Red & Tan Female    Born: 7th April 2003

"Tess is amazing and handled each situation really well and calmly worked."

Jane was first introduced to our Noonbarra Kelpies at the Canberra Pet Expo in 2000. She then travelled all the way up to our Stud on a number of occasions for sheepdog training with her dog, Tiny. She then decided to order a pup. This pup was by Bonorong Rex who is one of Australia's top sires and yard trial champions from Michael Johnston's Milburn Kelpie Stud. Her dam, Noonbarra Sarah is one of our greatest breeding bitches and in the last five years has produced an amazing number of outstanding dogs.

"Tess is going well - she is a really nice little dog and does have something special. Tess started puppy preschool last Wednesday and had a ball. Most of the other pups (except a beagle) are small breed puppies and she is the oldest by a week but was great with the other pups and everyone knew her by the end of the night! Tiny was the demo dog at a meeting for instructors at one of the local clubs re acupuncture for our vet last night and was a great girl - remaining calm & placid for the duration. A number of people were surprised at how accepting the dogs are of treatment. The girls are settling in together."

Thanks Jane

May 2004

"Thanks for the great day last Thursday. I always learn a lot about my dogs and dogs in general... both girls had a good day and were quiet on Friday!

Tess also continues to surprise me with how quick she is to pick things up and she has a lovely nature. My friend and I put our young dogs through tunnels and tyres a few times on Monday....Tess as usual got in and did as asked with all of her usual enthusiasm. I've also put her over a few low jumps and she also does that happily. probably wondering what on Earth I'm up to !!

Thanks again for last Thursday and for the great little dog that I have in Tess. she is easy to live with and definitely has her own personality. The way that Tiny and Tess get along is an added bonus."


3rd August 2004

Just thought I would drop you a quick email. I have just been at another Working Dog School with Robert Cox over the last weekend. Rob came down here and we used the same venue as last time so the sheep were kind to the dogs as they are regularly worked with dogs.

I think we had 15 handlers and 18 dogs. Of the latter 6 were kelpies and there was a couple of crosses. I took both girls this time. Tiny had a great time and we need heaps of experience! Tess and Tiny work very differently.

Tess was calm and focussed. After a couple of goes in the yards four of the dogs got out into the paddock on Sunday afternoon - all kelpies!  and including Tess and Noonbarra Megan. Rob worked the dogs in the paddock due to our lack of experience. Each of the four dogs did something that required recovery action. Tess comes in too close to the sheep when moving anti-clockwise. I think Rob was trying to show the group that even though the four dogs were doing well in the yards, a slight aberration in the paddock had greater effects than in the yards.

Tess & Megan III are quite different in style at the moment also - don't know whether this in influenced by the age difference as well as breeding? I have taken 1kg in weight off Tess but she is still a bigger dog than Megan
III. Tess is very close in height to Tiny but is longer in the body. Tess also passed the control & physical tests for agility & will start that this Wednesday night. Tess is also in Novice trailing class for obedience but we are no where near ready to trial. Tess always has a great time though. My only concern is that out of 8 dogs, 5 are dog &/or people aggressive and Tess is by far the youngest in the class at 15 nearly 16 months and still very much the happy friendly little character.

August 2004

Mary & Stephen
Hi. Just a quick note. Tess had her 2nd agility lesson last night. I know that I'm biased but she is an amazing little dog (& hopefully it's not beginners luck)! Last night I was using cabanossi as treats but she will try anything without any show of fear - ie baby dog walk rocking on jump poles etc, a frame, weave poles etc - and Tess is so eager.

 She gets a buzz out of the activity. Tess has a great little nature and wins people over quite quickly. The instructor that we have at present is good (that's partly why we go  to this class!) and Tess will happily work for Jenny as the demo dog. I still haven't got Tess worked out but we are working on it! I find it interesting that she can be anxious about some things and yet is so keen when you ask her to do a task or activity.
Had best be off & do some work. Have a great day.

SEPT. 2004

Hi Stephen & Mary, had the chance to go out to a friend's place on Sunday afternoon & work Tess on sheep in the yards. This is with the 2 friends that have dogs of similar age to Tess. The yard is a reasonable size & normally have 4 - 8 sheep depending on what is available.

We are working on the stop! and I think we are making some headway though the challenge rises as Tess gets tired. The first 2 groups that we worked with were first cross ewes & they were fairly kind to the dogs provided the dogs showed a bit of strength. Working Tess I didn't see any of the sheep fronting up to the dog but with both of the other dogs one sheep in the mob would stand & face the dog. We seem to always be volunteered to go first & so the sheep settle a little with us - my mates reckoned Tess is calmer than their dogs & knows what to do! Pity the handler doesn't.

