Sunday, September 23, 2007

There's A Reason Why Collies Don't Do Humiliating Dog Sports

Collies are not border collies. Exhibit A.

There's a reason why those dog obedience trials are basically the Retrievers vs. the Border Collies.

Those dogs are like gambling addicts with eating disorders. They will do anything to get a tennis ball. They will do anything for a piece of food. Even if it's not good food. They will do anything to get to play a game. Right there, you've got a perfect storm for tight and sticky obedience winners.

Collies are not like labs. Collies will not do this.

Training a collie, on the other hand, is like training your college roommate. If you tell them to do something, they'll ask you why. If you ask them to do something for a reward, they will decide that apathy is the best reward. If you punish them for not doing what you say, they will become deeply offended, and ignore you until the Resident Assistant agrees to give them a new room assignment.

That, except maybe for the access to an RA, is a collie.

This is a classic collie pose.

So, it's slow going here in training land. Scotty is tired of sitting when I ask, and he's tired of having to perform for treats. His treats have to be so delicious for him to work for them that his regular food is looking rather boring to him.

Once this week, we covered a mile in an hour and a quarter because (according to training rules) I had to stop every time Scotty pulled on the leash. Start. Spazz. Stop. Start. Spazz. Stop.

But training must go on. If I stop now, it's going to be because I would rather live with a spazz for another ten years than put in the effort to mold him into a good citizen.

See you at the farmer's market. We'll be the ones walking two steps at a time.


Brian & Becca Davis said...

It's funny because many Shelties, who you would tend to think of as just mini collies, live for that kind of stuff.

i spent many a teen-aged afternoon doing obedience trial schtick with our sheltie.

best of luck with just gotta be more stubborn than him, right? :-)


piglet said...

Yeah, I've known a couple shelties, one aptly named Turbo, who could not sit still and needed a job, like a border collie does. It's hard to believe collies came from the same general geographical area, with the same basic job description.