Our Border Collie Toby lives to retrieve balls, pine cones, sticks and assorted plastic toys made in China in abundance.
If the toy squeaks then his day is complete. He himself squeaks until he punctures the mechanism.
Whenever you come out the back door or stop the farm vehicle, he is dead keen to play chase.
It's not a characteristic I have been totally fond of, especially when he is thrusting a sharp stick into my thigh.
Equally annoying, although he wants someone to throw whatever object he has in his mouth, he won't drop it.
You can tell we have dog training well in hand!
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Toby doesn't do stock work per se.
He will snap at the cattle when we are feeding out silage or hay but that is as far as his canine stock control extends.
His primary role is one of aesthetics.
He has a thick beautiful black and white coat with wisps of fur at his ears that move in the slightest breeze.
His face has one side white and the other black with just a dot of black in the white of his forehead.
When the vehicle is parked in the street, he does attract a lot of compliments.
There is a Border Collie at our local farm machinery dealer.
That dog loves to chase a tennis ball.
You throw it, he'll chase it, return it AND drop it.
He will do this all day if someone is prepared to keep throwing the ball.
I made comment about this to his owner and he told me to tell the dog, "Last one".
I picked up the ball, said the two words and threw it.
The dog retrieved the ball and trotted to the shed and sat down.
No guilt, no persistence, just discipline.
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Toby knows key sounds.
As soon as our son picks up his vehicle keys, Toby is up and around at the vehicle.
When I go to tie the dogs up at night just before I go to bed, I go to a kitchen cupboard to get a couple of liver treats.
When Toby hears the latch on that cupboard, he moves immediately to the back door in anticipation.
His eyesight is astute too.
If he sees me come out with exercise gear on, he knows we will be going for a walk and his excitement is immediate and energetic.
He knows he has to sit so I can attach the lead and then he is off and pulling.
He has a joy in movement.
Toby at 11 years old has the same amount of energy as when he was just two!
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