Tag Archives: Bernese Mountain Dog

Berner Party

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Today we had the pleasure of attending the first annual Bernese Mountain Dog party hosted by Coreen and Steve Johnson of Tailspin.  They invited all of the families who had dogs from their breedings.  There was a bevy of Berners in attendance.  We managed to get a picture with 14 of them.

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There was only one dog there from Spirit’s litter, her sister Asha.

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This is Mom Sophie and her two daughters.

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We also had the pleasure of meeting Tailspin’s newest litter.  They are called the Olympic litter because they were born during the Olympics.  Each puppy’s registered name will be Olympic themed.  They will be six weeks old on Monday.

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Sniffin’ Along

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On Saturday Spirit and I participated in an SDDA (Sporting Detection Dogs Association) Advance Trial in Red Deer hosted by The Little Nose that Knows.  Two days before the trial Spirit surprised us by going into heat.  I contacted the trial co-ordinator and she said we could still compete if Spirit wore a diaper and that we would have to go last.   We’ve never trained with her in heat or with a diaper.  I decided that we would still go to the trial for the experience…….just treat it like a training session with no expectations.

While we were waiting for our turn to start, I walked Spirit around so that she would get used to wearing her search vest and diaper.  Before I could stop her, she squatted and took a pee.  Great now not only was she wearing a diaper but it was sagging and heavy with pee.  We didn’t have time to change so we had to go ahead and do our first two searches that way.

Our first search was containers.  At the advanced level there are two finds and one distractor with dog food in it.  Spirit is not what you would call a high energy or speedy dog.  She slowly but methodically makes her way through the search checking each container.   I could tell when she hit the distractor because she was very interested in the delicious smells wafting out of the container.  I was very relieved when she moved on without alerting on it.  We finished our search in 1 minute and 8 seconds (3 minute time limit).

We immediately went on to the interior search…generally the hardest component because you are inside, there is not much air movement and there are literally hundred of places where the hide can be.  I could tell that she had located the scent cone of one of the hides under a table but she was having trouble finding the source.  I should have asked the Judge if I could move some of the chairs out of the way to give her more room to maneuver but I didn’t.  Classic handler error.  She gave her alert and the Judge asked me to identify where the source was.   I knew it was under the table but I could not tell him exactly where so I took a best guess and pointed to where I thought it was but I was a few inches off.   Too bad…game over no hope of an advanced title today.

We had to wait another hour before we did our final search….an exterior.  She located the scent cone quite quickly but it was so windy she had trouble finding the source.  She went back and forth in the same area several times but then all of sudden she went straight to the hide and gave a beautiful indication.   It took her 1 minute and 49 seconds (5 minute time limit).

Considering the circumstances we did great and I am so proud of Spirit. The NQ for the interior was my fault and a good lesson was learned.  At the award ceremony I was just standing at the back enjoying everyone’s accomplishments when I was shocked to find out that we got a perfect score on the container search and came away with a first place ribbon.

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20 Months Old

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July 26, 2016 · 12:47

Mornings with Spirit

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Her first Title SD-S, SP

SDDAStartedPortrait

Spirit and I competed in our first sanctioned SDDA trial on Saturday, April 23rd in Morinville, Alberta.  I am thrilled to announce that we qualified in all three components: container, interior and exterior/vehicle (3 purple ribbons).  Spirit now has her Sporting Detection – Started title: “SD – S “.  Because we qualified in all 3 components on the same day, we also earned a special designation making her title “SD – S, SP” (large purple/black ribbon).  And if that wasn’t enough, we placed 3rd in the interior search which is the hardest of the three (large white and black ribbon).  Thank you to SDDA Judge Paul Dyer.  I am so proud of my girl.  I think she was also the youngest dog at the trial.

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Thanks to photographer Bev Holoboff for donating her time to take pictures of the teams at work.

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A special thank you to Ryan-Ann of Doglogix Scent Detection for hosting an amazing trial and being a talented scent detection instructor.  Team Spirit’s success is because of you.

