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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Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Look Back At 2010

I can't believe that 2010 is almost over and that it is once again time to look back at our accomplishments over the past year.


Maggie got to drop to Veterans in agility this year, and it was great for her. She earned 10 agility 'Q's over the course of the year in only a few trials. Statistic wise, this was her best agility year ever! She also earned 2 titles this year - Advanced Agility Dog and Masters Snooker Dog. I am so proud of her for getting a Masters title.

I also did a bit of tracking with her - nothing serious, just letting her "find the cookies". She loves it and I am looking forward to doing more.


I had many goals for Bosley this year in agility, obedience and draft. We worked hard all year (well, most of the year) and had some great times together accomplishing those goals.

In CKC agility, Bosley earned both his Excellent Standard title and his Excellent Jumpers With Weaves title. He also earned 6 'Q's towards his Masters titles.

In AAC agility, Bosley earned 12 'Q's and 2 titles (Starters Game Dog and Advanced Agility Dog), which I am very proud of. I am really happy with how far he has come on his distance work and his overall skill. It is just a matter of time now before we have some Masters 'Q's.

Bosley earned his Draft Dog Title this year. This accomplishment was high on my goal list for the year and since there is only one trial in Alberta a year, we only had one shot at it. He was a really, really good boy on test day and we did it!!!!

Earning his Draft title also qualified Bosley for the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada Working Dog Award. To earn this award you must have earned a CD title plus titles in 2 other CKC performance events (not including Rally).

Our other noteable accomplishments were that we got in the Open Obedience ring and Bosley wowed me with his focus and enthusiasm. We also joined a Scent Hurdle team and Bosley learned scent discrimination.

I am now trying to prioritize my goals for next year and take a hard look at what is most important for me do - both in training, competing and for the general well being of my dogs.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

These Boots Were Made For Walking

I finally got a new pair of winter boots.  My old pair was heavy and bulky and made my ankles hurt because they weren't very "bendy".  I found some pretty Sorels on sale and I had a hard time choosing between the red tartan pattern or these pink beauties.  I didn't really need to wear them today because it was warm and there is not much snow left, but I wore them anyway.  They are great!  They are light and I can actually climb hills without my ankles and legs screaming at me.

Oh, I got some pictures of the dogs today too.  I hardly ever take my camera with me on walks and today I had my camera but forgot to take pictures until we were heading home.

Maggie and Bosley are racing to get back to me . . .

Bosley pulls into the lead . . .

Bosley wins with Maggie close behind.

Hi Maggie!

I am not sure what Maggie is doing in the picture.  Sneezing?  Laughing at Bosley?  Watching a bird?  Who knows.

The dogs had fun romping in the coulees (even if they are bare of snow) and I had fun stomping around in my new boots.

Too Much Time On My Hands?


Monday, December 27, 2010

Keeping Fit

I think that most people realize how important it is to keep ourselves and our dogs in shape. It is especially important for dogs who do any type of dog sports to stay conditioned. Most dogs that are well conditioned are less likely to suffer injuries than those dogs who are "weekend warriors". I say most dogs because overall structure plays a very important role in injuries and what your dog should be doing.

Earlier this year, I attended Pat Hastings "Structure in Action" seminar. Pat Hastings is very well known for her method of structurally evaluating puppies. Her seminar was very interesting and it really makes you think about the stress we put on our dogs' bodies when they are not structurally suited for what we are asking them to do. Maggie was a demo dog at the seminar and Pat did an evaluation of her. Maggie has had injuries and trouble jumping since she started agility. She doesn't have the best structure (straight in the front and the rear, loose elbows and slipped hocks are some of the structural deficiencies that were pointed out) and this shows in her gait and athletic abilities. Her body will break down much quicker than it should, therefore it is very important that she keeps her muscles strong.

Earlier this month, I attended another seminar hosted by a veterinarian who specializes in rehabilitation and performance dogs. She gave us lots of useful information about conditioning our dogs including endurance training, strength training and stretching. She was also doing individual evaluations so I had Bosley evaluated. I worry about him getting injured simply because of his large size - 100 pound dogs were not really meant to do agility. She was impressed with his overall structure, conditioning and movement. She said that the majority of Bernese she sees pace and he does not pace at all, even at a slow walk - so that is good. He did need one minor spinal adjustment and she said he should loose a couple pounds (she likes to see dogs very, very lean) but that was about it.

