Chantilly’s Royal Motions to Pagoda is 11 months old today. He seems more young dog, less puppy most of the time.  He’s a sweet serious independent boy, all big drive for herding and I can see a great agility & obedience partner blossoming.  He loves to train and learn, he’s a thinker. He’s great with other dogs and can handle most conflict with calm assurance. Roy can sit with me at a busy sidewalk cafe, go shopping at nordstrom rack for shoes, passed his CGC at 9 months and can move sheep at 120 mph.  He’s a solidly good boy, easy to live with and totally hilarious.
Now that he’s a little older I can also see our training strengths and our weaknesses.  Too much time playing with other dogs, too much access to toys. I’ve paid for too much stillness and stickiness. He can be overly focused on me.  I ask too much of my dogs, they need to be model citizens in any environment and working dogs as well. I have taught him to learn like I learn, lots of stillness, over analyzing and poking at things with sticks. Too much brakes too little gas pedal. 
He stresses a lot now when a dog in a training environment suggests they would like to do him harm. Sometimes he can’t shake it off and it festers, he stops moving, stops trusting that he can work and read the room at the same time. This has taken me by surprise. Roy has been around dogs in large numbers his whole life. He can demo like a pro in front of 12 lunging snarling (ah the joy of teaching pet dog classes) dogs. I have been diligent about taking him to my least favorite place-dog parks to expose him to rude, playful, aggressive,friendly, asocial or untrained dogs. He’s been solid, calm, friendly, respectful, not dog obsessed, a natural at reading social cues, diffusing pressure and shaking off chaos.
But when its just he and I in our sports dog classes he has started to worry.  Is it his age, are the threats becoming more serious because he is an intact young dog, have I sheltered him? Is he an unstable dog with a weak temperament?  Are the threats he worries about just actually coming from a more serious place? Is it sloppy handlers letting too much little stuff go on or un-sportsman like conduct from handlers who need their dog to be their dick? Maybe Im worrying too much. I can own being super religious about about my expectations of  manners from other handlers.  I guess its probably just time for him to harden up.
He needs me to help him to be able to learn that he’s safe to train even around dangerous dogs. That he can survive even if something happens. I wish that nothing awful ever happens to him but I want to make sure he’s well padded and solid just in case someone is sloppy or uncaring around my dog.
He’s a wild man to herd with, all confidence, IQ and drive. He’s brave but not careless. He can push into a 5-inch gap between the sheep and the fence without a moment of worry, but he’s respectful of the stock. He’s got great eye.
He loves agility. He nailed his 3-jump serp sequence the first time he saw it. We did our first lateral lead outs (9 feet out 9 over) and lead out pivots last night and he ran them like he had been doing it for years. He’s LOVES the teeter, he’s a teeter freak. He’s making agility training really easy for me. 
He’ll be one year old in just one short month. I hope that I can do right by him and that he’s still got enough crazyhappypuppy innocence left to eat all of the cake he’s going to get. 

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