This is a personal weblog based on my life with Bernese Mountain Dogs. The opinions expressed here represent my own and and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of any clubs, organizations or committees that I may be associated with. Please feel free to comment on any post, but profane, abusive or rude comments will not be tolerated - please be polite, even if you disagree.
All photos and posts in this blog are the property of the blog author and may not be used without direct consent.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Messy Maggie

Maggie was not always the easiest puppy . . . actually, she was quite bad.  It took us a long time to be able to trust her alone in the house and uncrated. We started slow and would rush home to se if she had got into anything.  Some days she was good;  some days she was not so good.  On one of the not-so-good days, I walked into the house and did my usual "Maggie inspection" to make sure that she did not get into anything.  We have a red leather chair in the livingroom and as I walked towards it, I noticed little red bits everywhere around it.  I literally ran to the chair and spun it around - hmmmm - no holes or chew marks.  I picked up some of the red bits and they felt waxy.  Maggie had got a red candle off of the kitchen table and took it to the red chair to chew up.  I didn't get any pictures of that day (I was too relieved to take pictures).  But I do have pictures of another "Bad Maggie" day.  Somehow she got into the front closet and chewed some shoes (only one of each pair of course).  She also got the Bernese calendar off the fridge and shredded it to bits.

I am sure glad that Maggie does not get into trouble like this anymore (well, not usually).  Now if only Bolsey would learn not to eat everything he sees, everything would be great.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend Agility Trial

Maggie - tired out after her busy weekend.

This weekend we headed up to Balzac to the Paws 'N' Effects agility trial.  It was a lot of fun, and Maggie did great.  In the past 6 weeks, since she hurt her shoulder, we have been out to practice twice.  The first time I took it very slow and just jumped her at 10 inches.  The next time I pushed her a bit more to see if she would be OK to enter the trial.  She seemed OK but I was still concerned that her shoulder would bother her, but we went to the trial and she ran great, jumped great and had no problems at all with that shoulder.  Actually, this was probably her best trial weekend so far.  Her speed was much better, her tables much faster (although not as fast as I would like), she got all her weave entrances and didn't pop out once and she stayed spunky all weekend . . . and . . .  she got 3 Qs!

Now the details....
Our first run was Advanced Gamblers.  It was very hard.  It was difficult to collect points because the course was very choppy and there was no good flow for Maggie (she needs flow).  The gamble was difficult too - tunnel under the dogwalk, then over the dogwalk, then over a jump, all from a distance of about 12 feet.  We did not get enough points in the opening and we didn't get the gamble.  I didn't feel too bad though, because there were no advanced Qs from anyone - so it was not just me that found it difficult.  That was the hardest gamble we have done so far.

Next was Starters Standard.  It was a nice course with a lot of flow and 12 weave poles.  Maggie had nice speed the whole course, nailed her weaves and only hesitated a second on the teeter. her table was OK.  On the homestretch, I heard her clip a jump and I thought the bar fell, but when I looked back it was still there!  She got a 1st and Q and was 9 seconds under time.

Our 3rd run was Starters Team.  We were once again paired with the amazingly fast team of Jolane and Tag.  Maggie ran the first half of the course.  I asked to do the first half for 2 reasons.  One - Maggie gets bored and sluggish if she has to sit around waiting for her turn. Two - the second half had a teeter, which Maggie is sometimes weird about doing.  Maggie ran her half clean and at a decent speed.  Tag did great, getting his start line and teeter contact, and he was lightning fast.  We finished with 2nd place and a Q and 24 seconds under time.

Our last run of the day was Steeplechase.  Maggie did great.  At the end of the day she is sometimes sluggish but she ran great and with no faults. For some reason, I thought she was was not going to get her weaves and just as she got her entrance, I called her name and she stopped and came to me.  Stupid me, she would have got her weaves fine if I would have had more confidence. We were over time by 9 seconds.  I was still very happy with her run and she placed 5th in her class.  Steeplechase courses are very nice for Maggie - open with lots of flow. But, it is also a very fast course, and speed it something that we have difficulty with.

The first run of the day was another Steeplechase.  She knocked 2 bars but ran very well otherwise and had a great time.  She was 6th in her class.

The next run was another Standard run.  Maggie picked up speed as we went along.  She was fine with the teeter and had an OK table.  There were only 6 weaves which she nailed.  She finished 2nd with a Q and was 12 seconds under time.

Then came Starters Snooker.  Snooker is a strategic game where you race the clock to collect points.  I was not sure about this game and it showed in Maggie's lack of enthusiasm.  She was very slow, but we got thought the opening sequence and the first obstacle of the closing sequence before we got whistled off for time.  It was fun and now that I know we can do it, I am sure it will be better the next time.  The best part of the run was after we got whistled off.  Maggie had been so sluggish the whole time we were out there, but the whistle blew and people clapped - she suddenly perked up, bounced off the course taking all the jumps in her way.  Silly Maggie!

