Saturday, August 07, 2010

the Joy the Job

Loving Sally is a little overwhelming sometimes. She is a HUGE responsibility. Not just because of her death wish tendencies or overwhelming enthusiasm for life, not even because of the care needed with regards to her diet and allergies. The consideration is because she is one of the smartest dogs I've ever met. (Don't forget given my rescue work I've met a LOT of dogs).

She is driven and if I don't "train" her - she trains herself. Her ideas of the skills she needs in life are not always the same as mine though. So playing with her, no WORKING her has to be part of daily life around here. Luckily for her and me the line between work and play is pretty fuzzy with Sally. She wants to play fetch? She grabs a stick, drops it at my feet and barks. I don't want to be bossed around by Sally? I send her out around a tree, or ask her to run her routine of right left down etc then throw the stick. Having to work doesn't deter Sally at ALL mind you. She says work, play, run, it's all the same to her.

Today I decided I better work on some major impulse control. Could I play fetch for a bit then drop the stick on a sequence IN Sally's path and have her complete the sequence? Honestly if I was a betting person I'd have said NO. And I would have lost my bet. Sally crossed RIGHT OVER the stick. She looked at it and collected a little but carried right on over it a number of times. She attacked the stick with a vengeance once invited. What a girl.

People walked by our property TALKING - Sally looked at them (usually she'd race to the fence a bark a little just to make sure we all know she's on the job) and looked at the stick then nicely went out and did a jump table combo. Talk about impulse control. She's better at it than I am. I talked to the people walking by!

It was good for me to push myself and Sally. Amazing it actually didn't seem to be pushing it once push came to shove. Inspires me to work/play a little harder.

Brody and I worked distance a little. It is not his strength. Working on weakness is a goal of mine. He was super and earned his cookies at the end of our session.

Sampson actually hopped over a couple of 8 inch jumps. He is highly distracted though and would much rather be in his comfort zone either running tunnels or sniffing his great scents.


Muttsandaklutz said...

She does sound like a handful... a fun handful though... I once heard someone say, "Don't get a border collie unless you're prepared to have a dog who is smarter than you." ;)

Go Brody with his distance work! Good for you for targeting a weakness... I find it so tempting to practice the stuff Walter's already good at... not the most productive way to do things though :)

andrea said...

I have to totally remind myself to do the things that are hard for us - it's such fun to practice the stuff we do well ;)

I have lived with working dogs off adn on for many years - part of the extra challenge of Sally (I suspect) is that not only is she smart -she doesn't worry about anything! Lots of the working dogs I have enjoyed life with take their jobs seriously maybe even with a little anxiety mixed in at times. There is nothing anxious about Sally at all!