So what are my plans to keep Maggie and Bosley in shape? The usual daily walks including 20 minutes of trotting for endurance training. For strength training, they use the fit-ball a few days a week - they love their peanut ball which is good. I am also going to get some PVC and make some cavelettis and start working with those as well as they are great for conditioning and strengthening. I am also going to try to get better about doing stretching exercises with them - I should do them everyday, but I find it boring so I often forget.

Here are Maggie and Bosley showing off their peanut ball.

Here is Bosley hanging over the ball. This is not one of his exercises, but I couldn't hold the ball, keep him on and take pictures all at the same time.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's Christmas

Nothing says Christmas like a good game of Santa Hat tug-o-war!

Merry Christmas to everyone out there in blogger land.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

If You Are Thinking About Participating In CKC Events in 2011 . . .

. . . make sure you are aware of the title tracking changes for non - CKC members.

The Canadian Kennel Club has been going through some financial difficulties and has been restructuring the way it does business. They recently passed some changes that includes charging a fee to all non-members to keep track of your 'Q's or points towards a title. In other words, if you want your title recognized, you either need to join the CKC or pay the fee (which is per dog, per title).

This is copy/pasted directly from the CKC 2011 Business Plan:

Non Member Tracking Fees
Canadian Non Member pays $55/dog/title/event admin
Track & award its titles
Payable within 30 days of receipt of first award

I know that the CKC's intent is that more people will become members and they will have increased membership revenue. I really don't think that they are taking the performance people into consideration in all of this. Not everyone, especially the dog owner who may enjoy participating in rally or agility, but do not show or breed their dogs, wants to be a CKC member.

Hello CKC - you are not the only game in town when it comes to performance events! In fact, in agility, CKC is barely a blip on the Canadian agility scene. AAC and NADAC trials, far out number CKC trials. In Rally Obedience, there is APDT and CARO. Not to mention all the other dog sports that are not sanctioned by the CKC at all (flyball, freestyle, etc).

If I was new to dog sports and had the choice to pay a fee to the CKC or join another venue, guess what, I probably would not be paying the CKC. Especially considering that the entry fees for CKC events are nearly double what they are in other venues.

CKC performance events are already hurting. Just look at obedience. Not many people seem to do traditional obedience anymore. The more the CKC excludes people from the performance events, by adding fees or forcing people to join the club, the less likely it will be that local kennel clubs will offer events such as agility, obedience or draft, as no club wants to lose money due to poor entries. This means that we could be seeing the end of some of the performance events and that would be sad.

If you are already a CKC member and disagree with this new business plan, please email your local director. The link to the BODs can be found here: CKC Board Of Directors.

**Update Dec 20.
The CKC decided to change this fee to a per person fee, not a per dog/per title fee.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Catching Up

It has been a very long time since I updated my blog. What a bad blogger I am. A few things have happened since my last post.

It has snowed a lot. Here is Bosley sitting on a park bench that is nearly covered in a snow drift.

In November, Maggie earned her Masters Snooker Dog title at the CAA trial. This is her very first Masters title :) What a great way to finish off agility for the year.

This past weekend, Bosley made his debut in Open Obedience. One of my goals for this year was to get him in the Open ring - and we did. Not only did we get in the ring, but Bosley was great! I really didn't know how it would go, but he exceeded all my expectations of him. I still smile and get tears in my eyes when I think about how he was in the ring. He was happy, happy, happy for the entire 2 runs that we did. His heeling was great. His drop on recalls, which we have been working so hard on, were perfect. He was such a good boy. Teaching him the retrieve was by far the hardest thing that I have trained him to do. It took an entire year of training to get him to retrieve his dumbbell. In the ring, he RAN, he actually RAN out to get his dumbbell and RAN back to me. It would have been perfect if he had actually waited for me to send him :) He anticipated the retrieve over high jump in both trials. I didn't even care just because he was so enthusiastic to go get his dumbbell in a place that he had never been before. And in Bosley's defense, we have only practiced the retrieve over high jump maybe twice in the past 2 months. I will need to work on this, as I don't want it to become a habit, but for now, I will take enthusiasm over perfection.

I was also happy that I kept my ring nerves so well under control. I was a little nervous before our first trial, but once I got in the ring I was fine. The second trial, I barely had any nerves at all. Oh, but I do need to practice throwing the dumbbell. Haha! I had to do 3 throws to get it far enough over the high jump.

Now I am so excited to get back in the obedience ring. I know that Bosley can get his CDX. Too bad there are not anymore obedience trials until March. Oh well, that just gives us a few months to work out all the little kinks.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Photo Contest

Every year, the company I work for has an employee photo contest.  I have never entered before, but I took this shot right before the closing date of the contest, so I sent it in.

