Reading Maps


Yesterday I was really excited that I was going to go to an agility lesson on a Wednesday, not Sunday like usual.  I always have fun when I go, because I like Jessica.  She tells me how handsome I am, so she clearly has 20/20 vision.  There are also nice smells there and chickens to watch and grass to run on, so it’s a fun time.

Yesterday, Jessica had Mom and me run a few different courses with  all kinds of obstacles.  Apparently I did a good job, but Mom needed some remediation.  I got to go rest in a shady spot while Jessica showed Mom about how to give me better cues (something about her shoulders) and how to analyze a course.  Obviously *I* already know how to analyze a course.

  1. Check to see if there’s anyone there (like the judge or leash runner) who needs for you to go visit.
  2. Check to see if there is a teeter on the course and if there is, remember the location so you know how much time you have to decide whether or not to do it.
  3. Note where both the entrance and exit are (as well as the chair where your leash will be placed) in case you decide to leave early.
  4. Do a sniff to see if it’s worth slowing down to smell or if you should just run and do stuff.
  5. Check to see if Mom is offering to give you good treats if you run the whole course.  That’s it.  Easy peasy.

Apparently for Mom, there’s a different list, so Jessica was helping her understand that.  There was something about corners, insides, outsides, lines, angles, dots, lines, dotted lines, and some other stuff.  My list seems easier, so I’m going to stick with it.  Mom can have her own list as long as my #5 is on there.

That was all fun, and I was ready to come home when Mom pulled a sneaky move and took me to the DOG WASH to get groomed.  Apparently the place she uses when she doesn’t wash us outside at home was offering a FREE wash, so decided to torture me with that.  She says I smell better and don’t have elf feet anymore, and that makes her happy, so I guess the torture was worth it.

She promised to take me for a walk and to show me some of what she learned yesterday.  I’m up for that as long as I don’t have to compute angles or anything.


Another Trial, Another Title

This weekend was another fun agility trial.  Saturday I was in Open Jumpers for the first time since I finished Novice last time.  The course was kind of confusing, and there was a new judge there.  I wasn’t too sure about him, so about halfway through the course, I had to go check him out.  Apparently this took too much time because even though I finished the course, I didn’t qualify.  Oh well.

I did FAST next, and Mom had a fun route laid out, but it didn’t include the weave poles.  But I like weave poles!  Since we were passing by them, I decided to just do them, too, and apparently that gave me some extra points I didn’t even need, and I still finished in time and in first place.  It meant I also finished my Novice Fast Preferred (NFP) title.  I was pretty awesome!

Last was Novice Standard.  That stupid teeter was there, and there were some tricky spots where it looked like I should go over a jump, but I was supposed to go over the A-Frame and stuff like that.  Still, I didn’t want Mom to think I was refusing to do those courses, and I’d done the last few courses, but I kept getting distracted, so I took too long.

This time, I decided to do what Mom asked.  I wanted to be careful to do it correctly, so I didn’t go too fast, but I did get it done.  There’s even a video (the one in this blog post)!  I finished in first place, and I still had 7 seconds left, so I might have done better than I should have.  I think Mom might expect me to do that again now that she knows I CAN do it.

I was a little tired on Sunday, so I took it easy and was over time in all of my events.  That seemed like a good plan, but then today, Mom said we had to work together on “our conditioning.”  At first I thought she said “air conditioning,” and I didn’t think it was safe, but then I realized she said, “our.”  I wasn’t sure what that meant until we went on our daily walk and she made me keep moving and not stop to sniff everything.  She said that will help both of us get faster in the ring.  That is okay as long as we have air conditioning, too.


Dixon Agility Trial, March 2016


I had a fun weekend at an agility trial in Dixon.  It was the first time I’d ever competed on grass, and I have to say, grass is so much better than dirt.  Why?  Because it smells so nice!

The day was great, too, because Dad came along, my girlfriend, Luna, was there with her mom Jillian, and some of Mom’s Berner friends (Larry, Terri, Mike, and Pat) were all there.  And as a bonus, there was a girl Berner there.  Her name was Marcie.  She was still a puppy, but she was really cute and smelled even better than the grass.  Unfortunately, she had to leave, so I was back to my option of sniffing grass.

