BORDER COLLIE THE WORLD’S SMARTEST DOGS


– [Announcer] Dogumentary TV, producing the best breed
documentaries on YouTube. (gentle music) – Hi, welcome to On The Lamb Ranch. We are 60 acres nestled
in beautiful mountains here in Camarillo. I’m only about a mile an
a half off the freeway. We’re nestled here right at
the base of Conejo mountains. Farmland, graze land,
everything around us. And the weather out here is awesome. Just to the east of us,
we have Channel Islands, beaches maybe 20 minutes away. And it’s a perfect place, rural, but yet right here a mile
and a half off the freeways. So easy to get to. We raise sheep. We raise sheep for meat, for pets. For weed clearance. We do weed abatement for other facilities. And we train dogs to herd the sheep so we can put sheep
where we want ’em to go. What makes a border collie a special dog as opposed to any other breed of dog, all dogs are great. But border collies are just
a little bit more special. We’ve never gone about trying
to breed them to match. We breed them more for their
ability and their instinct, temperament. We don’t breed them for looks. So that’s what keeps them special. They’re the smartest breed left. Because we’ve never got
them together and said let’s breed them for a
certain color pattern. Like this dog is a curly
coated border collie. He’s a tri coated curly coat. Curly coats are very very rare. But something you wouldn’t
see in the show ring. We’ll talk about that a little bit later. There’s a difference between
working herding lines. And show bred border collies. But for the most part,
border collies are bred to be your independent thinking,
problem solving partner that’s willing to take your directions. So if I have sheep at
the top of that mountain and I don’t wanna go up there myself, I send this dog. He’s gonna go take care
of that job for me. But we’ve kept his breeding in such a way he’s able to solve the problem himself and talk to those sheep by himself and bring them down in a
nice calm, gentle manner. He uses his eyes to control and intimidate them. But just enough to get them to move. Where other breeds use a motion or a bark. That’s a little bit rougher on the stock. It’s a little scarier. They don’t like it as much. So it makes this the
superior breed for herding. Is a border collie. Border collies can herd anything. They herd any livestock you want herded. If you do sheep, goats, geese, ducks, hogs, cattle, emu, ostrich. Anything you want herded,
a border collie will do it. I grew up a 4H kid in southern California. So I showed goats and pigs and cattle always at the Delmar fair, Lakeside fair. And one year they had
a sheepdog competition in the horse arena down at Delmar fair. I went down and watched it. I thought, well, that’s great. I want one of those kind of dogs. Look, he just does
everything you ask it to do. I had no idea you had to train them. In the competition, it was all men. Well, I grew up a very competitive child. My parents had me competing
since third grade. So I liked that challenge. I wanna work with one of those dogs. And I bet I can beat those men. And then later after I got married, I went ahead and got a
border collie in 1989. Would’ve been my first border collie. And after I got my first
border collie, I was hooked. So I’ve been working with this breed in a herding aspect
for about 28 years now. Border collies have been
around a long long time. I can tell you that the first
time competitions started was in the 1800s. And at that time what they did was it’s kind of like rodeos. Hey my dog’s better than yours. But I can train a dog better than you. So they got together to
have herding competitions. 1900s they brought ’em into the US. And off it’s been after that. What makes border collies exceptional for say, sheep herding, goat herding, cattle herding, whatever it is, but they were bred
primarily for herding sheep. Is that they’re built with a larger heart. They have a larger heart
than any other breed, it makes them more athletic. And they have that drive and that will to go hunt them out in a
pasture and gather them all up and bring them back to you quietly. So that’s what separates
them from other breeds. We have to have a dog that
can run up and down mountains and run sideways and run backwards and keep running for a
half an hour if need be. And other breeds don’t
have that kind of stamina or heart to be able to do that. So border collies are born
with all this natural ability and instinct to herd livestock. But they’re not born knowing
how to use those tools. So then that’s where a trainer steps in and teaches your dog how to
actually use those tools. He knows he wants to intimidate and move livestock. He just doesn’t quiet
know how to get there. So a trainer steps in
and helps train that dog, hey, go around them really wide. So you don’t frighten and scare them. Border collies will take
that kind of pressure and training to say, hey, be a little bit wider. Be a little bit wider. Where as maybe an Australian shepherd would say, what do you mean go wider? You want me to go way over there? Then you don’t want me to work. I think that’s too far away. Where a border collie
