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?