I haven't written a Kelso update for much too long, and of course now I am not sure when some things started or when this or that was a "first". But I can tell you that Kelso is still making progress, which is the main thing.
Mornings now start with Kelso lunging his front paws up onto the bed near my head and bouncing back down again. Lunge-bounce. Lunge-bounce. Until I start petting him, and then he rolls his head around, licks my hands, and in general expresses his delight that I am awake, it's a New Day and now we can Go Outside!
He waits with the other dogs until released to leave the bedroom. then he dashes out, grabs the first thing he comes to (shoe, piece of newspaper, he isn't picky) and shakes it back and forth while whining his excited whine, and carries it, running, to the back door, where he deposits it. Waits nicely again with the others until released, then dashes out the back door squealing and barking with glee. He makes sounds these days just like the ones that John's Taff made on the way to the dog park. It's so cute.
Kelso will come to me now when I call him, although he usually doesn't come right up to me unless I have food. I can approach him directly and he usually stays still and lets me walk right up to him. He comes occasionally and approaches me all on his own, to be petted. If he enters the room and I put out my hand he will come to me. I can trim his claws, file them down, brush and bathe him, check his teeth and ears, and he simply holds still and allows me to do it. He has grown to trust me a good deal, and I am very happy about that. His appetite is healthy, he loves to play his tug games and to run outside with the other dogs. We have been on long walks and hikes and he does great as long as we do not run into any other people. He is allowed off leash in the front part of my property which is unfenced, but not on walks. I cannot yet trust his recall in a strange place.
I adopted a baby kitten in November -- black and white to match the border collies :-) -- and the kitten l♥ves the dogs! He attacks them constantly, goading them to play with him, and Kelso has the patience of Job with that kitten who, to him, must seem like a harmless but irritating little monster. Kelso acts just like my Jester dog, who has lived with a cat most of his life. Patient, kind, and sweet.
Getting Kelso socialized is proving to be a challenge for me. I live 20 miles outside of town, making it a minimum of an hour round trip to almost anywhere, and my natural reclusiveness (along with house projects!) tends to keep me at home on my days off. I only rarely have visitors. Another ABCR person suggested I join the BC Meetup group here and take Kelso to the meetups with other border collies. Seems that is a good idea so I think I will do that. There even may be a chance to take him to be tested on sheep! I would love to do that. He simply needs the exposure, although it may take a long time for him to start being comfortable around other people. He seems to think that there are only two kinds of people: His Person (safe and good) and Everyone Else (scary and bad).
Most of the time when I am the only human being in my house he acts pretty much just like one of my dogs. You wouldn't know, if you were the proverbial fly on the wall, that he is different. But when another person enters the picture, he is a different dog entirely.
Kelso continues to be an easy keeper. He will make someone such a wonderful companion dog one day. He is undemanding, ready to play or go for a walk any time, and very well mannered in the house. He has never chewed anything, or gotten into the garbage or counter-surfed. He usually doesn't bark (although he has woken me up at night barking at god-knows-what a few times). He has not growled or whimpered in his sleep for months now, and instead twitches his legs running in his dreams like a normal dog.
Recently I left the dogs inside because rain was predicted, and to my dismay was kept away from home much longer than I had planned. When I came back the dogs had been inside for over 12 hours, but no one had done one bad thing. I think for Kelso, a dog who had never heard of potty training 9 months ago, that is pretty darned good. I was proud of him.
All in all he is doing really well. He is a happy dog, who has learned what it is like to be a dog in a family and have a home. Now, if I can just get him socialized so that he will accept a stranger, he'll be a success story!