The time has come to start training Missy, the Border Collie pup we kept from the last litter, in earnest. She is seven months old now and is starting to think she has what it takes.
Like most things we undertake, I like to read about fifty books on the topic before starting, and, if it is something we have done before, go back to the books for a refresher. This time I am reading "The Farmers Dog" by John Holmes, who is an old Scottish dog trainer. The most interesting thing I have read so far, is of the need to be very careful when teaching a pup, that you are reinforcing the right lesson. He tells the story of a farmer whose dogs after going away chasing rabbits, on their return, disciplined them harshly. The author said he would see these dogs sitting in the woods above the farmers house, until finally hunger took them home. All the farmer had succeeded in doing was making the dogs afraid to go home. Food for thought when educating a young dog, being mindful of the various way the dog may interpret the lesson. (We are not the harsh types more likely to positively reinforce the wrong bit). Fingers crossed we won't mess up Missy.