Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Show and Working Bloodlines

Quite a few breeds have a show-work dichotomy. Within that, most breeders will still set aside some puppies as being for the purpose they’re bred for and others as pets In general, if someone just wants a pet to hang out with, they’re best off getting a show-line pet-quality pup. If they’re looking for a dog to jog alongside the mountain bike or hike the Appalachian Trail, then a working-line pet pup might suit better.

There are exceptions. I have nice drivey Dustin from show lines, and he’s picked up the odd ribbon in the show ring. When I have money, which is not presently, he works sheep and does it very well. He did some puppy pre-bitework on a sack, and did it well also. I didn’t do as much with him in his puppyhood as I ought to have, as that was when Sunny was succumbing to cancer, and she died a few days after I learned (from Dustin first) that I was pregnant.

Pregnancy made me tired, so Dustin was worked in some of my rare bursts of energy. He was patient about it, though eager for the baby.

Then, of course, I was buried in a baby. Again, tracking and obedience in short bursts, agility and sheep not at all. He’s had a lot of ball games to wear off some energy, but that hasn’t given him much to think about beyond the odd lost toy to hunt.

One of our better ways to lose a toy for him to find is for me to throw it over or onto the workshop roof, depending on whether the toy is a ball or a stick. From the back of the house, the roof’s edge is about four feet off the ground; from the other, about the usual seven or so, and there’s another terrace just beyond the far side of the building.

Today was a ball day. You see what’s coming, no? He landed in leaves and soft dirt as indicated below.

Show-line dogs aren’t supposed to have that kind of drive. But apparently going around the building grew dull. He’s fine. He played merry hell with my attempt to get him to take it easy after that, and the photo up top has a dog in it entirely because he wanted to see what was so interesting in the frame of the picture. It looks like “Clear brush and install agility challenges” needs to work its way up my to-do list a bit more.

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