Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nine Months

Ellie will be nine months of age on Feb 29th. It's been an interesting month in terms of Ellie's behaviour. This month, more than any other to date, she has shown the periods of high energy, which are usually synonymous with the Border Collie breed.

Before this month, we might typically get one period of high-energy per day, at around 20:00 each evening, and she had always been happy to sleep for most of the day. Now, however, she's awake quite a lot during the day, and she has several sessions of high-energy.

I'm sure there are some people who would hold their head in their hands at this prospect, but we love seeing it and openly encourage it. We were starting to think that perhaps Ellie was going to be one of those eternally moody and sedate bitches. However, it's looking like she might just burst yet. I hope so. I love seeing her when she's in 'full-throttle'.

She will now also "bully" us to play with her. This involves jumping up at me when I'm sat at my desk, or dropping balls or other toys at our feet, and then sitting and staring at us until we give in and play with her. Again, I can imagine people arguing that we shouldn't encourage this. However, I believe that it will help to encourage Ellie to be a little more forward - something that she certainly needs - and help overcome her naturally timid nature.

As is typical of the breed, her favourite form of play is anything that involves running and fetching, with a particular passion for Frisbee.
She had her longest session in the crate this month, as we went to our trainer's home for dinner one evening. We also learned that Ellie is not a natural gaurd dog. I had to smash a window to get back into our house, as the lock on the front-door had broken. Did Ellie so much as bark? Not so much as a whimper...

She's begun to offer a little resistance to some things, such as having her claws clipped. I like to correct these things as soon as they surface, and before they become real issues. To counter this, I am now touching her claws with the clippers and clicking/treating, on a daily basis.

Oddly, on one paw, she clips her own claws with her teeth. Yes, she's clipped them perfectly. Apparently, she's not alone. One of Christina's dogs also does this. If she could learn to do both paws, my life would be that little bit easier. :)
We're still awaiting Ellie's first season. Despite showing small behavioural changes which hint at her season coming along, it has yet to surface. She's also still to chew her first object that doesn't already belong to her. I suppose this is perhaps the trade-off we have for not having a more energetic and buzzing dog. Perhaps if she was more energetic, she might also be a chewer too.

Her training is still going well, and she successfully learned the cop-cop move this month, in just under fifteen days. Most training effort is now being focused upon getting her ready for the Kennel Club Good Citizen (Bronze) exam of March 29. Reading through the criteria, we're relatively confident. However, absolutely anything could happen between now and then, and even on the day. You just never know with a dog of Ellie's age. I suppose, if I'm concerned about anything going wrong, it's her getting too enthusiastic when she meets new people. I can already envisage her reaction when she sees the examiner. She just wants to jump up at their legs and get some lovin'.

I read an interesting statement about Border Collies the other day. It stated something along the lines of "Border Collies - the dogs want to be your mates, and the bitches want to be your Mum." How true that seems to be. But you know, we really don't have a single justifiable cause for complaint. So she's a bit more timid than we'd like, but you have to look at the benefits that brings with it. Sure, she's not even the most handsome dog you'll ever see either, but she makes up for that with her loving personality. She's always ready to lay down with you and get some attention, and that makes it all the more worthwhile.

So what are we hoping for by month ten? I'd like to see her continue to become more bouncy, and hey, if we can get a KCGC (Bronze) award in, that would be great too. :)

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