Guess what !?!  It won 1st place in Canada with over 350 entries in the contest. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Agility Trial

We were in Calgary all weekend at an agility trial.  The last trial we were at,  I came away feeling very frustrated.  This weekend was much better :)

Maggie was entered in 3 runs each day.  She was having some trouble with the weaves this weekend again.  In her warm ups, she was very stiff bending to the right and then last night I noticed some warm spots on her shoulders.  Despite the weaves, she ran very well all weekend and earned a Masters Standard Q.  I was very excited about that.  That is her second Masters Standard Q in 2 trials.  For me this is a huge deal - to have 2 masters standard Qs.

Bosley ran very well this weekend too.  He made his Masters Standard debut and had a great run except for being slow in the weaves.  He was clean but 0.22 seconds overtime.  Really?  How does that happen?
In his second standard run, he was slow in the weaves again and actually popped out.  What?  Then I realized that I was worrying about the weaves and was hovering about 2 feet away.  Bosley hates that.  He just likes to do things on his own and as soon as I gave him his space he was back on track. Not sure why I worry about him in the weaves - he is a great weaver. His third standard run was great once I got the weave situation figured out. It was a tough course and Bosley ran perfect - except that I was out of place on a front cross and he had a refusal on a jump.  Bosley did get an Advanced Jumpers 'Q' this weekend - yay for Bosley - those jumpers courses are not easy for him to make time on.

So I came away from the weekend very happy.  I am feeling good about the way Bosley is running and I am happy that Maggie is still having fun doing agility.  I can really see Maggie slowing down in general with the amount she plays at home and how long it takes her to tire out on walks, so am I glad that she can still have fun galloping around the agility course.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I am about 80% ready to enter Bosley in Open Obedience in December.  There is a trial in Calgary that is Obedience only and it should be a nice, quiet trial without too many distractions.  I have my entry form filled out, but I still haven't mailed it.  

I am 20% unsure mainly because Bosley is not always 100% on his attention in the ring.  We are also still tweaking his drop on recall.

The other night we did a complete run through of an open routine exactly the way it would be in a trial - no treats and no talking between exercises.  Bosley did very well.  Today we did another run through in a place that Bosley had never been before.  His first run through was good.  His second time through, he was a bit more distracted, but we made it through without me losing him completely.

In a real trial, I think if I can have his attention and focus during the heeling, the rest will be OK.

The entry form is in my car.  I just need to put a stamp on and mail it.  I will need to decide soon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Case Of The Missing Eggs

On Friday September 24th at approximately 4:10am Maggie and Bosley were fed their breakfast. They were given a meal of beef, organ meat and a raw egg. The very tired Food Giver forgot to put the eggs back in the fridge and left them on the counter.

At approximately 4:40am the Food Giver left the house where she last saw the dogs sound asleep in the bedroom.

At around 1:45pm, the Food Giver came home to find a crime had taken place.

Somewhere between 4:40am and 1:45 pm, 2 eggs were stolen from their carton and have disappeared.

Evidence Exhibit A: One destroyed egg carton with contents missing.

Evidence Exhibit B: Sofa with bits of egg shell left behind.

The Suspects:
Maggie is a well known counter surfer with a long list of charges and convictions. She usually shows no remorse for committing her crimes and previous punishments have not deterred her from repeat offenses.

Bosley is an opportunist rather than a ring leader. He will take advantage of any situation to suit himself. He is often seen following Maggie around reaping the benefits of her counter surfing ways. He has had charges against him in the past but the charges have always been dismissed.

The suspects have both been interrogated and neither are talking. Paw prints taken at the crime scene reveal very little as both prints from Maggie and Bosley have been found. Since they live in the room were the crime took place, we expected to find their prints. However, no other paw prints were found in the vicinity. We still do not know exactly who stole the eggs. We still do not know the whereabouts of the missing eggs, but we have our suspicions and we are not holding out much hope of finding the eggs alive. This crime is still under investigation.

If anyone has any further information regarding this heinous crime, please call:


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Trials and Tribulations

On the weekend we were at an agility trial in Medicine Hat.

It has taken me a few days to blog about it because, well, I was quite frustrated and disappointed. I thought if I had a couple days to think about how things went, I would feel better. I don't.

It wasn't all bad - there were some really great moments with both dogs.

