a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Agility Olio

Monday, October 08, 2012

Agility Olio

SUMMARY: Friends and families and foods and fun.

Yessss, agility trials are about the agility--

Like switching out of one's mild-mannered, everyday persona shoes into your secret identity as Super Duper Fleet-Footed Agility Handler Extraordinare shoes.

Like basking in the glory from previous agility incarnations, such as our 2000 USDAA Nationals Grand Prix semifinalist shirt from Jake and I ran in Del Mar.

Like seeing both dogs looking eagerly out at you--can we run NOW, huh can we?

Like seeing both dogs actually really there in the final round of Steeplechase.

And seeing that Tika is guaranteed some Steeplechase actual cash moolah if we don't go off course. Thanks to everyone else who Ed in the first round or scratched from the second round! Bonus! Boost was seeded 10th going into this round, but ended up placing 6th mostly because we didn't go off course.

And like taking home some cash when both dogs did well enough in that Steeplechase round.

But it's also about toys! Tika really loves to tug on these. So do lots of other dogs. There is a lot of tugging in agility. And so there are billions of these lying around everywhere you go with agility people now, and people always seem to pick them up thinking that they're theirs, so about once a year I need to buy another five Udder Tuggers.

And it's about food!

And of course it's all about friends AND all about clothing!

This is Arlene who, when she's not Super Duper Agility Corgi and Sparkle Handler wearing agility Corgi tie dye, goes to movies with me most nonagility weekends.

This is Kathy and little Millie. Millie wasn't too sure whether she liked agility for a long time, but she has apparently decided that she does, because she had some really nice fast runs this weekend. Millie is five. Most people in agility except me wear shorts when the weather is nice.

This is Mike and Trane. Trane, like many agility dogs, loves to tug, and the leash makes a convenient toy. Mike has many pieces of clothing and baseball caps that say "Trane" or "Nothing Stops A Trane." Mike and his wife raise sheep. His wife spins and dyes yarn (and sells it), weaves and knits and all kinds of clever things like that (and sells the results). Mike is a good spouse and demonstrates the very entertaining hat that his wife made, even though it is quite sweaty under there on a warm day. He thinks maybe November would be a better time to demonstrate it. Maybe his wife should knit one that says "Trane". 

And then, of course, agility is all about family!

This is Boost's littermate Bette and "Auntie Mary," who calls Boost "Boostie." Bette is very fast and very accurate. Mary also teaches agility classes and is fast and accurate, too. Bette is her third agility dog--her first was a Golden Retriever who was not too fast but did good anyway. Her second was the super-reliable Skeeter, an Australian Cattle Dog, who was one of Tika's teammates the year that we made it to the USDAA Nationals Team Finals. We were all very excited.

This is Boost's littermate Beck. She is not blue merle like so many of their relatives are. But she loves to do agility and to get up close to see that silly human who is making silly noises at her.

This is Donna with Boost's younger half sister Quas. Quas is the sweetest, gentlest, most loving dog you could imagine. And unlike most border collies, she actually brings any toy that you throw ALL the way back to you instead of dropping it ten feet out and assuming that since you've got two legs, you're capable of walking to it. Donna is a score table wonk like me and also show secretary extraordinaire. There's a lot of extraordinaireness in agility. There is also a lot of tugging on leashes.

This is Boost's half brother and Quas' littermate, Rowdy. Rowdy jumps 26", while Boost and most of Boost's relatives jump 22". Rowdy had an amazing weekend this weekend--he won 9 out of the 11 classes and, alas, placed only 2nd in another one. His person, Cheri, was understandably pretty happy.

There is also leash tugging among dogs who place first in 9 out of 11 classes.

This is Roulette, who is sister/littermate to Quas and Rowdy. She's also a fabulous little agility girl, and blue merle, and has that half blue, half brown eye similar to Boost's. She certainly has Boost's ears, AND she wears exactly the same style of blue-leopard-print slip lead that Boost does when going to the start line to run agility. Because it's just perfect for a spotty blue merle dog.

I somehow never got a photo of Quas' and Rowdy's and Roulette's littermate Quik, who is Boost's half brother and who was also there and who is also pretty darned fast and talented. His handler is the one who was Mary's and my third teammate, with Brenn, when we were in the Team Finals.

This is Kiwi, who is Boost's older half sister. Kiwi is one of those blazingly fast dogs whose run you'll miss if you glance away for even a second. Kiwi's handler is the wife of Beck's handler.  Lots of family there. Kiwi is also black and white and has those special pointy ears. And she has a red tug toy that if stupid human would pay more attention would understand that toy want tugging NOW! Because agility is all about tugging! (And Carol in the background has amusement.)

This is Ruthie, who is the daughter of Smarty Joanz who is, OK, older half-sister to Boost and littermate to Kiwi. So I guess she's a half-niece? Ruthie is very young, just starting agility, but like so many of Boost's relatives, is a blue merle with heterochromic eyes. She wishes that stupid camera would get out of her way so she can see where her Human Dad is out there on the agility course. She runs with the same man who runs Beck and who is married to the woman who runs Kiwi. Yes, LOTS of family here this weekend.

There were also some other people there with dogs who were not related to Boost in some way. At least, I think so.


  1. Darn, I paid $4 for just one udder tugger at Nationals. And I thought I was getting a deal because what do I know from udder tuggers? Glad I only bought one.

    1. I'd guess that there aren't a lot of dairy farms near Denver. So they have to be imported. From California. Very exotic.

  2. Ok...was this a Boost trial? And only Boost relatives and close enough relatives could run? That is SO COOL that so many were there. And what exactly IS an udder tugger???? Must be one of those crazy California things.

    1. Oh, we should have a Boost-relatives-only trial! That would be interesting. I suppose it depends on how far back and out you want to go. I mostly count her siblings, half siblings,and their offspring. That's quite a few! Here are many of them:


      The Blackwatch kennel, from which boost's mother and father came, is fairly well known over here, and then Tala (her mom) had a really successful agility career and four litters, so there are a lot around here! Boost's half sister (same mother) Tcam just was on the USA large dog team at the worlds! That's pretty successful, too. :-)

    2. Udder tuggers--those are the attachments from milking machines to cows. And they have a fairly short lifespan at the dairies, I gather, before they are disposed of. Someone had the great idea of using them for dog toys. They're soft but not too soft, flexible, tuggable. Fun.