Question: . . . .so my first question. I am interested in getting a stock dog. A neighbor . . . . . who has taken your class before and holds you in high regard is helping me with the process a bit and has lent me your dog VHS cassette which I have not watched yet, but will soon. So If any of my questions are answered there please let me know that and I couldn’t find answers to the questions I am about to ask on your site. So I am looking for a stock dog, but also a companion. I am getting married next may and hope to have kids soon after. My question is:
Can I have a stock dog that is also a family dog?
My next set of questions are related to that.
From what I understand you do not want to teach your stock dog too much obedience as it could short out his instincts. That being said I don’t want a dog that is out of control or bites people, children, runs at cars, jumps on guests etc. Will I be able to keep the stock dog form doing these things or is a stock dog a stock dog and you don’t expect to walk in town with him without a leash if at all? How much obedience is it safe to teach him? My guess is I will have more specific questions about this as I get one. Sorry in advance.
Next. As I select for a young pup is there anything you look for specifically. . . . . . says he waits until they are four months or so and watches them work sheep and picks based on their style during the instinct test. He looks for a strong header. However the man . . . . . I am looking to buy them from says he has many folks buy them as pups at 8 weeks old. So I don’t want to wait too long and miss out and get stuck with the left overs.
Any thoughts on pup selection and the best age to select at? Lastly….do you have a preferred gender?
Answer: Actually I don’t answer question about working dogs. A working dog now is more a personal thing than what was considered a working dog in the past. All of the working dogs we had, learned how to work stock instead of being trained to work with commands. Today, people want to have control of the dog instead of the dog having control of the stock being worked. The way I worked a dog will not be used anymore as the trial mentality has taken over the training of working dogs.
Now to your questions.
#1- “Can I have a stock dog that is also a family dog?” Yes. Most if not all of our working dogs were or could have been good family dogs and we’ve had lots of dogs over the years.
#-2- “You don’t want to teach a dog too much obedience as it could short out its instincts.” You totally misunderstand what I want. What I will have is a dog that is probably more obedient, more disciplined than most people’s dogs are. What I do want is a dog that works because it knows how to work stock and isn’t just able to work because I have taught it a lot of commands.
#-3- “I don’t want a dog that that is out of control, bites people, children, runs at cars, jumps on guests etc.” Why do you think that the dogs I had did all of these terrible things? Because I don’t use a lot of commands when working stock people think I let a dog run wild. Anybody that has ever seen our dogs work always commented about how well they minded. The people that don’t understand how to have an excellent working dog without all the commands will trash what I do by saying that the dogs must run wild. Teach the dog all of the obedience you want and teach it all the command you want. When or if you get a dog it is about you and not about what I do or don’t do. After reading your message and answering this question I realize you probably should NEVER get a dog.
#4- “Any thoughts on pup selection and the best age to select at? Lastly….do you have a preferred gender?” You are getting information from too many people and trying to pick out what is best from all of this information. Probably no one knows what will be the best pup and many don’t even know after the dog is grown and ready to start working. Knowing how to guess what will be the best pup to buy would be like someone showing you how to buy the winning lottery ticket.
Now to finish this – you have asked these question from the worst possible person. If you watch the video of our dogs working it is easy to see the dogs are not out of control, biting people, children, running at cars, jumping on people etc., why you thought our working dogs did these things is hard to understand.