I was entered in Jumpers with Weaves (Open, the level after Novice), Standard (Novice), and FAST (Novice).  I did Jumpers first.  I was off to a pretty good start, but then I remembered that Dad was there and was going to be recording my run, so I had to stop and look for him to make sure he was getting this all digitally recorded.  I looked for him for awhile, and then I remembered I was supposed to be going over jumps or something, so I went back to Mom and continued through the course.  I was super sneaky though, so I managed to sniff the grass between jumps and on my way to and from the tunnel.  It was harder to do in the weaves because I was afraid I’d hit my head, so I didn’t do it there.

I had a great time, and Mom was happy, so we celebrated.  She gave me the liver treats that Dad had made, and I relaxed in my kennel.  Next up was Standard.  My nemesis the teeter lives in that ring, but I know I can conquer that, so I was only a little iffy.  I got a little distracted by the grass and all the things going on again, but I did finish the whole course, and even though I took longer than the allotted time by 9 seconds, we celebrated again.  I like the liver treat celebrations!

Last was FAST.  Mom told me we were going to go in, do six obstacles and then get liver treats.  I was super excited, so I did it.  I did a jump, then the distance send thing (that was a tunnel then a jump), then it was over the A-frame and two more jumps.  I did all of that in 20 seconds!  I am very eager when it comes to yummy treats.  Apparently I was so fast I got an extra ribbon for third place.  It didn’t smell great, but Mom put it with my collection.

Sunday was harder because it was raining and the grass was wet, and the place smelled different, so I had to spend a little time checking it out again.  We only did Jumpers and Standard.  In Jumpers, I was AWESOME!  I did this really confusing circle of jumps TWICE just like Mom asked me to, and I didn’t miss anything, even in all of the 12 weave polls.  I did stop once to make sure Mom was going the right way.  We finished that course, and it was time for another celebration.  I got a whole cheese stick!  A whole one!  Mom said I was super great, and people told her that we were a great team.  It turns out that I sniffed one second too long, so we missed getting a ribbon, but if I have a choice between a ribbon and a piece of cheese…well, we know I got what I wanted.

We did Standard last.  It was getting windy, and that means it smelled even better.  I did the whole course, but I was not as sure about the teeter when it was wet, so I only put two paws on at first, so I had to try again.  I did it just fine the second time, but I did the same thing at the high walk, and I guess I was only allowed to have one time where I didn’t just get to doing the obstacle without hesitating.  The judge called these times refusals.  I personally think that is silly because I didn’t REFUSE, I was just being careful.  Nevertheless, I did the whole course, so we celebrated and then came home.

Today as a little reward, Mom took me to my second favorite path where no one goes, so I got to go off-leash and SNIFF!  She said I needed to get that out of my system because we are off to do agility again next weekend.  I am already looking forward to being my awesome self again.  I especially look forward to the FAST runs because it’s a shorter time to the reward.

I better go rest.  It’s lots of work being handsome AND agile!




I Need a Bath!


Last weekend, I competed in an agility trial.  It was windy and rainy and muddy.  I’ll have to share more about that another day.  When the weekend was over, Mom said I really needed to get groomed because I didn’t look as handsome as usual.  Today while Mom and I were walking out in the wind, I realized she might be right.

I had already checked my pee-mail, made a few posts, and sniffed lots of goose poop, water, and grass when a family approached us.  The little girl was on a bike, and thankfully her parents told her to steer away from me.  Mom was ready to veer off into the mud if necessary, but I’m glad we didn’t have to do that.  When the girls parents who were jogging along behind her caught up with us, they both commented on how handsome I am.  Of course, I am very used to this kind of compliment, so Mom said thank you (as usual).  The dad asked what kind of dog I am, and Mom told him (as always), a Bernese Mountain Dog from BERN (she really emphasizes the N), Switzerland.  Both of the parents again said I was very good looking, and I thought maybe I didn’t need to be groomed as much as Mom said.

Just as I was about to say something to Mom, the parents had this little exchange:

Woman:  “That’s the kind of dog Joe and Susan have!”

Man:  “No, it’s not.”

Woman:  “They look the same.”

Man:  “They have a Neapolitan Mastiff.”

Oh NO WAY!  Even on my worst day, I do not look like a Neapolitan Mastiff.  I am so handsome.  It was hard to hear.  I have never wanted to be groomed before, but I can’t have people thinking I look like a whole different, less handsome breed.  That is just wrong.