After a long, cold and windy day at the trial we came home and relaxed together in the La-Z-Boy.  Spirit loves to use me as her personal pillow. Note Tilly’s disgusted look.

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Another DOT

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On February 24th (the night before Spirit’s shoulder surgery) she participated in her Sporting Detection Dogs Association (SDDA) advanced Designated Odor Test (DOT) for pine.  Even though she was sore she still worked very hard and passed.  We just got our  ribbon and certificate so we thought an official portrait was in order.  Look how nicely the fur is growing back on her shoulder and leg.  With these two DOT tests under her belt, Spirit is now able to participate in sanctioned SDDA started and advanced trials.

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Snow Day

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Spirit, Bentley, Boomer and Hope

On Saturday the gang got together at Patty’s house for a wonderful day of fresh air, great food and even better company.  The dogs had a wonderful time running around together and practicing scent detection.

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Hope helped me make a snow angel

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Spirit got to meet her first cat.  She just kept looking back at me with an expression that said “Hey Mom…..look at this thing!”.

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Spirit meeting Bazinga

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Happy Snuffler

It takes Spirit just a few seconds to inhale her meals.  When I saw Facebook and Blog posts about the snuffle mat I knew it would be perfect for my girl.

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Smelly Girl

WintergreenDOTOur girl has a good nose.  Spirit passed her first Sporting Detection Dog Association (SDDA) test.  She got her Designated Odour Test (DOT) certificate and ribbon for Wintergreen.  There were 14 containers and the hide was in the 12th one.  It took us 28 seconds to complete it.

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Spoiled, Shiny and Clean

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Since we were away on Sunday when Spirit actually celebrated her first birthday we had some “spoiling and loving” to catch up on.  First she got a big frozen sardine to wet her appetite.  Then came the real treat…..a giant knuckle bone.  She spent over a hour lying in the snow enjoying her present.

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Then we took her to the dog wash.  We now have an even more beautiful and shiny girl.  She is so fluffy that she looks like she put on 25 lbs.

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Snow Bunny

Well, I can’t believe it but my big girl is celebrating her first birthday.  Wow time just flies by so quickly.  We’ve also had our first snowfall of the season.  Only one individual in our household is thrilled with the white stuff.  Guess who?

Snowbunny1SnowBunny2

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140lbs of Puppy Loving


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She’s Maturing

11Months

Today Spirit is 11 months old (weights 85 lbs) and just finishing up her first heat.  I knew it would be a challenge with two intact dogs in the house but I was still overwhelmed by Wally’s response to her.  My old boy will be 15 in April but he still has his “mojo” firmly in place.  I think it put a bit of a twinkle in his eyes and a spark in his step.

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Special Day

Today Spirit and I are sharing our special day together.  She is 10 month’s old and I’m ancient.

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New Puppy Bed

We started making this raised dog bed over two years ago.  The various pieces have spent 2 winters on our deck waiting for some attention.  Well I’m thrilled to say we have finally assembled it and it has Spirit’s seal of approval.  I think she will find it nice and cool to have the air circulating underneath her.  It creaks and groans with all her weight on it but it should support her just fine. (Thanks Auntie Patty for finally lighting a fire under our butts to get us to assemble it)

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9 Months and Counting

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9MonthsTo help Spirit celebrate her big day we gave her her first knuckle bone. To say that it was a hit would be a big understatement. She LOVED it!! It kept her busy for a couple of hours. Every time I walked by her she had this look on her face that clearly said “please don’t take this away from me…pretty please!” I did take it from her several times to make sure she wouldn’t resource guard it. She now weighs 34.6 kg or 76.2 lbs.

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If you missed it on Facebook last week, here is Spirit celebrating National Dog Day:

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Our garden helper

Spirit loves to be part of everything that we are doing.  If we ignore her then she finds a way to push her big, fat head into the action.  Here she is helping Dad garden:

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Then she got her first introduction to the garden sprinkler. As you can see she loved it!

