The versatile Border collie – and its owner

We know from the many conversations we have, and emails we receive, that Border collie owners are a versatile lot, and many of them thoroughly exploit the variety that collies offer.

Necessarily, most of the people we know and correspond with have their dogs primarily for sheep work, but those who aren’t full-time shepherds or farmers will often also take part in agility, flyball, obedience, heelwork to music, working trials and even showing. It demands that dogs and handlers learn different commands for different sports, and I can’t remember anyone ever telling me that their dog gets confused between disciplines. Now, handlers getting confused…that’s quite a different matter.

Border collies playing with a ball
She flies through the air with the greatest of ease…

New dog sport DVDs

Every year I try to find something new to add to the online DVD shop to reflect that versatility. Last year I added Richard Curtis’s five-part Heelwork to Music – freestyle – obedience training series, and both have proved very popular. This year I’ve found something different, Disc dog training DVDs. I’m amazed by the fluency and athleticism of Disc dogs (and their handlers!) so I’m looking forward to learning how these techniques are taught and used. We spend hours playing with footballs and discs with our dogs, with varying success (I’m no thrower, though Andy’s pretty good – being a chap) so achieving a reliable throw is my first objective. I’m hoping that our key football and disc catcher, Meg, will do the fielding, so I don’t have to fetch it back for myself.

The disc training DVD is supplied with its own, specially designed, dog disc to ensure that the trainee thrower isn’t at a disadvantage by using unsuitable equipment, and for motivation there’ll be a two-DVD set of the highlights from the 2012 World Championships. It’s good to have something to aim for.

Dogs will be dogs

I don’t know which is the more interesting, the differences or the similarities between training techniques for different disciplines. Whatever we train our dogs for, the very nature of the dog, the way it can be motivated and the way it learns have to dictate our approach. We’re all working with dogs (in our case, collies) so we must be able to learn from each other.

Buying in your own currency

Border collies, and the sports in which they excel, are worldwide: this morning I posted
to Australia, Canada, Greece and Spain (and that’s a typical day). To make buying easier for anyone who’s outside the UK, all of the DVDs available through the

online DVD shop
can be bought in six currencies – GBP, Euros, Australian, Canadian, US and New Zealand dollars – so you know exactly what your purchase will cost before you place the order.

Is there a DVD I should know about?

I’m still on the look out for a DVD about training for working trials, but I’m always interested to hear anyone’s recommendations for dog training DVDs of any type. You can’t have too many, and variety’s SO important, isn’t it?

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