Right as I sat down to write this post, our border collie Gauge came over and laid his head on my lap and my heart swelled. Thinking back on the past 15 months with Gauge reveals a lot of ups and downs. Gauge can be high strung, overprotective, and downright annoying. He likes to chase cars, bark at everyone and everything, and he sheds like crazy. Until just recently, I couldn’t even take him on walks because of pulling, lunging at cars, and barking at everyone. All I wanted was a dog I could take on a walk or run, and I couldn’t with him. Talk about discouraging. (I promise this is a positive story! Just keep reading…)
The lowest of lows was back in March when he got hit by a Jeep. I will never, ever be able to erase that sequence of events from my memory. He almost didn’t make it, but our Gauge would never let something like getting hit by a car slow him down, so he pulled through with a bruised and collapsed lung, a bruised liver, and some scrapes.
After that, we told ourselves that we needed to get him some proper training. Our tactics weren’t cutting it with a dog that’s just too smart for his own good. The thing about border collies is, they’re very trainable — for better or worse. It’s easy to train them with bad habits. We loved the dog, though, and couldn’t give up on him.
Earlier this month, we sent Gauge away for a two week boot camp with Greg of Indiana Working Dogs. During our consultation, we laid out our laundry list of issues with Gauge. Greg told us, “No problem.”
I won’t lie, the two weeks Gauge was gone were pretty nice. It was so quiet around the house. I didn’t have to sweep up dog hair every day. I didn’t have to worry about which of Christopher’s toys Gauge would destroy while I was out. I didn’t have to worry about Gauge barking at and jumping on our guests. But I also missed him and was excited to see what kind of work Greg could do with Gauge.
When Greg brought Gauge back to our house two weeks later, it was our same lovable, goofy “Gauge Monster,” but instead of the obstinate, hardheaded dog we sent away, we were greeted by a dog that’s eager to listen and please. Greg told us that Gauge loves to work (He’s a border collie, of course!) and that we need to be his bosses and put him to work. And that’s just what we’ve been doing.
Yesterday, Gauge and I went out for not one, but TWO jogs down the street without incident. He heeled, listened, and stopped and sat on a dime whenever I stopped. We still have work to do when it comes to the whole car-chasing thing, but let me tell you, the progress we’ve made is incredible.
While Gauge was gone for training, PersonalCreations.com sent Gauge an email asking if he would like one of their Pet Pouch Overnight Bags in honor of National Dog Day. (Yes, the email was addressed to Gauge, and it was the cutest thing ever.) They asked Gauge what his dream vacation would be. The exciting thing is, we can actually take Gauge places now. I think he would love to go hiking in Brown County, swim in Lake James, and play Frisbee on the Indiana Dunes shoreline.
Happy National Dog Day, Gauge! We love you!