A ‘star’ is born
Back in 2001, I got a new Border Collie puppy. He was of course adorable as all puppies are, but as time went on it became obvious that he just was not enthused about agility. I could get him revved up but he was not like the other puppies I had raised and trained. He simply wasn’t that excited about it.
His personality reminded me of a Golden Retriever. No offense intended toward Golden Retrievers, but a Border Collie puppy should act like a Border Collie, not a Golden Retriever. He was very happy-go-lucky, always wagging his tail and always had a smile on his face. He loved people and would greet everyone. Now he clearly wasn’t a retriever, because if you threw a toy he’d joyfully bound after and pounce on it. But, once he had it, he’d lie down and look at me to please come and make it move again. He’d do whatever I asked in agility training, but I had to work to generate enthusiasm. I burned lots of calories jazzing him up, racing him to a tunnel and having him chase me and his tug toy upon exit.
Most handlers would’ve just given up and written him off as a low drive Border Collie that had no future in the sport. But, I knew this dog had something special. He was just a little… well… different. I never treated him like a dog that had no future in the sport; I always treated him as if he was a champion. I wanted him to grow up believing that he was special.
When I started jump training with him, I saw the natural talent that he had. I knew then that he truly was destined to be a champion, it was up to me to make it happen. When we started entering shows, I know he was not impressive and those on the sidelines probably wondered why I was even bothering with him. By then I was accustomed to public scrutiny whenever I started a new dog, so I didn’t let it rattle me. I just did what I always did, which was whatever I thought was best for the dog. I wanted him to have confidence in me and in himself. When we worked together at home there was magic, and I knew it was just a matter of time. It was my responsibility to find a way to for him to shine.
The dog I’m talking about of course is Stellar. He’s currently enjoying his retirement from agility… he never really cared about agility as much as he does me anyway. He never leaves my side and is sound asleep at my feet as I write this. That bond is what made the magic happen on the agility course.
To meet Stellar, check out his pages on my website, or his playlist on my youtube channel (more videos of him still to be added).