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8 Months old…time is flying

Our girl is growing up way too fast….where is my cute little puppy???? She now weighs 32.8KG or 72.3lbs.
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How about a celebratory roll in the grass….

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Camo Puppy

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Camouflage Puppy

It has been so stinkin’ hot that Spirit has found herself a cool, shady spot under the weeping birch to get out of the sun and chillax.

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7 Months Old

What a difference 5 months makes…..

10 weeks old

10 weeks old

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Wordless Wednesday: Family Pictures

MeKids

A few weeks ago I read a very moving post about a dog that passed away unexpectedly. Her owner wanted a do over. Although she had literally hundreds of pictures of her beloved companion, she had none of her with her dog. The story struck a cord with me. I hate having my picture taken and I am always hiding from the camera. I have only a handful of pictures of me and Wally together. My boy is 14 now and he has already lived longer than the normal life expectancy of 12 years. I’m grateful that I saw that blog post. I don’t want to have the same regret when my very special boy goes over the rainbow bridge.

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My girls chill-axin’

Tilly and Spirt hanging out together on the couch

Tilly and Spirt hanging out together on the couch

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Little Rock Star

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This is not exactly a “Wordless” Wednesday post.  This weekend Spirit participated in her first dog show. It was the Northern Alberta Canine Association All Breed show. Everything started Thursday night when Coreen (the breeder) gave Spirit her second bath and groom in less than 2 weeks. She was a lot more relaxed and less stressed for this bath than her first one. Even the high powered blow dryer didn’t phase her.

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On Friday morning, Jo-ann (the handler) showed her and Spirit worked with her beautifully. So well in fact that she got a best bitch in the 6-9 month old puppy category. She then went on to compete with all the winning female Berners and she got reserve (second best) which gave her two ribbons for the day. Coreen and Joanne were so happy with how well she showed that they nicknamed her “Little Rock Star”. Spirit’s Mom Sophie was amazing in the show ring and her nickname is “Rock Star”

On Saturday morning Spirit won best bitch in the 6-9 month old puppy category again. Then she went on to compete in the winners bitch category only this time she won it beating the dog that beat her on Friday. The win gave Spirit her first two points towards her championship.
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I was in total shock. Spirit was absolutely horrible for Jo-ann…the complete opposite of Friday. She constantly sat in the ring and she was just not listening to her. I barely had a chance to digest the win when all of a sudden Jo-ann is handing me the leash and telling me that I have to show Spirit in the best of winners category because she will be competing against her older brother Axl (previous litter) and she had to show him instead.

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It was almost a blessing because I had all of about 30 seconds to panic and then I had to grab the leash and run into the ring. I felt like a fish out of water. I kept apologizing to the judge for not understanding what she wanted me to do. The good news is that Axl won the best of winners category and it gave him all the points he needed to finish his championship.

Next came the best puppy in breed category where the girls compete against the boys for the first time. I handled her again. Her brother handsome Samson had won his 6-9 month old puppy category too so that meant Spirit had to compete against her brother. Although she won, it was a bitter sweet victory. It just didn’t feel right competing against her beautiful brother.

Sampson and Spirit NACA 2015

Sampson and Spirit NACA 2015

Spirit’s first in the Winners’ Bitch category meant that she moved on to compete in the best puppy in the working group. Since she was so horrible for Jo-ann and worked beautifully for me both times, we all decided that I would show her in the afternoon. She competed against 8 or 9 different working dog breeds and she came in fourth which gave her a beautiful big white ribbon.

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Here is her official winners picture.

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Sunday morning was an exact repeat of Friday except that I showed her in both rounds. She got a best bitch in the 6-9 month old puppy category and reserve (second best) in the winners bitch category which gave her another two ribbons.  In total she won six small and  1 large ribbon.

