Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Back to my roots

After my recent escapades with counter surfing and almost setting the house on fire, I realized that it was time for me to get back to what started this blog--namely my training for various activities. From my last few posts, you might think that all I do is try and steal food and harrass Rafe. While both of these are important day-to-day activities for me, I'm also training in a couple of doggie sports: flyball and agility. In addition to them, I'm learning sheep-herding too. My person is trying to decide what should be my "main" activity and whether or not we have time for all three.

My most recent agility class ended last week and the new one starts at the end of the month. At my first training club, we spent more time learning to run over lots of obstacles--like 18 at a time rather than really honing our skills on a couple. At the new training club, we work more on getting the transitions between two or three obstacles down really well. Like most dog training, the training is more for the people than for the dogs. I mean, how much is there to "learn" once you've figured out how to jump over the pole or to climb the A-frame? Sure, you have to learn to sometimes watch the person and sometimes listen to her, but she's got to run around, spinning in "front" and "rear" crosses and making sure she doesn't trip over obstacles.

My flyball training continues on as well. I'm still running the whole course and last time we went, they brought a dog in as a "distraction". I was a little distracted, but not too bad and I still got the ball and brought it back and all. For me, the jury is still kind of out on whether I think it's fun or not, but I definitely want to keep giving it a go.

My sheep herding is great and I love it. We just switched to Saturday herding because the sun is going away too soon to keep going on Thursday nights. That also meant moving to a different field-a smaller field in fact. This is good for everyone since it means that the sheep can't really run away from me, which also means I can't decide to quit. See, in the bigger field, I often just decided it was too much bother to keep going. Not such a great thing for a working border collie--on the other hand, why do more work than you have to, I always think.

This week, the instructor decided it was time to get serious about letting me know what I was doing wrong. Unfortunately for me, by doing that, she exposed one of my long-standing human tricks. I have for some time been plying the humans to do my bidding by pretending that I am "soft" and "unconfident" when all along I have been the queen of the ball. When you lack confidence, the people will let you get away with a lot more because they are just happy you're doing "it" (whatever "it" is at the moment). That's what I've been doing with herding. But on Saturday, the instructor just wouldn't let up and I got so irritated that I forgot my game and just went ahead and did it right--so right in fact that the instructor said she was shocked, shocked indeed. I may be able to fool them again, but I'm a little worried because my person has been pretty firm with me all week. I know she loves me and all, but I think my days playing the wilting flower are past.

I guess that's not such a bad thing, though, and it does kind of make my person grin to realize how I pulled the wool over everyone's eyes.

Lesson for the day
No need to work hard unless you really have to. But if you do have to, you might as well.

1 comment:

Maximillian the Valliant said...

Well my speckled friend,

I personally think that it is necessary for a herding dog to herd. So if you have your say, stick with the sheep.

Of course, I don't have access to sheep, but I do keep a no fly zone over the yard. Birds fear me...planes try to go higher...ballons roar with fear and float away. M-the-V