The border collie breed is named for the region in the United Kingdom on the border of Scotland and England where the dogs have thought to be intially bred. The breed is highly intelligent as the farmers in the border region of the UK needed a dog which was a workaholic, always wanting to please their master, and a very quick study – to the point of becoming predictive in nature. Additionally the breed is meant to somewhat resemble the look of a wolf for intimidation purposes.
The goal of the border collie? To care for sheep in the fields and to be able to move them from one field to another and to bring them in for shearing.
In the first of December 2017, we took Skyy to a sheep farm to see how he would do “rounding up” the herd. The goal was fro him to chase the sheep in a clockwise and counter-clockwise mothion around the handler. This is the beginning of training for a good sheepdog.
Here’s what happened…
As seen here, I was trying to show Skyy how to get the sheep off of the fencing, as soon as they were away from the fence, the instinct kicked in!
The boder collie moves sheep/geese/mailmen/cars/children/leaves/snowflakes (whatever they are trying to herd) mostly through an intimidation stare, or “the eye”. Just through pure staring and intimidation, these dogs can move flocks of sheep across miles of teritory!
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One of the coolest things I have seen with dog training is the agility competitions done by Purina and Crufts. Skyy certainly has several amazing talents and some of these talents are not seen by the residents he visits because he should not be doing agility in a nursing facility! In that light, to share some of his other talents, here are a few videos of Skyy enjoying his athleticism!
Weave poles (bugger missed the last pole!)
Agility at the park (He was moving kind of slow because he had been running for 90 minutes prior…
Learning is move to his left (come by) and move to his right (away) with a special treat at the end of the video!
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As the recreational therapist, Skyy and I walk around to patient rooms, the residents of the places we visit are questioned if they like dogs. Many residents have a puzzled look on their face when the question is asked, because they were not prepared to see any type of animal there. It is really fun to watch their reaction when Skyy comes into their view.
Oh how wonderful!
Sometimes, it does not go as well. A patient may say no. I liken the “no patient” to a guy like my father. See, Dad is a great guy, but he grew up on a farm when he was young. To him, all animals have a farm purpose and that is all. To ask him if he would like to see a dog is like asking him if he would like to have a visit from a pig or cow!
Skyy and I never take offense to a no. Who knows, maybe next time it will be a yes?
In the first visit to the VA, Skyy and I met a veteran who didn’t want anything to do with him. Skyy did not take it personally.
On our second visit, our veteran friend said they would give Skyy a pat on the head. Skyy accepted this with grace.
On our third visit, Skyy’s buddy ask for him to put his paws on their lap. Skyy really loved this!
On our fourth visit and since then Skyy comes up to his buddy and, with permission, jumps up and gives lots of kisses.
Oh the difference we can make if we just keep trying and offering……
We will always remember
We will always be proud
We will always be prepared
So we may always be free
These words are on a large glass panel when my wife, Skyy and I visit the VA each Saturday. The emblems of the 5 branches of militaary service are also etched in the glass.
Abraham Lincoln said, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” We go to the VA to remember, to be proud of my family who served, to thank those who were prepared to answer our nation’s call in thanksgiving that our family is free.
On top of that, these guys and gals are hysterical! I am always grinning walking around the place. They constantly kid each other and the staff, but there is a solid understanding of respect from all parties.
I will be telling some of their stories on this blog, never to use names or genders to protect Skyy’s buddies. The veterans always show their appreciation to to us visiting. We honor them and show our appreciation by visiting with a 41 poound ball of fur and energy!
Early last month Skyy passed his test for Therapy Dogs International. It was a proud moment for us. What I have been discovering is that there is an issue with definitions when it comes to service, therapy and emotional support animals.
To clarify what these definitions are to me is as following:
Service animal – This is the creme de la creme for the animal world. These animals are trained to do specific tasks such as seeing eye dogs for the blind.
Therapy animal – This is an animal that has passed a certification test(s) and is certified and insured to go into hospitals, schools, etc. to provide emotional therapy to those patients/students whom would like to recieve the therapy.
Emotional support animal – My guess is that if you are reading this blog, you have one of these. These animals can provide emotional support to you (personally) and can have the same effects as a therapy animal, just without the specific training.
As it goes…Skyy is a certified therapy dog. His job is to give those wonderful border collie kisses and eyes to those who need it.
It is difficult to find art that revolves around the Border Collie. AS my wife and I frequent thrift stores, antique stores and during our trip to Ireland, we discovered that there is much ado about the sheep, but no the sheep dog. I suspect this is due to the sheep are what generate money for the farmer and the dog is simply an overhead expense.
So, for Christmas I was fortunate enough to happen upon a young lady who is a tremendous artist and I showed her a photo of Skyy. She remarked how regal he looked in the photo and I suggested getting a print done of it. The following is a conversation we had:
Artist: That is a really nice photo of Skyy! You know what would make this look awesome? This photo in crayon!
Me: Did you say crayon, as in Crayola Crayon? (I was doubting my decision to inquire to her about doing a portrait of my dog at this point.)
What I was imagining was:
Boy was I wrong! What I received was astounding. I simply do not have words for this portrait, so I wanted to share with you all the fast time action of this awesome artist doing her thing with the Skyy Photo – – -IN CRAYON!!!!!
Let me know what you think! The artist gave her information at the end of the video.
If you are interested, she may be able to do something like this for you! Tell her you saw this video on Skyy.blog!
It seems that all dog owners have the same mentality of the cutness of their dog when it was a puppy. Science has shown us that almost all babies have a round quality of their face, eyes etc. that make them cute to our minds. Skyy was not different in our eye when we first brought him home.
Day 1 ~ 4 weeks old
This was the first photo we ever saw of Skyy. We received him from an Amish farm near Sandy Lake, PA. I recently had a discussion with someone who spoke very poorly about the puppy mills the Amish run. I can tell you that my wife and I did our homework, we interviewd the young girl who had bred her dog and the neighbor’s dog. We saw Skyy’s mother and where he was housed until we took him home. I guess we were lucky, because he has been an excellent dog since day 1.
Go Home Day ~ 8 weeks old
These photos were taken on the day we brought Skyy home. 9 days prior we lost our first border collie (Bailey) to old age. Skyy brought a new life to our house that has been growing ever since.
During one of his vet visits, my daughter took a photo of Skyy, the vet and the vet tech working on him. The clinic found the photo so captivating that they used it on their web site for a time!
We learned quickly that a bored Skyy WILL find something to do and it WILL NOT be something we want him to do! (at least he looks happy with himself)
Halloween time 2016
We would love to see your puppy photos! Open the disucssion link below and please share!