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Here are just a few more pictures of Tailspin’s Berners at the show:

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Spirit and Axl

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Axl, Spirit, Samson and Bentley (Axl’s brother)

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Wordless Wednesday – First Bath….yuk!!

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June 3, 2015 · 07:18

Bait & Gait Class and Mock Dog Show

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Samson, Axel, Ryder and Spirit

This morning Spirit and I took a Bait and Gait class as a warm up for the mock show this afternoon.  She did pretty well for a dog that loves to sit….a big no no for the show ring.  Then this afternoon the handler took her and worked her in the mock show.  Her brother Samson, her big brother Axel (same parents first litter) and the breeders’ Newfie Ryder were all in the same show.  Axl made it to best in show but lost to a beautiful Golden.

Spirit was so wiggly every time the judge touched her and when she tried to look at her bite.  She made the cut for the female working dog group but ended up losing to a cute boxer.  I think it was a great experience for her that hopefully will have her better prepared for the real show. The handler Jo-ann said she did a good job so hopefully she will do her breeders/grandparents (Steve and Coreen Johnson of Tailspin Bernese Mountain Dogs) proud next week at the Northern Alberta Canine Association all breed show.  This video is for you Coreen since you didn’t get the opportunity to see your grand-daughter “strut her stuff” in person.

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6 Months Old

Spirit6Months-2Our girl is 6 months old and full of herself. One minute I love her to bits and can’t smooch her up enough and the next minute I would like to give her away to the first person I see. I guess it is the joy of adolescence. She can be so sweet and then so rotten a millisecond later.  We went to the Vet for our monthly weigh in and she was 28KG or almost 62 lbs.  She now weighs the same as Wally and she is almost as tall as he is.

Next weekend she will participate in her first Dog Show (All Breed).  We are doing a mock show on Sunday to give her a chance to work with her handler for the first time.

Spirit6Months

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Mmmmm Watermelon

SpiritWatermelon

Technically it is supposed to be spring but we just had a huge dump of heavy, wet snow. The cool temps didn’t seem to dampen Spirit’s enthusiasm for trying watermelon for the first time. At first she just tried licking it. She watched her big brother chomping on it and then she started inhaling it as fast as she could. It seems odd to be eating watermelon when there is snow on the ground.  I managed to capture a bit of the action on video.


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Spirit the Cheerleader

We all got up bright and early to head to St. Albert so that I could participate in the Run Wild Half Marathon. Spirit was a great cheerleader at the start line and attracted tons of attention. There is something about a Berner puppy.  Everyone just wants to meet her and smooch her up.

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After the race we had to go to Spirit’s conformation class. Her brother, handsome Samson, was in the same class so we finally got a picture of the two of them together. Although Spirit is about the same height as Samson she looks dwarfed beside him. He also weighs about 13lbs more than her (that’s about 20% heavier).

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5 Months Old

Spirit_5Months

Our little girl is 5 months old today. On the way home from a play date at the off-leash park we stopped at the Vet for a weigh in. I was shocked to discover that she was 54 lbs (see Grandma….no worries). I took a bunch of pictures of her and the rest of the kids so that you can see how much she has grown and how quickly she is catching up to Wally.

Spirit, Wally and Tilly

Spirit, Wally and Tilly

Wrestling with my big brother

Wrestling with my big brother

Spirit loves to cuddle. Unfortunately she is so big and klutzy and she doesn’t recognize her own strength. She usually ends up hurting me when she is trying to give me lovin’.

Look out....here I come

Look out….here I come

Mmmm ears!!

Mmmm ears!!

Giving Mom a big wet willy

Giving Mom a big wet willy

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Our first water adventure

Now that the ice jams are gone, I felt it was safe for Spirit to be introduced to the river at the dog park.  The first time she followed a bunch of dogs in and came bounding out.  The second time she ran in and hit a deep spot and her head went under the water (at 2:14). She was a bit surprised but recovered quickly.  It took an extra 30 minutes of running around to get all the dirt, mud and excess water off her coat before I would let her back into the car.

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