will do whatever you ask, how far it is away from you. They’re not bred to protect you. So that’s why I can send
them half a mile out to gather stock. They’re not worried
about leaving me so much. Whereas say a corgi or
an Australian shepherd, not picking on those two breeds, any upright breeds, typically
don’t have that stamina or desire to leave you to go half a mile, a mile out to go gather livestock. Border collies are just really
suited for distance work over any other breed. So border collies move
livestock a different way than most breeds. They’re called a strong eyed breed. They use their eye to intimidate stock. So if I have sheep that are here, and I want them over there, I can use my dog to move him here. He’ll put his stare and his
intimidation on the stock. The stock says oh, oh,
there’s a dog back here. I think I’m going to walk over there. So it’s kind of like playing
pool and chess combined. A dog, cue ball, sheep, colored balls. Dog has to find the exact spot of pressure to apply to the stock. Stock having what we call
a flight or fight zone. Meaning there’s a bubble around them. Kind of like personal space. So when your dog approaches them, we wanna do it in just
a way to intimidate them with their eyes, hey, you
need to move over there. And it’s kind of like if
you watch the movie Babe. The moral’s in there, it’s
just buried very very deep. The dog that asks nicely as
opposed to one like a wolf, the sheep will be more
willing to do what you want. So border collies, we
can just position them in a different spot, if
I want them sheep here, we put him here. Dog applies pressure, sheep move. Other breeds, we call them upright breeds, Belgian sheepdogs, corgis,
Australian shepherds, cattle dogs, they don’t use
their eye to stare at the sheep. They’ll come around, we
call it a waring pattern. They’ll use a motion to
intimidate the stock. They’ll use a bark to
intimidate the stock. They don’t stare at
them to intimidate them and make them move. So where border collies use
their eye and it’s very quiet. And it’s very subtle. Other breeds use more
of a bark and a motion. Which makes them better
suited for like pen work and small arena work. Not wild sheep in the hills. If you come running at it too
close and barking at them, they’re going to run away. And prey animals have
longer legs for a reason than your dog. Cause your dog has to
be smart to figure out how to hunt them and
kill them back before we domesticated them, obviously. So they use their eye to intimidate as opposed to any other breed. There’s only one other breed that will use strong eye like that and
it’s called a kelpie. They’re just typically
not as strong and not as able minded as a border collie. They’re born with the
tools to use their eye to move the livestock. But we have to teach them
how to use their super powers in a kind gentle way. Not a scary way. Soon as they see stock,
they want to run at them, it’s very exciting. That’s gonna scare your sheep. They’re gonna run away and
that’s not very nice to sheep. So we wanna teach our dog,
hey, approach them slowly and gently. And when you notice that
they’ve noticed you, take your pressure off. All right, now apply your
pressure back on gently. Whenever we move sheep,
say, to come out to graze. I need the dogs to move
them quietly and carefully. With bigger groups of livestock, you move, when you get into moving
a 100 head or 300 head, if the dog doesn’t move
them slowly and carefully, the sheep that are actually
in the middle of that pack can get suffocated from the other sheep. And even if you’re moving
a small group of sheep, say I’m taking 50 sheep out to go graze. Or load in a trailer to take somewhere. We wanna do it in a calm gentle manner. If you scare them, one’s gonna run here. And one’s gonna run there. And the other one’s
gonna run the other way. So we wanna move sheep in
a very calm gentle manner. One, so they don’t run
off any kind of weight. We wanna keep their weight on them. And you don’t wanna stress
them out and scare them. That’s not the point of the sport. Or even a ranch like situation. I don’t wanna scare the animals. We just wanna move ’em
from point A to point B. If you’re talking say singles, not any babies, just single sheep. One dog can handle 300 head pretty easily. Once you get over 300 heads, you wanna have a couple of dogs. Here at this ranch, say when
I’m moving lambs around, say 100 mom, we call ’em pairs. 100 moms and babies,
sometimes there’s twins. But singles as well. Then we use two dogs. Because the lambs don’t,
they’re not broke to the dog yet and they wanna run over
here and eat this bush. And run over here and eat this bush. So it’s super handy over 100 head to have two dogs talking to those sheep to get them to go where
you want them to go. And teach those babies, hey,
move along with the flock. You don’t get to run here and run here. Dog’s gonna tell you, I need you to go in this pasture right now. So we’re talking about
using our border collies in teams, pairs of dogs. Technically you would call it brace. And you would put each
