Thursday, May 16, 2013

Herding Dogs Gone Terrier

For a few years now I've heard about all the fun my agility friends have had at the annual Bluegrass Working Terrier Association's Spring Fling Terrier Trial, an event held in Taylorsville, Ky., with lots of different events for terriers and Dachshunds. They've always allowed other breeds to participate, and lately added a "Miscellaneous" category for almost all of the events. Finally this year, I bit the bullet and decided to give it a try.

It was wet. It was chilly. It was dreary. It was LOUD. I've never heard so much barking in all my life--and I live with a Corgi! In fact, my Corgi was the quietest dog on the entire fairgrounds. Yes, for once in Dally's life she was the quietest! Even LaMesa got into the barking act while watching the agility and waiting for the lure coursing.

The Brews Brothers were hoarse by the end of the day from all their barking.
I pre-entered the Stump Kids for a few classes just to have some fun. LaMesa was competing in the Advanced Off-Lead Agility (Misc.), Barn Hunt (Misc.), and the Lure Coursing (Misc.). Dally was in the Barn Hunt (Misc.) and the Lure Coursing (Misc.). I wasn't sure what Dally would do in her events, but I figured I'd never know until we tried it.

First was LaMesa's go in agility--the course was simple with only 6 weave poles, but I figured it was good practice with all the barking and different activities going on. Wouldn't you know it, she was perfect! She even placed 2nd, out of 16, just losing out to a Border Collie. Yay Bitz! (Note: I didn't enter Dally in the agility because I felt as though she didn't need the practice. I was right in that guess because the grass was thick and tall, which wouldn't have been fun for her to run.)

After watching Porter do the Go-to-Ground, we tackled the Barn Hunt. In Barn Hunt, they put one rat in a PVC pipe (with holes screwed so it can breathe) plus three other empty pipes. The pipes are hid in piles of hay in a small area. You have three minutes to let your dog sniff the pipes and let you know which pipe contains the rat. The first minute you let the dog work alone, then after that you can move the pipe around, encourage them, etc. For both girls I had to go through the first minute quiet, then helped them out.

LaMesa was first, then Dally. Both girls weren't too sure of the whole process. It took me concentrating really hard to see if they offered any behavior if they smelled the rat. After a minute, or two, I finally made my decision. I was right both times!

The judge (to my right) and I had to have our backs turned while the rat tube
was being moved around. LaMesa was allowed to watch, though.
It was funny to see Dally's reaction--she seemed so disgusted the entire day, but even more so with the barn hunt. How did I know that she smelled the rat? Well, the one tube that she took a medium-length sniff then backed up, looked at me like "Really?" and then turned around told me that maybe there was a stinky rat in there. Either way, Dally ended up 5th in her division!

Watch LaMesa's Barn Hunt video here:

Finally it was time for the lure coursing. I've done LaMesa on lure coursing before, and would love to get her AKC CAT title, so I wanted to make sure she still had the drive for it. Needless to say she was riled up and ready to go!

Her first run she lost the bag because it got a little too far ahead of her, so she doubled back to me. But the second time, she stayed all over that bag and had a blast.

Now, Dally, on the other hand, had never done lure coursing, but I know she likes to chase things, so I wanted to let her give it a go. At first she was intrigued by the bag, but then it got too far ahead of her and she wasn't sure what to do. After a "badonk shake" she continued on...until she ran into the string and thought it bit her. That was it for her--she was done. Oh well. Maybe next time...

It was an interesting event. LaMesa seemed to have a ball, but Dally not so much. It was so funny to see the look on her face with how much Porter was barking and how disgusted she looked at times (Dally is so opinionated). It was a fun experience I encourage other dog owners to try!

Dally would have her back turned on the action, while LaMesa was barking at the action.

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