PennHIP .29/.29

What I did, to get a lightening fast recall & a front sit with eye contact, without touching me, was to have the treats in my mouth. I would spit the treat to the dog, when they were sitting with good eye contact. This was for my previous dogs, for their obedience test. If they touched me, we'd lose points, so during training if they bumped me or weren't straight, they wouldn't get the treat. With Bailey, I don't need such precision. He just needs to get close enough to me for a nice pat. :>)

The other day, someone in a truck that Bailey had never seen before, drove up. Bailey was barking at him, so he rolled down the window to talk to me. I told him that Bailey was a friendly puppy & he opened the door of the truck, so he could pet him. Bailey's serious stance immediately changed to tail wagging, happy puppy. I was still on the porch, while I talked to the guy. Then I called Bailey, so he could leave. Bailey, as usual, ran to me, immediately, when I called. I didn't think anything of it, all my dogs have a fast, reliable recall. The guy's mouth dropped open, though, he was amazed & impressed. He said he couldn't get his dogs to come like that.

I've done hardly any training with Bailey, compared to my other dogs, & he still impresses people...well regular folk anyway...I sure couldn't trial him at this point, LOL!


June 18, 2003

Bailey & chickens. I've come to the conclusion that he thinks those chickens belong to him, lol. Awhile ago, we sold all the roosters except one & all but 17 hens. The guy we sold them to was impressed with Bailey's ability to find & round them up. We finally caught one rooster that we've been after for a year, thanks to Bailey. We had the hens cooped all winter, but decided to start letting them out again during the day. Of course, this confused Bailey. At first, every time I let him out of my sight, he would put them all back in the coop. Now he knows to wait until I say it's time, although he thinks they should go in as soon as the sun sets behind the back hills. Sometimes, I'll wait up to an hour after this. Bailey will be watching me & looking at the chickens, like it bothers him that I'm not more precise about doing things on time. The other night, it was getting dark, I was busy inside. I could see Bailey pacing the deck, looking back & forth between me & the birds. He seemed so relieved when I finally came out to watch him put the stragglers in for the night. I had to really crack down on the running & roughness at first. I encouraged him to walk only & no biting. I figured out that using a calm voice, not projecting too much energy myself, helped him stay calm. This is still a little hard for him, he loves to run. If a chicken totally disregards what Bailey wants it to do, he will grab a mouthful of tail feathers. He tends to do the same thing, when I'm moving horses, if he thinks they're not listening. He runs up & snaps at the tail. Sometimes he blocks the hens as they are heading back to the coop, but he usually responds to my arm signal to go out & around in a wide circle, instead. Once in awhile, he'll start to chase them during the day, which gets him scolded or crated. Usually he hangs out on the lawn with them, no problem. Sometimes, he'll sniff & lick the hens' rears...not sure what that's about. They never make it as far as the garden anymore b/c Bailey doesn't like them to stray that far. His boundaries for them are stricter than mine. He does not like them in the horse pens. I don't let him chase them out, but he has these subtle ways of enforcing his ideas. Sometimes he'll just look at them & raise his tail, which sends them running. Another time, his eyes were on me, but he was slowly walking this big arc around them, causing them to leave the area. He's so smart & has this impish expression. Paul has asked that Bailey keep the chickens out of the (storage) barn. They love to make nests in there. Instead of chasing them out, he has a new thing he does lately. I'll find him, lying down, smile on his face, tip of his tail slowly wagging & there will be a group of chickens huddled together. I'm trying to get him to move them out or bark for me to come to help, but he enjoys doing it his way. I'm still wondering whether this would be considered biddable or not. He definitely loves to help with everything! But he often has his own idea of how something should be done & will often test how serious I am about my rules. To me, it seems like he has the instinct to herd but no good outlet for it. I wish I had more animals, so I could see what else he was capable of. This is long, so I'll send it off.


October 6, 2003

I'm not sure whether this is typical or not, but I've seen a big difference in the way that Bailey has bonded to the different species of baby animals.

