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.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I have wanted a patio swing for my backyard for a while now, and this year I finally bought one.  It is very nice and even folds down into a chaise for reading a favorite book or into a bed for afternoon naps.  The dogs think that it is great to have "their" very own furniture in the yard.  It is a nice comfortable spot to lay and keep out of the sun.

I guess that in unison yawning means that Maggie and Bosley are bored of having their pictures taken while posing on the swing.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Being A Show Dog - According To Bosley

On Saturday at the CKC sanction match, Bosley had his first real "Show Dog" experience.  I want to enter Bosley in the Altered category at the Bernese Mountain Dog Specialty that is coming up later this summer.  Well, anyone who knows Bosley knows that he does not always like to be touched by people he does not know and this presents a problem when you are in the conformation ring and the judge needs to thoroughly examine your dog (kinda like being at the vet, but without the thermometer up the butt).  So, I thought I would give you Bosley's perspective of how his first time in the show ring went:

"Hey, this is fun!  I just stand here and Mom moves my feet around and gives me treats for doing nothing but standing here and looking handsome."

"Mmmmm  treats!!!"

"More treats?!?  I must really be looking extra handsome today!"

"Hey, there is a lady walking towards us - she better not want to touch me."

"Mmmmm treats!!!"

"That lady is getting closer and I think she wants to touch me."

"Yikes!  She is going to touch me!"

"She is touching me.  I think I am going to faint!"

(Bosley falls to the ground).

"Yup, I fainted."

And that is how Bosley began his show dog career - not well at all.  At least he didn't pee on the judge when he fell to the ground.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

CKC Sanction Match

This morning we went to a CKC sanction match to work on our obedience.  I entered both dogs in Novice B (we really should be in Novice A, but if you have 2 dogs in the same trial you have to go in B).  It was a nice day, outdoors and in a new place - which was perfect - we need more practice in new places. Bosley went first and I was amazed with his heeling.  He had a couple of sniffs on the ground, but was mostly very focused on me.  I did not follow the rules strictly and I gave him some "good dog" encouragement.  He got 35/40 on his on-leash heel and 38/40 on his off-leash. His recall was also good and he scored 29/30.  On the stand for exam, he moved to follow me when I gave him the stay command, so I went back and replaced him, so we failed that exercise.  But he didn't move after that and let the judge examine him without barely looking at her.  In our long stays, he laid down during the sit-stay.  I don't think he has ever done that before.  Anyway, I was very happy overall with his performance.  I have been practicing with him by leaving cookies in his crate and then when he is doing really well he gets to run back and get them.  I did this today before we went in the ring, and I think it is really helping him focus.  He knows that he will get his cookies for doing a good job.  Maggie was next in the ring.  Wow, was she scatter brained today.  I don't think I warmed her up enough before we went out.  She was so busy looking around and sniffing that she barely paid attention to me. She did stay with me, but was not really into it.  She scored 32/40 on her on-leash heel and 31/40 on the off-leash heel.  Her stand for exam was good and she scored 30/30 and she had a good recall scoring 29/30.  Maggie often lays down on her long sits and today was no exception.  It was kinda like her and Bosley had it planned.  They were sitting next to each other in the ring and then, as if on cue, they both laid down at the same time.
I think I am going to start using the "treat in the crate" with Maggie.  I am not sure it will work as well with her because she is not as focused on the cookies as Bosley is.  She really has a tendency to "blow me off" if there is something more exciting going on.  I need to find a way to keep her focused on me and make obedience really fun for her.  For Bosley, I need to work on his stand-stay.  We do not practice this very much at all.  I think we are on the right track using the cookies-in-the-crate.  In practice I need to start varying the length of time he has to work before getting his cookies, so that he stays focused on working for a longer period of time.  There is always something to work on.

I just wanted to add one more tidbit from the day.  Early in the day, before everything got started, I left Maggie in her crate (which was in our shade tent) and I took Bosley out for a quick walk so he could get used to the new place.  Suddenly I heard someone yell "Loose Dog"!  I saw some movement behind me so I turned to take a quick look at the runaway pooch and thought to myself "Hey, someone else has a Bernese here too".  I looked again and that runaway dog was Maggie.  She pushed her way through the zipper opening of her crate and came running out to find us.  So now that she has figured out how to get out of her crate, I will need to be more careful and close the zipper all the way.

This picture of Maggie is one that Wendy took a few months ago.  Normally I can leave the zipper open and she will just stick her nose out and watch what is going on.  Yesterday, the zipper was only open a teeny bit, not near as much as in the picture.  I guess she figured if Bosley was out, she should be out too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Funny Pictures and New Obsession

Earlier tonight, I was reading some blogs and Wendy was commenting on how useful Photobucket was when it comes to posting blog photos.  Well, I had to check it out for myself.  I have just spent over an hour uploading photos.  You might say to yourself "What is the fun in that?"  Well, this is the fun:

Bosley as an astronaut:

Maggie as a Diva Agility Dog:


Cartoon Baby Bosley:

and Party Boy Bosley:


This is so much fun.  Now I need to download more pictures to my computer so that I have more material to work with.

