Monday, November 30, 2015

New Dog Progress Report

Austin is settling in nicely. He's an energetic, active young dog with a personality that is far more border collie than cattle dog. He's getting on well with Flick and Wiley and shows a lot more ball fanaticism than any dog I've had so far. Flick loves playing ball. It's FUN, and tossing a tennis ball on a rope at the end of an agility training sequence is a definite motivator. But for her, part of the fun is playing a little keep away at the end. Bite, bite, giggle. Come and get it if you can.

You're going to throw that, right?
For Austin, the ball is very serious business. He runs after, brings it back,  tosses it down at my feet, and backs away. If I don't throw it again, he'll nudge it towards me. He doesn't want me to interrupt him with treats in the middle of BALL. Just throw the damned thing. Ball is not a game. He pretty much ignores other dogs when he's playing ball at the dog park. Yes, I finally have one of THOSE boring (to everyone else) dogs.

It's a bit weird, but that's how border collies are a lot of the time. His only issue so far is a bit of cat obsession. He's fascinated with Leo and Merlin and will chase them. It seems more herdy behavior than serious "I want to eat them" predation. But it's still upsetting to them, and intense herding can drift into more predatory behavior. So we're trying to find a way to redirect this obsession.

I've done a bit of jump and tunnel work in the backyard with him so far, and have bought the materials to make a small wobble board for him. He definitely is fast and is going to need to learn how to collect and pay attention to his body when he jumps so he doesn't knock bars. I've ordered a copy of Suzanne Clothier's natural jumping book on Amazon.

He's a nice dog, though, very affectionate. He's pretty level headed and cerebral for a 1.5 year old male BC/cattle dog mix.


  1. I'd like a dog that just accepted that ball is a game, and dogs play games. Finbar doesn't play games, he stops other dogs running after balls unless he says it's okay. He's the boss. The others, especially the newbies, don't move unless he says so. Running around is the ONLY game there is, and he sets the pace. It's what you get for adopting a semi-wild animal, I suppose. Give Austin a big scratch round the ears from me.

    1. Wiley tries to stop other dogs from playing ball too. We call him the fun police. Unfortunately for him, Austin gets so intense about his ball that he just bulldozes through Wiley when he tries to get between him and the ball.

      Give Finbar a hug. Every dog has his or her own quirks.