The good:
-On Saturday, Bosley made his Masters Gamblers debut. The gamble was a tough one (of course, we are in masters now). Bosley got the final gamble! I was thrilled! Unfortunately, we ran out of time, but he did it!
-Bosley's weaves on Saturday were amazing! I mean, really, really amazing. I don't think he has ever weaved so fast as he did in his standard run.
-Maggie earned her first Masters Standard Q
-On Sunday, Maggie got the main gamble in her Masters Gamblers run. I totally underestimated her and didn't think she would get it. There was a dogwalk in the final gamble, and she missed her contact, so we didn't Q, but now I know she can do it!

The not so good:
-I don't think Bosley broke out of a trot all weekend. This is the slowest he has been in a very long time. We were over time on several runs.
-After having amazing weaves on Saturday, on Sunday Bosley seemed to forget how to weave at all.
-Bosley totally blew me off on our last run Sunday. He smelled something delicious and was too busy sniffing the air to pay attention our run. I excused ourselves from the ring. He hasn't done this in a very long time.

I guess am very frustrated because Bosley has been so "on" for the last few trials. I don't know what the difference was this weekend. The weather was very cool (I wore long underwear all weekend) so that wasn't a factor. I did the same warm-up routine and he seemed fine before each run. The only difference I can tell is that we didn't go home at night. When we don't sleep at home, he is restless all night, so I don't know if that made a difference or if I am just grasping at straws, trying to figure out what happened.

The final results for the weekend:

Maggie - Masters Standard 'Q'

Bosley - Advanced Snooker 'Q'. Advanced Standard 'Q'. Advanced Agility Dog of Canada Title. Moves to Masters Standard.

Here are a couple videos:

Bosley Advanced Standard. Awesome weaves!!!!!

Bosley Advanced Snooker. I usually play it safe in trials, but I took a chance and did the weaves.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Finally !!!!

Today I finally received Bosley's Draft Dog title certificate in the mail.  We passed the test exactly 15 weeks ago today.  I know that the CKC is doing some major cutbacks, but 15 weeks to get a title certificate??  The weird thing is that he earned an agility title the same weekend and I got that certificate over a month ago.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Bosley is still working hard on his scent discrimination and practicing to be on our scenthurdle team. So far he hasn't got kicked off the team :)

Bosley is careful and thoughtful when it comes to the scent work and last night was the first time we have practiced with a fully loaded box. In practice he has slowed down over the jumps on the way to the box. When we first started training with only one dumbbell in the box (no discrimination) he would fly out to get his dumbbell. Now that we have added discrimination to the box, he is much slower going out. I am hoping that once his confidence goes up, his speed will get faster.

I am pleased with his scent discrimination - he is making the correct choice more and more often now. Of course, at home he is more accurate than in practice, but hopefully with more practice he will get more confident. I am still very happy with his progress. If 2 years ago, someone had told me Bosley would be on a scenthurdle team, there is no way I would have believed it.

Here is a little video of our practice last night introducing our team. There are 4 dumbells in the box for each dog, and the dog must choose his own dumbbell.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Trial Goals

After every trial, I look at how well we did or how well didn't do, and decide what I need to work on in my training.  I did the same thing after the trial we just had and I have a few training goals in my mind to work on over the next few weeks.  This post is NOT about those training goals.  It is about something personal I need to work on when I am at a trial.  That is taking care of myself.
When I am at a trial, I get so wrapped up in what is going on - pottying dogs, getting ready to run, warming up dogs, cooling down dogs, volunteering, visiting friends, watching people run their dogs, etc, etc.  I get so wrapped up in all of this stuff, that I forget about eating until I start to feel ill.  I also never drink enough water and so by the end of the day I have a headache from being dehydrated.
My goal for future trials is to take the time so sit down and eat properly.  That does not mean grab a couple snacks (although I really enjoy snacks), instead I need to eat some real food.  And drink more water or energy drinks.  And eat breakfast before a trial - I am really bad about eating breakfast.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bernese In CKC Agility

This is a bit of continuation of my thoughts from my last post and how few Bernese actually participate/qualify in agility trials in Canada. I looked up some CKC stats and last year (2009) there were 34 agility legs earned by Bernese. Out of those 34 qualifying runs, 19 legs (56%) were earned by my 2 dogs.
Understandably, most people do not get a Bernese Mountain Dog with the intentions of doing agility with them but there are many people who have been very successful competitively with their Bernese. As a matter of fact, just this past weekend, a Berner earned an AKC MACH4. That is a pretty amazing accomplishment for any dog to achieve.
I think most people think of Bernese as big, lumbering, lazy dogs but in reality, they were traditionally used as an all purpose farm dog who would work all day with it's owner. Bernese may be lazier now than when they had to work on Swiss farms all day, but I think the majority of them still really love to work, especially since that means they get to spend time with their owner. Bernese are really all about the connection they have with their people and agility as well as other dog sports are a great way to fulfill that need.


