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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Trial pictures

Here is one more post about Maggie's most recent agility trial.  Lynne sent me some great photos of Maggie that I wanted to share:

Maggie in the weaves - look at her concentration.

More weaving!

A nice down on the table.

Clearing the jump, with a bit of room to spare.

A photo series of Maggie coming out of the chute:
Here I come . . .

Maggie loves the chute!

A cute butt shot.

It finally stopped raining, so I was able to get Maggie outside to take some pictures with her ribbons.

Yes, I know that I need to cut the lawn, but I thought the dandelions were a nice touch to the picture.   (I know, they don't really look very nice, but the dogs like to eat them the second they pop out of the ground, so I leave them).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rally Fun Match

Today the dogs and I drove out to Cowley to a rally obedience fun match hosted by Judi of Shadowbar Shepherds and SAWHDA.  It was a lot of fun and a great way to practice with the dogs in new surroundings.  Both dogs did both a novice course and an advanced course.  Bosley did great in the novice course with a score of 97.  He lost marks for some sniffing.  Maggie was very excited to be there and was more interested in visiting the timekeeper and the judge than actually doing obedience.  She left the course to go sniff someone's backpack and it took her a few stations to get warmed up.  She finished the novice course with a score of 89.  She did much better in the advanced course (although her mark was the same).  She was much more focused and totally ignored the food bowl distractions.  She lost marks for knocking over a sign and for some sniffing.  Bolsey did well in his first try at advanced too.  However, the food bowls were too much of a distraction for him (I guess we need to work on that).  He also did not get his Schultzhund turn, although he does it perfect in practice.  He finished with a score of 82, which I was pretty happy with.  

At the end of the day, we had an armband draw, to switch dogs and handlers.  I drew Jane's name.  Jane is a very cute and even smarter Jack Russell Terrier.  Her and Sarah won the top prizes in both the novice run and the advanced run today.  Jane did not do so well with me as a handler.  She is a very fun dog and heels perfect.  I am just so used to big dogs that I kept tangling up the leash and I kept watching my feet so I wouldn't step on her.  I had fun with her though, but I am sure she was happy to go back to her mom.

Graduation Day!

Saturday was my daughter's grade 12 graduation.  I get a lot of flack from her about having a blog dedicated to the dogs, so I told her I would put her on my blog today (see Amy, I don't love the dogs more than you).  So here are pictures of Amy in her grad dress:

Yes, the dogs are in the photos with her, but this is a "Berner Blog".

Happy Graduation !!!!  
---From Maggie and Bosley

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Maggie, SADC

Maggie did it!!!  She got her Starters Title in agility this weekend.  It was not an easy weekend for us.  The weather was very hot (30 degrees) and Maggie did not want to be out there.  It took a lot of cheering  to keep her on course this weekend.   In our Gamblers run, she decided she had enough - she left the course and ran back to our shade tent (see video below).  She was better in our first standard run - no hesitation on the table or the teeter but she was slow.  In our second standard run, she was still slow but a very bad error on my part (I missed an obstacle) messed up what would have been a clean run.  On Sunday we started with our third Standard run of the weekend.  The morning was cool and Maggie had some of her usual pep back.  She ran her standard clean and 6 seconds under time for a 1st place finish and a Q to finish off her Specials Agility Dog of Canada title.  The rest of the day was hot and Maggie was less than thrilled about having to exert herself.  Needless to say, no more Qs for us.  She did however have enough energy after we were finished our Snooker run to sprint off the course, jump over the ring barrier (which is well over her normal jump height) and run back to the tent to get in the shade.  
The positives for the weekend were that Maggie did not knock one pole the entire weekend - this was good considering her lack of energy and enthusiasm.  I really need to look hard at the positives from this weekend.  I know that Maggie is capable of so much more than she gave this weekend and it is hard not to be disappointed.  I am not disappointed that she did not get more qualifying runs (that is a bonus to a good run), it is just that I see her tearing up the course in practice and I know what she is capable of.  I don't blame her for not liking the hot weather - she is a Mountain Dog after all, but I sure miss it when she is not her usual spunky self.  

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Obedience Class

Last night Maggie and I were at our "getting ready to compete" obedience class.  We did lots of heeling patterns and Amanda taped us so that we could better see what we need to change in our body language and footwork.  From last night's session this is what I learned I need to work on:

1) Ready, Set, Go!   Maggie is a nice heeler, but it takes her about half the pattern to "get into          it"; before that she lags a little off the start.  We need to work on getting her upbeat and              ready so that when the judge says "forward" and I give her the signal, she is ready to go and        excited.
2) My shoulders.  I have a tendency to pull my left shoulder back when we are heeling.  This            pushes Maggie back and she lags.  I think I have developed this habit because I like to look          at my dogs when I am heeling.  I need to concentrate on keeping my shoulders straighter.
3)  Figure 8.  Walk fast, keep the circles tight and really push through the "outside" portion of         the figure 8 otherwise Maggie lags behind a bit and loses some of her spunk.

We also worked on getting straight fronts.  This is something that Maggie has been struggling with for a while.  Maggie has trouble finding "front" if I am not directly in front of her.  So I set myself up at an angle and made her find front.  She tried hard to figure out what I wanted and eventually started to catch on.  We really need to work hard on her finding front from any position and ending up in a nice, straight sit.

The dogs got to practice some fun recalls, which gave them a break from all the "thinking" work they had to do in class.

At the end of class Maggie and Tate got to have some fun playtime.  Maggie officially loves Tate and thinks he is quite handsome -he is a tri-colour boy  ;-)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

'Tis The Season . . .

. . . for shedding.

I often get asked if Bernese shed very much.  If you come to my house for one of their weekly grooming sessions, you will get your answer.  Yes, they shed. . . a lot!  Right now Bosley is blowing his winter undercoat (Maggie lost hers already) and the fur that I vacuum is enough to make a whole new dog, never mind what I brush out of them.  

Here is an example of a typical "fur ball" that is brushed out:

It looks kinda like an un-groomed toy poodle; only it weighs more :0

Maggie is eyeing it, wondering if it is alive.  Maybe there is a gopher hiding in there!

Bosley cannot bear to look at it.  "Eeeewwww!  All that fur came from me?"

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dreams Do Come True

Every spring sees the return of the Richardson's Ground Squirrel, more commonly known as the Gopher.  Every spring and summer Maggie has watched these little rodents run around and escape down their burrows despite her attempts to catch one.  Maggie goes a little crazy when she sees a gopher, or even hears a chirp of one in the distance.  Today, Maggie's dream of catching a gopher finally came true.  Tonight, we were out at the agility field which is full of gophers and gopher holes and I was walking Maggie around the field when suddenly a gopher popped out of it's hole and ran past us.  I saw Maggie jump towards it and then suddenly she had it in her mouth.  I was so surprised that she caught it (those gophers are fast) and she must have been surprised too, because when I told her to drop it, she did!  The gopher seemed mostly dead and Maggie tried her hardest to get back to it ( I am sure to give it a good shake) but I was pretty sure she would eat it, so her agility friend McKeely came over to make sure that it was really dead (we didn't want it to suffer).  I think Maggie was quite proud of herself and her extraordinary hunting abilities.  Her next hunting goal : catching one of those pesky rabbits that can always outrun her.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Getting Ready For Summer

Today was a beautiful spring day - sunny and warm.  All the trees and shrubs in the yard are starting to bud.  The neighbours are out in their yards cleaning up after the winter.  Today I bought some plants for my front yard as well as a couple of tomato plants.  Everyone seems to be getting ready for summer.  

Even Bosley is getting ready for the hot summer weather . . .