dog on separate commands. So if I told this dog to lie down, this dog would keep moving. If I told this dog to go to the right, this dog wouldn’t go to the right. But then you have to
make them live separately to have separate commands. So I have to say that’s a tedious thing even for me to do. But it is done, we have
brace competitions. Where you use two dogs
completely separate commands to move livestock around. I use two dogs on this ranch. They work great. And they play off of each other. Where one sees, hey you’re kind of stuck. Bunch of babies over here, let me come over here and help you. And we’ll get those going. Once those are going, that other dog will come back to his side. And they get to know,
they get to be partners just like any team of
humans in life as well. Hey, let me help you out here. Okay, I got this side covered, do you have that side covered? And they really key off of
each other very very well. Not every pair of dogs
works great together. You have to find, again,
just like any relationship, that teams that’s gonna
work well together. All right, so now once we’ve started, we’ve trained our border collie up. We’ve trained them in such a way that we can move the dog to
apply pressure to the stock. By using our verbal commands. So traditional verbal commands, if you want the dog to
go counterclockwise, you would say away to me. We don’t say all that, though. I have to tell ya. I say way or away. We just shorten it. What it’s saying is you’re
going away from the clock is where it originated from. And when you want the dog to go clockwise, you say come by. So you come with the clock or
you’re away from the clock. That helps position that dog
to the left or to the right. We use those words so
you don’t get confused. Cause sometimes you have
the sheep coming at you. And you’ll tell your dog away. So you can put the sheep over there. Or come by, put the sheep over there. But sometimes I want them to
drive the sheep away from me, not fetch them to me. Humans can get confused
on their right and left. Is it my right, is it the dog’s right? So we just use a standard
clockwise and counterclockwise. So commands on these
dogs are pretty minimal. We have away. Go to the right. Come by, go to the left. Lie down means stop. Every trainer’s different on this. In my opinion, I teach my young dogs, lie
down, lie on your belly just like a traditional lie down. As you understand what you’re
doing and what your job is, then you’re allowed to stand on your feet as long as you stop when I say lie down. If you wanna sit, you wanna lie down, you wanna stand, that’s your choice. And I do that because I do send dogs out that go out a half a mile. And they are gonna be
picking up wild sheep that are rank, that
wanna beat your dog up. And if I automatically tell him lie down. And there’s 10 ewes back there saying I’m gonna kick your tail,
what do you mean lying down around me, you big scaredy cat. And they’re gonna beat your dog up. So I wanna leave that dog that option at a distance where I
can’t see what’s going on. So he can defend himself
and act accordingly. So we have right, left, stop, go. Walk up means apply pressure whether it’s fetching sheep or
driving sheep away from you. I use little hey hey if they’re
not thinking very clearly and going too fast. Or maybe coming in too tight
on the sheep and scaring them. That’ll do means come back to me. Stop your work and come back to me. Look back means turn around and hey, there’s something behind
you I need to go get. Look here means come by
me and look around here, I’ve something, some livestock
here I want you to get. Slow down, hurry up. That’s about it. We don’t, get back, get back would mean hey you’re too close to things. Get your pressure off the
sheep, you’re scaring them. Get back a little further away from them. You’re in their zone
and they don’t like it. So after you have your
dog already established on verbal commands, so he understands how to go right, left, stop, and go for you, then as the distances increases, right, if my dog’s quarter of a mile out, I’m gonna have to be screaming at him. Away, come by. Dog’s not gonna hear that very clearly. And they’re not gonna like
you screaming at them. So we have shepherd’s whistles and this way we can talk
to them at a distance. These whistles will go a
mile in good conditions. Half a mile in bad conditions. I’ll give you a couple tones on it. See, he said, oh, I
need to go to the right. So I’m gonna hang onto him cause that’s his language, right? Means go to the left. Stop. Apply pressure, walk
up, either bringing them or driving whatever I’ve asked of you. Come back to me. Come back to me, that’ll
do, come back to me. Means look behind you,
there’s something you forgot. Or you missed. Snuck up on you, go get it. For me means slow down,
you’re going too fast. And that’s about it. It’s very minimal commands. Cause again, we want the
dog to do all the work. I’m gonna guide where the ride goes. Where I want the stock to go. But it’s up to the dog to decide oh, I’m putting on too much pressure. Let me back off and walk a little slower. Oh these sheep are very heavy
and they’re wanting to eat. I need them to get home
