Saturday, November 26, 2011 can't keep a good dog down.

I realized I have not updated this blog since right after Tully's surgery, so I thought I'd take a minute to do so.  The lab results on Tully's splenic mass came back as lymphoma, obviously devastating. The good news is that the type of lymphoma that he has is "indolent", meaning it is slow growing and slow to spread. This is different than many other types of lymphoma.  After talking with several veterinary oncologists, we are waiting on chemo until we find evidence of spread elsewhere in his body.  With this type of lymphoma, chemo is not proven to increase the life span if given before spread is found versus treating after spread is found, so we are monitoring him for now.  He will get monthly abdominal ultrasounds to check his lymph nodes and liver and I palpate all other lymph nodes once weekly to check for growth..

As far as the Tullster's competition career, we are going to return to competing as long as he feels like it. He's happy and healthy and bored right now, so it's back to work!  Gotta keep livin'. He's a cattle dog, he's tough, and no one has told him he has cancer.  He would  be bored to death sitting around at home and he still has unfinished business....RAE, UD, AJP, and PT.  Next weekend we're heading to Cincinnati to compete in a 3 day Rally trial.  He has a shaved belly, a big scar, and he's gained a few pounds, but he's ready  to return to rock star form. We planning to return to agility in January.

As always, a huge thank you to VCA Veterinary Specialty Center in Indianapolis and Dr. Aaron Wehrenberg for Tully's surgery and care.  Those of you who know me know that I'm slightly picky about who works on  my dogs <vbg>. I've referred patients there through the years, always with great outcomes. This time it was time for my own dog and I didn't hesitate as to where I was taking Tully.  Two thumbs up....they're the best.

Tully's first night home from surgery.  Yes, I lifted him on the bed.  I did not let him jump!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Everything Changes

My last post was right after the ACDCA national specialty and we were on cloud nine.  We came home and a week later headed to Indianapolis for the Indiana Collie Club's fall agility trial.  Tully was still on fire and brought home his 3rd AXP leg and the title and first place!  He also picked up his second AJP leg and first place.  Could it get any better than this?  We had entered 3 more trials (two weekends of rally and one weekend of agility) to try and finish his RAE and AJP before the end of the year.  Unfortunately, things change.

Tully was diagnosed with a splenic tumor and was abruptly taken to surgery on October 27, 2011 for a splenectomy at VCA Veterinary Specialty Center in Indianapolis.  Tully's spleen was removed and he recovered well and came home the next day. We are waiting on the lab results for what type of mass was removed.  All November agility and rally trials have been cancelled for us.  At this point in time I am unsure if this will be a brief hiatus or if this is retirment for Tully.  Four weeks ago we were tearing up courses at nationals.  Now my boy is recovering from major surgery and we are waiting to see if he has cancer of if the mass was benign.  Everything changes, and not always for the better.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

He came, he saw, he conquered.

A week ago we loaded up our stuff, got one last good night's sleep in our own bed, and woke up the next morning heading for the ACDCA national specialty in Fletcher, NC.  This is the big trip we've been working towards, but things had gone a bit awry before leaving. Tully became ill and was lethargic and didn't eat for 2 days. I quit my job, accepted a new job, and started house hunting.  Needless to say, our training in the month before nationals went down the drain.  Things did not look good, but we left anyway and I figured I'd have to pull  him from at least Monday's events.

It turns out, I should not have worried.  Tully woke up on Monday morning, ate breakfast, and was ready to run.  When the dust settled on 9/26/11, the results were:

1st place Novice FAST Preferred (3rd leg and title!)
2nd place Excellent Standard (2nd leg)
1st place Veterans Obedience
2nd place Rally Advanced
Qualifying Score in Rally Excellent
1 new RAE leg

I left that day on cloud nine, knowing my boy would never have another day like that in his life and savoring the moment.  I was wrong.  The next day on 9/27/11, Tully came back just as strong and brought home:

1st place Novice FAST Preferred (bonus leg)
High Scoring ACD in Novice FAST Preferred
1st place Veterans Obedience
4th place Rally Advanced
2nd place Rally Excellent
1 new RAE leg (total of 5 now)

Suffice it to say, it was the show of a lifetime.....and it happened at nationals.  He is nearing retirement and I knew this would be his last competitive year at nationals.  He gave me all he had and more. In case I've never said it, I love this dog!  Not only did he qualify and have high scores, he competed with complete glee.  He was happy and excited and I truly believe he was having the time of his life.
Tonight it's off to the awards banquet.  Tully should pick up his VQW (Versatile Qualified Worker) title/award - a versatility award given by the ACDCA.  I am proud of my sweet boy. 

