News and updates of my Border Collies and our canine performance events.

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December 7, 2010

Tempo’s Flyball Debut


Tempo made his debut in Flyball at the Jet Set tournament in York PA, December 4-5, 2010. At 14 months of age, I am still in shock...he maintained his boxturn all weekend!!! And he never faulted! He only raced 2 heats of 2 races on Saturday (5/5 format). He had ONE warm-up run before his first official heat. In his first heat, he dropped the ball at the box, it rolled all over, but he got it & brought it back over the jumps (no fault)...I was so impressed that he figured out to get back in the lane....and the correct lane, no less!!! His first race was in the Right Lane, which is hardest for him since he turns Left. Tempo was in the Right Lane for most of his races, and he never once crossed over to the other lane.

On Sunday, he ran all 5 heats in 3 of our 4 races. I didn't want to jeopardize the team's "wins" by running Tempo but even with Tempo running, we maintained our times, running in the 18's on Sunday, and were winning races! Tempo averaged 4.8 with the (semi-wide) pass, but he did post one decent time of 4.59. I did early-pass him once (MY fault), when he got a 4.4; but what impressed me was that he stayed in the lane with the early pass, so he wasn't too intimidated. :) He is not yet driving full-speed, he seems to be thinking about it all, but I'm thrilled with his consistency. He only bobbled the ball that ONE time, first heat. And the team he was on jumps 11", so that was another factor in the challenge for a baby dog. He ran anchor so he has yet to have a dog pass him on his way back, but that will be the next thing to try at practice this winter.

Tempo earned his FD (Flyball Dog) and FDX (Flyball Dog Excellent, 100 pts), with 341 points for the whole weekend. And his team placed First in Regular Division 2! A great way to earn his very first ribbons!

Setting the standard for Tempo to aspire to, Dandy raced well all weekend, his only faults being MY early passes. He earned 635 points and he finished his FMX title! (10,000 pts, Flyball Master Excellent). Dandy’s team was undefeated, placing First in Multi-Breed Division 1!

Token raced on our Regular Division 3 team, which placed 2nd out of 9 teams! He earned 675 points, benefiting from the 5/5 format. Dandy covered for him in a few heats as he twice decided to come back without the ball. I don’t know what was going on, but I pulled him and had Dandy finish those 2 races. Token is less than 500 points away from his ONYX title (20,000 points), so hopefully we will finish that title at the next tournament in February.

An exhausting weekend, but lots of fun. No events now until February, time to take a break Smile

November 23, 2010

Last Agility Trial of the year….

November 20-21, 2010 – Kinetic Dog USDAA Tournament Only Trial

Dandy & Token both ran in the Team event as well as Grand Prix.

Token E’d with an off-course in Team Standard but he did well in the other classes…always on the edge, but hanging on!!! He took 1st place in Team Jumpers, 5th place in Team Snooker with 47 points, and 4th place in Team Gamblers. He was the 4th highest-scoring 26” dog overall. His team qualified in 7th place, so Token is now qualified for the Team event at the 2011 Nationals.

Dandy's team didn't qualify, but individually Dandy did great...we did suffer 1 off-course in Jumpers, but he took 1st place in Team Standard, 2nd place in Snooker with 50 points, and 2nd place in Gamblers (& just 1 refusal in Relay). Dandy was the highest-scoring 26" dog overall! :-)

We did not qualify in Grand Prix but we’ll try again in the spring!

November 13-14, 2010– Back to Flyball!

We had a super-fun weekend at Revolution Flyball's tournament in PA! Our club Infurno helped out all weekend by staffing one of the 2 rings with box judges, line judges and score table people. We were non-stop busy but still managed to race our 3 teams nicely.
Dandy raced really well as anchor for Multi 1, which took 2nd pl. Token was start dog for our Reg.3 team which took 4th...he had some good races, but I had to pull him from 2 races on Sunday as he was thinking with his wrong brain...

