Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Elli had another great agility class Monday night. She picked up the front cross immediately, and was sequencing 12 obstacles. She didn't fall for the tire trap coming out of the tunnel, instead picking me up for the front cross and reversal of direction. We will be starting either the dog walk or the teeter next week, so I'll be interested to see how she deals with new objects that have some height to them, and/or that move. I'm delighted at how responsive she is to my body language. I'm less delighted with the fact that my body language has a pronounced speech impediment.

However, I didn't actually run over the jump; I just came perilously close to it, thereby pitching Elli wide around the obstacle. Poor dog. I totally need to get her one of those T-shirts with the pointing arrow that says, "I'm with Stupid." Thom swears he'll make an agility handler of me, though, and he's cracking the whip hard, which is good. I need it.

I am so pleasantly surprised at Elli's work ethic. She really WANTS to work, and has great focus on course. Because of this, I've decided that, come spring, I'm going to bite the bullet and sign her up for private herding lessons. I'm very fortunate in that there's an experienced herding instructor with a farm in the next town over from me. It's $60 an hour for a private lesson, so I may have to either split the lesson with someone else or only go on a bi-weekly basis, but I want to see what Elli can do with livestock. She loves having a job, and this will give her one more outlet for her energy. She'll definitely need her T-shirt then; I have, like, less than zero knowledge of livestock. What I know about sheep can be summed up thusly: they have four feet, and they make sweaters. Sweaters that I can't wash, because they'll shrink. Why is that? The sheep don't the sheep shrink when they get wet, do they? Do you have to dry-clean sheep?

It has been really interesting to see how different her personality is from Ian's. I mean, I realize that they're all individuals, but it's still intriguing to me. Ian's idea of the perfect life would be to lie on the couch with his head in my lap, sleep at my feet while I'm on the computer, snuggle on the bed at night, and intersperse all that with a walk or some fetching of the ball out in the yard. When we were working in agility, it was a looooooooong time before he didn't get the zoomies in the middle of the course and run around doing his own thing. He'll do obedience because it's time he gets to spend with me and because he wants to please me, but he will never have straight sits or fronts, and it is always going to be a toss-up as to whether he's going to play clown in the ring. But he is possibly the sweetest dog who ever lived, and is tuned into my emotions to a scary degree.

Elli is NOT cuddly. She'll put up with me loving on her, but she has this little martyred expression the whole time, and she can't get away fast enough. When she gets up on the bed, it's at the foot, and no amount of persuasion will induce her to come up for a snuggle. Half the time she'll lie down in the kitchen or the bedroom rather than stay in the room with me, let alone at my feet. I spent at least the first six months of her life convinced that she hated me. But she LOVES to work. She has terrific focus, and is already a much sharper heeler than Ian will ever be. She works with this big grin on her face and her eyes alight, not because she's humoring me but because she wants to do it, and do it right. Working with Ian is rewarding because he's my little heart dog. Working with Elli is FUN, and I am going to learn so much from her.

I can't wait to see what kind of "fursonality" the next little furkid will have. Eight more days till Clue's puppies arrive!!

No comments:

Post a Comment