Firefly Rockin Red Rogue CDX GO VER RE OJP OAP NFP CGC HIC VQW  "Tully"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

North Carolina or Bust!

T minus 24 hours until we hit the road for the ACD national specialty.  Today will be spent packing and preparing and wondering if I have forgotten anything.  I have not had nearly enough time to practice with Tully, but it's too late now.  Although nationals is a big competition, it's just as much about seeing good friends, good dogs, and eating good food.  North Carolina, here we come!  Travel safe all my ACD friends and we will see you tomorrow!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Greater Lafayette Kennel Club Rally Trial

One week from now I'll be sitting in a hotel room in Fetcher, North Carolina, preparing to compete with Tully the next morning in Rally, Agility, and Obedience, at the ACDCA National Specialty.  However, this weekend we packed up and headed north for a two day Rally trial.  The objective was to get some experience in Rally since Tully had not competed in Rally since 2008.  I'm quite proud to say he came home with two RAE legs!  Saturday he took 2nd in Rally Excellent B and 4th in Rally Advanced B.  Today he flip flopped those results taking 4th in Rally Excellent B and 2nd in Rally Advanced B.  These two legs towards his RAE bring his total up to 3 RAE legs. 

Things are busy here.  This is my last week of employment at Canine Companions where I have worked for 8 years.  My house is on the market and we've  had several showings.  I'm preparing to move and preparing for nationals and preparing for a new job, all while trying to keep things "normal", whatever that is!  All I know is I'm ready for a vacation and can't wait to catch up with all my friends in North Carolina and have a little fun running my old dog!  This will most likely be Tully's last national as his 10th birthday is coming up and I'm certain it will be Terra's last road trip as her kidney disease and other health issues are progressing.  One last road trip with the red dogs....bittersweet.

Tully picking up two more RAE legs with placings.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The official plan for nationals

As I agonized over what classes to enter Tully in at nationals, the final decisions were made.  He is entered in:

Obedience - 2 days of Veterans.  Obedience is outdoors on dirt and he does not do well on scent articles in this environment, so I pulled him from Utility.   Veterans will just be a fun run for him and it's always a little emotional to realize my boy IS a veteran.

Rally - 2 days of Advanced B and Excellent B - We haven't participated in Rally since 2008 due to Tully just being bored with it, but he does have 1 RAE leg, so maybe it's time to work on that.

Agility - 2 Days of Excellent Standard A, Excellent JWW A, and Novice FAST.  He has two legs in Novice FAST and I'd love to finish that at nationals.  He has one leg in both AXP and AJP and I have no big expectations in these classes.  Looking back at our last national 2 years ago, he was entered in novice jww and novice standard.  He had no legs and it was his second agility trial ever.  I was a little overwhelmed when I realized we've come from that 2 years ago to being a dog competing in excellent 2 years (and limited competing) later.  You CAN teach old dogs new tricks.  A huge thanks to Deb Abbott for helping an old dog and green handler get this far!

Herding - I had hoped to enter him in 2 days of PT at nationals.  We've gone to some clinics and picked up lessons here and there, but with the closest lessons being close to 2 hours away, plus all the work drama (quitting my job, getting a new job, trying to find a new house), this just may not work out.  Most likely we will pull our entries.

Our reservations are made for the host hotel,  the BBQ, and the awards banquet.  We will go to the annual meeting and of course, dingo bingo!  Most of all, nationals is about the dogs and the people.  I look forward to seeing friends I rarely get to see and spending the week honoring the dogs we love so much.

See you in North Carolina!

Friday, August 26, 2011

4 weeks

4 weeks....until we leave for nationals.   4 weeks....until I leave the job I've had for 8 1/2 years.  Suffice it to say that BIG changes are in store in 4 short weeks! 

