Drafting Clinic

DraftCinic1We drove to Calgary today to participate in a drafting/carting clinic put on by the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada and the Newfoundland Dog Fanciers of Alberta.  We were joined by Coreen & Steve Johnson of Tailspin Bernese (Spirit’s breeders) with their Newfie Ryder and two other Tailspin Berners,  brother and sister Gunnar and Felice.

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Felice, Gunnar, Ryder and Spirit (L-R)

We started out a little rocky.  Spirit has been kicksledding for the last two months so she thought that she was supposed to take off like a rocket and pull the cart. It had to stand in front of her to stop her from racing off (and I have the bruises to prove it).  Eventually she caught on and began to walk nicely at my side and even started making some decent left and right turns.  We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us before we could even consider taking the draft dog test.

Carting Anyone?

CartFitting

Next week we are going to take a carting clinic and we needed a cart for the class.  We are very lucky that Spirit’s breeders Coreen and Steve Johnson from Tailspin Bernese Mountain Dogs generously offered to lend us one of theirs.  We went to their acreage on Sunday to fit Spirit with her harness and cart.

CartDown

Since we have been doing kick sledding I was worried that Spirit would want to take off running with the cart rather than walking in a nice heel beside me.  She was a little spooked by the metal supports running along side her body but I think she did ok.

CartPull

Of course it was freezing cold and windy for us two legged folks but the dogs didn’t mind.  Here is a quick video of her first reaction to being attached to the cart and then her first experience pulling.

Kicksledding

Berners were bred to pull milk carts in the Swiss Alps.  I thought we should start with something a little easier like pulling a kicksled.  We joined a local Meetup group, rented a sled and attended our first outing at the end of January.  It went really well.  It took Spirit a while to figure out the game but she did a really good job pulling the sled and trying to follow the teams ahead of us.  We completed a 4km loop and had a wonderful time.

kicksled

This past weekend we went out with the group again.  I think Spirit was possessed by the “pulling gods”.  Oh my goodness she went fast….and full out on the down hill part.  We only lasted about 10 minutes and ended up with 2 spectacular crashes and a bent ski on my brand new kicksled.  I had my GoPro on my helmet (thank goodness I bought a helmet) so my wipeouts are on record.   You can see that the camera was a little askew after the first crash and then it ended up buried in the snow after the second one.

We went out again today to a local provincial park.  It was mostly flat with a few gentle hills.  It was a lot slower today since the terrain was relatively flat and there were no teams ahead of us to chase.  I hope to go out with the Meetup group again this weekend.

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Happy New Year

spirit2017

It was a beautiful, sunny New Year’s Day so my big girl and I went for a walk together without any of the other dogs.  Spirit has been having trouble getting used to sharing her “Mom” with our foster puppy McMullin.  Whenever I try and smooch him she pushes him out of the way and tries to get the attention.

spirtmcmullin

nailShe was spayed 2 weeks ago so she has been very bored hanging out around the house without any physical activity except 2 gentle walks a day.  Somehow she still managed to rip her toe nail almost completely off and leave just exposed tissue and bone.  I had the unfortunate job of having to trim off the nail.  I’m so lucky that we have such a strong bond that she completely trusted and allowed me to slowly and careful trim back the nail close to the base.  Poor girl.  She has sure had a run of bad luck health wise.  Let’s hope that 2017 is a new beginning for her.

2 Years Young

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I can’t believe that she is two years old already.  Time is just flying by.  She got a huge, delicious dino bone to celebrate.

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Anticipation

You can get a perspective on just how huge the bone is when you see it beside her giant 97lb body.  One end is the same size as her head.  She can barely carry it in her mouth.

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