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Friday, January 20, 2017

Online Obedience Titles

The online dog training community has really taken off over the past few years.  There are a few online schools that are dedicated to providing quality dog training classes and there are many more individual instructors that also offer online training. I have been doing online training classes with Rundle since he was a little puppy. I have really enjoyed them - you get quality instruction and amazing individual feedback while training at your own pace and on your own time.

There has also been a growing number of online organizations that offer performance titles. There have been online trick dog titles and rally titles available for some time now. You send in a video of your performance and are scored based on predetermined criteria. Recently, the Fenzi Dog Sport Academy (where I have taken many online classes) added an obedience titling program.  Each level incorporates varying levels of difficulty of different exercises you will find in AKC obedience, stressing good foundation training.  For example, Level 1 includes scent discrimination out of 3 articles, position changes at a short distance, fronts and finishes, beginning go outs, and distraction/impulse control work, as well as other obedience behaviours. 

When I went through and read the requirements for Level 1, I was excited because this is all stuff that Rundle has been working on since he was a puppy. So I decided to give it a try and I registered Rundle and submitted a video. We got our results back and Rundle passed!  The judge was wonderful and gave us some nice comments on our exercises as well as some tips to be successful moving forward. 
Here is a link to the website that gives the exercise required for Level 1:
Fenzi Team Titles Level 1

Here is the video of Rundle passing his Level 1 Team Title.

I think Rundle has the skills to pass Level 2, so we will be working on that right away. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Story Of Green

When we were choosing our first Berner, Maggie, the breeder sent us photos and we chose the puppy we wanted from the pictures. (Reputable breeders generally do not use this method to match puppies to owners, but that is not what this post is about).  When Maggie came to us, she was wearing a green collar. Her breeder never referred to her as the "green collar" puppy, so we are not sure if she was always the "green puppy" or if the collar was put on just before she came home. It was really an insignificant detail at the time anyway. Her green collar got taken off and put in her puppy memory box and she got to wear a pretty "girl" collar.

Fast forward a year and a half and we went to pick up Bosley at his breeder's house. When we got there, we had no idea what puppy would be coming home with us, but his breeder had narrowed down her choice for us to 3 puppies - Mr. Sparkle, Mr. Black and Mr. Green.  After spending time with Wanda and the puppies, she thought Mr. Green would be the best puppy for us. So home we went with the the boy puppy wearing the the green collar.  It wasn't until later when I took off Bosley's puppy collar that I realized that both Maggie and Bosley came home with green collars. Funny.

When I was waiting for Rundle to be born, I really wanted a girl puppy.  There was only one girl puppy in the litter and so I told his breeder that I would also consider taking a boy, as I would rather have the puppy best suited to me, rather than a specific gender.  I was holding out hope that the girl puppy would be the one that was chosen for us, but Alison was certain that one of the boys was a good match and would be what I was looking for. Can you see where this is going?  The Green collar boy is who she chose. Right away I figured that it was meant to be, because ..... Green collar!

When I inquired about Eddie's litter, before they were even born, all the puppies were spoken for.  Then when the puppies were about 6 weeks old, I got an email asking if I was still interested in a puppy from the litter, as someone decided that it was not the right time for them to get a puppy.  A boy puppy was available.  Stacy didn't know which one because they were still too young to evaluate but there were four boy puppies in the litter.  I sure had my eye on the Green boy - he looked so sweet in the pictures and, well, he had a green collar.  I knew not to get my heart set on a puppy just based on the arbitrary color of his collar, as the choice wasn't mine to make. When I flew to pick up Eddie I knew who was getting the Red puppy, and the Yellow puppy had already gone home. That left Blue and Green. As soon as I got to Stacy's we went to the puppy room and she brought me my puppy - sweet little Blue collar boy. He was very cute and I was excited to be taking home this fun puppy, even if he didn't have a green collar. The new owner of Red boy and myself spent the afternoon in the puppy room and Green boy kept crawling in my lap and just curling up there. Such a sweetie he was and there were a couple jokes about how Green boy wanted to come home with me.  But, he was promised to a wonderful and experienced show/working home, and they were coming out the next morning and we would all be taking our puppies home.  The next morning came and Stacy came to pick me up from the hotel to go back to her place to get Blue boy's paperwork done and contracts signed. As soon as we started driving she told me she just got a call and the people who were supposed to take Green boy changed their minds. What!?!?!? I now was offered the opportunity to take Green boy home. I did not want the colour of a collar to rule my decision, so Stacy and I stacked the puppies and watched them move and talked about my goals for this puppy. I really didn't know what to do, as both puppies were nice. Then Stacy said if it were her choice she would chose Green boy.  So that is what I did and another Green collar puppy came home.

The green collars are most likely just a coincidence, but it's fun to ponder the idea that green collar puppies were meant for me :)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 - Start It Up!

It has been almost 2 years since I have posted anything on this blog. Many times I have thought about posting or started to post, but never did. No excuses, but once you fall out of the habit of doing something, it is hard to get back into the swing of things.  I miss writing here. It is a way to have a record of the things I have done with my dogs and a place to formulate my thoughts and goals. I do not share much on Facebook and definitely don't use Facebook as a place to post rants or controversial topics, but here I feel much more open to writing without worrying about setting off a firestorm.

Two years is a long time to try to play catch up, and I likely won't even try.  We lost Bosley to Histiocytic Sarcoma in the fall of 2015, which left a huge hole in our lives. Rundle was lost without him and started having some separation anxiety. It took a few months for him to settle and accept being the only dog. Then happier news last May when we welcomed a new Berner boy into our lives. Eddie came to us from Wagontale Bernese in Colorado.  He is nine months old now and a happy, fun, pushy teenage boy who loves to work. He comes from a long line of multi-titled working/performance dogs and has some amazing dogs in his pedigree.  Hopefully I can help him reach his potential.

Rundle has started to compete in agility and obedience (rally) and has really matured this past year. He has lots of good foundation skills in both obedience and agility and has started to figure out the whole competing thing. I have lofty goals for him this year - a CD, a CDX and Excellent titles in CKC agility and maybe more rally titles if we get to enough trials.  He is quite sensitive and stresses in crowded show environments, so I will need to choose our obedience venues carefully, as I don't want any setbacks after all the hard work we have done so far.

My goals on this blog are to write at least a couple times a week. I need a way to document my training and keep me on task. I am very good at procrastinating, but I find if I hold myself accountable by writing things down, I am much better at keeping up with my goals. So, here is to 2017 and new goals and keeping on track!