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.