The third lot of sheep were young wethers just off shears - they were a different kettle of fish & probably too big an ask of young dogs & inexperienced handlers! (in hind sight). Having put Tess in, one of the others (who owns the sheep), wouldn't put her dog in. Tess was good & responded to the steady command & I tried to stop her each time the sheep got a little scatty. My other friend put her dog in & then I took the third dog in. Then this friend took Tess in. We would have had hassles if the dogs were in the paddock with the young sheep.

I know that I'm biased but Tess is such a good little dog & is calm on sheep. Tess is having a great time at agility. She enjoys obedience too but more as a social outing than for the exercises themselves. The latter may be
because I'm not putting any pressure on as I want to trial agility first & worry about obedience later. Tess is improving on her sit & down stays in obedience for 1 & 3 minutes respectively

Tess is about to go to level 2 in agility - we will luckily continue with the same instructor. The dogs are now being asked to complete simple sets of up to 4 obstacles. Three jumps to the table with a target - Tess definitely knows what treats are on targets! We are also start to move away from straight lines too. On the weavers we are using mesh guides and I use a squeaky toy as the motivator. About half of the handlers in the class have another dog in agility so we don't always make it easy for the young dogs because we assume they know what we want!

In obedience, I did not put Tess through the assessment night last week for Novice trialling as we are not ready to trial yet. Agility and sheep work are a higher priority at the moment. We will subsequently continue at the same level next session for obedience. I think that I will actually just start trialling Tess competitively when we are near ready, rather than going through Club assessments.

Jan 2005

I know I keep saying it but Tess is such a great little dog with the nicest of natures. She continues to mature and really likes to have a 'job' or 'task' to do. It is interesting as her drive or determination wanes a little if there doesn't appear to be a goal (ie if she was out on sheep and you were to let her just run around, she would look to take the sheep somewhere and do something!). Tiny & Tess continue to get along really well and I don't think that either dog will relinquish that sleeping spot on the bed!

Feb 2005

Hi Mary and Stephen

"Tess has been promoted from level 2 agility at the end of last year to level 4 after the classes over the holidays. Not bad for a dog that only started training in August last year!

I took the punt and trialled her for the first time last Saturday night. There were thunderstorms around so Tiny wasn't very happy but Tess doesn't seem to worry about them. Anyway, the first run in jumpers (16 obstacles) was at twilight and we missed the first 2 jumps - I don't know that she could see them very well as a few other dogs also missed them. The rest of the run was good except Tess decided to check out the number on one of the last jumps so we had a refusal (hadn't seen that type of number before).

The agility run was beautiful even the weavers, till we got to obstacle 10 and then we ducked the lollipop tyre and last jump. Apparently my voice pitch changed and poor old Tess picked up on it. I'm really pleased with the runs as I knew it was a bit early but wanted to see how Tess would relate to me when I get nervous as we have not been in that situation before.

I have entered Tess (and Tiny) again next month and over the Easter weekend in agility and jumping trials.

She is a lovely little dog to watch on sheep - the focus and strength. At Charlie's there is a very different reaction from the sheep when you go into the paddock with Tiny versus Tess!"


We were trialling last Saturday and got a novice jumping & a novice agility pass so we now have 2 novice jumping passes (need 1 more) and 1 novice agility passes (need 2 more). The other 2 runs only had 1 mistake due to my poor handling! In the agility pass, I was saved by Tess & we made the course time by 0.03 sec and were the only novice qualifiers. In the agility run, I ran 2nd to my mate & our 2 kelpies were the only qualifiers! There were approx 12 - 15 novice dogs running.

The weekend of Rob's workshop was really good and I was really pleased with both dogs. It rained on the Saturday but a little rain doesn't dampen Kelpies on sheep! On Sunday, I had Tess on 3 sheep in a large yard (only 2 of us tried 3 sheep) and then had her on approx 30 - 40. Tess is amazing and handled each situation really well and calmly worked. I even got Tess to bark in the race! We spent the weekend with Mort which was also good & he gave me some good ideas & perspectives.

Catch you later.

AUG 2006

Tess did well at the working dog school at the weekend - as usual!

She is a great little dog! I think I'm spoilt by having a dog with such a clean and focussed work ethic. Tess has taught me so much about working sheep - we still have a long way to go, though. Poor dog has to put up with me!

Rob reckons she has changed since he last saw her in terms of her outlook and work.

I worked her at Charlie's on Monday - the sheep were shorn on Saturday and while being a little lighter, Tess worked well. We also put her on 4 sheep that have been chased by dogs and she settled them quite well also and will give some distance when required. We are still working on this but I'm happy with progress at the moment.

August 2006

Getting the sheep out of the paddock, drafting off what you need and then putting them back in the paddock is good for Tess.

 Tess is such a little mate - if we are out & I am eating something, then Tess will eat it! Tiny won't touch biscuits etc. Tess is also quite content to be in the car for a while.

Catch you later.


"Tess is such a little darling - her nature is so soft and yet she has the internal fortitude and strength when it comes to working. Tess does not have a nasty streak anywhere. Tess is also game to try new things and to follow directions in agility. I'm sure the sheep work has helped agility."

