Collies Online: There are many reasons to compete in performance events, tell us what motivates you to participate?
Beth Rutherford, Cardross Collies: What motivates me to participate in performance events (and sell my puppies with preference to performance homes) is because it's a venue that gives you honest feedback. What you put into it, you get back. It gives you a rewarding way to build a bond with your dog and also it rewards persistence and hard work a lot more than conformation does. Conformation is great and it's very important to have good conformation in a performance dog, so it's important not to separate the two. And when you can do both and succeed in both, I think it just shows off the greatness of the collie breed and creates more interest in them.
Beth Rutherford, Cardross Collies and "Vinnie," Cardross
Noreen Bennett: I love training, especially puppies who are a "clean slate." The majority of my training is shaping behaviors. It’s not about making the dog do something, it’s about teaching the dog all the steps necessary to complete a task. When something falls apart, it means I’ve missed something. Then we go back, step by step and figure out what was missing. It has only been in the last few years that I really am understanding, it is up to me to identify how each of my dogs learn. They each need different information in order to complete the task, just like people. And more importantly, when choosing a puppy, I pay more attention to how that puppy thinks. If we think the same, training is even more fun and we become a true team. Performance events are like putting a 500-piece puzzle of a blue sky together. The big picture may be daunting, and you have to try a lot of different pieces before things fit, but the end result is so rewarding.
Linda and Tanya Ward, Sinkona Collies: Lure coursing was a new event for me. I hope to go on and get Elsa's title. Training dogs, learning how each dog learns and what their skills are, keeps us young. Working with a dog is the greatest past time for me and when you are successful, it puts that "icing on the cake." It is the bond between you and your dog that is that special joy -- the trust and want-to that they give you.
Sinkona Collies, "Elsa," GCH Sinkona's Dream Catcher, BN, RE, HSAs, OAP, OJP, XFP, VX
Alicia Moore, Moore Collies: It is my only exercise! I am not motivated to exercise just for myself. My dogs get me out. I also love the close relationship it results in. The dogs I don’t compete I am not nearly as close to, nor am I able to read them as well.
Chris Carilli, Luck Of The Draw Farm: I fell in love with herding because my first collie Mac loved it. I grew up riding horses, and it seems that many of us who compete in herding are former equestrians. At it's best, herding is like choreographing a dance with multiple species.
Sue Larson, Trailwind Collies: I compete in performance events just because the dogs and I love to train and compete. It's a great way to spend time with your dogs and build a wonderful bond. I used to compete in everything that was available, but now I pretty much stick to what I really love, and that's tracking and agility.
Babbi Dilbeck DVM, Mello-D Collies: Multiple events present multiple challenges. Training to meet the requirements of the given event, fine-tuning that performance, understanding how your teammate learns . . . all of that is the fun part of the equation. A qualifying score at the event is always a bonus. Sometimes we only come away with a new challenge . . . and that's OK, too.
Judy Belluomini, St Germaine Collies: I started my obedience career with my first collie, Maggie. The breeder was very wise to steer me toward performance, as my Maggie was not a conformation collie. Also, I enjoyed the spirit of competition. My next collie was a conformation collie and my first champion. I enjoyed traveling to Canada for many years and titling in obedience and tracking. In 1992, Don and Leslie Jeszewski came into my life along with a collie named Reni. It was then I decided to do both and campaigned in both conformation and performance. Leslie's support was instrumental in both venues, as she too, began in obedience. I have enjoyed the nice comments from judges in either the conformation or performance venue. Since then, six of my collies have enjoyed All-breed ranking and/or performance titles. It has been a lovely journey and quite a challenge.
Jeannette Poling: I enjoy performance events because I love being part of a team with my dogs. We have a wonderful time going to class, practicing our skills, and then when we are ready and working as a great team, competing in different venues. AKC Agility is my favorite sport and they love it too. But even if we did not compete, I would still train my dogs to perform some of the obedience and agility behaviors because they love to work, they love to think, and love to make decisions. I believe it is good for their health. We all would hopefully acknowledge that having a purpose (a job) makes both humans and canines happier. Training (playing and teaching skills) is fun for my dogs and fun for me, for me this is where joy lives!