The story of River takes us way back to my love of a very naughty agility dog.
Silvia Trkman, my agility trainer by day, hero by night has a gorgeous Border Collie called Bi. From what I understand, Silvia had just about every difficulty imaginable in training Bi as a result of her lack of interest in rewards, and she continued to have training problems throughout her career. And yet, Bi is undoubtedly one of the best agility dogs in the world. How can you not love a dog like that?
I set out on a mission to get a Border Collie for agility, and if I happened to find a naughty one, all the better, I would get my Bi.
That’s when River Tam crashed into my life! Afraid of all kinds of random things and chronically overaroused, River was about at the limit of the definition of “difficult puppy” I could imagine. Don’t get me wrong, I knew exactly what I had gotten myself into when I chose her, but her arousal was so unmanageable I spent months of her puppyhood crying, wearing ear plugs, and medicating myself for sleep deprivation migraines.
After her cat-herding and Teyla-herding phase passed, she moved onto standing under trees… And hasn’t wanted to leave a tree since.
River trains in agility and sheep herding. She actively trains and trials in sporting scent detection, where she gets lots of practice working while not standing under trees.