We heard our song on the way to tonight's class, and I hoped it was a sign of good things to come. I was a little worried about the class because our walk before had been strange. As we were walking, a kid was playing on a skateboard and doing a lot of falling; Barley's always interested in scooters, skateboards, and the like, so I crossed the street to avoid having the kid fall in our path. Most of the time, if Barley has any reaction more than perked ears and a watchful eye to skateboarders, it's a lunge and a quick snap of the jaws in their direction (after all, nobody's supposed to move quickly without the border collie's permission) and then as soon as we're past she's 100% back to normal.
That was not the case today. She started out just staring with her perky non-Dobby ears. Even though we were on the opposite side of the street, apparently she felt particular offended by this skateboarding child. Maybe he reminded her of a turtle since he was on his belly sliding down the sidewalk after giving up on staying standing. Maybe she was just on edge because I went back to work this week after almost a full month of non-stop Beth and Barley time. Maybe he had a stench that my human nose couldn't detect from our distance or was just a bad kid. Whatever the reason, her hackles were raised--from her shoulders all the way down to her tail--which is unusual behavior from Barley. Even when she has had run-ins with other dogs, her fur usually stays put or she'll get a little mohawk right by her shoulders, but it only lasts a few seconds and it's gone. This time she was full-on mohawk until we turned the corner and she was growling; you could feel it vibrating all the way up the leash.
Since my new schedule gives me exactly an hour between the time I get home and the time we leave for agility, we didn't have a lot of time between walking and getting in the car to regroup and calm down. I just had a sense that she was going to start singing, "No matter what you were thinking that I wouldn't, honey, I just might. I'm gonna go crazy if I don't get crazy tonight." So, I realized that I couldn't just tell her to run and hide her crazy and start acting like a lady. After I didn't listen to my gut the last time she seemed a little off, I learned my lesson.
Today, I stood up for my dog. Our trainer told everyone to get a jump and practice sending to the back of the jump. She told us to take a jump at the end and put our first trainer (aka Barley's guardian angel), who is a classmate in agility, beside us since Barley feels calmer and more focused near her. But I didn't think Barley could handle working off-leash tonight while everyone else was off-leash, too. Our trainer respected my decision, told me I was making a good choice for my dog, and after everyone else had a chance to go, she had the class leash their dogs, put them in a down-stay and give them as many treats as they needed to stay that way. Since the dogs were all down and calm, Barley didn't even notice they were around.
I'm so proud of my baby girl and myself for standing up for her. We came home and as soon as I finished dinner, she sprawled across my lap with her abominable snowman. We got in some good snuggle time until I had to reclaim my lap for the computer to get some work done for tomorrow's classes.
|I love that crinkle nose when she nibbles toys.|
|Silly faces from two happy girls!|