Donna Brinkworth http://spiritdancedogs.blogspot.com/
"At one of the first clinics I ever attended with Scott Glen, he was talking to a bunch of 'green' people like me, and I always remember his words as being so encouraging. He said that our goal should be to take any dog and make it the best dog that IT can be. Not every dog is equal but if we have made it the best dog it is capable of being, we have succeeded and along the way, we will learn about dogs, sheep and about ourselves. He also said (I am paraphrasing, forgive me Scott) that some of the best teams are often the ones who have had to work harder and longer and who have stuck with it."
Whoa...WAKE UP CALL, Suzanne! I have kind of hit a lull in my training. The last few trials I have seen some "mediocre" work from my dogs. I have been on the verge of tears, depressed even. I know what my dogs are capable of doing. I just haven't got out of them what I think they are capable of doing.
At Zamora the other day, someone mentioned that they sure were glad I got a dog like Kilt. They said Jet would stand on his head for me and look to me to see if there was anything else I'd like him to do. Then, I showed up at my first trial with Kilt. Kilt took the reins away from me and said, "I'll be driving this course. Sit down, shut up, and hold on." People said, "This is what Suzanne needs." Sadistic,eh? Nah....but make me a better trainer, YES.
(This is me now "Donna"...) "In many dog pursuits, I've seen people with a prodigy dog, who *believed* that they were great handlers. Obviously they niched with that dog and that is of course, a wonderful thing. I think that when this happens, the ideal would be that we get the 'feeling' of how things should be, and are able to use that in our future training and know more clearly what we are after with dogs to follow. The sad thing I've seen in some cases is that some people hate every dog afterwards, finding fault in it and comparing it to the gift they had in that one special dog - rather than understanding that as handlers, they are part of the equation - or rather than finding joy in each individual dog that comes along."
Thank-you Donna. WAKE UP, Suzanne. Yes, your first dog was your "soul mate." Stop comparing the others to him. Each dog is so different. It is up to ME to bring out the BEST in each of my dogs. I may never be a National contender, but think of the knowledge I am learning along the way. I knew Kilt was too much dog for me, but I took the challenge. I enjoy her so much.
But, basically, reading and rereading the above quotes, makes me think of 3 year old Yoko. I have always called her "the little dog who could." I spayed her early on, because she was not "my type" of sheepdog. But, I have kind of given up on her. She embarrassed me a few times with some avoidance behavior (sniffing the ground) while on her sheep. I told my husband, "Here...you take her." I tossed in the towel. Well, shame on me. I let my EGO get in the way of my thinking. I was wishing I had one of those stylish, fancy, come forward dogs to work with. Sure, I could just get rid of Yoko. Just kidding, folks. I could never get rid of the Yokester. But, I think it is up to me to figure out what is going on in her head and help her through this phase. It is UP TO ME to make her THE BEST DOG SHE CAN BE.
Thank-you Donna. Thank-you Scott. I'm back on track now.