Welcome to The Real Time Canine, Part Two

Welcome to part two of The Real Time Canine. In this edition, I will describe the daily life of a Border Collie sheepdog prospect. In weekly posts using words and pictures, I will describe what they learn and how they learn it. Each pup imparts knowledge in their own special way, and through them I will give you insight into how I train a Border Collie Sheepdog from beginning to success.

As with Kensmuir Star in the original
Real Time Canine, you will be with us every step of the way as these talented youngsters acquire the confidence, willingness and skills necessary to attain my goal for them to become a useful working sheepdog and successful trial competitor. I hope you will join us and find useful tips and technique on how to train a sheepdog.

After a lifetime with animals, dogs, horses and livestock, I am happy to share my expertise with you. I have found success at sheepdog trials at home and abroad, and have trained dogs that went on to find success with others. To learn more about me and my dogs, please visit my BorderSmith website, and my BorderSmith Blog!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Week 8

Jed gets a taste of SoHo

By now you have figured out that 2 weeks turned into 3, on it's way to 4 since I have posted. No excuses, just lazy. I have had a hard time getting back into the swing of training my dogs since coming home from 16 days on the road. That and the fact that it was 111 degrees here yesterday has inhibited my motivation considerably. Little Jedi is now officially a road warrior, and learned to handle travel with the aplomb of a much older dog. He did good!

5 things:
  1. Quit squirming
  2. Why didn't you just say so
  3. Waiting patiently
  4. Loyalty
  5. Friends
Somewhere around Las Vegas on our way out, I was considering tossing Jed out the window on the freeway. In the 5 or 6 hours it took us to go that far, he had persistently squirmed and complained. I should have put him in a crate in the trailer, but chose the safer method of leaving him crated in the back set of my truck. I had to swallow my frustration more than once during that time, hoping that he would get the hang of it sooner or later. Decidedly later, he did just that, and because I did not cater to him by letting him out every hour or so, after Vegas, he got the hang of it and road quietly for the rest of our journey. The lesson? Leave them alone, they will adapt.

Once acclimated, the only time Jed spoke to me was when he had to empty. Good boy! Usually, I would first hear a low moan, then whining, and if I still hadn't responded by that time, he would startle me with one, great big, unmistakable bark. His way of saying; NOW! In so doing, he really showed me his intelligence, and I'm happy to report that this was not his only way. I always answered his call, except for once coming through Nevada on our way home. He barked, I answered a phone call and forgot, the cab turned a sour yellow color, at least in my imagination. After a quick roadside stop for clean up detail, and a profuse apology to my most excellent puppy, off we went without any further pollution.

Jed had quite a bit of crate time on the trip, and he weathered it well. After a nice, long outing every morning with all the dogs, Jed got crated either inside or under the RV trailer. None of my neighbors along the way complained about noise problems, and I never heard him in there, so I have to assume that he waited patiently for the next long walk, play time, or to be handed off to a dog-sitter du jour. He learned to love the crate at home by being fed in there, and hanging out in one with me in the house, and it all paid off in spades on the road.

A neighbor had a puppy about the same age as Jed, and we let those 2 romp and play together at Meeker. Jed came to know where she lived, and on more than once occasion headed that way to be rewarded with visitation privileges. One morning, my friend was out walking all her dogs, and agreed to include Jed so the puppies could play. I went back to my trailer, then went out later and took him back home with me. Later, I found out from another neighbor, that Jed had returned home on his own, climbed the stairs to the door, and tried to alert me to his presence. This was valuable practice for him, and might have saved his life later in the trip. On the way home, in Cedar City, UT, I put Jed, Price, Mirk and Star inside a chain-link, designated dog-walk pen, and left them alone. After hours and hours in the truck with only an occasional outing to empty, I thought they needed to stretch their legs. I also checked the perimeter, and thought the enclosure was puppy-proof. It wasn't. But I heard something at the trailer door, looked out, and there was Jed on the top step telling me; "I want to come home now." I cannot express the relief I felt upon seeing him there, nor the sheer joy of knowing how much he loves me.

Jed has a whole host of new friends made while we were away. As a matter of course I will hand off a puppy to any willing participant who will keep him, play with him, and socialize him for me at a dog trial. Usually it's kids who want to play, and he met some of those, but it was the loving adults who tended him best. At SoHo and at Meeker, he went, he followed, he played, and was loved by a fine compliment of adutls who just love puppies. Thanks to them all for helping me greatly to socialize my very gregarious young man. I thank you. You did a fine job, and Jed matured wonderfully through the process.