and go back to the house and get penned up for the night. So hurry up. So I don’t wanna put everything
that I want the dog to do on him. We wanna create them
to be a problem solving independent thinking dog. So he can decide for himself. This is too close, this
isn’t close enough. Hurry up, slow down. So we just teach ’em basic commands. And then the rest is up to them. That’s the beauty of this breed. Other breeds, you have
to really let them know what it is you want them to do. They have a little more,
well lot more natural ability to do it on their own. So in border collies, we have quite a divide
in our breeding programs. There is the herding side. The working dog side,
that’s been there all alone. And then AKC comes along and
adopted the border collies into their program. Us working people with working and herding lines, don’t like that so much
because we don’t want to put a standard that it has to be this tall and it has to be this long. And it has to have this look. And it has to have a certain coat. Cause now you’re gonna
breed away all of our brains and our ability and our instinct. Our athleticism. It’s gonna ruin everything. Now you have AKC that stepped in and they have great herding programs. I’m not saying it’s all bad. But if you breed just for
looks and structure alone, then we’re gonna lose
all that natural talent. On the flip side, the people that only breed for oh, this is a great working dog, and don’t look at, well this
dog, his back is really long. So after I put five years
of training into him, by year eight, his
pasterns are broken down because his back doesn’t
support the length of his leg. So there are structural
things you wanna look at when you’re breeding. But the herding people, we
don’t have a standard per se of again, coat, length,
color, this, this, this. We breed on this is a very strong dog. Maybe this one’s a little bit weak, let’s improve that line. Where confirmation dogs, you
get them to start matching and then we breed away
all that natural talent. Now I’m not saying that
all show dogs are bad and can’t herd. But when you start breeding
them with very short legs, they can’t run up and down
mountains all day long even if they wanted to. They just don’t have that
athleticism into them. If you breed them with
big huge furry coats, just a little more uncomfortable
for them to be working especially in desert land
like I’m in little bit here. Stickers and brambles and things. So both sides are, the extremists
are wrong, in my opinion. There’s a happy medium. Structure is important. But color and coat and size
and weight is not important. So lots of research is always being done on every breed that’s out there. And there’s always health testing going on in border collies. In the working side of
herding border collies, there are not a lot of health issues. I can tell you, I’ve bred for about 25 of my 28 years of being in the breed. And I’ve never produced
a dog with hip dysplasia or an eye problem. But I’m also careful how I breed. I go and do testing. We test the hips. We test the eyes. And if the dogs have any
kind of gene that’s bad, we’re not going to breed that dog. We’re gonna find another good working dog. So we don’t have a lot of epilepsy or eye problems or hip
dysplasia or elbow problems. Pretty much no health
problems in border collies from all working lines. When you get into the show border collies, again, it’s when you start
breeding to look alike. And match and have a certain
coat and a certain height. Then you get into dogs that
have one, bad temperaments, a lot of the show bred dogs, they come from a certain gene pool. And those dogs, their foundation dogs, were not nice dogs. They don’t have sweet temperaments. And you can’t let them get by other dogs. And you can’t let them get by people. And that’s just not
what a border collie is. They’re supposed to be
ambassadors of good will. So the show bred lines, you’ll
see a lot more epilepsy. You’ll see a lot more eye
problems, hip problems. Elbow problems. And also just genetic problems where they’re more predisposed to cancers and things like that. All right, I get asked a
lot on my border collies. Is it the breeding or the training? Is it just a really dog or
did you train it really well? What makes that dog
super special and good? They are like a diamond in the rough and you’re lucky in your lifetime if you get one that is mega talented that complements you as a handler. You might have a very
very well bred smart, intelligent, able bodied dog. But you might not be competent
enough to work with that dog. So you really have to
work hard to find a dog that suits you. As far as is it breeding
or is it training? You can’t train what isn’t bred well. If it doesn’t have that ability to think and problem solve and reason, and make decisions on their own, no amount of training
you’re gonna put on that dog is gonna make it good. So I get asked, are
border collies a good pet? Border collies make a great pet. For the right owner. If you’re an owner that
is very very active and wanna get your border
collie out using its brain, exercising it is not enough. So it has to be doing a mental challenge. It isn’t even just like
