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.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Steeplechase Video

Here is the video of Maggie's weekend Steeplechase run. She was very slow and careful in the weaves but rocked the rest of the course. This dog makes me laugh when I watch her videos.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekend News

We had a busy weekend. Saturday, we went to Calgary for a one day agility trial. It was a nice, small trial and we were done by 3:30.

Maggie had an awesome day. She Q'd in Steeplechase! I couldn't even believe it when I looked at the results. She even knocked a bar, but since Steeplechase is a time plus faults event, her time was fast enough to make up the 5 faults. She is never fast enough to make Steeplechase time, never mind to make up time for faults. Yay Maggie! Maggie also got a Masters Snooker Q with 43 points. I did 4 reds in the opening so that we only needed to finish #3 in the closing to qualify, but Maggie was speedy and we finished all the way to #5 in the closing. Maggie also had a 32 second Jumpers run, but because she was faster than I expected, I couldn't get a front cross in where I planned, so I caused her to drop a bar, so no Q on that run but she was fast!

Bosley had a not so good day. He was Mr.SniffyNose all day and I had to work hard to keep him with me. Arrggg! Just when I was saying how good he did at our last trial. He did get an Advanced Snooker Q with 40 points despite making me think on my feet when he dropped a red bar and I had to scramble to find another red to finish the opening.

Today we went to Cowley for some training. I took Bosley and his cart and we did a run through of the basic cart control exercises. We did some weaving around pylons and lots of backing up. Bosley did very well. I was especially happy with his verbal directionals - he did them without hesitating. Judi gave us lots of good tips and some great ideas to get started on our DDX work.
Both Maggie and Bosley did some heeling and they both were very focused even with all the new dogs practicing around them. There were a couple other Berners there and before we went home, Maggie got a chance to visit and play with them a bit. It was a good day.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dogs Should Not Eat Chocolate . . .

. . . But I Should!   

Yesterday I saw this chocolate bar at the store and thought it seemed interesting, so I bought it.  Oh My!  It is delicious!  Really, really delicious.  Dark chocolate that melts in mouth and then gives you a little spicy kick.  Mmmm Mmmm!

I had to go out and buy more today before everyone else discovers how good this is.  I don't want to run out.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Productive Day

It was a beautiful spring day today.  The snow is mostly all melted from the big dump that we had on Wednesday.  Bosley and I went to the park to practice carting.  We started with some off-leash heeling and a stand-stay. Both went well, even with the distractions of other dogs nearby.  I then got out the cart, put Bosley in a stand stay with the cart and harness about 20 feet behind him (like it would be in a draft test).  He moved when I left to get the harness.  I put him back, harnessed him then went back and got the cart.  He hitched without moving at all - good boy!  The rest of the carting session was great.  His halts were very good and his slow was good too (we sometimes have trouble with that).  I was really impressed with his "gee" and "haw".  We have been working these commands lots without the cart but I wasn't sure how much he would generalize them.  He is stronger with the "gee" (right) command, but by the end of our session you could really see the "haw" (left) light bulb come on.  I was very happy with how Bosley worked today.

I finally got Maggie out to do some tracking today.  I wanted to do 3 small tracks with her, but I didn't take enough treats so we only did 2 small tracks.  I am using the footstep method AKA "The Hansel and Gretel" method.  On the first track, I had to point out the treats for about half the track and then she actively started sniffing for them.  I had a glove at the end with a big pile of treats on it.  The second track, I only pointed out the first treat and she started searching for the rest.  She didn't always search in the right direction, but I just let her try to figure it out, I would just hold her leash so she couldn't move too far off the track.  I think that in a couple more sessions she should have the "game" figured out and I can start spacing out the treats more and making the tracks longer.

As well as doing some fun training with the dogs, I also got some much needed housework done and even fit in a little afternoon nap.  A productive day indeed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


We had a huge spring storm pass through our area that left lots of heavy, wet snow. It is the perfect type of snow for making snowballs. I was tossing some snowballs at Bosley and he tried his hardest to catch them.

Get Ready . . . Here it Comes . . .

I Think I Got It

Here Comes Another One . . . This One Looks HUGE

. . . Open Wide . . .

Monday, April 12, 2010

BBB and The Homecoming Queen

We had a great weekend in Balzac at an agility trial. The trial was very relaxed, moved quickly and was lots of fun. The dogs both had a good weekend too.

Bosley, affectionately known as BBB - Bad Boy Bosley - had to change his name this weekend to BBB - Best Boy Bosley. In January, I trialled Bosley at this same arena and I was so frustrated. He was so busy looking around, sniffing things and being a very Bad Boy. This weekend, he was wonderful! He didn't gawk around at all and I could actually just run the course and not have to keep on him every second. I am not sure why the difference - I have been getting him exciting on the start line by asking him to bark (he likes that), so maybe that helped. Or maybe the brain fairy finally paid him a visit :) Hopefully the focus and enthusiasm is here to stay.

Advanced Standard 1 - Bosley was having a beautiful run but for some reason ran past the teeter after I did a rear cross, so we had a refusal.

Advanced Standard 2 - Another really nice run. I sent Bosley to the table and instead of going straight to it, he ran all the way around before getting on. I thought we had a refusal, but the judge didn't call one. The rest of the run was clean. When I went to check the results later I was disappointed to see we had time faults. 0.47 seconds over time! What a bummer. The table run around wasted about 3 seconds.

Starters Gamblers - Nice, nice, nice. Not a huge amount of points in the opening (26) but we were in the perfect place for the final gamble. The main gamble was chute - tunnel -jump in a curved formation. Bosley did it easily and without any hesitation. "Q". This was also the last Q Bosley needed to finish his Starters Game Dog Title.

