Last year, in May, I drove from Idaho to Nebraska to pick up the cutest little tri colored Border Collie puppy I had ever seen. I was beyond excited for her as she is Try’s niece and I wanted another dog with the same lines as Try.
I picked her up and started toward Colorado where I had seminars and trials lined up. She was a good little girl in the car, loved to run around at rest stops, and was pretty sure Try and Nargles were the neatest dogs she had ever met.
Once she settled in, I noticed she wasn’t the snuggly little puppy I had been dreaming about ever since I knew the litter was going to happen. Even at 12-15 weeks she had a very strong “work” drive and wasn’t really into the whole “puppy cuddles” routine.
This is not Ally.
Ally wanted to work. Ally wanted a job and in her mind Border Collies are meant for working, not hugs, kisses, and cuddle time.
Not to long after I got Ally, my life changed dramatically and I ended up moving to Oregon. With everything happening I barely had time to think, let alone do what training needed to be done with a baby Border Collie.
She did not get the foundation and the attention she needed as a baby and because of this the relationship between her and I became strained. I wanted a cuddly puppy and she wanted me to train her for a job. Life between Ally and I was very hard. I had a hard time working with her because I wanted to pet and cuddle her and she did not. I was frustrated, she was frustrated; I felt like I failed her and I didn’t know how to fix what I had done. Ally and I did not have a relationship because I didn’t work on it enough. I felt like I had failed her as her trainer and as her friend.
After long talks with friends and so many ideas on what to do, i decided to go back and treat her as though she was an 8 week old puppy. Not as a one year old dog I had failed, but as a puppy who needed to learn about relationships and starting a foundation.
In the last three months Ally has become a completely different dog. Her and I have a very strong relationship that improved ten fold once we both started working together. She now loves to be petted after a job well done. I love how hard she tries and how she has started working for me and not just for herself or treats.
Ally and I still have a long way to go. We are working on our foundation and training obstacles for agility is still a long way out. Without the strong relationship and foundation between us, teaching her obstacles would set us back. So we are learning to work together as a team, away from the agility field. She loves her TEAM training games and I have been teaching her Treibball which, strangely enough, has helped immensely.