Jackaroo, officially Koala Redhot Jumpin Jackaroo, or Jack, was our first Australian Cattle Dog. He is technically my wife’s dog, and he is the first pure-bred dog we ever owned. Australian Cattle Dogs (ACD, also known as Queensland Heelers or Blue Heelers) are an exciting breed: smart, strong, active, and loyal. They are also not for the inexperienced – they have a strong bite instinct (it’s part of how they herd livestock), and can be very dominant and stubborn.
We got Jack from a breeder – he was the first dog we had to really pay for (besides the adoption fees from shelters). Here he is as a puppy:
Jackaroo as a chubby little puppy
Jack is an awesome dog. He is extremely smart, and likes to watch TV. He is something else to watch run agility – he clearly loves it. He is quite loud though – he barks almost constantly.
Here is Jack coming out of the chute:
Breaking out to Freedom
You can see the intensity in his eyes – he is a maniac! I like to describe ACDs to people as a “cinderblock with a lit rocket straped to it” – that describes Jack perfectly most of the time. Here is a good shot from a photo session we did that shows how muscular he is:
Jack - Looking good!
And another thing about ACDs: they have a permant smile. It’s something about the way the mouth is shaped/colored. Here’s Jack’s:
Tyler is a special dog, especially to me. He is my dog (versus being my wife’s), and he is the first dog I had that I did formal training with. That training really helps bond the owner with the pet, and it definitely did that here. First, a puppy pic:
Tyler as a puppy
We adopted Tyler from a shelter when he was about 3 or 4 months old. After just two days, he became VERY sick, and we thought we were going to lose him (a story for another day). But after nearly a week, he recovered, and is now 12 years old. I took him for all the normal obedience training, and then since my wife was having success with her dog Tasha at agility, I started training Tyler for it. Here are the obligitory action shots:
Tyler over the A-Frame
Tyler on the Dogwalk
Tyler was never great at Agility – he did it because he got a lot of treats for it. He just enjoyed greeting people, getting petted, and begging treats from people (he is VERY good at that).
In some ways, this is a dream dog. He is quiet. He is calm. He is friendly. He doesn’t want trouble with other dogs – if they are good with him, he is good with them. He passed the test for being a Therapy dog, but I don’t have the time to take him visiting seniors or the hospitalized. He doesn’t play with toys, or chase frisbees, or even fetch sticks, but he does like walks in the woods and chasing small (and even large) furry animals. All and all, he is a great dog.
Tyler is offically listed with the AKC as a Norwegian Buhund (go look it up!). He looks just like one, although he is rather large for the breed. Since we got him out of a shelter, we can’t be sure of anything. But I sometimes think he is part wolf:
What is he stalking?
My dog Beta and I compete primarily at USDAA events. They have three levels of skill – Novice, Advanced, and Masters. You start in Novice, and work your way up. Beta has earned the right to compete at the Masters level now, and last month we had our first “Q” in standard agility (to learn what all these terms mean, you’ll have to wait until I write the post about “What is Agility?”).
Here is the video of our run. The camera operator is my lovely wife – you can hear at the end that she was as excited about this as I was (she is our primary instructor, so it makes sense.)
Here is your introduction to Tasha, our oldest. She is technically my wife’s dog; she is half Husky and half Black Lab. We got her from a person down the street. She was the alpha dog for many years, but now, at 13+ years, she is giving up that role. Here she is as a puppy:
Tasha as a puppy
Tasha was cute as could be, but she was Trouble! She would terrorize the old dogs we had at the time. She was the reason we got into formal dog training – the normal do-it-yourself repetitions weren’t cutting it. So my wife took her off to class. Since she was a mixed-breed, there was only so much obedience work we could do before she got bored – the AKC didn’t allow mixed-breed dogs to compete in Obedience. Our instructor recommended Agility, a new dog sport that was catching on, and had an organization (USDAA) that allowed all dogs. My wife starts training Tasha to do this, and next thing I know, Voila!, here we are at an Agility competition (called Trials). Here’s an early picture of Tasha waiting at the start line for my wife to release her:
Waiting for clearance to take off
This dog was athletic! She could clear the jumps easily – my wife made her jump at a higher jump height than the dog had to just to slow her down. She was a beautiful runner – smooth and graceful. She had no problem with the other dogs (there are a lot! at a show), and she seemed to enjoy it. She wasn’t always the most focused dog, but in less than a year, she had earned her first title:
Tasha's first Title!
BTW, the above picture shows the wonderful blue eyes she has.
Tasha competed for several years before retiring. She earned several titles, and taught us a lot. She now is mostly a couch potato, but still likes to play with little kids and flirt with intact male dogs.
This is what I do, when I do what I want….