I love to daydream about my next dog. What will he or she look like? What breed will it be? Where will I get it from? I look online, I look at pedigrees, I talk to people I know. I have ideas, I have dreams, I want a pup.
I haven't had a puppy since K. 8 years is along time. And I didn't even really do much of the puppy training - he was Pete's SAR dog, god knows there was no self-control taught - off switch you say?
Have I been lucky? I couldn't ask for a better bunch of 3 dogs. Most of all they are all my buddies, they sleep on the couch, on the bed, they cuddle unconditionally with me. That is what is most important, really. None of my dogs, have any dogs in their backgrounds with any "Agility" titles, they all come from sort of working backgrounds, Kaleb is the only dog I have that has ancestors with "titles", none of which are Agility. The working ability is what I TRULY admire about all three of the breeds I have, and something that is fairly unique to these breeds also, it has been preserved (well atleast in the breed lines I have). I love the learning ability, natural and proven instincts, and using what comes naturally within these breeds to get the best out of them, titles in pedigrees or not. Shouldn't that be enough?
Even my little backyard bred Jane, she has dogs in her pedigree that are well known in the JRT world as producers of good working Terriers - and she too excelled at JRT events when she was younger - it was OK to be a fierce and feisty Terrier at the Trials - everyone always would comment on how well behaved she was LOL, it's true, there are dogs with worse temperaments than hers. She taught me more about dogs, than I would have ever thought possible.
Kaleb's background includes a wide variety of dual-purpose dogs - the reason I love the breed so much - they have show titles, but they all have working and obedience titles on the other end of their names, Flat-coats are one of the only Breeds that compete at Westminster with performance titles - it's true, look it up.
And miss Gyp, her pedigree is full of working Border Collies who know sheep, not weave poles. She came to me as a young adult, and sponge for a brain, just waiting and wanting to learn. I knew very little about Border Collies, but she looked physically like she would be good, and that sweet personality, it was love at first sight.
So what makes a great dog, what makes a great Agility, Obedience or working dog in general? Will I get lucky again, was it luck the first 3 times, or is there more to it? Health history and good structure aside, that is a whole other post. Do I look at "performance" type dogs, dogs from strictly working backgrounds, maybe one will just show up on my door step? I do know that training is a big part, and I've always believed you can do great things, big or small, with any dog, you just need a good, solid, trusting and respectful relationship on both sides of the equation as a first step. I am also a big fate, karma and "everything happens for a reason" person, so I think when the time is right, and the pup is right, I will just know. But if there is a trick to it, please give me the secret.
As excited as I am with the prospect of a new pup, I am also scared to death.
... Good thing I have a lot of time to obsess about it.