I am not the type of person who seeks out attention or public recognition.  Some people thrive on being the center of attention, but that kind of stuff makes me a bit uncomfortable.  However, this weekend at our agility trial, I was extremely honored to be given a Judges Choice Award by Christina Saunders.  She used myself and my dogs as an example of a team that can compete in agility and enjoy agility even though I do not have one of the typical agility breeds.  (There are very few people competing with Bernese in agility and Bernese are almost never seen at the higher levels.)  She mentioned the people she sees that make excuses in training and trialing because they have a breed that is not a Border Collie or a Sheltie and she complimented the way I train and handle my dogs.  I just run my dogs for who they are.  I have had a judge in the past make a mean, off-handed remark to me about Bernese in agility, so to have Christina give me her judges choice award based on the breed that I run, that means a lot to me.  It really does.

I guess I don't think about this stuff too much.  I just have fun with my dogs and don't use their breed as an excuse for not being able to accomplish something. I am proud to run my big Bernese in agility.  I owe much of this to Sarah and Amanda.  They never have any "breedist" attitudes in class and problems are always training issues, not breed issues.  I know not all instructors or schools are like this and I always feel so lucky to have such supportive instructors and agility friends.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Go!Dog!Go! Agility Trial

This weekend, our agility club hosted our annual agility trial.  It sure is great to have a trial at home and not need to travel, even if the weather was rainy on Sunday.  The best part of the weekend was seeing the group of new students from our club participate in their very first trial.  This group started training last spring(2009) and they have been working so hard to get ready for this trial.  All the hard work paid off and they all did great!  I was so excited to see them run and see their dogs have a great time out on course.  I think the handlers had a good time too and if they were nervous, you sure couldn't tell.

For my own dogs, I couldn't have been happier with them.  The cooler weather sure does make a difference in how they run.  I have also been feeling more confident on course lately, so that may make a difference as well.

Maggie was entered in 5 runs over the weekend.  She ran well in all her runs - she was fast but didn't get the zoomies and she tried very hard.  She had great times in her 2 Masters Standard runs, but had weave faults in each.  She tried very hard in the 2 Masters Gambler runs and had lots of points in her openings, but distance work is hard for her, and although she tried hard to figure out what I wanted her to do, she did not get the final gambles.  She did have an awesome Masters Snooker run and earned a 'Q' for her efforts.  Yay Maggie!

Bosley worked very hard this weekend, and was under time in all his runs (even Jumpers).  He had an awesome Advanced Standard run, but then knocked the very last bar - it was totally my fault too.  There was a very odd finish line, so I decelerated at the last jump instead of running straight through, so Bosley pulled up and knocked the bar.  His second Standard run was very nice too, and he "Q'd that one and was 11 seconds under time.  He was the only dog who qualified in that run.

Bosley's Advanced Gamblers runs were really, really good.  I used to dread running in Gamblers, but I have worked hard to get some distance with Bosley, and he rocked it this weekend.  He 'Q'd his first Gambler run with 48 points.  The second run he 'Q'd with an amazing (for Bosley) 76 points where he managed to do the 12 point mini gamble twice.  This one had a tricky final gamble and only 2 dogs were able to get the final.  So now Bosley moves to Masters Gamblers (yikes!).  We will need to work on more distance in the weaves and get him more confident turning away from me.

Bosley ran nice in both his Advanced Jumpers.  The Saturday run, he knocked the first bar, but did well on the rest and finished 4.5 seconds under time.  In Sunday's run, he ran fast the entire course, even through the twisty parts, and he got his first Advanced Jumpers 'Q'.

Bosley was also entered in Advanced Snooker.  We had a great opening and needed to get to the end of 6 in the closing to qualify.  Bosley knocked a bar in the #5 sequence so we got tweeted off.  Not sure why that bar fell, but it was raining when we were running so maybe that was why.  Regardless, we were so close, and Bosley ran great.

