Logan

Logan of Cheshire CD TD Std s,d

ASCA E-8578

August 17, 1977 — August 14, 1990

Throw the stick!

A think­ing dog

Great schutzhund dog, com­pan­ion and pro­tector. I wish I knew then what I know now.

I was at the feed­store in Davis where I saw a flyer stapled to the bul­letin board advert­ising a lit­ter of Aus­tralian shep­herd pup­pies. I had had an Aus­sie briefly (in my crazy days in Ocean Beach) named “Sum­mer Rain” or Rainy, who was a shy, timid blue merle from the San Diego pound. I ended up giv­ing her to a fam­ily that lived next door on Brighton Street who loved her, because my life was just too dis­con­cert­ing for a timid dog.

But I thought maybe the time was right for an Aus­sie puppy. I talked with War­ren about it, and he said “no, I don’t like Aus­sies. They bite.” But I talked him into at least tak­ing a look at them…

I called the phone num­ber on the flyer and asked if there were any pup­pies left. “Yes, there are two, a male and a female, but they’re both black tris” the woman answered. “That’s great” I said. “I want a black tri.”

I had to hold the phone away from my ears because the woman was yelling so loud. “I can’t believe someone actu­ally wants a tri and not a blue merle with one blue eye and it has to be the left one because that’s what my … ” Need­less to say, she was pretty happy to hear I wanted a tri colour.

We went over to look at the pup­pies, and the mother, a tiny little red dog, wasn’t happy that we were there. At one point, when no one was look­ing, she nailed War­ren in the back of the leg. Yep, Aus­sies bite.

We went out into the back yard to play with the mother, Cedar, and the pup­pies. Cedar had a spark of intens­ity that neither War­ren nor I had ever seen in a dog. Sure, she had bit­ten him, but man, was she a neat dog. To this day she’s the smartest dog I’ve ever met. So we took the little male home with us.

We still had a deer­hound when we brought Logan home, and I mean no dis­respect to sighthounds, but this puppy could think! What fun!

Logan had the inher­ent herd­ing dog sus­pi­cion of strangers, but it was tempered with trust and accept­ance. If a stranger walked up to us, Logan would pos­i­tion him­self in front of me and wait quietly. As soon as I said “hi” and engaged the per­son in nor­mal con­ver­sa­tion, Logan would relax and accept the stranger as a friend. He really was per­fect. The few times that I needed him to be more pro­tect­ive, he was. He really did have nearly per­fect temperament.

I was a stu­dent at UC Davis then, and Logan went to school with me almost every day. As a little pup, I would lay my coat down on the floor, and he would lie on it and not leave, even if I got up and moved around the room.

When I star­ted work in an auto­mot­ive repair shop, Logan came to work with me. He was a smart dog, and quickly learned how to deliver parts to the mech­an­ics by name (“take this to Jim­mie”), help push in dis­abled cars, close doors that had been left open, bring shop rags to the mech­an­ics on com­mand and recycle beer cans into the trash can. He did everything for the chance to play tug with a piece of heater hose.

Logan intro­duced me to the world of com­pet­i­tion obed­i­ence and Schutzhund. In those days, the gen­eral philo­sophy of train­ing was “don’t let your dog get away with any­thing.” So while Logan learned scores of beha­viours for a chance to play a game of retrieve or tug, it didn’t occur to me that I could use these same games to motiv­ate him in obed­i­ence. Instead, I used the tra­di­tional meth­ods of praise and col­lar cor­rec­tions to teach and reward. After all, obed­i­ence is ser­i­ous stuff!

Logan & Maggie

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