Over the last few months I've felt like I've been chasing pink unicorns. I have felt like an unmitigated failure where the dogs are concerned. This spring I had decided I was going to take a run at trialling them this summer. In order to get to that point I would need to be working them everyday.
That hasn't happened. As it stands I feel like we're treading water. They have not made significant progress. They have also not been worked every day. Sometimes I feel I did them a disservice by not sending them out. If I had sent them out would they be trial worthy stock dogs? Is it too late for them? Have I buggered them up beyond repair?
A friend said something tonight that struck a chord. She asked who I liked more as a dog. These guys or Tessa. Yikes! It was Tess hands down. And it made me think. Is part of my problem that fact that these two aren't Tess, will never be Tess, and can never be Tess?
I've been tossing around the idea of a pup. Crazy I know. I've contemplated picking a pup with good lineage from trial lines and trying again. Keeping these two as pups. But the good lineage thing has not worked for me. Tessa had quite unremarkable breeding. Ryder and Diva have a bunch of champions in their pedigree. And both dogs have some pretty hefty faults when it comes to training on stock. Diva is far too willful. While the more talented of the two she locks onto the sheep and ignores me. Ryder is far too soft and weak. He lacks confidence, can't handle tough sheep (won't work cows) and can't handle the training necessary to become a trial dog. After all, he needs to take a certain amount of correction to improve. And he doesn't. This is a challenge I don't know if he'll ever overcome. He does far better with fun time agility.
It leaves me in limbo. I kinda don't know what to do. What direction to go. I've scheduled another round of agility classes for both dogs.
Either way I feel like a failure. Something I tried so hard to do "right" has gone so wrong. Am I still chasing Pink Unicorns?