Saturday, March 1, 2008

Intro for the Red Dog

Since it seems to be the popular thing to do, here's Iris' training journal! I think keeping a record of her training will be good for me since I'll be able to look back and see her progress. So without further ado, here's a little background on The Rainbow Dogess herself!

I adopted Iris last summer from the NHSPCA. I was looking for a dog to do agility with and decided I wanted a medium-size herding dog mix. My first choice for a breed was an Aussie, but I didn't expect to find a purebred in the shelter. But now here's Iris! She's four years old AKC/ASCA registered, from a working/conformation cross breeding.

Iris (previously named Lula Mae, that had to go!) was surrendered to the shelter after she escaped from her owner's house (through the front door, which maybe shouldn't have been left open in the first place) and killed two of the neighbor's uncontained, pet ducks. I know she's a herder and I got the impression that she was sort of a "farm dog" so killing livestock is a big no, but they'd only had her for six months. Personally, I'd have sent whoever left the front door open to the shelter instead. It turns out that she'd also been chasing and nipping running kids and was "over protective" of the house (over protective being a bit of an understatement as I've learned). I think those were probably the real problems and the ducks were just the last straw.

Before that, she'd been through 2 or 3 other homes. As far as I could tell, the only command she understood was "sit" and that was inconsistent. No wonder no one could live with a high energy, untrained dog. She's got a ton of energy and lots of intensity. I'm pretty sure that she believes life is a race and anything worth doing needs to be done with everything you have. She needs a job and daily training to exercise her crazy brain, so that's where agility comes in! I'd also like to try herding with her, but I think she needs to tackle one challenge at a time.

She's not perfect, and she's not without her challenges. She acts like she's spent the first 4 years of her life running the house according to Aussie standards. She can be pretty reactive with other dogs in agility class and is not always good with guests in the house (or outside the house or driving a truck past the house or delivering mail to the house or, well, you get the idea). Trucks are her arch-nemesis, so jogging with her is sometimes interesting (the Gentle Leader is a savior). A friend told me that if I want to stick it out and work with this dog it will be a long and winding road. Well, I guess it's a good thing I have a dog to come with me for the trip.


JULES & IKE said...

As Ike's favorite quote says,

There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going - Anonymous

Glad to see your blogging. I hope you find it as useful as I do.

Katrin said...

hey! why am I always the last to hear about these blog things??? LOL! Welcome to the insanity, it's great fun!

Blue said...

Katrin, I thought the insanity started when my family decided that three dogs can't possibly be much more than two. So then I brought home a little red Aussie who's got enough energy and personality to equal 3 more dogs instead of one... :)

Julie, that quote is so true! And sometimes I think the journey is just as important as the destination.

Katrin said...

Bringing HOME the dog is just the START. hehehe. You finally realize you should be comitted when you go "um, where the hell did that last pay check go? Oh that's right- to agility class and trial fees and dog food and vet bills and chiropractor treatments and and and and. Wait a second?! What about me?!! I need to eat too! SHIT!"

Lael & Neil said...

Hi Blue,

Welcome! You certainly have one pretty aussie. I lover her energy. Its also neat to read about other people's perspectives on class.

Regarding Katrin's last comment. You know you are a little crazy when all of the dog related items in your budget exceeds what you have allowed for "people" needs!

Blue said...

I agree, I really like reading other people in class' perspectives. Hopefully we can all learn from each other's challenges!

I've just accepted the fact that my "fun things" budget has very quickly turned into the "dog needs" budget! It's a good thing she's a lot of fun :)