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, February 19, 2014

Dogs Are Trying To Take Over The World

Really, dogs ARE trying to take over the world! Just go to any dog-type forum and you will see this.  I belong to a couple Berner forums - most of them I have quit because I got too annoyed so I left before I said something that would get me kicked off.  It seems like on a nearly daily basis someone is asking for advice because their dog is trying to be the "alpha".

 I actually just finished writing a response to someone with a four month old puppy who is biting and jumping because she is trying to be the "alpha". They even tried poking her like Cesar does but it didn't help, so she must really be trying to assert her dominance!  Oh brother!!  How about an overstimulated puppy that needs to learn self-control, manners and what is and isn't appropriate. Puppies bite and jump and have tantrums, that is part of being a puppy and it is our job to teach them what it is we want them to do. I was very nice in my response to the guy who wrote the post - you can catch more flies with honey, right?  Well, actually you can probably catch more flies with a big pile of dog crap, but, I would prefer not getting kicked off one of the only Berner forums that I can still tolerate.  You can be sure I didn't recommend rolling the puppy, or poking her or pinning her to the ground so she learns "her place in the pack".

There is so much good information out there about dog behaviour and training, I don't know why people are stuck on the outdated notion of the dominance theory. Especially when you have a Berner who tend to be gentle, willing to please and sometimes a bit sensitive. I don't know why this stuff bothers me so much. I guess because I couldn't imagine how terrified a little, impressionable puppy would feel if they were suddenly pinned to the ground by the person that was their world. It makes me sad.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Many people really struggle deciding when is the right time to retire their dog from agility (or any other demanding dog sport). It can be a tough decision especially in a sport that you and your dog really love.  Some people are forced into the decision if their dog becomes injured. Other people avoid the decision altogether and continue to compete with their dog long after their dog really should be, often covering up their dog's discomfort with meds so that he can make it through a training session or a weekend of competing. Everyone has their own reasons for doing what they do and I really do think most people make the decision that is best for their dog, not just for them.

I decided to retire Bosley from agility last year. It was an easy decision.  He had accomplished more in agility then I ever imagined, being that he is a large, not-so-driven dog.  Although Bosley still liked training, his weakening pasterns had me concerned. Being a dog that weighs nearly 100 pounds, the strain of agility was taking its toll.  He never had any major injury, which is most likely due to his conditioning and that he is a well built, balanced dog. But, his pasterns had given him some trouble in the past and I decided to retire him rather than risk them getting worse or causing a more serious problem somewhere else on his body.

Bosley has not done any agility (except for a few jumps and tunnels in our yard) since early last summer. Since then, I have noticed that his pasterns are looking better and it no longer looks like he is walking with his pasterns on the ground. They are not the same as they were when he was young but they have improved a lot since he has not been jumping and straining them so much.

I am sure Bosley doesn't care that he is not doing agility anymore. He still has other things he is training in and as long as he gets his turn doing something, he is happy and content.  At the end of the day, that is all that really matters.