AREN'T THEY CUTE?
Morganne http://urbanborders.blogspot.com/ asked if I am raising Cricket differently from the other dogs. It is funny because if I had another puppy right now I would do things differently even though Cricket is not a year yet, but luckily I do keep learning more.
Breeze will turn 4 this month and Liz is 4, so it was not that long ago that they were the puppies. I got those dogs when I was taking classes mainly at a place that does agility that is not that competitive so I was never exposed to a lot of the skills I wish I had had for foundation with Liz and Breeze.
Liz and Breeze were my first border collies and I had been really freaked out by reading all the cautions about border collies and how difficult they were and not for everyone. I was not sure I would measure up to owning a border collie I was a bit intimidated. I think I worried a lot more about heading off problems because I had heard so many horror stories about BC behaviors. I was rushing around to lots of classes, which were not always the best classes for my dogs-some just are too slow a pace and very boring for an energetic little puppy. Do not get me wrong, I had a blast with Liz and Breeze but I did worry more...sort of like having your first kid where you worry more about everything-you enjoy but you worry more then you need to.
LIZ AND BREEZE ARE SUCH GOOD BUDDIES!
The other big difference was that I had two BC puppies about six months apart. What was I thinking with that??? Liz s a super challenging dog, LOL, and I really saw that I needed to get a handle on some of that...so Breeze who was really a perfect dog got pushed to the side more then I would have liked. She is a good dog because she was a good dog. I really see today some of my lack of foundation, which because she is so good has not been that much of an issue...but I really see what I would have liked to do differently and I am lucky she just had such a good nature.
So fast forward to Cricket. I think I have a mix of way more strict rules and guidelines-but I am way more playful, and I finally know how to add more play into training---I want to learn a lot more about that but I think I have come a long way from where I was. I have a lot more rules but they are just part of life, not any rules that I really even think about, they are just a natural part of life now. I think I reward only for average or better performance/ behavior now and I do not feel as compelled to try to make Cricket be right all the time (meaning I do a lot of shaping and try not to do any luring)-- with easy things I let her figure out things more or be wrong sometimes which I think helps her handle stressful things a lot better-hopefully she will not be upset by making wrong choices sometimes-I learned that from mistakes I made with Lizzie! I still try to break things down so the dog can understand and start with little things, but I just don't jump in as quickly.
I do a lot of tricks with Cricket but way less fun trick that are fun to show.. and I have focused a lot more on the things I really want to see in a couple of years. We do a lot more foundation behaviors that might look like nothing and might be pretty boring for others to watch.
I quit worrying so much by the time Cricket came around-I think I just feel more confident, so that just adds even more to how much I have enjoyed her. I have only done one class with Cricket and that was a four session recall class. Everyone at our training club seems very freaked out that we are not doing classes.. but I take her around other agility classes and trials, but most of the classes go to slow for me to keep a puppy really engaged and use too much luring for what I want to do with Cricket. Cricket is just one of those once in a life time dogs I think that is very easy to train, and has so much drive to boot....so all those things have made being with her sooo much fun. The great thing is that all this new foundation work I have done for Cricket is that it has helped me fill in the holes that I had in my older girls foundation training.
CHECK OUT WHO LOVES CRATE GAMES. LOL! LIZ AND BREEZE WERE IN THE CRATES AND CRICKET HAD ALREADY GOTTEN OUT OF THE CAR BUT SHE LOVES THE CRATE SO MUCH SINCE WE HAVE REALLY WORKED THE CRATE GAMES THAT SHE JUMPED INTO THE CRATE WHEN I WAS TRYING TO LET LIZ OUT, GOOFY GIRL!