Teasel, a four-year-old Border Collie, will be competing at her first Cynosport this year, in the Performance class.
She was whelped by Chrissy O’Donovan in Phoenix, for Arizona Border Collie Rescue. At eight weeks, she went to a foster home, and was adopted a few weeks later, by a couple who wanted her as a playmate for their older dog. Well, he decided that he hated her! And soon thereafter, the wife became pregnant, so they did the right thing and returned her to ABCR. Another foster had her for about two months, when I learned about her.
She was quite friendly and playful with the three big dogs in her foster home, and my sweet boy Bracken (also competing at Cynosport as a Veteran) was a total pushover, so they got along fine.
Initially, she was petrified of loud vehicles – semi trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, etc. So – poor dear! – the second day I had her, she got breakfast on a bench outside a store, about 1/2 block off the first stoplight in town.
Every time a loud vehicle went by, she got a bite of food. It didn’t take her long to work through that problem! In spite of a few minor health issues, she is doing great, loves hiking and swimming, and is a super cuddle-bug.
I initially saw agility on television back in the late 1990s and thought it looked like fun. I had two mixed breed dogs at the time, and tried agility with them. Neither were super-fast or super-consistent, but one definitely had fun! When I adopted number three (a rescue whose owner had died and had never done agility at age four), I found that winning was kind of fun too, and speed was quite the challenge! She had many big awards and titles to her name, including running a clean round in Veterans Showcase finals at Cynosport in 2007 (the “year of the green t-shirts!”).
She seemed to like agility – lovely jumper with rarely knocked bars, a super running A-frame (thank you, Stacy Goudy!), fast dogwalk, and no fear of anything – except being wrong. Trials used to cause her stress, so she would slow down a lot. I had to be very careful to never let her know she was wrong (it’s always me anyway, right?!). With a few years’ experience, she has gained confidence and speed (and lost some consistency!). Teasel has run at local trials in Utah, Colorado and Arizona (and may hit one in California before Cynosports!) and one regional, running in PSJ Semi-Finals. She is just a few P3 relay qualifiers away from her PDCH. We don’t get to a lot of USDAA trials, but it will come in due time.
The basis for a good agility dog is relationship. Bonding, trust and attention cannot be overrated!