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!