Lerrina can’t remember a time when she wasn’t trying to train something – a dog, a cat, a horse – even a pet turtle has received her attention over the years.  Dogs were her first love. Thus came those first classes in obedience training and proper handling. But, in typical teenage girl fashion, the horses who had caught her attention also began to consume the bulk of her time. These remained her primary focus for some time. However, about 30 years ago she watched her first USBCHA Sheepdog competition and fell for the lure: hook, line, and sinker. A year later she obtained her first border collie. She and Joker took lessons to learn how to properly tap into the instinct contained in that black and white package. It was the most exciting and challenging ‘training’ experience yet! She had found her true passion.

Then, life changed. For over 20 years, she had to watch from the sidelines. But, she was still learning. Blessed with the opportunity to spend hours – days – months – years working with local ranchers, riding the range (training many colts), trailing the cows, covering the ground, she watched (and occasionally worked with) some talented and well-bred border collies. Little did she know (as she bemoaned not having her own dogs) she was developing her eye. Between working with those unsung black and white and brown dynamos and watching every USBCHA Sheepdog trial possible, she was actually developing an eye / a feel for a quality working dog. 

So when the time finally came to purchase another border collie of her own, she KNEW what she wanted. She knew how she wanted that little girl’s parents to move – to handle stock – to think! She didn’t know a thing about bloodlines – and certainly wasn’t worried about champion pedigrees – but she knew how she wanted that puppy to work! 

Of course a talented pup, years of watching, and a solid idea of what she wanted from that dog did NOT make her ready to produce a finished product. Thus began the learning journey. Over the years, Lerrina has had the opportunity to learn from such greats as Jack Knox, Patrick Shannahan, Dianne Deal, Shauna Gourley, Haley Honeywell, Alistrair and Patricia MacRae, and Joni Tietjen. Still it’s not enough to go to clinics, read books, and watch videos. There has to be practice – and more practice – and more practice. It’s an ongoing journey. You never have it all figured out. Every dog brings a new challenge. Every day brings a new insight. The learning never ends – and that’s what makes the process so much FUN!

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