Tempo did Single Dog Racing on Friday night. His boxturn fell apart as we had to borrow one from another team and it was quite different than what he's been trained on. BUT he completed all 5 heats, last one from 45' back with his best time of 4.59 (with a really bad boxturn). Even when he bobbled the ball & it went rolling, he got it & found his own way back into the lane without missing any jumps. I have no idea how he knew to do that, considering he's only done a 'full run' once before! Hoping to give him a shot in a real race in December.

Game Time Photography took some nice pictures:

October 20, 2010

October 2010–USDAA Nationals, Louisville, KY

This was my first USDAA Nationals (Agility) since 1999 when it was in Cleveland. It was great to have this National event within driving distance!

The competition was incredible and I am honored to have been a part of it. My first obstacle was my own mental management. Mostly I handled it OK, but did screw up a few times, too. I have to remember to work through the bobbles and don't give up, even if a bar down in Dandy's Grand Prix run obviously meant I would not advance, I should have still worked the course rather than giving up & getting an off-course. Even though my team was not going to be in the top 30, I should have fought harder a couple of times. Overall, I handled the whole event better than I anticipated but also was disappointed in myself with a couple of things. I can't wait til next year :-)

My dogs did better than I expected. Token E'd in European Standard the first day but after that, he hung on in every class. No, we didn't run clean...but no E's, and only ONE bar down all week! He made it to the semi-finals in Steeplechase, and was 14th in Team Snooker out of ~135 dogs. Dandy's best run was European Standard, clean and 17th out of over 100 dogs. He had good runs in Team Gamblers & Snooker but we had off courses in Team Std and Jumpers. I'm disappointed in myself for the E's but Dandy still ran great. He was one bar away from making the Steeplechase Finals. His time was 0.04 slower than the 12th dog to advance, but he lost at least 1/2 second because the bar he knocked was taken again at the end, and with the bar down, he spun wondering where to go. So, I'm encouraged to see that we came so close! I got a number of compliments on my runs (even the off-course runs!), and I am so appreciative to those who took the time to do so :-)

Tempo spent most of the week in the crating area, but on Sunday, when I had a bit of free time, I took him to the Lure Coursing and bought him 2 tickets. He got 3 runs since the timer malfunctioned on his 2nd run. He had a blast and got faster each time and close to being in the top 10. I should have tried it sooner, so he would have had more runs to improve his speed but he had fun and got to run, so that was the important part ;-)

Watching the Grand Prix finals on Sunday was thrilling! I’m glad I chose to stay over Sunday night and head home on Monday so I could savor the moments of the grand finale of the event.

I'm so happy that we finally had a Nationals east of the Mississippi, and I'm really glad I was a part of it. Looking forward now to 2011!

September 22, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday to Tempo!

It's September 22, 2010, and Tempo is one year old today!

It's been a long time since I've updated the Blog...With the popularity of Facebook, the blog has fallen by the wayside. But I'll try to catch up.
Much of July was spent taking the dogs swimming at the lake. Too hot to train, but swimming built up their muscles nicely, and they LOVE the lake!!

July 31, we went to one day of an indoor USDAA agility trial in Hatfield, PA. August 21 & 22 was an indoor AKC agility trial at New Hope Farms, awesome to have a trial so close to home! Dandy did great, qualified both days in Excellent JWW, finishing his AXJ with a 1st place, and he earned his 2nd leg towards his AX with a 1st place in Excellent A Standard. Token qualified in Excellent B Standard with a 3rd place. They both ran really well especially considering they had NO training at all for several days prior.
In August, I spent 4 days travelling to Barto, PA, for Kinetic Dog Agility Camp, which was a Foundation level for puppies & young dogs. So Tempo was enrolled in his very first training camp. He did really well, I was pleased with his attention & focus in a new & highly distracting situation. And we learned tons of stuff!!!
Then over Labor Day weekend, another 3 days back & forth to Barto for the Masters Level Camp, for training with Dandy. We were really challenged and it was a great learning experience. I'm blessed to have such a talented dog as Dandy :-)

