a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Boost and Her Siblings

Friday, June 09, 2006

Boost and Her Siblings

SUMMARY: Boost's training continues casually; but when night falls, the spooks take over. And...what about AKC? (From an email to a friend)

Q: How's the Border Collie? My little fella's great but going to be a candidate for neutering if he doesn't get his act together....

A: My puppy girlie is great! She's a lot of fun and is going to be a very fast agility girl; I'm not being very ambitious about training her, but most of her siblings are in similar places in training (except for her southern California sibling, trained by a pro (sigh) for her owner who looked like she could win the Grand Prix at six months, from what I've heard). Anyway, none are competing yet--they're barely old enough, anyway, so that's fine.

Except at night she turns into The World's Alert System. It's funny--the sun goes down, and all of a sudden every noise is a potential danger and worth barking at. And it's not casual barking--hackles up, wary pose, eyes turn into flashing red lights, the whole works. Even the other dogs trotting casually over to check out whatever she's alerting on doesn't convince her it's safe. If I go over to the flower bed or shrub and poke at it with a broom, she'll streeetchhh her nose wayyyy out to sniff at it, since Mom is apparently bold enough to go near, but even that doesn't always fix it. As soon as I leave, she's at it again the next time there's a sound or a rustle. Last night it was a toad. The night before it was a cat. I suspect often it's roof rats, which the other dogs either chase and bark at challengingly or simply ignore, but she sees them as a Great Threat that she's not going to get within a distance where they can attack and rip her throat out, thank you very much.

I have no interest in the whole genetics and breeding thing, so Boost was spayed at 6 months. ... I registered her with AKC because I could, but in retrospect maybe I shouldn't have, just on principle, and registered her with the working border collie association, because I don't plan on ever competing in AKC, but then ya never know.

I've been training Boost to go into a Down the instant she hits the table, which is what's required in USDAA. It occurred to me in class last week, when we were practicing tables, that in fact AKC allows the judge to specify whether the dog does a Sit or a Down on the table, so I should be training her to wait for a command when she gets on the table, just in case I or someone ever wants to run her in AKC. Pfagh! (It keeps running through my head that, if she does really well in USDAA, maybe her breeder(s) might want to run her in AKC. She sure does love Tammy and Greg. But I dunno.)

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