New Puppy Big Dreams

He came into my life unexpectedly. I made mention to a well known dog trainer that sometime down the road I’d like to get another Border Collie puppy. Within a short time she emailed me that a mutual friend had a young BC male that she didn’t have time to train. The next thing I knew I was at a show in Albany, Oregon looking at a 3.5 month old black and white Border Collie. My four year old BC, River, had just completed his third leg for his Companion Excellent Dog title at this show and our pursuit of the next title, Utility Dog, was several months or a year down the road. Would the older dog adjust to a rambunctious puppy? The owner of the BC puppy wanted me to take him home immediately, before she changed her mind. The dog and his crate barely fit into my Subaru Outback along with River, his crate, a folding chair, and a metal, wheeled dolly.
On the 1.5 hour drive north on the I5 corrider back to Hillsboro I wondered about my sanity. I really couldn’t afford a new dog with the multiple shots, vet exams, neuter operation, ID chip, hip x-ray, let alone the fee to the previous owner, which I promised to pay in increments.Four months later “Levi” is a teenager, wild and happy. My bank account is definitely getting low but I don’t regret my decision. River loves the new addition. I swear he looked at me back in November and said, “You finally got it right”. He never enjoyed living with the three old Shetland Sheepdogs I had when he was a puppy. Now I finally see River cavorting and playing with the new Border Collie puppy.
Levi’s training is progressing slowly. I have learned over the years that it is stupid to spend a small amount of time on the Novice exercises so I can get to the “fun stuff”, Open and Utility. Novice is the foundation for all the exercises. Mess up the time spent training now and I’ll pay for it years later. For now, Levi shows rapt attention to me when we’re heeling. I reward it with a game of fetch with his favorite toy. I throw a treat on the ground ten feet from me. He runs happily out to gulp it down. I immediately call him back and guide him into a perfect front position. Someday he’ll mature and we’ll start showing at training matches and real trials.
Will he be another Trevor, my first competition dog who won easily and earned many trophies and ribbons? Or will Levi develop some quirk that will set us back? My diligence to each step now in his Novice training will hopefully pay off in the obedience ring. The main goal is that he enjoys being with me in the ring, understands what I ask of him and feels the love that I have for him. He is destined to be with me until he finally walks across the Rainbow Bridge.


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