doing tricks here and there. It’s the mental challenge that they crave. And it’s what makes them
a happier soul filled dog. So herding, obviously, would
be the number one thing that they would prefer to do. It’s the sports, the one sport you do, you don’t have to treat
them to get them to go. They want to go do that job. If you do agility with them, if you do fly ball or
tracking or search and rescue, any job you give them, they
wanna do it very very well. And they crave that puzzle, they just crave that intricacy of trying to figure something out. And solve the problem. As opposed to just,
oh, let’s go for a run. Which they love to do with you. So for the right owner, as long as you’re willing
to get them out there and do something mentally challenging, then they’re a great pet. So when you’re looking to
go get a border collie, there’s lots of things you wanna look at. One, go to a herding breeder, that’s what’s gonna breed
your true border collie. But the temperament of a border collie is supposed to be pretty much
an ambassador of good will. They’re supposed to be
very sweet, very social. Very friendly dogs. Not shy, oh my gosh, I
don’t wanna be touched. Not barking, I’m gonna attack you. They were not bred to protect us. They were just bred to move livestock. So they’re supposed to be very happy. Friendly, well temperamented dogs. Get along with every
dog, babies, children. And also be rather bomb proof. Where noises don’t startle them. They’re just pretty solid calm dogs. Not aggressive, not shy. If you get a border collie for a pet, and you don’t get them out
and have them active mentally, then they’re gonna come up with behaviors that end up not being fun to live with. They’re gonna dig up your backyards. They’re gonna wanna tear
up things in your house. They’ll just come up with bad behaviors. Barking, chasing the mailman. Running up and down the fence. Trying to use something
to use their brain. So it comes up with annoying habits that you’re not gonna wanna live with unless you get them out
there doing something. They want to use their brain. Some lines are better suited for being a pet than other lines. Like this batman dog, he’s a great dog to go ahead and breed for
people that wanna be active pet owners. My other dog Ace is very very busy. And he would not do well
living in an apartment and getting out once a day
to do something mental. He has to be stimulated all the time. So we would just be
careful as to what line you’re bred, bought from. So when you come to On The Lamb Ranch, there’s lots of activities going on. One, we give lessons for you to, to learn to train your dog to herd stock no matter what breed it is. It doesn’t have to be a border collie. You can bring, there’s
about 60 or 70 different herding breeds. There’s Australian shepherds,
Australian cattle dogs, Belgian sheepdogs, Belgian
tervurens, corgis, shelties. Standard poodles, rottweilers, tons of breeds that herd. That you would not ever
expect would herd sheep. So people bring their dogs
out to one, get tested. To see do they have
that instinct and desire to want to herd sheep. They do. Then next we go to lessons. So I or my assistant teaches
you how to train your dog to herd sheep. And as you get going in your lessons, then you can come in between your lessons, rent sheep and do your homework that we leave for you to do. Come back, take your lessons. So lessons we’re doing
and why we train your dogs to herd sheep is one, we do
competitions all over the world. Two, it’s really fun for a person even if you don’t ever wanna compete. It gets your dog doing
what it was bred to do. And it’s really fun to
watch their brain work. But again, you don’t have to treat to do. And I also train dogs for actual ranchers that need dogs to go
and work cattle for them or large flocks or sheep. So if you’re looking for
something fun to do with your dog that you’ve never done before, come out and try some herding. It is the most difficult
sport on the planet. You’re going to move a prey
animal with its predator all hands off. We don’t use leashes, everything
is the dog free on its own. So if you’re looking for something that’s mentally challenging
for you and your dog, come try herding. It gets you out of the city. My office does not suck. So it’s not a bad job to have at all. I didn’t plan in life to turn
out to be a herding trainer. But I’ve gotten pretty good at it and I found my little niche at it. And just because you’re a good handler or a good breeder or good trainer, doesn’t make you a good teacher. I think I’m a pretty exceptional teacher, my students all do very very well. And we end up with very happy dogs. Winning lots of different competitions. And I have dogs that never wanna, well, their owners never wanna compete, the dogs wanna compete. But they never wanna compete, and they just have a really good time getting out of the city. Coming to the country,
getting some nice fresh air. Hearing a tractor in the background. And just having some peace. So come on out to On The Lamb Ranch.

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