Thursday, May 17, 2012

CPE agility and a plan for summer

Last weekend we headed up to Carmel, Indiana, on the north side of Indianapolis for our fist try at CPE agility.  CPE is an organization that is better known in some parts of the country than in others, but has really become more popular in the Midwest.  They offer a variety of different courses/games and a variety of different jump heights/titling programs to fit the needs of their competitors.  At the age of 10, Tully was starting to struggle making both the jump heights and course times in AKC, yet he's not ready to be a couch potato quite yet.  CPE seemed to be a nice bridge for us between the highly competitive AKC circuit and complete retirement.

Tully had 8 runs in 2 days, not an easy task for an old guy.  CPE classes include standard, jumpers, full house, jackpot, colors, wildcard, and snooker.  The number of qualifying scores for titling depends on the level.  Although Tully could have started as high as level 3 due to his AKC titles, we opted for level 1 since I had no idea how their trials and classes worked.  It turned out that apparently Tully must have read the rule book and he knew exactly what to do.  He earned qualifying runs and first place with no faults in all 8 runs over two days to earn all of his level 1 titles (CSL1-S, CSL1-H, CSL1 -F, CSL1-R).  I ran him at the lowest jump height allowable for him - 12 inches - and he did great.  He ran faster than ever and seemed to know  he was a rock star.  He routinely ran 20-30 seconds under course time...amazing for an old guy!

Next up on the agenda is another try at CPE in 3 weeks in Carmel - this time level 2.  The weekend after that we are heading to Illinois for rally and obedience, just for fun.  Other plans include CPE agility in July again in Carmel, followed in August with obedience/rally at Queen City and Louisville.  In the meantime, it's off to herding lessons.  Semi-retirement may mean low jump heights and less strain on an aging back and body, but it does not mean we stop living.  We still have our fingers crossed that we will make it to a few classes at nationals in 5 months! 

Taken at Queen City Dog Training Club in March 2012, one of my favorite photos of the Tullster.  Competing is fun, but in the end, it's about the bond between a dog and their person.  I love my boy and I think the feeling is mutual.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Spring is here!

Spring has sprung and Tully's period of rest from back aches and pains is over.  He's not the dog he was last fall, but he's happy and content and still wants to play and have fun.  We have returned to herding lessons and he is having a blast.  He thinks he would like to be a farm dog who can roll in mud, wade in cattle troughs, but then sleep on the bed at night. He does not understand that he has to have a bath between the mud rolling/trough wading and sleeping on the bed. He feels it is unjust.  He's having a great time and unless another injury or illness comes up,we hope to try for an HT or PT this fall.  We will either compete at the ACDCA nationals or at a trial in Kentucky that is hosted by ACD people.

In the meantime, we are going to try our hand at CPE agility next weekend. He's entered in Level 1 and at the lowly jump height of 12 inches.  It will be interesting to see how he does.  The trial is only 30 minutes away on the north side of Indy, so if it doesn't work out, we have not wasted too much time and money.  CPE is a little different than AKC in that they have a lot more types of games/courses and different rules.  It looks like there are less penalties, he can jump at a lower height,and he will have more time - all nice things for an aging rock star. On the other hand, I have to hurry up and read the rules and figure out how to run their courses!

Although this blog was primarily aimed at Tully's adventures in competition, I would be remiss if I didn't mention why we have not posted in almost two months.  My dear, sweet dog Terra passed away on April 25th at the age of 14 years after a long, hard fight against pituitary macroadenoma and renal failure.  She was my first cattle dog and the reason that I love the breed. She is the one that started it all.  Without her, there never would have been a Tully and I wouldn't have met half the people I know today!  There will always be a cattle dog in my house as long as I am able, however I don't know if I'll ever have the heart to have another plain faced red girl.