I was thinking the other day about when I showed horses. I showed horses all over the U.S. I had my saddlebreds boarded at a training barn. They were professionally trained. All I had to do was take lessons and climb aboard when it came time for show time. My quarter mare I kept at home and did my own training. The wins on my horses that were professionally trained were exciting, but none compared to the major wins I had on the quarter mare I trained by myself. Especially the year I didn't win the Saddleseat championship at the American Royal, but I won the Stockseat championship with well over 200 riders entered. That was so sweet.
I think it is the same way with my dogs. I'm sure I could handle a trained dog and be happy with my winnings, but no win would be as sweet as the time and effort I put into my own training. And, time and effort it takes. And how. I enjoy every minute of it.
So many people today want "instant" gratification. I guess if you have a wallet full of money you can go out and buy yourself a trained open dog to trial. And, if you don't want to do the training yourself, you can send your dog to somebody else to train for you. That's really appealing for lots of folks. Not so, for me, though.
And, no I'm not selling Yoko because she isn't exactly what I would buy in a sheepdog. I'm not going to replace her with a puppy because she shows signs of stress at the trials. What I am going to do is work with her. Set small goals. Try to train consistently. Give her more varied experiences.
Heck, the breeder of Kilt offered to replace her with a trained dog, because she felt Kilt was too much dog for me. I said, "No thanks." Kilt has taught me more in the last 5 years than any ranch/trial bought trained dog. We have made it to open and have received our first open points. I think we will do even better in the years to come. Progress has been slow, but oh, so sweet.
I think "Too many people miss the silver lining, because they are expecting gold." The partnership one creates from hard work and teaming up with their dog is what this sport is all about to me.