Agility Dog Watches Herself


Kirk the Border Collie can’t hold back as she and her handler Channan Fosty watch her own winning run at the 2017 Small Dog Agility competition at the Incredible Dog Challenge Western Regionals 2017. While Kirk is fixated on the video for the 32 seconds of her run, she jumps up and down more than three dozen times – more than once per second. Her enthusiasm is contagious and with every jump I found her more lovable.

It’s a pleasure to see them run cleanly on the agility class, but just as fun to watch them run. Seeing two different moments in this dog’s life is a reminder of the contextual nature of the behavior. As she watches her own run, she is bouncy, excited, and about to get out of hand. It’s hard to tell if she finds the sight of a dog on an agility class simply stimulating, or if she recognizes either Fosty or herself in the movie. It seems more likely that she would recognize her handler as herself, since she rarely, if ever, sees herself.

Despite her high energy and speed in competition, she doesn’t seem wild and crazy in any way. While she attacks and attacks every obstacle, she has full emotional control over what I find most noticeable about the video. It’s especially easy to see the calm of her focus in slow motion. Although she is overwhelmed for competition, all of her energy is focused on every obstacle and meeting her contacts. She is a true representative example of a dog who needs a job and is better off having one.

What do you notice in this clip?

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