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.