But this blog is about my rogue red dog, not my job, so let's get the focus back on the Tullster!  Two weeks ago I entered a one day trial in Indy.  It was Tully's very first try in Excellent Standard after finishing his Open Standard title in June.   Standard is hard for him and we've not been working very much so I had zero expectations.  Well, sometimes when you have zero expectations, surprising things happen.  To my disbelief, Tully qualified in Excellent Standard on his first trip out and brought home first place and his first AXP leg!  He now has one AXP and one AJP leg.  Guess that means we'll have to finish those!  I better get back to handling classes with Deb, my handling has hit an all time low, LOL!

Between now and nationals, we're laying pretty low. We've entered Rally in Lebanon in September to see if we even remember how to do it.  We haven't entered rally since 2008 and he is entered 2 days at nationals.  I better make sure I know what I'm doing!  I better review those rules too....

4 weeks until nationals!  omg.....

Waiting at the start line to run at ACI.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The latest on the B-town cowdogs

Wow, so much has happened in the past few weeks.  First of all, my wonderful old gal Terra became the first cattle dog EVER to earn the THD (Therapy Dog) title from the AKC.  She is wonderful girl and I am proud that she was the first ACD to earn this achievement.  Hopefully she will lead the way for many more cattle dogs in the future.  Such a big honor for a dog with humble beginnings.  She does not have a fancy pedigree or a long name. She is simply Terra or officially Terra, THD HIC CGC.  I love this old dog.

The dogs and I headed to Urbana, Illinois last weekend for a small agility trial and to visit friends.  I had started Tully on Metacam about 10 days previous to this trip to see if any of his slowness was due to arthritis pain.  He is such a good, sweet boy and never complains, so I was really stumped at his recent slow times in trials.  We had just entered Novice FAST....a nice easy class to test him.  Saturday was a difficult course with the send bonus being the teeter and a tunnel.  To my amazement, he hit the teeter without a problem, but then went in the wrong end of the tunnel for an NQ.  I think I was still in shock that he did the teeter from a send that he didn't get the best instructions from me afterward for the tunnel!  We returned Sunday for our next try.  I plotted a direct course in and out, but it did include the weaves and teeter.  I figured it would be good practice for him and the send bonus was a jump and tunnel.  My dog was on fire.  He flew in and completed the course with 61 points in 27 seconds, including the send bonus, teeter, and weaves.  I'm still in shock.  It was good enough for 1st place and the 2nd leg towards his NFP.  Woo hoo Tully!

We have a few weeks off and then a one day trial in Indy. It will be a bigger test for him as I am going to put him back in excellent jumpers and excellent standard to see if his speed holds up. In the meantime, he has an agility demo for camp kids in a few weeks and an appearance at the county fair representing the therapy dog program this week.  No rest for the Tullster!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

11 weeks

Just 11 weeks to go until I'll be packing the Trailblazer to the hilt and heading to North Carolina for the national specialty.  The premium list came this week which was just like Christmas!  I excitedly starting checking off fees for the fun stuff - welcome BBQ (YUM!), awards banquet (Tully will pick up his versatility QW!), souvenirs, catalogs, practice herding runs, and so on.  I CAN'T WAIT for dingo bingo, my favorite, and with a cash bar this year I hear.  That should make things more interesting :-)

Then came the decision of what to enter.  Tully is capable of competing in:
  • Utility Obedience
  • Open Obedience
  • Veterans Obedience
  • Versatility Obedience
  • Rally Advanced
  • Rally Excellent
  • Agility Excellent Jumpers
  • Agility Excellent Standard
  • Agility Novice FAST
  • Herding Pre-trial Tested

However, my sweet boy is 9 1/2 years old and with all but herding happening on the same day, it's going to be impossible to do it all.  Now we are deciding which ones to enter.  This most likely will be his last national specialty and I want him to have fun and do well.  I will have to think long and hard about this one.