Only one more outdoor trial left this season.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There's An App For That

Not too long ago, I downloaded a fitness app for my Iphone. It is just a simple GPS program that tells you how far you have walked/hiked/ran and how long it took you. It records your progress and it also maps your route (which is very cool). I thought it would be a fun app to have, but I always forget to turn it on when I start our walks. The other day, I was taking the dogs for their quick evening walk around the neighborhood and I finally remembered to turn that darned app on for once. I was very surprised to find out that our "short" walk was actually 5km (3 miles) - granted, it is all on sidewalk with no hills, so it doesn't take us too long (40 minutes). Now I am curious to know how far we go on a "regular" walk, which is on average 75-90 minutes (when the weather is cool enough, of course). Hopefully, this app is a good motivator for me and the dogs to walk longer distances and try out new hiking routes.

**** A couple people have asked which app I am using. It is the Sprint GPS. I can't remember if it is a free app or not. If not, it was only a couple dollars.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Birthday Surprise

Four years ago today, a little baby Bosley was born.

Here is Bosley the day we brought him home at 9 weeks old.

Here is Bosley now:  grown up and handsome.

Today we got up and went for a nice birthday walk.  It was very cool outside this morning, so we got to take an extra long walk, which rarely happens in the summer.  So that was a nice birthday surprise for Bosley.

We then came home and took some birthday pictures.

There was another birthday surprise today.  I thought Bosley should wear his backpack on his walk so  I put the pack on him and when I opened it up to put in some bottles of water:  Surprise - there was a toy inside.  A while ago, I lent the pack to Wendy as she was thinking about purchasing one.  I let her try out the one I have to see how her dog Coulee liked it, and as a thank you, Wendy left a toy inside the pack with a thank you message attached.  Bosley is not much into toys, but Maggie has been playing with it all morning.

New toys make Maggie very happy - thanks Wendy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Agility At Spruce Meadows

This weekend we had the pleasure of playing agility at the world famous equestrian centre Spruce Meadows. The Alberta Kennel Club held it's annual summer show at Spruce Meadows for the first time this year. It is such a beautiful venue -everything is so pristine. There are even people in big golf carts who come by to drive you, your dog and all of your gear to and from the parking lot. Very fancy!

Here is Bosley posing next to one of the horse exercise paddocks. There were horses in it earlier in the day, but they were gone by the time I got out my camera to take pictures.

In addition to the thrill of competing at Spruce Meadows, Bosley had a really good weekend. He only had one run that was a bit pokey, but the rest were great. One of his standard runs was 13 seconds under time, which is huge for Bosley. His weaves were really good - he is finally getting used to the 24" spacing. He did miss 3 weave entries today - one because he was distracted by something outside the ring and the other two I thought he got, but he missed at the last second. More weave entry work coming up for Bosley. He responded nice to my handling and even did a beautiful serpentine today. He had some really nice runs, and besides the couple of flubbed weave entries, I was super happy with his performance all weekend.

We came away from the weekend with 3 Qs - 2 Standard and 1 JWW. (We should have had another standard Q, but for some weird reason Bosley stopped to sniff the table before he jumped on, so we had a refusal.) So in 2 weekends, Bosley has earned 6 Excellent B 'Q's. I am pretty amazed with that actually. Now I really want to do more CKC agility - but there are no more trials nearby until next summer. Bummer.

Here is Bosley outside the agility rings. Look at that beautiful grass we got to run on. It was perfect - no lumps or bumps and no gopher holes! I can't wait to go back next year.

The funniest part of the weekend was the huge crowds that would come and watch. We are not used to this in agility. Everyone would cheer when the dogs did something good and they would "awwww" when a dog would knock a bar. They would laugh when handlers messed up. Bosley got lots of cheers for his weaving - I don't think people expect a big dog to be able to weave like he does. The spectators really enjoyed watching and it is fun to see the reactions of people who are not involved in the sport. As competitors, we get so focused on watching the handler errors and the technical side of the sport, that sometimes we forget to watch just for the fun of it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


It's Summer!  Break out the sunscreen.  Put on those sunglasses.  Soak up some rays.

Get me back in the air conditioning!!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bully Stick Baton

I have been working to try to get Bosley moving a bit faster in agility. To motivate him, I use his most favorite treat in the world - the bully stick. I had Bosley entered in a CKC agility trial this weekend and the bully stick made the trip with us. I played "Pass The Bully Stick Baton" with Cindy for each of Bosley's runs - as I was entering the ring, I would pass the stick off to her and as I was leaving the ring, Cindy would pass the stick back to me and I would toss it to Bosley. It worked well and Bosley had an awesome weekend (for the the most part - I will get to more in a bit) and was under time in every run except for one, and we had a good excuse for that one.

