This was one of those weeks where things started out badly, then got better, then I had an awakening. Awakenings are always good. By week's end, I was feeling better about Star, and Star was feeling better about life.
This week's lessons:
- No way, absolutely not, too scary
- She likes me. She really, really likes me
- Pay attention please
I had a minor epiphany today regarding Star. I trailered out to the big field so that a student of mine could have some quality time on a great field. We took turns working our dogs. While I was out working Mirk, she sat down, leaned against the truck, and cuddled up with little Star man. He looked so incredibly happy, and needy, appreciative, relaxed and peaceful. It made me think that, as I suggested earlier in the week, maybe that's just exactly what he needs more of from me. While she was out working her dog, I tried it. I sat on the tailgate of my truck with Star's head in my lap. I hugged him, stroked him, and otherwise made him feel very loved, and safe, but the best part was that I enjoyed it as much as he did. I felt drawn to that dog as never before, felt an attachment that I hadn't, felt a stronger bond than I've known with him as a result. He responded by worming closer than ever. He kept giving the nose flip whenever I took my hand away, and looked meaningfully into my eyes with his face just inches away from mine. I'm not saying I don't give Star affection, but this was different, and we both felt it.
As I have said, Star is just my "kinda there" dog. He doesn't seem to need much of my attention, is the one that perplexes me most, and consequently that I like the least. Do not misunderstand that to mean that I don't like him. I really like him, but in my kennel, he is the one I like the least, if that makes sense. If I didn't like him, I would have moved him on long ago and not spent this much effort on him. His odd-ball behavior can be so frustrating at times, but then he goes out and gives me a beautiful, booming outrun that curls my toes, or the squarest, most precise flank you could ever hope for, a stop on the head of a pin, or floors me working good sheep away from home, and I think; he just needs more time. Any way, today I may have found part of the problem.