On a bittersweet note, I decided after the last agility trial to semi-retire Tully.  His back bothers him, yet he's such as sweet boy that he'll do whatever I ask, no matter the discomfort.  This is not fair to him.  I will continue with him in Novice Fast for the next two months and most likely completely retire him from agility after nationals.  This doesn't mean we will be getting fat and lazy!  Nope! It's back to obedience and rally.  We had taken a hiatus while we worked on agility, knowing that agility time would be limited due to his age.  We went back to training for utility obedience this week.  It wasn't pretty, but it wasn't awful.  We still hope to finish that UD and maybe finish the RAE as well.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Agility Club of Indianapolis - NEW TITLE!

We did it!  We finally did it!  Tully conquered his fear of the teeter and together we finally earned that last leg of his Open Standard Preferred title today (6/26/11) at the Agility Club of Indianapolis' summer agility trial. He was even under time and picked up 4th place.    I am thrilled!  I am tired!  I will write more another day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Buckner - Our first Novice FAST leg and success on the teeter

Last weekend we packed up and headed down to Buckner, Kentucky, a small suburb on the northeast side of Louisville.  We arrived Thursday night and unloaded at the hotel and tried to get some sleep.  Sleep was hard to come by, as for some reason both dogs were restless all night.  All told, I think we managed 3-4 hours of sleep.

Friday (6/3/11) morning came bright and early and we headed out to the trial site to get set up and ready for our runs.  Tully was entered in Excellent A Jumpers Preferred, Open Standard Preferred, and for the very first time, Novice FAST preferred.  Our FAST run was first up and we lucked out with the send bonus being two jumps.  If there is anything my boy can do at a distance, it's jumps.  We mentally created our course and set out to accomplish it.  He aced the send (woo hoo!) and we hurried to get in our points before time expired.  Needless to say the course planned sometimes does not equal the course run when Tully decided to bail off the 8 point A-frame!  Yikes!  Quick thinking and utter panic somehow combined and we were able to still rack up 56 of the required 50 points at the end.  This was good enough for 1st place and his first NFP leg!  Go Tully!

We then waited for our standard and jumpers runs.  Unfortunately, the two walk thrus and classes were at the same time in different rings which added to our stress.  We did what we could and awaited our runs.  His jumpers run was faultless, but over on time.  His standard run was pretty much a disaster in the making.  He wouldn't touch the teeter and had a couple of wrong courses and refusals.  <sigh>  So much for having slain the teeter monster.  I was not in any way convincing him it was OK.  Kentucky teeter monsters eat red cattle dogs.

Saturday (6/4) morning came way too early.  Terra was along for the ride this weekend and apparently had a respiratory reaction to something in the motel room.  We managed 2 hours of sleep while Terra wheezed, panted, and kept me awake with worry.  (I will happily say her respiratory signs subsided at the show site where she snoozed peacefully all day.) We were only entered Friday and Saturday, so we packed up our stuff from the motel and headed back to the trial site.  The FAST classes this morning consisted of an A-frame and jump in the send.  I knew this would not be a good course for Tully as he does not like to do the A-frame from a distance.  We tried the send bonus early on and when he refused the A-frame, we decided to spend our remaining time working on the teeter.  As if he had not had any problems over the past 5 months, he magically did the teeter without a thought on the first try. I praised my boy for his good work and although we had an NQ on the run, I was delighted he did his teeter.  The walk thrus for Excellent A jumpers and Open Standard were again at the same time. ACK!  His Open Standard run was slow, but he ran much cleaner (1 off course) and did his teeter on the first try!  We considered this a MAJOR victory!   His excellent jumpers run was very slow.  The hot weather, back to back runs, lack of sleep, and long weekend caught up with him.  He had 1 refusal which gave us the NQ but his time would have NQ'd us too. 

We were pleased to get our first Novice FAST Preferred leg and two successful teeters this weekend.  The loud cheers of support from all our friends when Tully did his teeter in Open Standard meant the world to us.  Dog show friends are the best.  Overall, his times this weekend were very, very slow. I'm hoping it was due to stress, heat, lack of sleep, and back to back runs.  I felt like he was "off" in his left front leg much of Sunday, although no limp was visible.  When he bailed off the A-frame in FAST on Friday, the video replay shows him crashing down on the left shoulder pretty hard.  He seems to be doing fine now, so hopefully it was just some bruises and sore muscles.  Our next trial is in two weeks in Indianapolis and we'll see what we have there. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

T minus 17 weeks.