The weekend was full of challenging courses with difficult weave entrances. Some of the courses really made you think and you had to handle your dog well to be successful. I was happy with my handling for the most part. I had a late cue that sent Bosley to a wrong tunnel mouth, but overall I was happy and I was really pleased with how Bosley responded to my handling.

The very first run of the weekend was a JWW with a very tough weave entrance and there was a lot of discussion during the walk through on how people were planning to handle it. Not many dogs got the entrance and there were some interesting handling choices. The only way I could figure out to make the entrance nice for Bosley was to do a lead out pivot (the weaves were the third obstacle). It worked beautifully and Bosley got the entrance and 'Q'd his first run of the weekend.

My favorite run of the weekend was the last JWW course of the weekend. The course was tight and it almost made me dizzy but it really forced you to handle your dog. It felt like I did about 20 front crosses but I think I really only did 5. Bosley did a great job on this course and all the front crosses really kept his lines tight. Bosley was 1 of only 2 dogs that qualified on this course - there were lots of off-courses and lots of lost handlers. Here is my drawing of the course - it is not exact but gives an idea of how the course flowed. Can you figure out where I put in 5 front crosses? **(My handling choices are at the bottom of this post).

Bosley had one qualifying Standard run. It was a nice run except Bosley got stuck in the chute. I really hate the long CKC chutes and this one seemed quite heavy and I saw a few dogs get tangled. I sent Bosley in the chute and when I looked back, he was stuck. I was just reaching to grab the end of the chute when he popped out on his own and we finished the course - he was even 6 seconds under time with the few seconds lost in the chute.

The rest of Bosley's runs were nice and he had some really fast straight lines. A bobble here and there, but overall one of the best weekends Bosley has had.

The weekend was not without mishaps however. First, there was the chute incident which I already mentioned. Bosley was over time on one run and that is because he broke the weave poles. He missed the entrance on the weaves but he hit the poles so hard that a pole went flying. I thought it had popped off the base but the judge came over and the pole had actually snapped right off. So I stood there, not sure what we should do and the judge said to send him back through the poles (with one missing). Bosley was funny and weaved through as if there were actually a pole there.

The biggest mishap happened on the very last run of the day. It had just started to rain and there had been a big drop in temperature. Bosley knocked a bar on the second jump because he needed to sneeze right as he was taking off. Since we NQd, I thought I would just run and see if I could really get Bosley moving. I got him moving all right - right over the top of the A-frame for a crash landing on the other side. I forgot about the higher, steeper CKC A-frame and when he went over the top he couldn't collect and fell. He fell hard but landed flat on the side of his shoulder, so luckily he didn't get hurt. It was very scary for me. A lesson learned - know when to push for speed but never sacrifice time for safety.

** Front crosses: 7-8, 11-12, 14-15, 16-17, 17-18

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Agility Fun Match

The dogs and I spent the day at an agility fun match. It was a perfect day weather wise - cloudy with a bit of a breeze to keep those pesky mosquitos away. The match was lots of fun and several Go!Dog!Go! students that will be starting to trial this fall were there and they all did great! We have another awesome group of competitors coming up - I can't wait to see them all at their first trials.

Maggie and Bosley did well today and had fun. They each did a Masters Gamblers, a Snooker and a Masters Jumpers. Maggie was speedy and had lots of fun. She knocked a couple bars, but overall did great! She had lots of enthusiasm and tried very hard all day.

Bosley had a very good day. He was fast in all his runs - he loved his bully stick reward (he will run fast for that)! He did an awesome threadle in the jumpers run (yay) - he doesn't always get those, so I was happy. I was most happy with his Masters Gamblers run. First, he is not even in Masters Gamblers yet - he just got into Advanced. Second, the gambler run was from this years Ontario Regional Championship and it was HARD. He got the mini-gamble twice and . . . he got the final gamble! I was so happy with him, I didn't expect him to get the final at all.
Here is a link to the Gamble: Regionals Gamblers Course

My new shade tent worked out well, expect that I didn't take into account how high my x-pen is, so the x-pen would not fit all the way to the back. Crates will fit perfect or I will need to buy a shorter x-pen to fit better.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Tent

I bought a new little shade tent today.  I have a nice, big tent that has lots of room to fit many dogs and friends, but last summer 2 poles broke during a storm.  I want to get the poles replaced because nothing is wrong with the rest of the tent, but until then, I thought it would be nice to have a small tent for day trips or fun matches.  
I found this little beach tent that should work well.  It is easy to set up and will easily fit an x-pen or a couple of crates and a chair or two.  It has a front and back door for nice airflow and it is silver on the top so I hope that helps reflect the sun.  It will be a bit of shade and shelter anyway and since it didn't cost very much, if it doesn't work out, I won't be out a ton of money.