Thanks Wendy,  I think ;)

Today's Plans - Washed Away

I had my day all planned out.  I went to work extra early today, so that meant I would be home by 1:00pm (don't ask what time I need to leave for work in order to work a full shift and get home by 1).   I was then going to take Bosley to the park for a walk and then practice his obedience outside. Then Maggie would get a quick walk before I needed to make supper and then take her to agility class.  That was the plan.  That is not how things worked out.  I left work and again those storm clouds were rolling in.  That's OK, we walk in all sorts of weather, so a little rain is OK.  On the way home, it starts to thunder.  I will walk in rain, but not in lightning, so no walk or training in the park for Bosley.  So, a little training at home (boring) instead.  I keep waiting for the storm to pass, but now there is a tornado watch - arrggghh!  So, another night of no agility.

I did take some cute pictures of Bosley looking out the window, so the afternoon wasn't a total waste.   

Bosley is waiting for the rain to end too.

Handsome Bosley!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Another Washout ? ? ?

Last Monday, Bosley's agility class got rained out.  Today when I got home from work, the sun was shining and it looked like a perfect night for agility.  A few minutes ago, I heard what I thought was thunder, but that couldn't be!  I looked outside and guess what? 

Clouds!  Big, dark, bring-on-the rain, clouds.  Well, it is looking as if Bosley will miss another week of agility.

This little bird in my front yard does not seem to mind that it is about to rain. 

Oohhh!  I just heard another thunder.  Oohhh, and here comes the rain.  I guess Bosley stays in tonight. 


Sunday In The Park

Yesterday was the first day of "Sunday In The Park".  A group of us dog people are going to get together every Sunday and train with our dogs.  It is a fun way to get to know new people and to work our dogs in a new environment with lots of distractions.  Many people stopped by to visit our dogs or to bring their puppies by for some socialization, or just check out what was going on. One of the ladies who joined us yesterday had her little (or not so little) Bernese puppy, Tucker, out to visit.  He was very cute (of course) and he is related to Bosley.  

Bosley and I got our first conformation lesson.  It was fun and Bosley did better than I though he would.  If I keep a treat stuck in his face, he has little problem standing still and letting someone examine him.  I just need to learn how to stack him properly and all the etiquette rules that go along with being in the show ring.  We also did some rally obedience and a novice obedience run though.  Maggie did quite well in both.  Often when we are outside, the smells on the ground are more interesting than doing obedience, but Maggie was distracted very little.  She even did well in her novice run through (even the off leash heeling) and her stays were great, considering there were lots of people and dogs walking past us.  Bosley was a bit more distracted than Maggie and had a bad case of the "sniffs".  We just need to keep doing more work outside.  He has done very little obedience outside, except in our yard, so he needs lots practice with the outdoor distractions.  

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wubba Wars

The Wubba is one of the dogs' favorite toys.  Let me re-phrase that:  The Wubba is one of the dogs' favorite toys that they have not yet destroyed.  Wubba has been missing for a long time, but today I was doing some spring cleaning and I found Wubba in the back of a closet.  The dogs were very excited to see Wubba again and so begins . . . the Wubba Wars . . .

Ready, Set, Go . . .

Apparently, Wubba wresting must be done on the ground,  preferably while lying on one's back.

"Did, I win?  Did, I win?"

"Ha, Ha!  Not a chance," says Maggie.

They are on their feet - this must be getting serious!

"Maybe if I bite Bosley's feet, I can win the Wubba!"


Let's call a truce!

. . . and so ends another battle of . . . the Wubba Wars!!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The "Collector"

Bosley has not been getting much attention on the blog lately, so I thought I would share one of Bosley's habits.  Ever since Bosley was a little puppy, he has been a gatherer.  He would gather up anything soft that he could carry and make a pile of "stuff" in the livingroom.  This included pillows, towels, bath mats, sweaters on so on.  It was cute to see a little puppy hauling around a big  pillow, but we had to put an end to this behavior when he started to chew on all his "treasures" instead of just making a bed. However, nothing we did stopped him from going downstairs and bringing up all the cushions that were on the couch.  He still likes to gather up all the cushions and pillows and even the mat from the back door.

Here is Bosley's collection.  He brought up 2 cushions and a pillow from downstairs.  He also has an old T-shirt in the pile.  He found this old shirt a few months ago and has decided it is his.  He carries it around everywhere.  He hasn't even chewed any holes in it yet, which is amazing.  

Here is Bosley with "his shirt".

I can't understand how Bosley can love to carry around things he finds, but he will not retrieve anything that I throw for him.  Maybe I should start practicing retrieves using a pillow!