September 10-12, our traditional Blackthorne weekend...3 days of USDAA Agility. Token was only entered in a couple of classes each day...he was wild at first, but by day 3, he was running nicely, we missed clean runs by just one error. Dandy ran really well all weekend. Friday was the 5 classes of the team event, he took 1st place in Team Gamblers & 2nd place in Team Standard. His teammates were another Border Collie and a Rat Terrier and their name was "The Flying Monkees". Our team qualified and took 4th place overall! Saturday & Sunday, Dandy qualified in Master Pairs to finish his RCh title, qualified in Master Gamblers with a 2nd place, qualified both days in Master Jumpers with a 2nd place & 1st place, and he won 26" Steeplechase. We didn't enter ALL the classes that were offered, but he Q'd in everything he was in except the two Standard classes. We had unfortunate things happen in both of those, including hitting the tire jump and doing a handstand into a somersault as a result of getting hung up on the tire. Thankfully he was not injured, and I got him to the chiropractor after we got back home, to put him back into alignment.

Hard to believe but in 3 short weeks, we will be in Louisville, Kentucky for the USDAA Nationals! The competition will be of the highest caliber, it should be very exciting! I'm looking forward to having fun and enjoying the's a honor just to be there competing. I have not been to a National event since 1999, in Cleveland, the last time it was a reasonable distance to drive. (Arizona was just toooooo far!!!)

Tempo is getting sporadically trained...when I find time and when it's not been too hot. He's starting to learn flyball, the boxturn is coming along nicely. Next we have to learn how to run with other dogs running, too ;-) His agility training has been mostly flatwork & foundation. I started his jump training recently. Now that he's a year old, we can start training weaves, too. We have lots of projects for the winter!

Can't believe a year has gone by since I saw Tempo being born...he sure isn't the 'buddha belly puppy' anymore!

June 22, 2010

Dandy, Agility Dog Champion!

On May 22, 2010, Dandy qualified in Master Gamblers at the Contact Agility Club USDAA trial in Dover Plains, NY, finishing his Gambler Master title (GM). He also qualified in Steeplechase, and in the Finals was 2nd place (he had the fastest time but a bar down). He ran Pairs with another Border Collie named Skye, and we won the class with a clean fast run.
We had a very rough weekend in extremely hot & humid weather at the Keystone trial June 12-13 in Bethlehem, PA. Dandy did qualify in Master Gamblers but we missed putting it together in our other classes.
We went to the 3-day Y Agility trial at The Blackthorne in the Catskills in NY June 18-20 needing to just qualify in Master Jumpers to finish Dandy's ADCH. We had two shots at it with Jumpers being our first class Friday morning, and also the last class on Sunday. Dandy is often very amped up for his first class, and he often will knock bars in that one. Besides Jumpers being our first class of the weekend, it was also in the hilly ring, with all the bumps & dips. I ran Token first, and my front cross on the take-off side of a jump caused him to get a refusal. So I chose a different strategy when I ran Dandy, just a few minutes later. I went with a landing side front cross, hoping that would not cause him to knock the bar. We managed to execute it very nicely, and Dandy not only qualified but won the class! This finished his Jumpers Master title (JM) as well as his Agility Dog Champion title (ADCH) on June 18, 2010! Token just finished his ADCH at the Blackthorne in August 2009, in Jumpers, in the very same ring. Token was 6 yrs 4 months old at that time. Dandy is just 3 yrs 7 mos old, and he is my "youngest" ADCH title (he is #5, following Robin, Toss, Tripper & Token). Dandy truly is gifted, and I am so very proud of him.
Finishing that title on the first day assured me of having an enjoyable weekend, regardless of how the rest of the trial went. But then Dandy gave me so much more! He qualified with a 2nd place in Grand Prix, finishing his Tournament Master title (TM). He qualified in Steeplechase and took 1st place in the Finals. He qualified in Masters Standard with a 1st place. And for the last run of the weekend, Master Jumpers, he qualified again, with a 2nd place. Even the runs that were not qualifying, he continued to run beautifully. He really gave me his all, he is such a good boy!

