Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What Have We Here?

As they say in the Bud Light commercials, "Here we GO!"

What you are reading is a brand-new blog.  I can't wait to see what it turns out to be about.  What I think it will be about is disa and data gleaned from the world of competition obedience:  What goes on inside the ring, outside the ring and in our heads -- the dogs' heads, your head, my head.  Our triumphs and our pratfalls.  The characters, human and canine, who flavor our sport.  A tidbit of news now and then.  Even a funny here and there.  And a lot about my affliction (yours too?), COOCD -- competition obedience obsessive/compulsive disorder.  Don't be surprised if , from time to time, I expose the antics of the bad apples in our sport.  And throw in a few training tips.

Oh, and did I mention a boatload of opinion?  Which I hope you'll frequently take issue with.  Be incensed enough to fire back.  Bring it on!  Your opinions will add pizzazz to the blog.

So . . . here we GO!

An Introduction

From time to time in these ramblings I'll refer to Bravo!, my border collie who, on cardiac arrest mornings, is at my side in the competition obedience ring.  A proper introduction seems appropriate.

First, though, a warning.  Bravo! spells his name with an exclamation point.  Leave it off and he'll go right for your throat.  Mention Bravo! in comments you post to this blog while ommitting the exclamation point and he'll hunt you down.

Bravo! is a rescue.  In the spring of 2006 we -- my wife Barbara and I -- were heavily involved in border collie rescue.  There was this owner turn-in that needed to be stashed somewhere for three days until the person who was going to foster him returned from a trip.  "We'll keep him," I said.  At the time his name was Carson.  (Carson?!  A border collie name?)  He was a few days shy of eight months old.

His owners brought him to our house at two o'clock the next afternoon.  Along with his leash, his crate, a few toys, his food -- and the all-too-standard cock-and-bull story about why they had to give him up. "Moving to Denver for two years.  Will be living in an apartment there. Blah,blah,blah."

The truth?  They had gotten in over their heads.  A common outcome when unenlightened people buy a border collie.

Seconds after we watched them drive away I was out in the backyard with the dog who would come to be known as Bravo!  I held a treat in my left hand just above his nose and we heeled . . . well, you know, sort of.  And he said to me with unmistakable clarity, "Oh, I like this!"

At four that afternoon he ran into the master bathroom, jumped into the bathtub and pooped there.  The next morning  he leaped onto the kitchen counter, walked around up there and stole a loaf of bread.  At which point I gave a thumbs up and said, "This is my kind of dog!

And so it came to pass that the little border collie who came to stay for three days has now been here nearly five years.  And now my little guy and I are lurching toward OTCHdom.

They didn't want him, but I sure do.

* * *

I plan to update this blog frequently.  So stay tuned.  And please comment.  There's potential for a multiplier effect here.  Comments trigger more comments and result in more good stuff worthy of your attention . . . and your comments.


  1. Well I, for one, want to enthusiastically welcome this blog! Even though I do not know what a blog is, really, and have never read one. I do suffer from OCOCD, however and I just love to read anything you write. My 17 month old puppy, Wade, is about to embark on his first appropriate Obedience insrtuction: with a new class begining on Thursday and a working spot with an incredible trainer on Saturday. And so, Willard, this "Blog" is perfectly timed to get us through, just as "Remembering to Breathe, Inside Dog Obedience Competition" saved Belle and me from an even earlier exit from the sport many years ago, and ignited the spark of passion that Wade and I are counting on now.

  2. Hi,
    Wow, now we have a place to brag and cry about obedience escapades and Border Collie antics. As another afflicted with OCOCD, it should be fun and interesting to see how this blog develops.
    I would like to start with a brag on Panda Bear, my 3 year old BC. This boy started life with a few issues, one of which was not knowing how to interact with other dogs in a proper manner. In the past few weeks several things have happened and the last one has convinced me that he and I have succeeded in overcoming his dog greeting problems. Monday evening a Rottweiler decided that Panda's toy looked very appealing. The Rottie decided to steal Panda's toy right from under his nose and Panda had no reaction to Mr. Rottie taking it. Yeah for Panda. Mr. Rottie did give the toy back. lol