An Interview with COL
2. In relation to your current program of activities, which came first: your love of a particular performance venue or a dog who exhibited specific traits or behaviors for a given activity? Please tell
us the details.
I do obedience for me. I do herding for my dogs. And I do agility as a trial secretary to pay for the obedience and herding!
Jolene McCuaig: I have never chosen a dog with a particular venue in mind, rather I try all venues with the dog I have. Some I love more then others, for instance, obedience. If the dog, however, is clearly not loving the venue, I go with his feelings. For example, my Collie, Tate, did not like obedience. He is the only Collie I didn't get a CD on, however, he competed successfully in many other areas.
Carol Lariviere: I always loved to watch agility! My first exposure to agility was at the November Cluster in Springfield, Mass. My sister and I would go to the breed show but I'd always end up in the Mallory Building watching agility and dreaming that someday I'd have a dog that could do agility and I could compete there too. I bought Windy who was a very energetic and smart girl -- but Windy wanted to play Windy's version of the game, not mine. So I cried a lot when I realized that Windy wasn't going to be the agility dog I wanted. A year or so later I bought a puppy from Andria Sobczak of Evergreen Collies. She wasn't quite as smart as Windy but was much more biddable. This puppy is Soleil! She fulfilled my dream of competing at the Cluster and then some!
Barbara Corriveau: I love Collies first and foremost, so anything I can do with them is on my list of favorite things to do or at least try. I would say that most of my Collies exhibit the traits needed for one or more performance activities
and I do it because they love it and it's something we can do together. My dogs let me know what activity they'd like to do. They all love herding, that's a given. For agility, I look for the one who is a natural at physical feats. Some baby puppies are drawn to the agility equipment like little magnets. And of course you want the puppy who wants to please you. I do Puppy Aptitude Tests when they are 7 weeks old to help choose the most willing puppies. And all of my dogs would like to be sighthounds. We are eagerly waiting for some Lure Coursing tests to be held in the northeast so we can sign up.
Michelle Shoemaker: I think people tend to pursue those activities within which they can have some success. My first performance venue was agility, which we love. After agility the challenge to learn and teach other activies drew me to obedience and herding. I do think none of this would have been possible without a dog who could excell at the activities. My first performance dog was CH Mariner A Treasure Shared, CD, PT, MX, AXJ, RN. We were introduced to agility at a "Dog Day at the Park." She loved the activities and we began taking classes.
Judy Belluomini: My obedience experience with my first Collie, "Maggie," is the foundation of my current activities. Her breeder, Jeanne Sikora, was up front and told me that Maggie was not conformation material and suggested obedience. Maggie ended up with a UDT and even a couple OTCH points. Since her, 12 of my Collies have earned obedience titles in the states and Canada. And it all goes back to my first, "Maggie."
Erin Gorney: It depends on the venue. Years ago I was introduced to the world of agility through a couple of my older, now retired dogs. I loved it. Later on we dabbled in rally, which I enjoy. That has now led me to formal obedience training. At one point I also started some tracking training, which I found fascinating, however, due to getting sidetracked (no pun intended) with other things, I never got to the point of having a dog test ready. At the time I was looking to buy a puppy, I had decided that I wanted a Collie that could do some, or all, of the those venues. What I ended up with, is a Collie that not only was quite capable of doing those ventues, but one that LOVES to work and seems to have a bottomless pit of energy and drive. Since I now owned this little spitfire that seemed to love anything I threw at her, I thought I'd try her out in flyball and herding . . . and was hooked! Ellie loves to run flat out, has a high play and tug drive and will fetch toys, especially her beloved floppy disc, for ages. Figuring these things might make her a good flyball candidate and thinking it looked like a lot of fun when I'd been able to watch it, I decided to try it and am hooked! Ellie's had a blast in flyball since day one -- she gets to run, play, jump, bark and carry on to her heart's content! Heck, she's even happily run for someone else when I was unable to run her recently -- she just loves the game!
While I had gotten CCA Herding Instinct Certification on a couple of my boys, and even taken a few lessons, I hadn't gotten hooked. Then I got Ellie. When she was a bit over 6 months old, I took her for an evaluation. I have her reaction to the sheep the moment she saw them when she walked into the pen captured on video; it was truly a lightbulb moment, "Hey! I know what to do with these!" I still love to go back and watch that video. Her enthusiasm and drive exctied both myself and our instrcutor so we have continued on. It's a challenge for me, but with the help of our awesome instructor, it is so very rewarding!
Marilyn Clayton: Conformation, obedience and tracking came first but it was Zephyr who introduced me to herding, agility, carting, rally and now nosework. As I heard of new activities, we checked them out. If Zephyr liked an activity (he liked everything but lure coursing) and excelled at it, we continued through to the advanced levels.
I don't think I'll find another dog with as high a work ethic and drive so I have no idea what the next dog will bring, but hope it will include agility and herding, as well as conformation.