Border collies are working dogs and are happiest when they have a job. That job can be something as fun as playing Frisbee or ball, or as serious as sheep herding or search and rescue. Joni wears this pack often when we go for a walk, partly because it helps to focus her, but also because the weight it carries gives her additional exercise and builds stamina and muscle. When she sees me holding the pack, she walks up and puts her nose into the harness. As soon as it is buckled on her character changes to being calm and serious. She becomes a working dog in fact as well as name.
She is learning to wait patiently for me while I stop to chat with someone or to take a photograph as I was here. She has also learned to drop to a 'down' position wherever she is, when I raise my arms and call her name (this was how the sheep herder told me to train her). She will also come straight back to me and sit by my left side when I call her name and tap my leg. She needs to work a bit more on it as, like a child, at times she becomes distracted and needs a reminder that life is not all about play. But she is getting there. She will soon be 2 years old.
At last! The big day has arrived! Joni has her first job.
Joni comes from working stock and there is nothing that gives her more pleasure than having a job to do…. especially if that job can include chasing her blue ball in her work breaks. This was her second walk as a carrier dog and she carried her blue ball in her saddle bags (along with about 2 pounds of additional weight) on her walk. She gets more exercise this way as the weight tires her out (or it's supposed to, anyway!). She doesn't seem to mind wearing the harness with the pack and still manages to fly over the snow after her blue ball. We thought you would like to see Joni in her new job. (Don't tell her, but the bags don't really contain anything that needs delivering, just some rice and lentils, or water. I don't want to spoil it for her.)
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