Meet Bog Dog! Just kidding, that's my working line Border Collie and her name is Polly (aka Swampy, Bog Dog, Polly Perfect Pants, Miss P, Polly Trolly, Red etc.). Polly rocket launched my need/want to learn a lot more about dog behaviour and training.
Why did I get a working line dog? No reason! I didn't understand the difference between pet dogs and working lines back then... I just was happy that she had parents that were working stock dogs. She was an accidental litter, but she had been genetically tested and was registered ABC. She was my first ever puppy and the first of six dogs that I've owned that did not come from a shelter. So I wanted to do it right-ish. I even called the local dog trainer that I wanted to work with - Jeanne Shaw from Love 2 Play Dog Sports (L2P) - to see if she thought I could handle a Border Collie. She did, so I brought her home and life in this house has been a whirlwind ever since!
We went through Puppy Start Right with L2P, then some Obedience Start Right, then we started some Recreational Agility classes (so much fun). But really my journey into wanting to do & learn more than an average pet dog owner was when I went to Jeanne's orientation right at the very beginning. The science that I learnt in one night about clicker training, how it works and the learning theory it employs and all the stats as to how effective it it, satisfied the nerd in me in a BIG way. I wanted to know more, more, more. I lay in bed one night and realized that as a young girl, I had always wanted to 'do animal behaviour' but there were no classes and no career paths that I could find at the time that satisfied that goal. So I went to Agricultural University instead and took an Equine Science Degree. Fun, but not particularly behaviour based. Oh well, just graduate, work, get money, pay for things, travel, work some more, live in a new place, work, get some more money & things, work in a new place, travel etc. Dream forgotten... but life was good so, whatever!
Now 25 years later Miss Polly Perfect Pants, the people at Love 2 Play and the wonderful positive reinforcement trainers that I love to hear talk (Hannah Brannigan - Drinking From the Toilet, Sarah Stremming - Cog Dog Radio, Ken Ramirez, Kathy Sdao, and the rest of the faculty at Karen Pryor Academy, Clicker Expo & The Fenzi Dog Sport Academy), have reminded me that animals & behaviour is where I want to focus my next path in life.
What I learn along the way I hope to blog about here.