With the chickens, he has a sort of custodial relationship. He watches over them and makes sure they stay in their place. He'll lick their rears, but doesn't seem to be particularly loving about it. He had an aggressive response to his first sight of the chicks, but once he understood that they belonged to the hens he accepted them and treats them just like the rest of the chickens. His behavior with the lamb has been very different. I had the lamb out of sight at first, but Bailey knew something new was here. His nose was driving him crazy, he kept sniffing the air and tracking frantically until he figured out the hiding place. He seemed excited at first sight of the lamb, wanted to check it out more closely. Right away, I bottle fed the lamb and let him watch and sniff from a few feet away. He wanted to stay close to the lamb right away and would chase the cats away fom it when they came over to check it out. After he had calmed down and watched a few feedings, I let Bailey be close to the lamb. He gave the rear and the umbilical cord a thorough washing and has been obsessed with keeping these areas clean ever since. He relates to this animal much more like a mother. He even will lie down and roll over on his side when the lamb tries to nurse. He quickly jumps to his feet when it latches on, though! I'm able to let the lamb loose outside without being in a pen because Bailey watches and cares for it so closely. They have a very loving relationship.

His behavior with the new calf is still evolving. First impression was a mixture of surprise, unsureness and aggressiveness. Now he seems intensely curious with a tendency to be bossy. we'll see how this develops.

I'm finding all this unique behavior to be very interesting!


Wednesday NOvember 5, 2003

I am so happy with my dog, I hope you all don't mind my bragging.

I finally found a herding trainer who was willing to test Bailey for herding instinct. We went today and I didn't know what to expect. I've never seen herding training and all I know about it is what I've read on this list. I was concerned that he didn't know enough obedience commands or that he would either just sit there and do nothing or maybe chase & bite the stock.

When I got there, the trainer told us to go sit and watch the other dogs. There was a Collie that briefly worked with the advanced sheep and an Aussie who the trainer assisted with 3 "dog experienced" sheep. Bailey quietly sat and observed with keen interest.

The trainer talked to me about the differences b/t the way BCs and loose eyed breeds work. She said that she only works with competition or farm dogs and that the training is different for each. She asked what stock I have and what I wanted to learn. She explained that she likes to set up the dog's first exposure to be a positive one. For that reason, she would handle Bailey in the 100x100ft. pen with the same sheep that the Aussie worked. She told me to stand in the corner, quietly, with my knees bent in case the sheep rammed into me (!). Then she clipped a long line on Bailey & said "Let's Go!"

He was wagging his tail and went with her happily. Only once did he start to run back to me, she told him it was alright to stay with her and he did. At first, they walked along close to the fenceline with the sheep. She used a stock stick to guide Bailey where he should be. He kept glancing back and forth b/t her face and the sheep, tail still wagging. She was really praising and encouraging him in an excited voice. I saw him get a little gleam in his eye and his focus stayed more and more with the sheep. I was hoping she wouldn't get him too pumped up.

She dropped the line and let it drag after just a few minutes and started walking different patterns all over the pen. The first time a sheep bolted, he looked at her briefly before blocking it, to bring it back to the group. Once she told him that was good, his entire focus was on the sheep and it was amazing to me to see how he moved them-almost like a dance. One sheep ran clear across the pen and Bailey brought it back. He had the greatest time, just loved it!

Afterwards, she said that Bailey was everything she wants in a dog. She said he has the instinct to do the job with just enough drive. She said he was a sensible dog, didn't go overboard when working. She said he was very biddable, wanted to know what she wanted and wanted to please her. She then said he was one of the most obedient dogs she has seen for his age. At this point, I burst out laughing that she must be joking! It didn't sound like my dog she was describing, LOL!

She also said that he was a very happy worker, which she likes to see. She said she would sum it up by saying that he was a classic ES, he worked exactly the way an ES should and he was good looking, too.

So it was a good day!

Kim & Bailey**tail still wagging**

"The hardest part was getting Bailey to wear the hat!"

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