Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Where I started

Tina, and Kate- 1999
My very first dog that I ever trained was Tina- the Shepherd cross on the left. She was trouble- independent, bossy, and a bitch with other dogs. We fought a lot. But she was tough enough to take the sort of training that we all did back then. A fantastic worker- she would work forever for a pat on the head and a good girl. And she did. She was trained through Open, but we just did matches. We weren't always welcome at said matches either- a mixed breed dog at a Kennel Club event was not a normal occurance. The start to my thick skin. lol. We kicked their butts though, and we always left with a little blue paper ribbon and some loot. ;)

Tina was my very first agility dog. She was overweight, and under trained, but boy did we have a good time. lol. An honest dog who didn't make many mistakes. We brought home a lot of ribbons (we were the only 22" Specials!). Tina was a dog that had heart. And had joy in all things. A dog who really knew how to make the best out of any situation. At the trial that the above photo was taken she spent about 5 minutes chasing gophers outside the ring...thankfully she restrained herself until after our run, but it took a whole hot dog and a few friends to catch her.

Kate was the next dog I trained. And my first very own dog from puppyhood. I did a lot of things wrong with her. But she loved me anyway. If nothing else Shepherds are VERY devoted to their people. Kate was my first Competitive Obedience dog. This was her only High In Class- the other dogs all broke their stay in the hot sun. And because we had worked SO MUCH (she hated to be away from me, even across the ring) she stayed. I was so proud of her. Kate had lots of problems mentally- anxiety, dog reactivity, and fear issues with people and new places. She was a hard dog to trial so I retired her from Obedience as soon as I finally listened to what my poor dog had been telling me for years.

Agility wise she was slow and not very steady. lol. I remember being so worried about her leaving the ring, barking at ring stewards, or spooking at something. It was a very stressful time for both of us. She was so sensitive, and I struggled with that.  And yet we persisted. lol. The above photo was taken the early 2000's. At a funday in Kimberley (when there used to be a tree in the middle of the ring!). I travelled there with my friend Pam. Kate ran away back to the car and I had to drag her out.... Fun times.

 When Wicca came along Kate was soon retired from Agility. Travelling with her was awful for both of us. She bent many crate doors... The best time in Kate's life was when there were no expectations. A loved house dog. Equal amounts of walks and couch time. That was what she was waiting for. Kate has been gone for a few years now. I still miss her.

Kate in her senior years- photo by Wendy Devent.
Although a difficult dog I wouldn't change a thing about her. She taught me so much about patience, and thinking outside the box. That positive methods do in fact work, and that loving a dog for who they are and not what you want them to be is the most important thing of all. 

So, where did you start? Who was your first dog? What do you remember most about them? And more importantly what did they teach you?

If you want to play along post a link to your blog post in the comments!


Michelle Larson said...

I liked this... yours made me cry, then it made me cry remembering Daisy, but sometimes you need a good cry :0)


Amanda said...

Izzie is my first dog and first training experience. So practically my whole blog is about that. Lol. They sure do teach us a lot. A lot of unexpected lessons too.

onecollie said...

I really enjoyed this post & seeing the old pictures, you should show more old pictures ;)
I will do one of these posts too, soon, when I scan some more pictures :)

Kristi said...

I would have never pictured you with GSDs - you are always the Cardi-gal to me LOL!

Bear wasn't my first dog but he was the first dog that I did much with. He was my first agility, herding, flyball, and freestyle dog, and his motto was: if you pay me, I will do it. There is nothing he wouldn't do for a weiner. He wasn't the fastest dog (some of his runs could be timed on a sundial) and he could be a bit sulky, but he also suffered through all the mistakes a newbie makes. He was the dog who changed my life, and the reason I have a house full of collies (that would make his Aussie blood boil LOL!).

What a fun idea, to remember the trailblazers. Thanks for letting me tell you about mine.


Anonymous said...

Nice blogg, have to give the first dog a lot of credit. My first dog to was a GSD, not an easy dog.