17 weeks.  17 weeks from today we will be arriving in Asheville, North Carolina and be checking into the hotel for the week of the ACD national specialty.  17 weeks may sound like a long time, but let's look at this.  This means there are 16 more weekends of work to be done.  Does that sound like a lot?  Um, no.  Here's what we need to cram in over the next 16 weekends:

1.  Herding lessons at least twice monthly.
2.  Advanced handling agility classes in Indy with Deb
3.  Agility trials (3 or 4) to finish the OAP, get some experience in Excellent A, and work on distance work.
4.  Obedience and Rally trials (1 or 2) to remind Tully how obedience/rally work.
5.  Practice sessions at Pawsitive Energy Agility  in Columbus to get Tully used to working in a dirt arena.
6.  Our first Herding Trial to try for a PT on Labor Day weekend.

Add in Terra's library visits and Tully's camp demos and county fair work and 16 weeks is not long at all!  It's a little overwhelming!

Yesterday we went to Flying Feet Agility Training Center in New Albany and used both their indoor agility ring and indoor obedience ring.   Tully was a rock star on the teeter and worked nicely in general.  It was a successful session and a lovely training facility.  I highly recommend it!  Today and tomorrow we are taking it easy.  We may do some weave work outside, but that's about it.  I find that Tully competes best when he's had a break, so we will take it easy this week.

Next weekend we hit the road for our next agility trial in Buckner, KY.  I can't wait and am ready to go!  Hopefully by this time next week there will be nice "win picture" up on this blog of Tully earning his Open Standard title!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hey now, you're a rockstar!

Yes, that's right.  In case you haven't heard, Tully is a rockstar.  I couldn't be more pleased with my little red dog this week.  Our next agility trial is in two weeks and we've been battling the teeter monster who apparently torments little red cattle dogs who come near the teeter.  Thanks to my friend Teresa  in Ellettsville who is letting us use her teeter, Tully has overcome his teeter fear!  Well, that and thanks to string cheese!  There are very few fears that string cheese cannot overcome in Tully's life.  He's running over it like a champ now and even doing a send from 6-8 feet away.  I have no idea if this new found confidence will extend to the show ring in 2 weeks, but we are keeping our fingers crossed!  With  my luck he thinks all teeters are dangerous except the one at Teresa's house because she would never have anything that would hurt a dog.  <sigh>

Today Tully had a herding lesson with Ferreh Hiatt in Muncie.  Tully is really progressing quickly and my plan is to enter him in his first herding trial in Kentucky in September, a few weeks before nationals.  I suspect if he finishes his PT that I just may cry or scream or run a victory lap around the field, all of which I assume are not acceptable behavior.  Oh well, I have a cattle dog.....people don't expect acceptable behavior from me or my dog! 

The Buckner agility trial is in two weeks.  Buckner hosts a lovely agility trial twice a year.  It's indoors, it's air conditioned, there is seating for spectators, there are vendors, and there are photographers.  Most of all, there are dog show friends!  Most of the Indiana crew heads down to this lovely show as well as a good many of my Louisville buddies.  The only bad part is making sure you don't miss your ring time while catching up with old friends!  We are going to make our debut in the Novice FAST class as well as excellent jumpers and open standard.  I'd love to say I've been working hard towards preparing for his FAST runs, but the teeter monster has taken first priority.  Oh well, I've got a rockstar, he'll learn on the fly :-)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Herding Clinic and Therapy Dog Testing

What a crazy weekend!  Tully and I trekked to Lebanon, Indiana on Friday and Saturday to attend a  herding clinic by Larry Painter.  Larry is a highly regarded herding instructor and an owner/breeder of cattle dogs and kelpies.  He was patient and kind and was able to explain things very clearly.  Tully made huge strides in his herding over two days and we were also able to watch more advanced dogs have lessons.  I got to meet a lot of nice herding folks and their dogs and can't wait to keep training!  Larry feels that Tully can easily earn his PT (a herding title), which made my weekend!

