My First Novice Obedience Qualifying Score


Monterey was so tiring!  I had lots of fun, and there are so many good stories to share, but I figured I should share the one about my qualifying in Novice Obedience.  Yes, I did.

In Vallejo last week, there was so much to sniff in the ring, so I did.  I sniffed.  And I wandered off from Mom.  By the time I figured out what was going on, it was too late.  The judge had already decided I didn’t qualified (NQ’d).

I know Mom knows I *can* heel while looking at her, so I thought I probably couldn’t continue to get away with pretending I didn’t know how.  At the specialty, Mom was pretty sure I would sniff my way through the ring, AND we had a judge who had a reputation for being very precise in his scoring.

As it turns out, the judge was VERY nice.  He told Mom and all the other dog parents that they should pretend it was a training session, not a real competition.  In practice, I nearly always do well, so that was it.  Practice.  I *had* to do well.  But I *do* like to sniff.  Tough call.

Before we went into the ring, Mom gave me a piece of hamburger that my brother Dante’s mother had given her to give me.  It was so good!  I was pretty sure she probably had more, but it was ring time.  We started out with the on-leash heeling pattern.  I kept watching Mom thinking there might be more hamburger, and before I knew it, I had finished the whole pattern.  I did it.  We were not NQ’d yet.

Next I had to do the figure 8.  I watched Mom around the first “post,” but then I saw some interesting stuff outside the ring, so I got a little distracted.  I remembered I was with her and sat when I was supposed to.  I did the same thing the second time around the “posts.”

Next was the stand for exam.  Mom made me stand and told me to stay.  The judge came over to touch me, and I really, really, really wanted to lift my feet and lean on him, but I didn’t.  I was still passing!

The next thing was the HARDEST part.  I had to heel with Mom OFF-LEASH!  There was stuff to sniff.  LOTS of it.  So we started, and when we got to the first “halt,” I had an itch, so I scratched for a bit.  Then Mom started going again, so I went with her.  I got a little distracted, so Mom called “heel” again, and I snapped back into reality and caught up with her.  We were STILL qualifying!

Next was the recall.  I LOVE running.  LOVE. IT.  So when Mom called, I ran right to her.  Fast.  Everyone laughed at how fast I came to Mom, and I was looking around to see what was so funny, so I was a little distracted and forgot when I walked around her that I needed to sit.

The nice judge said we were QUALIFYING going into the sits and downs, so I had to go relax in my kennel for a little while until it was time.  Finally the time came, and we had to go back into the ring.  I was first, and then there were a lot of other dogs in there with me.  I was sitting where I could see out the window, so there was a lot to watch.  All the dog parents told us to sit and stay, and then they walked across the ring to watch us for a whole minute.  Two of the dogs decided to lie down, but I knew I was supposed to sit there, so I didn’t move.  I was STILL qualifying.

The last thing was the downs/stays.  That goes on for three whole minutes.  It seemed like three years.  We all did our downs.  I was watching Mom and looking out the window and thinking about the smells in the ring.  It occurred to me that I could get up, but I looked at Mom, and she was smiling at me and giving me that “you are my favorite Berner” look, so I decided to stay.  The whole time.  I stayed. And then the time was up.  Mom came back, and the judge said we had done it.  We qualified!  I had my first Novice Obedience leg.

Mom was so excited that she even asked the judge to take a picture with us to commemorate the event.

So there it is.  I am awesome, and Mom knows I can go through the ring and not sniff.  It will be tough to get away with sniffing at the Sacramento show in two weeks.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been quite as good.  Sometimes my awesomeness is just too hard to hide.


Rally Fun in Monterey


Rico:  You guys seem pretty tired tonight.

Atlas:  I worked hard, so I should be tired.

Mozzie:  You worked hard?  You just did Rally Novice.

Atlas:  It was my first time EVER in the ring.  I thought I was pretty awesome!  Did you see my giant green ribbon?

Mozzie:  I have to paw it to you.  I know you did have to work to get that ribbon.  I’m kind of proud of you, short stack.

Atlas:  I am pretty amazing.  Do you know why the judge didn’t pet me?  I gave her my extra cute puppy eyes look, but nothing worked.

Rico:  I don’t think the judge is allowed to pet you.

Mozzie:  The Rally judge should not be touching you.  Only a crazy obedience judge or a conformation judge is allowed to touch you.

Atlas:  Is that rule going to change?

Mozzie:  No.

Atlas:  That’s just a DUMB rule.

Rico:  So, Mozzie, how did you do?

Atlas:  Were you there today, too?

Mozzie:  Yes, pipsqueak.  I FINISHED my Rally Advanced title.

Rico:  Did you sniff the floor?

Mozzie:  Um, well, maybe a little.

Atlas:  I heard Mom say she thought she’d lost you.  Did you leave the ring?

Mozzie:  I did NOT leave the ring.  I think she meant I stopped paying attention for part of the time in the ring.  There were some really interesting smells in that ring.  I had to drool on the floor a little before I felt like looking at Mom again.

Rico:  You must be pretty good out there if you can sniff, drool on the floor, and still get a qualifying score to finish your title.

Mozzie:  I hate to brag, but I am that good.

Rico:  Good job, brothers.  I stayed in the room and relaxed.

Atlas:  Did you get a ribbon for that?

Rico:  Very funny, NOVICE boy.

Photo Day At Monterey


Mozzie:  That photo session was BUSY this morning.

Atlas:  How come you got to be in so many more pictures than I did?

Rico:   Because Mom loves him the most.

Mozzie:  That is true AND because I got to be in the picture with my brother Dante and my uncle Buzz.

Atlas:  You have another family?!?!