Our next agility trial is next week (jumping) but the next ones that count are on the long weekend. We have 2 agility runs and are still chasing one pass to get her novice agility title. I have been thinking that we might keep playing at agility once we get that title just to keep her fit - hopefully it won't take forever to get the pass!. 

"On sheep, Tess is so calm when required but will come up to meet the moment and then drop back to calm almost immediately. She & I are working on the command side of this but she has all the instinct and ability, I'm just trying to keep up! I love her dedication to the task and I have heaps of faith and trust in her particularly on sheep. Tess also does not have a 'dirty trick' in her repertoire when she is working. I have rarely seen a bite even when pushed to the max by a sheep. Tess can move them without actually biting. Should be good if we get to 3 sheep trial! I think Tess actually gets a kick out of backing sheep and being asked to push in on Charlie's sheep - particularly when we have been doing calm controlled work! And I can get Tess to bark if she thinks sheep are not moving but if the sheep are moving - it is very hard to stir her to the point of barking - she obviously thinks that things are moving and she has control. Tess is even getting the idea of driving sheep with me. 

I would like to start concentrating on getting to yard dog and 3 sheep trial her - just to test the water.

I was looking at some of the customer reviews on your web site the other day and it is interesting to see the number of comments saying how nice natured, intelligent and what good (instinct) workers your dogs are.

 I know that you both know that but there are a lot of dogs out there that can't compete with a Noonbarra kelpie! I look forward to the opportunity to get another dog but will wait until I'm down to one dog. Tiny & Tess still adore each other and Tiny remains very protective of Tess in a motherly way.



May 2006 - "As for the higher agility class that we got into, Tess is lapping it up! Last night we only made a couple of little mistakes due to my handling - I wasn't fast enough! Tess works beautifully at a distance and our team skills are slowly improving. Tiny is enjoying the running as well. I cheat & run Tiny first to get a feel for the course & then run Tess. I'm trying to change my tack when I walk courses and walk them for Tess as Tiny can cope with my crappy handling! This was after a chat to an experienced handler with a few dogs. The challenge for me is that Tess is quite a bit faster than Tiny & is also happy at a distance - we used to slow dogs down to handle them rather than learn to handle the dog as it is! I'm assuming the distance comes from working."


Feb 2007

With the backing I am trying to make it positive for Tess. Touch wood - she makes no attempt to jump out of the race only not always going right to the front. I think that we have been backing nearly every week since before Xmas and it may be having an added advantage on the dog walk in agility where Tess is a little wary. Always does the dogwalk but with no where near the gusto that she has on the see-saw which you would think would be harder.

 With the casting, I will keep persevering and I'm sure that it is just my inexperience. Tess has the greatest work ethic and tries to do as asked. At Charlie's we try to cast Tess out around 'obstacles' to get the message about casting out. I'm happy with where we are but I really want to develop our working relationship further and make the most of this great little dog that I have. Tess has taught me so much and I would like to understand her better.

 I enjoyed watching Sarah work as Tess displays some of the work moves that Sarah did that day. I know that Tess would not be the same as Sarah as Rex would probably have some influence. I actually thought that I understood Tess a little better after watching Sarah but realise that I still have a lot to learn.


April 2007

I went down to Michelago over the weekend for a working dog school with Rob Cox. I haven't been to one since August last year! How time flies!

Thought that Rob may have some ideas re casting with Tess. Tess and I had a good school - quality time on sheep and quite a few ideas to work on. As I suspected, I probably freaked Tess in Canberra because I was so nervous! Charlie had suggested using flanking commands for casting where I had been using a different one. Rob suggested staying with the old one - so that is current plan of attack. I am happy with where we are - we have lots to work on and I think we are improving as a team.

Best thing was - Tess got up in the race yesterday and trotted up and down a few times after barking before she got up. So we will keep playing with backing as well - I haven't tried Tess for a couple of months in the race because of Canberra. I was worried she would push up the side of the obstacles.

Saw Kobe at the school - there are a few similarities between the girls that must come through Sarah.

Catch you later JT.

April 2007

Thought this would bring a smile to your faces.

I decided to take Tess to Novice obedience yesterday to catch up with an instructor that we had a lot with our older dogs and the instructor has a soft spot for Tiny.

Mind you, Tess has not been to obedience for nearly 2 years and in the mean time I have not trained any heeling etc. I said this to the instructor. After the heeling exercise, the instructor said that Tess heels well though a little wide and looks up at me all the time (courtesy of sheep). Tess completed all the other exercises as well. These days there is no retrieve - I'm still working on Tess to retrieve in play and the toy has to squeak! The instructor said at the end of the class that she thought Tess was a nice little dog and that she would like to train her in obedience.

Just shows - can't beat a Kelpie!

Catch you later.