After two days of sheep herding, I had to give Tully an extreme makeover.  OK, not really, but I had to get him from filthy herding dog to sparkling therapy dog over night.  Saturday night was spent bathing, brushing, and dremmeling nails to get him ready for Sunday and his therapy dog re-certification.  Tully is a certified therapy dog through Delta Society, which requires all their dogs to be re-certified every 2 years.  We managed to pass by the skin of our teeth, as he was still pretty revved up from herding and really hyper.  Whew!  I'm quite proud of my boy and feel that his therapy dog certification is just as important, if not more so, than the list of titles that follow his name.

It's three weeks until our next agility trial, not much time at all!  Our current goals are to work on the teeter issue that he's having so we can hopefully finish his Open Standard title at that trial and make time to get some herding practice as well.  So much to do!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


After a three month hiatus from competition, Tully and I hit the road for an agility trial hosted by the Evansville Obediene Club this weekend.  I'll start by saying what a nice trial the club hosted!  There was plenty of crating space and the trial was well run in a nice air conditioned indoor soccer field. It will definately be on my list to attend next year.

Other than that, the weekend was a near disaster!  We were 0-4 all weekend.  Our two attempts at Open Standard were dismal.  Tully has a new fear of the teeter and seems think touching it will result in certain death.  He looks at me wide-eyed and will start offering any other behavior he can think of (repeat the tunnel, run ahead to the next thing, search madly for something else that I may find appropriate, jumping over the teeter like it's a jump, etc).  Excellent Jumpers went somewhat better. Yesterday we made time but he bypassed the starting jump and we had to restart, resulting in a refusal (the only fault) and an NQ.  Today he ran it clean, but over in time resulting in an NQ.  Too bad we couldn't combine the best of each run!

Although it was disappointing to come home empty handed, I've taken a new view this year. I still want to qualify and earn titles more than ever, but my boy is aging and our time competing is becoming short.  I realize any run, any weekend, could be our retirement run, and I want to make sure we are both having fun, no matter the score at the end of the run. I know what we need to work on and we have 4 weeks until our next competition in Buckner.  We will work hard to improve and hopefully get that last Open Standard next time. If we don't, it's not the end of the world.  The best dog there will still hop in the back of my trailblazer and go home with me. What more could I want?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I believe I can fly

What a busy day!  We started off the morning at Deb's advanced handling class in Indy.  It's always fun to go and learn and see old friends.  Tully was a little rusty, but overall not bad!  He did decide on the second course that he could fly.  This is not the first time he has held this belief.  He jumped from the top of the A-frame and landed by skidding on his head and neck.  In true cattledog fashion, he popped right up with his tongue lolling out and a big goofy grin and patiently waited for me to tell him where to go next.  I'm sure he has to have horrible floor burn on his chin and neck, but it looks good and he showed no sign of slowing down.  On the rest of the runs I made sure he slowed down on the A-frame and did not attempt to fly.  He seemed disappointed.  He was very hesitant on the teeter and this worries me as we are competing next weekend in Evansville.  We desperately need time on a teeter this week, but I don't see that happening. <sigh>  All in all, a great class and a lot of fun.

During the agility class, there was a USDAA trial going on at the same time at that facility. I ran into a gal with a red cattle dog who was competing and who is Tully's "aunt".  Agility runs in the family!  Her name is Skeeter and she is a half sibling to Tully's father "Leader". She lives in St. Louis and was in town just for the trial.  What a small world!

We left Indy and drove north to Muncie to do a herding lesson with Ferreh.  You'd think Tully would be sore and tired from the morning agility class and his attempt at flight - he is 9 years old now, not a spring chicken. Well, I was mistaken. He came out of the truck fired up and ready to chase some sheep.  He was in rare form today.  He is improving a lot in herding and is having a lot of fun. We still have hopes of being PT ready by fall, but we'll see. The cost of gas will put a dent on our training in Muncie for sure.

All in all, a great day!  I see Tully improving and we are having so much fun. He is a wonderful dog and I am grateful to have him. Tomorrow we will change course and Tully will visit IU students as a Delta Society Therapy Dog and give them a much needed study break from finals.  I'm confident that being hugged and petted by a bunch of college girls will be right up his alley!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


The last week or so has been a "whole lotta nothin'".  Between work, continual rain, and a few other odds and ends, we've made no progress in training.  Our first agility trial after a 3 month break is in two weeks!  Ack!!  We have agility run thrus next weekend and I am hoping that will help get him warmed up and back in the groove.  He just needs one more Open Standard leg and I am really hoping he can get that and finish his title that weekend.  The last leg is always the hardest though...

