Thursday, October 09, 2008

"...And summer's lease hath all too short a date..."

The signs have been everywhere for weeks now, and still I chose to ignore them. A splash of red leaves on a green tree here, apples ripening there, my neighbor backing his camper into the driveway in anticipation of a quick getaway... all the signs were there. Still, I've been trying to squeeze as much summer out of my current state of denial as I possibly can.

Now that we've had a couple of hard frosts and the potted flowers on neighbors' doorsteps have been exchanged for pumpkins, it's probably time to face the chilly reality. It rained all summer, so I can't help that we've been cheated out of the warmer, sunnier portion of the year.

Fall is actually my favorite season. It's just the part that comes after it that I could do quite well without. With the price of heating oil at an unconscionable level and everything else costing a heck of a lot more, I'm really not looking forward to having to endure winter this year. Couldn't we just fast-forward to spring?

Little Famous Seamus Brag

Here's the little bugger and all of his Q ribbons, plus his RL1X rosette.

I am proud to announce that Seamus is even more famous! After plugging along for almost three years to collect 10 qualifying scores, he has finally earned his APDT Rally Level 1 championship title (RL1X)! In regions where there are more trials, it doesn't take nearly so long to amass 10 Qs -- but here in New England, we've managed to have two APDT trials in a good year. (I am pleased to announce that Wag It in Lincolnville is now bringing APDT Rally to Maine, so there will be more trials in the future.)

Another quick and belated rally shout-out to Barb Rimoshytus and Tazzy, her Golden. Barb occasionally reports about the show adventures of her Papillon Rio on my Dog Show Newbie blog, but this brag is Tazzy's alone.

Tazzy earned his RN (AKC Rally Novice) title at the Golden Retriever Club of America's National Specialty in Rhode Island in September. He earned the title with three perfect scores, and Leg #3 also earned him a second-place finish. Barb mentioned that there were about 80 Goldens entered in that class, and about 65 of them showed up to compete. Woohoo and congratulations, guys!

Now I've Herd(ed) Everything!

BCCME held a herding clinic last weekend, and Charlie's breeder Terry Workman agreed to be our clinician. Everybody had a fantastic time, and quite a few people came up to me exclaiming, "Where did you get him?! He's wonderful!".

Here's a shot of Dinah working the goats.

Even if I hadn't known him for years, I'd say that Terry was a trainer after my own heart. He's a motivational trainer, whose primary approach is to understand your dog and why he does what he does. He doesn't scream or throw things (which I've always found unsettling at best), look down on non-Border Collies, or use punishment or force to get where he wants to go. When he works your dog for you, you can watch and appreciate the dance between dog, stock, and handler, and understand how everything works toward achieving balance.

Both Dinah and Seamus came to the clinic and worked the stock. The nice, tame goats in the round pen didn't really excite them much (for good or ill), but the sheep in the larger field were much more to their liking.

Seamus turned out to be the surprise entry of the two of them. He did quite a good job of staying out from the sheep, and his interest was more sustained than Dinah's. Dinah likes to herd, but she also knew that she had friends and fans watching her. Terry observed that he needed to have his confidence built up, but that he really did have some talent for the game, With enough reinforcement, he could be a halfway decent stockdog.

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