Poor Token, I have been focusing so much on Dandy this season that I have not been able to give him 100%. He has only been entered in 2 classes per day for the last few trials since the entry fees really add up with two dogs. Even though he's running well, we still have our little bobbles that keep us from running clean. I hope to be able to give some focus back to Token now that Dandy's ADCH has been achieved.
We did do one run totally for fun at The Blackthorne. In Saturday's Master Pairs, I entered Token & Dandy together! I ran Dandy in the 2nd half while my friend Debbie ran Token in the first half. Dandy was totally out of his mind watching Token run! Both dogs had off-courses, so naturally we didn't qualify, but it was fun to run father & son together on Fathers Day weekend!

Since Dandy qualified in Grand Prix, he is now fully qualified to run in all the classes at the USDAA Nationals in Louisville, KY, in October. He will compete in Grand Prix, Steeplechase and Team. Token is qualified to run in Steeplechase & Team at Nationals, but not Grand Prix. I don't think I can get to enough GP qualifiers between now & September to try to get Token qualified, so that is no longer a goal. But I'm quite content to be running Token in 2 events and Dandy in all 3.

Tempo is now 9 months old, and will be going to Agility Camp in August to get him started. I'm not quite sure how I'll find time to train all three dogs, but I'll do my best! ;-)

We will be taking a break from trials for a few weeks, we have some training issues to address, and we'll continue enjoying the lake during the hot summer.

May 12, 2010

So...Where IS Spring???

Pictured: Tempo (R) with his litter-brother Quid (L), 7 1/2 months old.

It's mid-May, and the weather is feels more like winter than spring. Cold. Wind. Wet. I still have not been able to get my agility equipment set up outside yet. My dog training has been sporadic, at best, as it's hard to get motivated when I can't work them outside.

We did attend 2 outdoor trials recently, in Greenfield, MA. April 24-25 weekend was chilly but dry. The next weekend it was near 90 degrees. (And now I have had to turn the heat back on in my house.) The trials were very enjoyable, it was great to see everyone again! I took some pictures of dogs in action, and was pleased with the results, even though I need to practice alot more. (I've posted a few albums online in Picasa). Token and Dandy did quite well in spite of our lack of preparation/training. Even though most of our runs were not 'qualifying' due to mostly just one error, I was very happy with how Token & Dandy were running. Token's jumping was cleaner than ever, refusals/spins minimal, weaves good. Dandy is running with more confidence than last year, which means I have to ramp up my handling cues since he is a bit faster. With these two trials, he picked up qualifications in Jumpers (1st place), Pairs Relay, Standard (3rd pl), and in Steeplechase (1st place). Token earned a qualification in Steeplechase, so he now has the two he needs to enter Nationals in October.

I'm hoping to go to the USDAA Nationals in Kentucky, since it's the first time in 10 years that Nationals will be on the East Coast. Both Token and Dandy are qualified to enter the Team event, and Token is qualified to enter Steeplechase. Token needs two qualifications in Grand Prix to enter that class. Dandy needs one more Grand Prix and one more Steeplechase. Even if we don't get the GP Q's, we will go anyway and run in everything else.

In between work & dog stuff, I've been taking lots of pictures, including my niece Becca at her horseback riding lessons, and my nephew Aaron at his baseball games. I'm loving the new camera!

March 31, 2010

Winter Wind-Up

February was a rough month with all the snowstorms, but we did manage a weekend of snow-free fun going to Fitchburg, MA, February 13-14, for a big 2-ring Flyball Tournament. Token & Dandy raced well, and Tempo was a very good boy, just hanging out & socializing. A bonus was seeing two of Token's daughters from his 2009 litters, Maze (Tempo's littersister) and Wicked (from Blur's litter). They are both lovely, and in wonderful homes, getting primed for futures in flyball & agility.

