenes in which Lassie herded sheep. Maybe you were naive and thought she (he, really) was actually herding, or maybe you knew what herding looked like and realized all he was doing was following the instructions of his off-camera handler: run left, run right, stop. The performance was flawless, but…

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Finding A Herding Instructor

CONSIDERATIONS AND CAVEATS ON FINDING A HERDING INSTRUCTOR With Apologies to Everyone From Whom I Have Stolen Ideas and Advice by Kay Spencer So, you have an Australian Shepherd and have a desire to learn how to move stock with your dog. You’ve realized that you won’t get anywhere except into trouble, without experienced help (perfectly true).What are some of the things you should think about before embarking on this project? Mainly, you need to decide why you want to…

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The Genesis of the Working Aussie Source Website

THE GENESIS OF THE WORKING AUSSIE SOURCE WEBSITE by Kay Spencer “Truth is never pure, and rarely simple.” –Oscar Wilde “God wants everything to be known.” –Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose One of the qualities of the internet is its common lack of “history”— so often it is hard to tell where, how, and when something came to be. So here is some back story for Working Aussie Source, for anyone who is interested in Aussie Politics. Since…

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Commands and Corrections

CONFOUNDED BY COMMANDS AND CORRECTIONS? From the Unpublished Works of El Rojo by Red Oliver DO NOT confuse commands with corrections. Commands have very definite and precise meanings while corrections are physical or tonal in nature, a “growl”, a “uh uh”, or an “eh”, expressing pleasure or displeasure with the pup’s behavior. It is as important to let your pup know he is doing right as it is to let him know he is doing wrong. If properly applied, neither…

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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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Bopping and Rebopping: Is it a Requirement? Is it Ethical?

BOPPING AND REBOPPING: Is It A Requirement? Is It Ethical? by Red Oliver First, a Pre-Postscript; Recently, on the internet (SHEEPDOG), there has been a healthy discussion on the merits and demerits of physically correcting a dog in training; i.e. hitting the trainee pup with a staff, in order to impress on him those behaviors that the handler does not want repeated. Cyn-Dee (editor/publisher of Ranch Dog Trainer Magazine) has asked me if I would put a few words together,…

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The Rule of Ten


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So You Think You Might Want A Stock Dog

SO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT WANT A STOCK DOG by Terry Martin So you think you might want a stock dog? In today’s world of high wages, liabilities involved with hired help and the difficulty in even finding human help, the stock dog can be a wonderful investment. From the small farm with a few head of cattle and/or sheep to the large ranch, a good dog can provide much needed help and companionship too. Just how many commands and…

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Some Common Mistakes People Make When Training the Loose-Eyed Dog

SOME COMMON MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN TRAINING THE LOOSE-EYED DOG by Dana MacKenzie The term “Loose-eyed” refers to dogs which do not work with the intense eye or concentration of the Border Collie type dog or its derivatives. In general, we are very “early ” in our attempts to train dogs, having only started with the emergence of ASCA, AHBA, and AKC trialing programs. Our teachers have been Border Collie trainers, books and tapes authored by Border Collie trainers and…

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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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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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The Drive

DRIVE by Hub Holmes I believe that the most important aspect of training a stockdog is the “drive”. Drive is the dog’s desire to work, chase, maul, and otherwise wreak havoc on the livestock. So many dogs that come to our training center have a low drive level, both manmade and natural, that we spend a lot of our time building the drive to acceptable levels. People cause these problems because they do not understand the development of a young…

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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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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 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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