more on borders & others

I won’t bombard you with another post about border collies and other future dog stuff and competitiveness and general ‘stressing because I don’t have a clear path’, I’ll put it under a cut.

I’ve had a lot to think about lately.

A lot.

And there seems to be two schools of thought that keep popping up.

1. If you want to win, get a BC from this one particular breeder because you can’t possibly beat these 2 particular competitors with anything else.

2. If you just want to have fun and don’t care about winning, don’t get a BC.

Ok… I’m the first to admit it. I’m very competitive. Which doesn’t mean I’m going to thrash my dogs, but I also don’t see any point paying $80+ per trial day and not do well. I don’t expect my dogs to win all the time, or straight away, but I’d like, at some point during their trialling, for them to do well enough to win sometimes.

I find it very problematic that at the moment in our state, there are 2 competitors who take out 1st-7th place with the dogs between them. Very problematic. Does this happen elsewhere? I don’t know. It seems wrong to me that placing is so ‘out of our league’ now that we might as well get whatever dog and just run around and have fun. Yes, I will have fun with my dog, and I don’t think it should make me a bad person if I want to do well and place, too. I don’t want to be in a situation where I have to rely on them to make a fault in order to place… I want a dog that will be at that level, too. I’m sick of them being on this pedestal and feeling like you need this particular kennel’s dogs to have a chance against them. Maybe it’s not as bad as I’m making it, maybe they don’t do as well as I think, but whenever I talk to anybody about getting another dog, or being competitive, their names come up, they are the ones you have to beat to place – as if there’s no other competition (which there is! There’s some great competition! But I suppose they’re in the same boat).

I found an article by Silvia just now on how she chooses her puppies, she basically sees a dog she wants a puppy from and picks a puppy, but also about looking at the line they’ve come from – I think one of the issues here with a lot of our dogs is that they’re not ‘agility’ dogs. There’s plenty of show dogs, and one kennel who’s more or less marketing specifically for agility borders and…. that’s it. It was my hope with Lu that she would be a fantastic agility dog and everything I wanted and then I could be breeding for agility.

She later says that she doesn’t believe breeding or the puppy has much to do with how they turn out anyway, it’s all about puppy training but then I wonder again what the hell I’ve done to make Lu how she is?

I don’t want to give you the wrong impression of her, and I think sometimes I do: she doesn’t hate agility, she really doesn’t. She doesn’t not run, and she doesn’t ever ‘trot’ in a sequence, she stops to sniff if she’s ‘wrong’ 3 times in a row and needs to relieve the pressure, she barks at horses when they’re wearing fly-veils. She doesn’t tug like a maniac but she plays with the soccer ball, and fetches and plays in her own way. She takes obstacles that make sense to her even if they’re way off the line because she will actually be looking for jumps to do that are ahead. She gets an intense, serious look on her face when she’s in a stay and sometimes breaks if before a dogwalk because she’s keen. She focuses on me when it’s time to work…..

Just…. she doesn’t put her heart and soul into it. She doesn’t run full speed (except on the dogwalk). She gives me 80%.

Will she get faster with confidence and experience? Yes, I think she will. Will it have all been worth it? Probably. Do I want to go through this all over again? Not necessarily. Do I want to win? Yes. Do I think she can? Well, at the moment, no. Do I think an Aussie can? To be completely honest? No, I don’t know if they can. Not against “those dogs”.

So, I still have no answers, to any of the questions, really. I hate having options, I do. I hate everything being a gamble. An Aussie is a gamble, a BC is a gamble, and for differing reasons, and for the same reasons. I hate that there are so many options, and yet so few (which breed?! And yet, not many breeders!) .

On another note, apparently my blog is getting “lots of traffic”. Hello! Who’s visiting!? Anything I should write about more? Less? Should I stop stressing out over future stuff*?


All that being said, there are some flipping awesome Aussies out there, like this one is pretty cool:


And I love these guys:

And actually, in this video there’s a couple of Aussies on the Swiss team:



And I’m sure there’s heaps in the US too but I wouldn’t know how to go about finding them.


*incapable of stressing less over future stuff.


16 thoughts on “more on borders & others

  1. I wish you were up here for the trial we had last night Em. While we are all competitive (2 of our team mates 1st and 2nd in JDX 500) it was an absolute blast of a night. We had a ball! The handlers from our club had fun with a gazebo set up with food and drinks, they were all cheering each other on and the best bit…. when it hit dusk and cooled down the dogs went nuts. The RQH runs were race tracks and the dogs went for it. After a stinking hot day the cooler temp just bought out the drive (drive mum had never seen in me before as my start line stays went to shit) and she just laughed and ran. Have fun with Lu and hope to meet her at the OMD seminar in April.