Advanced Jumpers - The last class Saturday and Bosley was a bit slower than normal. He ran nice the entire course until the last obstacle. It was an "S" curved tunnel and when I rear crossed it, he jumped over the end instead of going through. Silly dog - I shouldn't have rear crossed there I guess. He would have been over time anyway.

Advanced Standard 3 - Bosley was running so nice and I messed him up because I put a front cross (for some reason I don't know) in the wrong place and not how I walked it at all, so instead of sending him to the table, I sent him out to the teeter.

Advanced Snooker - I had to do a bit of pushing and pulling and needed to use my verbal "turn cue" a couple times but Bosley had a nice opening. Unfortunately, he missed his weave entrance in the closing and we got tweeted off at #5 (needed to finish #6 to Q).

Maggie - The Homecoming Queen. Jolayne nicknamed her this because of Maggie's severe Going Home Syndrome. Maggie usually runs the beginning of the course in a trot and then as soon as she knows we are in the homestretch, she takes off like a rocket. This weekend was no different.

Advanced Standard 1 - Maggie was running great in the first part of the course (even faster than a trot). We got to the weaves and she refused them, I reset her and she refused again. Maggie then went a bit wild. She ran away from me play bowing and bucking and trying to get me to chase her. I finally got her to the next obstacle and she ran the rest of the course at top speed, bucking and jumping the entire way. It was hysterical! The judge was laughing, I was laughing and anyone watching couldn't help but laugh at her. I love to see Maggie enjoying herself like that.

Advanced Standard 2 - Not as wild as her first run and we fought about the table. Maggie refused the weaves again but I got her going through them (slowly). She finished in her usually Homecoming Queen style.

Advanced Gamblers - Maggie had a nice opening with 24 points. We were in a perfect spot when the whistle blew for the main gamble. I knew if she went out to the tunnel I could get her back to the #3 jump but I wasn't sure she would send out to the #4 jump. She nailed the final gamble for a "Q". This was the last Advanced Gamble Q she needed and now she moves to Masters.
Steeplechase - Maggie was pokey at the start and then when I went to send her in a tunnel, she went way out of her way to take the A-frame instead. So instead of finishing the course, I just did a big loop with her and ran off.

Standard 3 - Maggie started out slow and when she got to the weaves she got the entry but I could see she wasn't going to finish them. I did something that I really hate - I put my hands in the poles and lured her back. She finished the poles and had a nice finish. To my surprise, she made time (by 3 seconds) and Q'd!

Masters Snooker - Maggie had an OK opening although she kept thinking it was time to "run home". We needed to get to the end of #5 in the closing, which were the weaves. She refused the weaves again so we got tweeted.

I really think Maggie's back was sore this weekend. She was jumping well but it is not like her to refuse every set of weaves. It is probably time for another chiropractic adjustment.

I had one other run this weekend. Sarah asked if I would run Gyp for her in Masters Jumpers. Gyp is such a fun dog to run - she is very well trained, responsive and fast, fast, fast. I had a blast and we got a "Q" and had the second fastest time out of all the Masters dogs. Thanks for letting me run her Sarah!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Goofy Maggie

A quick video I took the other day while playing with Maggie.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Updates

I have really been neglecting my blog lately so I thought I better do some updates.

We have moved all the agility equipment back outside for the spring. No classes now until May, but we are entered in a couple agility trials this month.

I have started Maggie on a joint supplement (Recovery SA). She has seemed stiff in the rear lately and sometimes has a bit of trouble getting up off of slippery floors. A lot of dogs seem to have nice improvements on Recovery and I have noticed that Maggie seems to be a lot more energetic the past week or so since starting the supplement. She has even got the "zoomies" a couple times. I hope this will help keep her moving - she is such a happy, active dog so I hate the thought of her slowing down because of soreness. I will see if I see any improvement at the next agility trial - I should notice it in her jumping and her weaves.

If the wind ever stops blowing, I want to try to get Maggie out tracking this spring. I think she will like it. I have also been thinking about entering her in a rally trial. I will need to find a nice, quiet trial for her.

Here is Maggie, enjoying the spring sun that is shining through the skylight. Maggie loves laying in the sun that shines in the house - I find this very odd because she is the first dog to run for cooler cover when it is warm outside.

Bosley and I are slowly getting ready for his next draft test. I have only had the cart out a few times, but I have been doing lots of flatwork with him. Mostly directionals, the slow command and the halt command. His directionals are coming along nicely - he is about 90% on his "gee" and "haw" on the flat with verbal commands only. I will see how well this transfers over to when he is in the cart. I want to be really solid on the carting basics before the test. His backup is awesome! We still need to work on getting tighter turns and some control (Bosley should not think carting is a race). Harnessing and hitching is always a work in progress too.

I am still doing bits of Open Obedience practice with Bosley. I am mostly practicing on my own as our obedience classes are done now to make way for the busy summer agility classes. I have been super happy with his "drop on recall". Amanda pointed out to me that when I say his name before I say "down", Bosley seems confused. That makes so much sense, as calling his name should always mean "come here" or "pay attention". As soon as I stopped using his name, he no longer seems confused and I am getting nice, fast drops. Yay! Thanks Amanda. Now I just need to work on precision with everything else. I wanted to get him in the Open ring this spring, but that is not going to happen - so maybe the fall if he is ready.

A picture of Bosley's big, fuzzy feet. He really needs a toe trim.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

One Year Later

It was one year ago today that I received the results of Maggie's pathology report diagnosing her with Mast Cell Cancer. A year ago I was afraid she wouldn't see her fifth birthday. One year later and she is still as wild and goofy as ever. Thank goodness for an early diagnosis and treatment.