The dogs like it already.  I swear I didn't make the dogs pose for this picture.  I set the tent up in the living room (I didn't want to set it up outside incase I didn't like it and needed to return it) and the dogs made themselves right at home.  I am surprised I even got it put together because they were trying to get in it while I was still setting it up.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Now What?

We are half way through the year and I have been contemplating how my training will go for the next half of the year.  The dogs and I have taken most of the past month off of training - we even skipped a couple agility classes, which I have never done before.  Since the draft and agility weekend at the beginning of June, we have done very little.  We had been training so hard,  I felt I needed a break and that the dogs deserved a break too.  

Here is Bosley at the park enjoying a well deserved break.

We are now ready to get back to work.  Bosley has his "game face" on and says he is ready to get back to work too.  No more slacking off.

The break has been good and I did a bit of obedience work with Bosley over the weekend.  He was super excited to be working again and had lots of enthusiasm.

I now really want to concentrate on Open Obedience.  Since it is nice outside, I can take my jumps to the park to practice.  I have some ideas for keeping Bosley's motivation up that I want to try.

I think I want to go for Bosley's DDX title, but since there are no more draft tests until next year, we will wait until the fall until we start any serious DDX training.

We have also started to work on scent discrimination.  I am not sure when our scent hurdle team will be able to get together to practice again (the summer is so busy for everyone) but I really want to get a good start on the discrimination since Bosley seems to love the rest of the game.  I am using a method that I found posted on a Berner Yahoo group.  If I have success using this method, I will describe it in a future post.

Agility.  I have Bosley entered in a few upcoming trials.  Two of the trials are CKC trials where I am now working on Excellent B legs.  A total of 20 Excellent B legs are needed to complete a Championship title - that is a lot!  I will really need to think about if this is something I really want to pursue.  There are so few CKC trials that I can go to (within reasonable driving distance) and CKC is soooo expensive (I can do 2 AAC shows for every 1 CKC show), so I don't know if it is reasonable to set that goal.
My main agility goal right now is speed.  Bosley needs to get his speed up on the course.  He is usually very accurate and responds nicely to my handling, but he can be slow.  He is a big dog and not built for speed (I am not making excuses, just being realistic), but I know he is capable of being fast when he wants.  I just need to bring that out more in agility. Fun games and better motivators (ie yummy food) will be what we need to work on to get that speed up.

"See, I can run fast when I want to."
(BTW - this photo was my first attempt at panning  - I was happy with how it turned out, although the background was not the best to show off the movement.)

Poor Maggie is becoming more and more just my cuddler on the couch and less active in "dog stuff".  She did an agility demo this weekend and loved it.  Tracking is put off now until it is cooler outside.  She is entered in one upcoming agility trial for a few events later this summer.  I basically want to keep up her agility skills and play around with a little rally but she doesn't love competing at all.  She loves doing agility demos and has some more of those coming up too -she is such a nice, happy dog and really enjoys meeting people so she is a great demo dog.

So that is my current training plan for now.  I know the summer will fly by, like always, so I hope to get in some good training sessions before we are stuck inside again.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Maggie and her Kong

When Maggie is eating a treat or chewing on her Kong, she always needs to lay on her bed or on a pillow (that Bosley has left on the floor). She never will just lay on the floor and chew something. Today I looked over and saw this:

There was a flip-flop on the floor in the livingroom (left there by Bosley, of course) and Maggie thought that would be the perfect place to enjoy her Kong.

What a funny girl!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pole Weaving

Bosley really loves the weave poles so I thought it would be fun to try to take a few pictures of him weaving.

Here is Bosley getting ready to weave.  Doesn't he look happy?

"Yipee!!  Look how fast I can go!!!"

Apparently, weaving needs be done with one eye closed.  Kind of like threading a needle, I guess.

Keep that eye shut :)

Look at the bend in the poles, and those crazy looking legs (and the shut eye).

I like this picture with Bosley's eye peaking out of one side of the pole and a big smile showing on the other side of the pole.

I am not sure how weaving with both eyes shut works?

"Here I come!"