Red has been here for four days, but it seems much longer than that. It is fascinating to watch him day-by-day settling in. He has found two spots in which he settles, the wicker chair out on the screened porch, and the sofa next to my chair in the living. He needs to be with me much of the time, so I have a presence by my left leg wherever I go. But he is relaxing about it. Sometimes he just goes to sleep in one of his spots. Border collies never want to miss out on work, so my heading to the door is a cause for excitement. Red didn't nap for two days, but is beginning to rest now. He exerts a phenomenal amount of energy herding and after two hours, is ready to go.
Red is fully housebroken. Karen told me that his recall command is not "come" but "Red, that'll do," and that explains his reluctance to come to Maria when called. When we use that command he comes instantly. The only remaining issue is that he sometimes puts his paw up on people. I tapped him in the stomach once with my foot and said "no" and he hasn't repeated it with me.
He and I worked today with Maria's sheep and bit by bit they are showing him some respect. He is relentless and strong without being aggressive. I hope to work with those sheep during the demos at the art show this weekend. Working with him is a joy, and has given me rebirth to herding with border collies. A beautiful thing.
I am reinforcing Red with praise, with access to sheep and occasionally with treats. I use them at first to get the dog's attention, but I don't use them much after that. Red is eager to please and I think he feels very successful in our training so far. I never ask a dog to do anything I don't know for sure they can do. I learned from my own father how not to force my will on any living thing.
I took him to the Hubbard Hall Writer's Workshop tonight and he was great. He said hello to a few people and then curled up and went to sleep on the floor for two hours.
At noon I took him to a farm stand nearby and he hopped out of the car with me, walked through the aisles, sat with me by the cash register, and came out to the car and jumped back in to the command of "kennel up." The staff of the stand came out to hug him, which he enjoys immensely. He is a definitely a flirt.
This is a dog that can do anything. I am thinking more seriously about doing some therapy work with him, he is just a natural. Just need to work on his manners a bit. I hope to work with him a lot tomorrow to get ready for the weekend art show herding demos. Art and herding. Can't beat that.