Sunday, April 10, 2011


This morning we went and investigated ring rental at Pawsitive Energy in Columbus.  We are happy to report that it was a success with a friendly owner and a nice indoor area to practice in.  It took us less than an hour to get there, a short drive for someone living in the black hole of the dog show world (i.e. Bloomington).

The only downside? Tully believes ghosts inhabit one side of the dog walk there.  The other side and the middle are fine and ghost free, but the other one is obviously haunted.  What other explanation can there be for him not wanting to touch it either as an up or down ramp?  He politely told me "no" from the start,even when being bribed with cookies.  When he realized I was going to push the issue, he changed from "no" to "No way, no how, not while I am alive."  My only hope is that he only believes that THAT particular one is haunted and not all dog walks.  Other than that, it was overall a success.  He is not used to working on dirt, one of the major reasons we are renting ring time at this facility.  Dirt is exciting and has good smells in it. It's fun to eat, sniff, and roll in.  My goal is to prove to Tully between now and nationals (which will be held on dirt) that dirt is no big deal and it certainly isn't more exciting than running the course.  I don't think I quite proved that to him today, but he was doing much better by the end of practice.  We have 5 months until nationals.  Hopefully dirt will be our friend by then. 

We intend to spend the rest of our day being lazy.  We've worked enough this weekend.  Time for a quick look at the summer show calendar, which then leads to a long look at the checkbook.  Maybe we'll just take a nap instead.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Tully went to his advanced handling/run thru agility class this morning.  One thing is really odd to me.  In run thrus and in trials, I crowd Tully and talk to him in strange voices that I never, ever use in practice. This tends to make things not go so well.   In practice he is much better - faster weaves, distance work, etc.  In trials/run thrus I turn into an alien with my mannerisms and voice and he's completely sure I've lost my mind.  Because he's sure I've lost my mind, he then becomes slow, distracted, and generally freaked out.  I have no idea why I act like I do in run thrus/trials. I certainly believe that aliens taking over my body is a valid hypothesis.

After class, we practiced weaves and he is actually starting to do off-side weaves!  Anyone who knows us knows this has been a huge thorn in our side, as Tully believes weaves should only be performed while in the heel position.  In addition, when doing his on-side weaves he can now be sent to them from a short distance away (5-6 feet maybe?) and do them completely without me next to him.  He just goes until they are done.  What a good boy.  I'm sure at the next trial I will crowd him and shriek in funny voices instead of just sending him and letting him do his job.  Blame the aliens.

Our herding lesson got cancelled thanks (or rather no thanks) to the heavy rain this morning.   Flooding in the sheep pens is apparently not conducive to herding.  <sigh>  Maybe next time!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A red dog blog?

Ok, so I've decided to start a blog in regard to the red dogs that fill my life.  Not to worry, there will not be daily postings on their every move.  The blog will mostly be used to track Tully's journey to the Australian Cattle Dog Club of America National Specialty (from now on called "nationals") in North Carolina in September 2011.  At the age of 9, this may be Tully's last nationals.  The nationals are GREAT fun - a full week of cattle dog events (herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation) mixed in with great activities at night (BBQ, Dingo Bingo, Cowcutta) and visiting with the cattle dog folks that you only see once a year.  Not only do nationals bring people from all of the US, it even brings cattle dog people from overseas to our country to visit and compete. It's a wonderful time to catch up - sort of like a week long family reunion complete with good food, good friends, and of course a few disagreements :-)   Tully has competed in previous years at nationals, but this year will be something special. It may be his last year, plus he will be competing in numerous events.  He will have two days of obedience (veterans, open, utility, versatility), two days of rally (advanced, excellent), two days of agility (standard, jww, fast), and hopefully two days of herding (PT).  Yes, that makes for  A LOT of entry fees and a busy week!  We are spending the next 5 months in herding and agility lessons, all the while still trialing in obedience, rally, and agility.  If any dog can do it, I have confidence in the Tullster. I don't have quite the confidence in my own handling abilities, but if I can get my act together, we'll have a great run!