Give Rory, a sable and white Collie, the chance to compete in a dog sport, and he struts his athletic stuff with fluff and finesse.
The 13th generation of AKC Champion Collies for his breeder, Gayle Kaye of Valley Center, California, 3-year-old Rory has racked up 12 titles in conformation, obedience, agility, tracking, and herding. Add in this herding dog’s Canine Good Citizen designation and this dog is the ultimate athlete.
Super Jock Rocks the Rings
Rory’s official AKC registered name and initials before and after his name may sound like a mouthful — MBISS CH Chelsea Here Comes the Sun, VCD1 CD BN TDX AXP AJP CGC HIC. To canine competitors, this alphabetic mumbo-jumbo represents a diverse mix of competitive and individual fun and games.
As an AKC Champion (CH), the MBISS translates to multiple Best in Specialty, or Best of Breed wins at regional Collie shows. “Chelsea” is Kaye’s kennel designation for the Collies she breeds, and “Here Comes the Sun,” is Rory’s AKC registered name.
Here’s the key to deciphering the letters at the end of robust Rory’s name: VCD1 translates to Versatile Companion Dog 1, or a dog who completes an obedience trial (CD, or Companion Dog), an agility trial (BN, or Beginner Novice), and a tracking test (TDX, or Tracking Dog Excellent).
A TDX is a significant high-level title for any dog, but especially for a herding breed. Once a year, Collies who earn a TDX and other top performance titles receive special recognition from the Collie Club of America at the National Specialty show.
Rory’s AXP and AJP and agility suffixes represent three qualifying scores under at least two different judges in Agility Excellent “A” Preferred Class, and three qualifying scores under at least two different judges in Excellent Agility Jumpers With Weaves “A” Preferred.
When a dog earns three qualifying scores in the Intermediate Course C of Herding sheep, he receives the HIC title after his name.
While any dog can learn basic household manners and tack on one or more performance titles before and after his moniker, it takes a special canine-owner team to achieve a VCD1.
Who’s responsible for Rory’s crackerjack career? Credit a village of Lassie lovers, including a dedicated breeder, a go-getter owner, and a few top-notch trainers. This pop-culture canine’s story began in 1973, with Kaye’s solid breeding program. On his dam’s side, Rory’s litter represents 13 generations of Kaye’s Chelsea Collies.
“Good show dogs require stable temperaments who refrain from acting timid, frail, sullen, or vicious, and Rory’s litter was no exception,” says Kaye, who also judges Collies in AKC conformation. “When you train Collies in performance events it takes dedication, patience, and training. Make every practice fun, skip hours of drilling the same exercises, and don’t get angry, or the dog will shut down.”
When Jeannette Poling of Jamul, California purchased her 13th Collie — 8-week-old Rory, her third Collie from Kaye — she immediately recognized the showy-coated pup’s star potential.
“A confident puppy, Rory stood up, looked directly at me, and right away I knew he could do something fun,” says Poling. “I began laying the foundation of teamwork by teaching him to focus on me.”
From the beginning, the pair formed a close bond and Poling set out to give Rory every advantage to develop his mind and spirit. Far from a newbie dog trainer, Poling had trained her previous dogs, and her current canine residents, Cooper, a 10-year-old Golden Retriever, and her two Collies, 8-year-old Gabi and 5-year-old Josh, to obedience, agility, and herding instinct titles.
In 2016, Gabi, CH Chelsea Twilight Time, VCD1 CD BN TDX AX AXJ MXP2 MXPB MJP T2BP CGC TKN, received the Collie Club of America’s Top Performance Award. A year later the club dubbed Rory’s half-brother, Josh, Chelsea Special Request, CD TDX ACT1 CGC TKN, with the same honor.
Today, Poling’s newest Collie addition, Rory’s daughter, 18-month-old Natalie, Chelsea Kissed By the Sun, HIC, is working on her conformation and tracking titles.
How did Poling manage to train her Golden and Collies to the max?
“I began training my dogs in 1980, but after I retired as an assistant school principal it freed up my schedule and it was easier,” she says. “It also helped that along the way I developed a network other people training their dogs, and I took my dogs to a lot of classes.”
Rory maintains a busy schedule. Tuesdays and Wednesdays signal agility practices, every other Thursday is devoted to tracking classes, and Fridays mean obedience.
“Mostly I thank my friends who helped me along the way,” says Poling. “None of my dogs’ accomplishments could happen without them.”
Kaye showed 15-month-old Rory in conformation and eight shows later he earned his AKC championship.
Rottweiler owner and tracking trainer Paula Cingota of Jamul, California, prepped Rory for tracking. “He’s the first Collie I’ve trained in tracking and I call him my ‘fluffy man,'” says Cingota, who has put 88 tracking titles on dogs. “He’s amazing and works beautifully for me.”
While Poling observed from the sidelines, Rory happily trotted off with Cingota into the field.
“You can teach a well-bred dog with a good work ethic almost anything,” says Cingota. “Going over the fundamentals and making sure he knows the basics before moving on to the next step gets the best results in the field.”
For Rory, sniffing out a stranger’s trail and locating two items left behind came easy. In December 2018, after six months of training, the 2-year-old flashy phenom covered 440 yards, located the two objects in eleven minutes to cinch his tracking dog (TD) title. A month later, he searched 825 yards and within fourteen minutes found the targeted scarf, sock, hat, and glove to add the tracking dog excellent (TDX) suffix to his name.
Kick Back Time
Poling likes to keep Rory and his four canine housemates on the move and mentally active, but between training breaks they hang out on the bed. Once a week she packs the five into the car for an ocean swim in nearby San Diego beach.
“I’m in love with all of my dogs, but Rory is a bit extra special,” says Poling. “He’s a devoted companion and we share a close relationship.”
Why does she spend so much time, energy and expense on her dogs and training?
“For me, it’s all about having fun with my dogs,” says Poling. “This is where my joy lives!”