Thursday, February 21, 2008

third time's a charm :)

Sorry Gyp, the spotlight got taken away from you while Kaleb basked in the glory. I love this photo of her and my cousin Sami, one of my favs.

Funny how the importance of things change, and goals change as you get more dogs, learn more, and become a better trainer.

When I started running Agility with Jane, the allusive "ATCHC" seemed like something unattainable, something that only the "big dogs and handlers" got. I never thought that far ahead. She got her Starters title in 1.5 trials. But got stuck in Advanced for 1.5 years. Got her Masters Jumpers title before any other in Advanced. Finally by the time we were ready for Masters, everything somehow fell into place smoothly and we learned as we went what we needed to train and what skills were needed, thank goodness she is such a forgiving dog. She got her ATCHC in 2005, and that same year placed 6th in the 10" division at Nationals, in a class of 24. I've learned the most from her, because she taught me everything I know about dogs and training, and she got me into Agility, and at 8.5 is still givin' er!

Then along came Kaleb ...Pete did about 95% of the training with K in the first 2.5 years of his life, he became a certified Search And Rescue Dog, one month after his second birthday, one of the youngest dogs to ever certify. I still say he is "Certifiable" but that is another story. Kaleb did his first Agility Trial at 3, and only entered him in a couple runs a day, as physically he could do the equipment and had the skills to do so, but mentally ... not so much. It took him roughly 4 full trials to get his Starters title, and then another year to get his Advanced title. Then he got his Masters title in one Trial, in ONE day, two weeks after his Advanced title. I am still amazed by that, and his MAD title is still one of my most memorable! This past year was the "Year of the Kaleb" I think he finished around 14 titles in 2007. He was the #1 Flat-coat in Canada, and just finished his SATCHC and Bronze Award in the Same day, which took Jane 1 year later to get her bronze.

Then along came Gyppie, the underdog. The dog that nobody seemed to be interested in through the emails Amanda sent about her (thankfully). So I took her as a favour over a weekend, and she never left (thankfully). Funny how people are NOW interested in her ... Gyp is the perfect balance for me, drivey, but not crazy, a little soft, biddable and loves to learn and has taught me alot about timing, patience and perseverance, and the bonus is she has an off switch (unlike another dog I have). She'll lay fast asleep until it is time to work. She has made "non-Border Collie people" learn to like Border Collies, unless they are just saying that to be nice :), but really she is a great fun loving, but equally serious dog.
In 6 trials she now competes at the Masters level, I'm not even sure how that happened and its funny how expectations change as the years go on, I'm really excited about it, but it is a lot to absorb, I was thinking of how I was going to get a better "Table" in competition, and now we will rarely see one in Masters. I try to run her full out, no holding back, something I've had to learn to do, and so far so good. She has taught me to do that with the others, what do I have to lose! I am still amazed how we clicked so fast, she is like an old pair of jeans or a pair of comfy shoes. Hard to believe we've only had her a year and a half.

I have learned that for Jane and her ATCHC that seemed like the biggest thing in the world, and that was the highest point we could reach - which it wasn't, now the allusive ATCHC seems like more of a beginning for the dogs ... and something not too far away for Gyp ... and that any dog can accomplish big things, these three dogs have taught me more than I ever learned in College!


manymuddypaws said...

well said Sarah!!!

Urban Smoothie Read said...

nice write up on your 3 dogs...

i believe every trainer gain experience from their previous dog...n the next dog will always be better than the one before...