    • Em says:

      Lu won’t be coming up with us I don’t think. 😦 since I’m only auditing it would mean leaving her alone during the day when we’re doing the seminar, and also we want to hit up the blue mountains since we’ve never been.
      Sounds like you guys had an awesome night. I’m really looking forward to seeing if/how Lu changes when we get into a trial ring. I think that will bring out the excitement in her!

  2. Maybe you already answered this question somewhere else, (if so, I’m sorry to re-ask) but have you thought about winning at a different height class? meaning, have you considered a smaller dog? I think in a lot of circles, only the big dogs “count” but that’s silly. All the dogs are running, and the winner is the WINNER, no matter if they’re small dog, medium or large.
    I guess I ask because if you feel shut out of the big dog winner circle due to having to get a dog you don’t really want, what would you say to something shorter? Mini Aussie, Shelty, pry shep, etc?

    Just wondering.

    • Penny says:

      Rosie, Rosie, Rosie. This is the land of the weesaw, ridiculously tall weave polls and NO SEPARATE HEIGHT COMPETITION IN OUR STATE. It’s ridiculous. Yes, the Maltese terriers must be as fast as the kelpies

      • Em says:

        I was going it say that but hadn’t had time. Yep. Otherwise I’d totally consider small dogs. Maybe. Though we don’t have mini Aussies or pyr shepherds or anything cool here.

  3. I feel all your struggles. Seriously. I own a Vizsla. People have said ‘if you want to seriously do agility, you’ll be back with a Border Collie’ know what that makes me want to do? Crush their Borders with my Vizsla& make them all eat their words.

  4. iffebim says:

    Hi, I am one of the secret readers *wave*
    I was in Foundations with your with my BC (:D), a little red merle pup (was not a frequent poster so I guess no one remembers me anyway)
    I already tried to comment several times but could not figure out how to log in, then my phone died because I am always browsing with my phone because my desk is so untidy I get freaked out just sitting down at it.

    Well, I can not advise whether to BC or not to BC (“to BC” being the verb for switching to the dark side), as my BC is my first puppy and agility dog in any case and I just figured the BC personality would go well with me, what it does.
    I have heard ppl find them one-dimensional but then, he is very present in my life so I am not sure I could handle even more dimensions 😉

    He sure loves his agility (or any other activity with us, for that matter), though 🙂

    • Em says:

      Hi secret reader! Thanks for the comment 😀
      I didn’t see you and your BC but I didn’t tend to watch many videos once there were too many for me to keep up with. i’d often read Silvia’s comments and if they sounded like they were in a similar situation to me I’d watch the video.
      Yeah I think the ‘one dimensional’ thing is what’s turning me away from them a bit. I love my Aussie’s rich personalities and goofiness, they make me laugh. Maybe borders have this too, I don’t know. But yeah, they LOVE to work. I think some Aussies do- I don’t think my Lu does. Maybe she does for herding, but not so much for agility.

  5. Penny says:

    Do you want to pose any more impossible questions on this blog???! 😉 I swear ‘what is the meaning of life’ would be easier hehehee.

    I think it stinks that you did everything right and you still don’t feel Lu gives you 110%. Totally sucks because I think you have done everything right too. I still believe you have done amazing things with Lumen despite the fact you don’t see it all the time.

    Those Aussies do look pretty damn rad. I enjoyed the videos

    • Em says:

      I’ll try and think of more impossible questions. But I think probably everyone is sick of my angst by now!
      I mean, I don’t know if I did everything right. I could have played more. I did lots of tricks and made that fun, I can tell because she loves tricks. I did tunnel running. I did too many wraps. Too many. She wasn’t having fun with them but I did them anyway. Did this make her hate agility? Don’t know.
      I see awesome stuff sometimes, and then sometimes she breaks my heart because she’ll just trundle into the weaves and I KNOW she could do more but I just can’t get it out of her. I don’t want to reward her for doing slow entries but if I don’t reward her when she GETS the entry even if it’s slow I’m not going to reward anything. Maybe I’ve made it too hard, I don’t know. I just don’t know the answers to the stupid questions.
      Her reward toy was the dustpan broom today though. That was pretty adorable.

  6. Did you see videos of To’s dam??? And the fact that both Bu and Bi come from the same line of BCs which are known to be very fast and flexible? I also heard that Le’s litter sister has the same crazy speed as Le… It does seem that it’s more important to Silvia who the parents are than which puppy from the litter she gets, but she certainly believes in breeding. I do, too. And then she does an amazing job of raising the puppy of course.

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