Cedar’s Journal

We’ve taken a new dog into our home. The dog is 7 weeks old (and a couple days now). This event immediately launches a variety of structured activities and responsibilities.

If you have the opportunity to look at a litter you might take a bit of time doing temperament testing to find just the right dog for you. The bigger the litter the better the odds, I suppose. But we took this girl sight unseen and trusted to the gods in this luck of the draw.

I’m happy to report that this girl is bold and curious and appropriate. She can also be loud, by the way, something I attribute to the Sheltie genes in her.

Filmed Cedar this morning demonstrating that she’ll be toy motivated and probably will like a good game of tug (as a reward for the brilliant training moments she will have.)

Cedar’s Tug Video

A rational person might question whether you really want to teach a young dog to tear up your socks. We’ll make sure that she has ample access to more appropriate playthings as we go along.

Cedar comes to us with this interesting story. Marsha Houston writes in her Facebook: “Dam has been feral in the woods near Fairmont, WV, long enough to have 2 litters of puppies. This litter was discovered at 3 weeks of age, were secured and bottle fed (mother still couldn’t be captured) and raised for 3.5 weeks with a family. Several were sent to rescue and one was kept by the rescuer who decided she really couldn’t keep her. As the rescuer was walking the puppy into the humane society, our friend Sheree was there to pull dogs. She took the puppy, got her vetted, and posted her pic 9/19. By 1:30 we were picking her up. This is the same rescue group I adopted Phoenix from. They trust us and we trust them. Win-Win-Win!”

Naturally, since this dog is alleged to be a Sheltie mix, I had to drag me out a Nobel Growth Chart and begin tracking her on a week-by-week basis:


As you can see, she appears right in the middle of the grey area at week 7. I’ll measure again on Week 8… and then measure every two weeks as the chart suggests. The conformation range for a Sheltie is between 13 and 16 inches. 16 can be serendipitous because it’s the cut-off in the USDAA between big dogs and small dogs.


I feel no real pressure with this girl to make her into anything that approaches an ego boo. This is important from the onset. I do not need a dog to validate me. Que Sera Sera!

What most fascinates me is taking her through the distance training methodology that I fine-tuned with Kory when he was a pup [documented in the pages of The Joker’s Notebook.] The dog trainer should be very conscious of the differences between dogs. And one of the chief differences in Cedar is that she will have a brain no bigger’n a walnut. And so I will have to be more meticulous and granular in my approach to training. It’s easy for the Border Collie trainer to convince himself that he’s a friggin dog training genius, when it’s truly the keenness and compensatory nature of the dog that has all the genius bits.

At any rate, I want a young fast dog who understands her job while working a magnificent distance from her old arthritic person.

Marsha has objectives for Cedar as well. She’ll be meticulous in applying her two-minute-dog trainer magic.

Visit Cedar’s Facebook page.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. The web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore. I have five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook available on my web-store at an inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.



5 Responses to “Cedar’s Journal”

  1. Beverly Thorsteinson Says:

    I absolutely love your comment about the BC owners lol I have a big sheltie puppy, 14 months, she is a challange because I am so crippled now. Don’t know if it is my imagination, or if she is actually understanding, because I’ve gone from thinking, I’ll never be able to run her in agility to, “maybe I can”, but only if I am able to let her run at her own speed, it keeps me getting up every day to try and see how far I can get!!! Cedar is so tiny, love her

  2. Dong Says:

    It’s great to read this useful post on dog training.
    I have a question however. How do you train an older dog?

  3. Zynischer Says:

    Don’t discount the sheltie in her too soon. They too have ‘herder brain’ and are thinkers. Sometimes they are too much thinkers. That’s where your patience will come in.

    • budhouston Says:

      I don’t discount it at all. My old boy Bogie was amazing smart and the second best distance working dog I’ve ever trained (but I know more now). He had a litter mate that was a herding champ. The working end of the breed is awesome.

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