Our last run of the weekend was Starters Jumpers.  Maggie started out a little slow but picked up speed as we went along.  She did great in the pinwheel sequence.  On the home stretch, she had a sudden burst of speed, and could not collect herself for a jump and she knocked a bar.  Despite that, I was thrilled with her run, especially the last half of the course.  She finished 3rd in her division and was 5 seconds under time - which is amazing for a jumpers run.

I was so proud of Maggie this weekend!  She tried so hard and it showed.  What we need to work on now are start lines.  Lots of dogs have issues with start lines, but it is usually because they are so excited that they will not wait on the start line.  Maggie's issue with the start line is that she gets bored sitting there waiting for her turn and then is very sluggish for the first few obstacles.  I need to work on making the start line exciting for her and get her going fast from the beginning.  

We are both tired out from out weekend.  I took the day off work and we are doing nothing today except getting caught up on some laundry.  Maggie is napping right now, and I think I might join her.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Snowed In!

OK, so we are not actually snowed in, but there is a lot of snow out there.  It is one of those spring snow storms that the dogs love, but that I could do without.

Maggie surveys the snow from her favorite perch at the top of the stairs.

Bolsey loves to tunnel through the snow with his nose.

Bolsey relaxing and enjoying the white stuff.

Bosley thinks it tastes good too.

I hope that the dogs enjoy their last snow of the season.  Soon it will be summer and too hot for them to want to go outside and play.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Off For a Visit

This weekend my daughter had an out of town dance competition..  The competition was in the same city that my parents and my sister and brother-in-law live so it was nice to visit them.  The dogs came along for a visit too - they love going to Grandma's!  My parents have a 12 year old pug named Otto, and poor Otto when the Berners come to visit.  They are loud and bouncy and take over his house.  He spends the whole time hiding on the couch or on someone's lap hoping that the two big dogs will leave soon.  Otto wants nothing to do with Maggie but he is very fond of Bosley (that is probably because Bosley has never bounced on Otto in hopes that he will be enticed to play).  He will follow Bosley around and when Bolsey lays down, Otto will bury his face in Bosley's fur.  It is very cute.  As much as Otto likes Bosley , I am sure that he was not sad to see the crazy dogs leave and have peace and quiet back in his house.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Looking Back

Maggie loved to do the A-frame!

The dog walk was scary for me - I was always worried she would fall off.

Sarah and Amanda helping with the teeter.  A handful of treats from me encourages her over.

Maggie used to love the table - now she finds it kinda boring.

It is fun to look back and to see how far we have come in the past 2 years.  Maggie was the goofiest puppy in the class.  She spent a lot of time getting the "zoomies" when she was supposed to be learning.  I remember watching the more advanced agility dogs before our class and being in awe . . . they were so good (they didn't run off in the middle of a sequence) and they competed in trials (which seemed like a life time away for me).  I never thought that someday we would be competing too.  I am sure that Sarah and Amanda had their moments when they wondered "what the heck is that lady with the crazy Berner doing in our class ?!?" as they watched Maggie run donuts around the training field.  

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Relief ! ! !

I took Bosley to the vet today to get his limping checked and it seems as if he has an injury to one of the pads on his paw.  There is no cut, but his pad is swollen and bruised.  He most likely stepped on something sharp when we were out walking.  When you are walking in the prairie grass, it is not easy to see what might be on the ground.  The vet said it is fine to take him for short walks or runs - the pad will just need time to heal.  Other then that, he said Bosley's joints all seem fine and that he is in great shape overall.  I am very relieved that it is not something more serious, there is always such a worry about joint issues when you have a large breed dog.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Off To The Vet We Go

Well, I made Bosley an appointment with the vet for tomorrow.  His limp is not getting better.  I am beginning to think that he might have got a cactus thorn imbedded in his paw, because his limp is a lot worse when he is walking on a hard surface, like the linoleum, but not as bad when he is just walking on the carpet.  Also, for the past 2 days he will not let me touch his one paw at all and usually he is fine with me touching his feet.  I gave him a chew stick last night to distract him while I tried to look at his paw, but his feet have so much fur, I could not see much.  I could not feel anything pokey stuck in his paw either, but if a piece of thorn broke off in his foot, I might not be able to feel anything.  It will be interesting when we go to the vet, because Bosley is not too fond of vets, and letting someone else look at his paw might be a challenge.  I think I will take along a bully stick to keep Bosley busy while the vet is looking at him.  In other better news, Maggie seems to be doing much better.  I have been taking her for short walks and there seems to be no sign of gait problems and no return of any inflammation in her shoulder.  I found a good article, written by a vet, that gives suggestions on how to get a performance dog back in shape after a sprain or strain.  According to his schedule, I should be able to start letting Maggie run slowly for short distances and then if everything is good after a week of that, I can start letting her do low jumps as well as increasing her walk/running time. Hopefully we do not have any setbacks.