In my day to day life I drive a Prius because it’s economical and efficient. Last week I got to drive a Lamborghini Huracan on a real racetrack. As I’m sure you can imagine, those two cars handle quite differently! Of course I immediately thought of the canine parallel. I mean, have you ever noticed how much car talk is borrowed by the dog world? We talk about dogs having a handler (the person holding the leash — not necessarily the dog’s owner) and I have often heard of super-fast agility dogs being referred to as  “souped up” like a race car, via breeding or through controversial training methods. When I was in dog training school, Jean Donaldson assigned a young Border Collie named Zipper to me as my last training dog. She told me Border Collies are like Ferraris; when they work, it’s a beautiful thing to see, but they are always in the shop. What she most likely meant was that Border Collies are fast and fun to handle, but they are also fragile and can require a lot of maintenance, just like a sports car.

Jonny, my poodle mix, is  sweet, sensitive and fragile in his own way, but he is no Ferrari. I have a friend with a sport-bred cattle dog, and other friends who have competitive agility dogs. Those dogs are fast and flashy as hell. Jonny is great, but he will never be like them and I would never ask him to be.   Much like my friends don’t want their dogs to be Jonny; they want the speed and sex appeal of their flashy sports car dogs. I am glad we all have the dogs we want and appreciate them for who they are.

What does all this mean for you, my Clever Owners? I suggest you learn to drive the car you have. Learn how to be your dog’s best handler and get the best out of them. Don’t try to make them be something they are not. The most troubling thing to watch is someone trying to make a sweet calm lab be a fast herding dog, or vice versa.

Driving the Lambo was fun, but I’m glad it’s not what I drive daily. I also love working with my fuzzy Poodle mix, but when I get another dog I might get something a little sportier. Time will tell.  I will have to be willing to commit to the work of having and maintaining a sports car dog.