Rico:  He has some fur family who are related by blood in addition to us and Mom and Dad.

Mozzie:  It was fun getting to pose.  Buzz and Dante really like toys, so they are easy.  I don’t care about the toys.  I just want the treats!

Atlas:  There were treats in there?  All I heard was that cat!

Rico:  There wasn’t a cat in there.

Atlas:  I HEARD it.  There was a cat.

Mozzie:  There was no cat, Atlas.  Pat Long, the nice lady who took the pictures, made a sound like a cat.

Rico:  She’s a good impersonator, huh?

Atlas:  There really wasn’t a cat?

Mozzie:  Nope!

Atlas:  Why would Pat pretend to be a cat?

Rico:  So you’d perk up your ears and look cute in the pictures.

Mozzie:  Obviously Pat thought you needed help looking good.

Atlas:  But I’m fluffy and cute!

Rico:  I was just glad to get out of there alive and get back to the room.

Mozzie:  I’m so handsome, Mom even tried to look like me by sticking out her tongue in one of the pictures.

Atlas:  Are you SURE there wasn’t a cat?

Atlas Practices Rally


Atlas:  Did you see how well I did at practicing Rally moves today?

Mozzie:  You mean the “stand” where you immediately sat?

Atlas:  Well, no.  I really meant more the part where I did the sit/stay while Mom walked around me.

Mozzie:  Yes, I saw that.  It’s not a bad start.

Atlas:  I also practiced “front” and “go around” and “finish.”

Mozzie:  You do know that when Mom says, “front,” she means you are supposed to sit squarely in front of her.

Atlas:  How could I do that?  I’m not really square.  Or rectangular.  I’m more like a free form shape.

Mozzie:  No, I mean you are supposed to sit directly in front of Mom. Perpendicularly.

Atlas:  I do that already.

Mozzie:  No, you really don’t.  You do it peculiarly.

Atlas:  Isn’t that what you said?

Mozzie:  Not even close.

Atlas:  Mom entered me into Rally Novice at the Specialty.

Mozzie:  I know.  Please don’t embarrass us.

Atlas:  I’ll be awesome.

Mozzie:  Awesome?

Atlas:  Well, okay, I’ll try to get a qualifying score.

Mozzie:  Good plan, short-stack.

Practicing for Vallejo


Today Mom took me to Rally and obedience class for the first time since my surgery.  She told me she wanted to see if I was ready for Vallejo.  This is a tricky thing.  I don’t want to her to be too confident and expect too much, but I don’t want her to think I am not ready and get discouraged.

We started with some heeling stuff.  I figured it was best to start slow, so I did a little sniffing and lagged a little.  Just enough to remind her that I am not a robot.  We had to practice stand for exam, too, but I have to say that Carol is my friend, and I am always so happy to see her, so it is really hard to hold still when she gets close.  I just think maybe she’ll pet me and give me treats.  I did wiggle and move my feet a little bit, but not a lot.  I didn’t squeak and sit on her feet.  I’ll call that a success!

When it was time to practice stays, I was awesome.  Even when Dad walked nearby, a dog was barking, and a dog was out walking with his mom, I just stayed put.  Did I mention I was next to a GIRL at the time?

Next it was time to go through a Rally Excellent course.  This one had all those tough signs, including being sent to a  jump and having to come back to heel, having to do 180 degree pivot, a sit scoot right and sit again, and also the drop at a distance.  I was so good.  SO good.  Not just a legend in my own mind.  Nope, even Carol said it was my personal best.  I might have overshot my mark here.  I was just going for really good so Mom would know I was ready.

After doing that well, I think Mom might expect me to do really well in Vallejo and in Monterey, but I know she loves me best, no matter how well I do.  It’s good to be me.





I’m feeling a lot better these days, and I’ve even gotten to be free of the donut of healing (better than the cone of shame).  Mom’s been worried about me, of course, so I thought I might milk that a little bit.

I know Mom is trying to get me to work on stuff for the show coming up in Vallejo and then the Specialty in less than 3 weeks, but sometimes I’m just not feeling it.

Monday night Mom wanted me to practice “drop.”  In Rally Excellent, I’d have to be able to do this from a distance, and I was getting pretty good at it before the surgery.  But the way I look at it, I still have to get a qualifying score in Rally Advanced to earn that title before I need to worry about Rally Excellent.  Mom did point out that if I get a qualifying score in Rally Advanced in Vallejo, I’ll be moving up to Rally Excellent in Monterey.  Hmm.

Back to my story….Mom asked me to do a drop from a distance, and I didn’t really feel like it.  So I didn’t.  I stood there and looked confused.  I think she was pretty much onto my game, but Dad chimed in (I was happy he did this) and said, “Mozzie’s probably still sore from his surgery, so that’s why he’s not doing ‘drop’.”  I decided to stop making eye contact with Mom because I knew she’d know that was NOT the problem.

I did this for about 10 minutes until Mom let me do some other things.  She always wants to end on a good note, so she made me practice walking backwards, and I humored her.

She was starting to waffle and feel a little bad about asking me to do “drop,” but then…..on Tuesday morning, it was time for my bully stick.  I LOVE my bully sticks.  LOVE them.  Yum.  Yum!!!  So Mom got out my bully stick and had me do a stand/stay.  Then she walked away turned around and gave me the “drop” signal, and before I knew it, I had hit the floor.  Mom looked at me and said, “You are SOOOO busted, bucko!”  Oh well.  I got my bully stick, and I really enjoyed it.  The only down side is now I *have* to do drop when Mom asks because she knows I didn’t forget it, and I’m not so uncomfortable I can’t do it.

She’s a sneaky one, my Mom.