Mira continues to be a quirky little dog.  We are getting along very well these days as she has become quite pleasant to live with.  But she still is a bit of a mystery.  For example, she has recently become afraid of getting into her feeding crate, despite how much positive reinforcement she gets there (ALL of her meals!).  When Finn left I decided to give her his crate, which is large and on the ground (hers is much smaller and was perched on top of his).  But she is afraid to go into his crate.  I have no idea why – such is life with a muddle mind. When I tried to coax her in with treats, she just leaned against me and then rolled over and showed her belly.  She’s a bit sucky, but not usually like that, so she was obviously really worried about going into that crate.  I put her crate on the floor next to the big one, and she hesitantly went in.  Now she is back to driving into it, as long as its on the floor.  I will start feeding her in the big crate once I am sure she’s totally confident going into the little one next to it.

Weird dog.

Another major fear she has is getting into the back of my truck (but is fine going into the front of it).  She has just recently started jumping in on her own – after a year of work!  But she’s clearly still terrified as the second all four feet hit the tailgate she drives the length of the truck bed into her crate as if her tail’s on fire.  How strange that she loves her truck crate – inside the scary truck – but fears her feeding one, where she gets raw meat twice a day.

Mystery dog.

She’s also showing herself to still be fearful of people when I’m not around.  She is apparently better, but still won’t let my dog sitter put a leash and collar on her.  The only way to do so is to toss treats into her kitchen crate (yes, this dog has a crate for every aspect of her life; she’s ambivalent about her kitchen crate), and slip the collar over her head as she is released.  Once leashed, she is fine and well behaved.

Quirky dog. 

I know a number of trainers and handlers who have advised me to get rid of this dog.  And with good reason I realize – I had expected a talented trial prospect, and ended up with a weird, mysterious, quirky project.  But I’ve actually grown quite attached to her.  I talk a lot about her negatives because that is what frustrates me and stays foremost in my mind to resolve.  But she also has a lot of good points.  She’s very sweet, affectionate, devoted, and fabulously obedient.  She is also very tenacious when confident, and I think that will serve her well should she ever start working sheep (fingers crossed!).  She’s tough and takes a beating roughhousing with the other dogs, or flying around the woods with them, and shows no fear then.  She’s very fast and agile, and when in confident mode, she’s quite spectacular.  And she’s amazing with other dogs.  She’s become my test dog for evaluating incoming rescues as she shows such incredibly good judgment in how to behave with all types of personalities.  Both Ross and Hannah love her and she’s very attached to them.  They are the three musketeers.

I see so much potential in this dog, and that is what I want to bring out.  We have made a lot of progress this past year, but we’re a long ways off yet.  But if I were to give her away, who would help her ‘be all that she can be’?  Of course there are far more talented handlers out there than I, but would they want a dog like this?  None that I know do.  And yes there are wonderful, loving pet homes who would live with her quirkiness, but will they have the training and health knowledge to help her continue progressing? 

Maybe I’m flattering myself to think that she needs to stay with me, but I do.  As much as she has frustrated and exhausted me over the past year, I believe she is meant to be here.  And her sweet little face and enthusiastic affection and energy has become such a part of my home and family that I think we’d really feel a loss if she went. So she’s staying. For good.