March was very busy, starting with teaching a small Agility seminar on Introduction to USDAA (Games) Classes. I also helped my friend Terri with a presentation for dog owners on Shaping Appropriate Behavior, held at Bunker Hill Veterinary Hospital, with all proceeds going to the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter.

March 20-21, we attended a huge 2-ring Flyball tournament in Gettysburg, PA. Token & Dandy both raced great all weekend, and Tempo again was very well-behaved & not worried about a thing. I have one more flyball tournament on our schedule, which will be April 10-11, and then flyball will go on the back burner as we concentrate on Agility for spring, summer & fall.

On March 28, I went to my first agility trial since November. I just entered one day, to ease back into it. Token and Dandy were both in 26" Grand Prix, Master Gamblers & Master Jumpers. Dandy had an off-course in Grand Prix, and Token just had one refusal, so we didn't qualify. Token also was part of the majority of dogs that did not qualify in Gamblers. But Dandy qualified and took 1st place, for his 4th leg, so he needs one more for his Gambler Master title. The highlight of the day was having both Token and Dandy qualify in Jumpers, since that is my most difficult class to run clean in. Dandy took 1st place & Token placed 3rd. Dandy now needs 2 more Q's in Jumpers for his Jumper Master title. Our next trial will be the end of April.

Tempo is now 6 months old, and he is doing great. We're working on foundation training for agility as well as continuing socialization and exposure to new situations so he can continue to be a happy & confident dog. He loves everyone he meets, so he is off to a super start. :-) He also gets along great with Token & Dandy, making him an easy addition to the pack.

Looking forward to SPRING!

January 31, 2010

Some Vintage Videos

September 2002 - Brace Class at USDAA Agility Trial in Maryland
Brace is just for fun and not offered very often at all, but it's a hoot to run and watch! I ran Robin & Chad as one brace team, and Toss & Tripper as another team. The weave poles in this course were 2 sets of 12, the 2 dogs could do the same set of 6, or they could each do one set, and if they did this simultanously, it was worth 5 bonus points. With a time plus faults scoring system, it was not worth the extra 5 points to 'set it up' to have them each do a set of 6 poles, so I was just planning to have them do the same set consecutively. However, when I ran Toss & Tripper, Toss had his own plan to get the 5 bonus points, and he performed the far set of weaves while Tripper did the closer set, and besides wowwing the crowd, they took First Place :-) Toss was always a very creative Border Collie, and this is such a perfect memory of him. I am so thankful to have these runs in my video library:

August 2003 - Toss participated in a Dock Dogs event, at age 8, and though he only jumped 10'-12', he had a great time! This was his first practice jump, the only one on film:

July 2004 - Robin & Chad have one last run together in Brace at Agiledogs in NY. They were 11 years old at that time, and were able to jump 16" as their Performance height. Those two boys adored each other, this is a very special memory.

January 20, 2010

Toss - 4/16/1995 - 1/20/2010

I said Good-Bye to Toss today. Suffering from kidney failure, it was time to let him go.
Toss earned lots of titles in Agility, including Agility Dog Champion, and he even earned his Companion Dog title in Obedience. In 1999, he won the 24" division of the PupPeroni Eastern Regional tournament. In 2000, he was part of the winning team in the Dog Agility Masters Team Tournament in Saratoga, NY. His teammates Elan & Quincy have already passed on to the Rainbow Bridge, so maybe they will join forces again :-)
But more important than his accomplishments...he was a very unique & special Border Collie. He was very careful & methodical in the agility ring, but he would dive off the dock at the lake with complete & utter abandon. The lake was one of his favorite places to be.
Toss also had a unique ability to look at photographs of dogs and recognize them as such. He even showed "preferences" towards certain breeds (he would bite the picture if it was a Jack Russell Terrier!) He was also an avid TV watcher, his favorite movie was "Babe", of course :)

So easy to live with, a gentle soul with a real creative streak, he will always hold a very special place in my heart.

January 17, 2010