Saturday, June 4, 2011

Can't Decide

They hounds and I are enjoying their seemingly mutually decided retirement.  What they know, they know, and they enjoy practicing it.  They don't feel a particular need to learn new things; and now with Dolce, I don't feel a need to push it on them.  This summer, I would like for them to get their CGC.  After that, I'm content.

Dolce, on the other hand, is my little genius.  However, like most smart kids with attitude problems, he gets into trouble.  A lot.  We're dealing with herding instincts at dog parks, dog reactivity on-leash, housebreaking, polite people greeting (not growling with uncertainty or jumping for joy), and structured play can still be fun like doing whatever the heck you want at the time.

I'm tempted to create a separate blog for him.  I haven't written as much as I'd like just because I don't know how to structure it, haha.

I think he's younger than the shelter thought.  His smooth (read as short), black border collie fur is really coming in, and his fluffy little fawn undercoat is diminishing rapidly.  He's going through a serious teething/chewing phase.  I'd guess he was only just barely a year when I got him 3 months ago, not 16 months.

We're using BAT, Patricia McConnell's Feisty Fido ideas, and Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed principles to rid him of his on-leash dog reactivity issues.  A couple trips to the best doggie daycare in town cured Dolce of his issues at the dog park, for which I am very grateful.  However, he still tries to herd the other dogs there occasionally by nipping them on the butt, or grabbing their tails.  His fast little whippet legs make it very fun to catch the other dogs in a game of chase.  However, one day, he's going to get yelled at by a dog who is not understanding, nor appreciative.  Sure, a few dogs and turned around after a while and yelled at him and he stops... for a while.  I've yelled at him and stopped him, too.  Still he continues.  Oye.

I have so many aspirations for him.  He's a very talented pup.  I want him to do obedience, rally obedience, flyball, agility, disc dog, freestyle, and service dog work.  We took an obedience class, and had a blast.  He passed with flying colors, though leave it was tricky.  I can't wait to start the 2nd class.  He loves training.  He'd train all day if I could.  He also REALLY loves to bike with me.  When he starts to get antsy, we just go for a bike ride and let it all out.  I attach the leash to the seat bar, and he runs alongside beautifully.  If we encounter another dog and he pulls, he's light enough that his episode is cut short by our speed.  He usually tries to run full tilt after an outburst, as though he's trying to escape his own anger.  The outbursts are becoming less and less intense, and are actually decreasing in number altogether.  Dogs can be closer and he won't react than before.  I'm very encouraged that he will one day be the socialite that JoJo is with dogs, and that Kibeth is with people.

Getting to know him, I have decided border collies are definitely the breed for me.  Whether I could handle a purebred is up for grabs, but I am in love with the lifestyle having Dolce forces me to live.  I can't wait to get passed our issues, so we can get to the real fun and train and compete in all these doggie sports. :)

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