I have been working Border Collies for 8 yrs. now. It feels like a lifetime, but its been less than a decade. I have formed some opinions. I know what I like and I know what I don't like in a dog.
A Border Collie doesn't have to be "stylish." I like a ground level heel bite and a well placed nose bite. I want a dog who stands their ground. I want a medium eye, not too loose and definitely, not too strong. I love a natural outrunner.
Encouraging a heel bite is easier than encouraging a nose bite. Jet has a ground level heel bite. He will bite a nose only if I'm in close proximity. Jet has everything I want in a Border Collie except he is lacking machismo. Jet is a natural outrunner. He has a wonderful feel on his sheep.
Kilt has an automatic nose bite. I love it. I didn't have to encourage it. With a little encouragement she will heel. Heeling isn't her specialty like her daughter, Yoko. I have had to work hard on Kilt's outrun. She wasn't given that natural gift. Kilt likes to "push." Not exactly a gift in the trial field, but most definitely a gift in ranch work.
This morning Yoko gave me her first nose bite. Wow...did we ever have a party. I have been putting the ram lambs in a pen and stepping in the pen with her. We have been working on getting up close and personal. I let her heel the rams around the inside of the pen and then ask her to change directions. When she changes direction they are all staring at her. She stands "tall" and waits. This morning a ram nodded his head low at her and that's all it took. Bam. But, Yo still has a tendency to grab a front leg.
"A clean biting dog bites on the nose or face without hanging on when heading the cow to stop it. When heeling the cow, A clean bite is usually considered a bite below the hock of the cow, again without hanging on. A front foot bite is also considered by most to be a clean bite and is very effective at turning a cow. "
I think if I work with her "consistently" on praising her immensely for a nose bite and telling her "ah ah" on front leg bites, hopefully, she will get it. Maybe, I shouldn't discourage that front leg bite? But, that's how she got knocked a good one by the range ewes at Deer Creek. Yo was just born to be a cowdog. Sigh.
I don't like to drill, so every once in awhile we will pack pens for Yoko and let her do some bite work. Now on to shedding. I need more work than the dogs when it comes to shedding. I guess I will have to haul out the shedding tapes. Onward and upward.