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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Monday, April 25, 2011

Some Thoughts

A couple weeks ago, a friend asked me if I have ever considered getting a different breed of dog. She knows I like to do lots of dog sport stuff and since she has Bernese herself, she knows that sometimes the breed has limitations when it comes to being competitive. Bernese are not the fastest agility dogs and they tend not to like work that involves a lot of repetition, like obedience.
My answer was easy - my dogs are my pets and companions first and competition/performance dogs second and I have yet to find another breed that appeals to me as much as the Berners do.

Yes, I could be a lot more competitive in agility with one of the "typical" agility breeds but I don't know if I could really provide the right type of home that a high drive, competitive dog would need. I love my cuddly dogs who fit well into my lifestyle. If I want to hike for 2 hours they are up for it. If I want to nap on the couch for 2 hours, they are up for that too.

There are plenty of breeds that I admire and some that I have seriously considered as a "contender" to fit into my household, but something or another just does not seem right. When we get a dog, it should be with some thoughtfulness considering how that dog will fit into our lifestyle. We may get a dog with the intentions of it being a "performance" dog, but often that does not always work out for various reasons. That is why, for me, my dogs are my pets first and if it turns out that they enjoy agility, obedience, or other performance events, great. If not, they are still my companion.

For me, at this time, the Berners are a perfect fit (well, I could do without all the shedding). They are goofy and make me laugh. They are sweet and sensitive. They are fun. They are easy going, "take things as they come" kind of dogs. They are smart but not in a "I need something to do" sort of way. They are always smiling. They make me smile.

I think the only thing that would make me look to a different breed would be the serious health issues in the breed. They have an unfortunate short life span when compared to other breeds of their size. But, it is hard to resist a face like this.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


These pictures are from a couple days ago, and yes, we still have a lot of snow.  Much of it has melted in the past day or so, but my yard still has a lot.  Although it would be nice to see some green grass again, I don't really mind the mild temperatures and bit of snow that we have been getting.  Compared to the devastating tornados, wildfires and flooding that are happening right now in other parts of North America, I am more than happy to put up with a bit of snow.  Besides that, the dogs love it!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Children's Festival Demo

Yesterday we had the opportunity to do some dog sport demos at the Children's Festival. Our local kennel club had space at the Festival and invited a group of us to participate. It was a very long day, but it was lots of fun.

Maggie had a very fun day. She got to visit with many, many kids and enjoyed all the hugs and belly rubs. She adores kids and is very gentle with them. Maggie also helped out in the agility demos and the rally obedience demo.

Bosley had a fun day also. He, however, does not enjoy the attention of kids (he thinks they are a bit scary) but he got to demo in scent hurdle racing, agility and carting.

When I was asked to to a carting demo, I wanted to come up with something that was informative, as well as a bit entertaining. Carting is not really a spectator sport - people may say "wow, look at that dog pulling a cart" but to hold attention for a 15-20 minute demo is tough, especially with so many other activities going on. So . . .

. . . I made these:

A giant milk and cheese to pull in the cart.
I made a little skit (thanks to everyone who helped out) and then did some basic carting demonstrations. I think it went well - I had fun anyway :)
Here is our carting demo:

There were many other great demonstrations throughout the day including agility, scenthurdle, obedience, tricks, freestyle and disc. Here is a video montage of the demos that our group did.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dumbbell (the noun, not the adjective)

A few weeks ago, it was suggested to me to use a wooden dumbbell instead of a plastic one, because the wooden ones have less bounce when you throw them. So I checked the usual obedience supply online stores and I ordered a plain wooden dumbbell. Then . . . I found the most beautiful dumbbells I had ever seen. I came across a website where you can order custom dumbbells made out of your choice of some very nice wood. Not your typical dumbbells, that's for sure. I contacted the lady just to ask a couple questions and check out the prices and I couldn't help but order Bosley a fancy, new dumbbell.

Bosley's new dumbbell is made out of Zebra wood and it is shiny and pretty.

If you would like to see more of these beautiful dumbbells made by Tracy Libby (who provides awesome customer service as well as beautiful work) , check out her website:
White Mountain Australian Shepherds

I'm not addicted to buying dog things. Really. I'm not.
. . . well, maybe a little bit . . .
But you can't find dumbbells like this just anywhere. :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Exciting Weekend News !!!

We spent the the weekend at the Red Deer dog show doing some obedience, some scent hurdle racing and lots of hanging out and visiting.

Bosley was entered in 3 obedience trials and after some really awful heeling on Friday, he pulled it all together on Saturday to earn his first Open leg with a High in Class.  I was so excited and relieved to get that first leg - I was beginning to think it may never happen.  Sunday his heeling was off again and he stepped in the broad jump for an NQ.  But . . . his drops were perfect all weekend and his fetching was great too!  I bought a new heavier wooden dumbbell and have been practicing throwing straight - and was happy that all my throws at the show were pretty darn good :)

Bosley with his HIC ribbon.

Hanging out at the show.

Saturday night was our Scent Hurdle team debut.  We were all so excited to get out there and have our first race.  We were ready at the start line . . . the whistle blew . . .  and everything fell apart.  The dogs acted like they had never been trained at all.  Bosley left his lane to go visit a cute Sheltie at the other box, he really liked Kort's dumbbell and kept bringing back Kort's instead of his own.  All of the dogs on the team had trouble of some sort or another.  We were very discouraged after those first couple races.  Everyone on the other teams were very nice though, and the more our team ran (we had 8 races) the better they got.  In the end, all the dogs settled into the racing and we even won a few heats :)  In Bosley's first ever scent hurdle race, he came home with 30 points towards his Scent Hurdle title.  Not too shabby for our first race ever!

Here is a video of our team in action:

I can't not share the video of our team bloopers.  Funny stuff :)

So overall, a very fun and successful weekend.  Can't wait to do it all again :)

Thanks Amanda for the great pictures !!!