Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What Kind of Dog is That?

{Pico & Gilda at Peace}
Mike & I are asked this question a lot when we're out and about with Gilda. (I'm guessing the same will happen with brother Pico too).
Does it matter? Mostly No and a little Yes...
We looked into DNA testing for Gilda but ultimately decided against it after hearing that results can be quite unreliable. Her breeds don't really matter to us in the end but it's fun to try and guess and I find myself often attributing her tendencies to one of our guesses or another.
Last night, Jessica attributed her ability to learn new skills quickly to her Border Collie background and I attribute her aloof nature to her Australian Cattle Dog genes. I find it very helpful to remember that she most likely has genes from 2 herding breeds and by nature, herding dogs must be very vigilant and aware of the slightest movements and noises in order to protect the flock. This insight helps me realize that sometimes it's not my lack of handling skills causing Gilda to become distracted.
Along those same lines, I found this little blurb today and found it very interesting:

Australian cattle dog
The Australian cattle dog is a working breed that requires a demanding physical and psychological regimen. If left unfulfilled, cattle dogs become easily frustrated. They are remarkably sensitive to a pack leader's body language, owing in part to their impressive history as a herding breed. Unfortunately, this sensitivity can make them difficult to train for agility courses. Additionally, if pack leadership is lacking in any way, an Australian cattle dog is very likely to establish dominance or bond more closely with a senior dog, rather than with the owner. Examples of the breed include the Blue, Red, and Queensland Heelers. The unverified world record-holder for longest living dog is held by Bluey the Australian cattle dog who, according to anecdotal evidence, lived to be just over 29 years old.


We often talk about how Gilda is a difficult first Agility dog because of her speed. Now I understand that she is also a difficult first Agility dog because she is so adept at watching my physical cues and unfortunately they are often not the right cues and they often change as I practice and learn. How confusing that must be for her!


It's okay though because she pays me back daily as I struggle to understand what she is trying to tell me...


{" I really don't like the Teeter"}

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