I envy people who do dog sports. It took me a long time to pin down exactly why–I’m not keen on giving up every weekend to agility trials, and I am so not standing in the sun all day to do field testing. So, why did I feel this little nagging pang of envy?
Lately I’ve figured it out.
I envy dog sports people because they have such clear, established training agendas. Their dog needs to do X, Y, and Z, with X, Y, and Z speed or accuracy.
Silas really does love to work, although his anxiety interferes. I didn’t put this together until the behaviorist pointed it out, but it’s true. For a dog who, let’s face it, spends 98% of his life hanging out in the house, it’s not always easy to channel that drive into anything. We’re at a place now where he knows the basic cues very, very well, and the “cutesy” tricks are not really in his repertoire. He’s more of a forward-motion guy. It was so much fun teaching him to heel, which I say with zero sarcasm at all.
So, I decided to invent my own dog sport.
It’s called “Competitive Sidewalk Walking.”
Like running an extremely fast agility course, Competitive Sidewalk Walking is not just something we can walk right out the door and do. We will never be the Border Collie of the Competitive Sidewalk Walking games; we’re in it for the fun.
Like all dog sports, Sidewalk Walking will require extensive foundation work, lots of exposure to the venue, and even counterconditioning to the scary things that happen in or near the competition. It might be a very long time before we even get to “compete.”
I’m making a training plan now. Silas is resting up.