Tuesday, July 7, 2009
A revised timeline for the Lizard
When I got this cute little split faced, curly coated border collie, Lizzie...I had really high hopes, dreams, aspirations. I knew that day that we were meant to be together, and for good and bad we were going to be a team. So as the first few weeks came and went and we were getting to know each other and after a few months she started showing some of her future personality, I was a little concerned. Not to worry, she was just a baby and her total over zealous lust for life and never ending energy, that was just because she was a baby, RIGHT???? Please.... We did lots and lots more training and work on self control, I worked on making myself the funnest thing on earth, I spent lots of time, and some things were looking marvelous, but there was always this underlying total disconnect of the brain when Liz got excited.
When we hit a year, Liz got amazing at doing tricks, she could figure out anything, and surely she was just at the height of her adolescence, and any day she would be totally reliable. At that point I only dreamed of her being safe one day, surely soon she was called so I would not have to always worry about her getting out and going over the top with excitement and being three counties away before she could even hear someone calling her. That was my HUGE fear at this time. At that time people said she will mature. We enrolled in more obedience, a couple of recall classes-three whole series on the totally reliable recall and we did a lot of homework. At about this time we went to an agility instructor that really wanted to do lessons with Breeze, told me Liz and I had no relationship at all and the dog had no connection to me, this after a few minutes watching Liz in her total whoo hooo state after going to a new location-at that point she could truly not think. She made it clear that Liz was not allowed back. I was devistated but I tried to tell myself I knew the bond with me and Liz was stronger then any other bond I had known, and so what if this yahoo did not see it? Besides she was going to mature, right???
At the two year mark, not a lot had changed, Liz did lots more behaviors, she didn't get into everything in the house, but she still could not attend an agility class. But everyone said the magic mark is three years......PLEASE let that be!
Last summer at 2 1/2 OVERNIGHT things changed and Liz matured. Not to where I wanted her, not to where she could do what I had dreamed when I got her, not to where she could consistantly do a class, but to where she could function most of the times in a private lesson in a familiar environment and to where she could sometimes...function for a few minutes in a class in a familiar environment, but hey we had until 3 when she would fully mature, right???
So recently this spring we hit the three year mark. I love Lizzie more then anyone can know. If I want to have fun shaping and working with a dog, I always go to Lizzie first. Lizzie learns any tricks in a snap. Lizzie has a terrific recall when she has a head and well, she knows more then any other dog I have ever had. Still at 3, she can do a class, sometimes, she can work in an unfamiliar place, a little, sometimes, she can work for a little longer time, occassionally, but I do not worry about her getting lost, about her going over the top and running three counties before she stops and notices she is lost. She is very reliable in the house and doesnt tear up the bathroom, or get onto the counters or into the fridge like she used to do. Actually a wonderful dog to be around. She sleeps above my head on the pillow every night and I reach up and give her a pat and feel nice feeling her when I wake up at night. She really is my best friend, but I was facing that it might be time to give up on the idea of her doing what I got her for, agility, even though she is the fastest dog, she is built terrific, she loves it, but you have to be able to trust your dog can stay on course and well, that does not always happen. But maybe time to accept what is,....after all she is 3.
So last night there was a new ray of hope and a bunch of people were telling me that hey, lots of dogs mature and get it together at FOUR!!!! YES, some ray of hope!!! I am going to buy it!!! That ray of hope along with her amazing performance last night, maybe we will really actually make it, some day.....As long as she enjoys it, I will just have to keep trying. People might hear our story or watch us run and think I am a rotten trainer to not have this dog doing agility and trialing, but hey they do not have a dog like her and they have not seen what we have gone through, so let them think what they want. I guess if it never happens, that is ok too, maybe if she had turned out to be the agility dog I wanted and went out to buy, maybe she would not have been the amazing friend I found.