Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas Bandits 2012


in 4 Provinces and 6 States

Wild Eyed Reese, Baby Face Nugget and Ardi Oakley.

This gang is Trouble with a capital T.  The little one with the snow beard appears to be the ring leader in frequent early morning barking, unsoliciated boistuous greetings that include licking and jumping,  Don't be fooled by the tail wagging, they will stop at nothing to steal your heart, your time and empty your wallet,  Then remarkably,  leave you with a warm feeling. Sightings of their antics usually  leave you laughing and unaware of their mischief.  Approach with caution if you ever want to see your heart again.


Monday, 26 November 2012

Happy 12th Birthday Ardi

 Today Ardi, turned 12 years old. She had a great year.  In March of this year we started feeding her and Reese a raw food diet.  This has made a huge difference to her energy level, skin, coat, teeth and just her over all health.  We love this girl and thrilled she is doing so good.  Her cake is made of peanut butter and bannana topped with yogurt and turkey biscuits to decorate.

Reese @ 4yrs old, Ardi @ 12 yrs old and Nugget @ 6 months.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Who stole Nugget?

Last night some one stole my "do anything", "try anything" puppy and left a puppy who never heard the word sit or the name Nugget. When I asked her "What's up Nugget?" she just blinked as if to say I don't know the language you speak.Her little blink always melts my heart.

To be honest,  I just wanted to scoop her up and  take her home and come back next week.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated.  Not with  her, but  being  in the situation where we had to try to keep up, it really wasn’t fair to her.   So we  pulled out the tug and had a play, we played the touch game and did a few rounds of puppy zen.  We moved to the middle and the end and let people pass by us.

The Nugget, I know shone  through a few times with some brilliant heeling and some lovely about turns. The last exercise s of the night were pivots, left and right.  She pivoted beautifully  the quarter turn minus a sit.. No biggy lots of time to work on that.  Nugget had one of those nights where she just wanted to stay home and be a puppy.

Monday, 19 November 2012

2012 Santa Claus Parade

What do you get when a few people refuse to hang up their carts and harnesses for the season/ You get the formation of an improptu group so they can enter the 2012 Santa Clause Parade.  The group is named the "Queen City Canine Carting Group".

With the theme of the parade being "Story Book Time" we decided to go with a Dr Seuss Christmas Classic,  "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"   We were the people of Whoville and were were bringing Christmas back.    This was a whole lot of fun!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Draft Dog Test

The first day of the draft test went well.  Our equipment check went smoothly everything looked good to the judges so it was on to the obedience portion of the test.  The obedience portion is an off leash heeling pattern followed by a 1 minute stand stay.  Everything went well, though I have to admit I was a bit worried with the stand when the wind made the ring tape flap in the ring, but alas Reese stayed standing  in place for the full minute. 

Next up was the 3 minute down.  While in the down Reese shifted positions and went from laying on 1 hip to a Sphinx position at this point I was pretty sure she had sat up enough to NQ , but was holding on to a slim hope the judges would see it differently.  If Reese had not already NQ'ed , she started creeping towards me and by the time the 3 minutes were up she was about 5ft ahead of all the other dogs.

There were 13 dogs entered in the Draft Dog Test, and once all had finished the long down we each returned for the cart maneuvers.  The dog had to be harnessed and hitched in the ring while the judges watched to make sure the dog remained cooperative and in place.  Once Reese was harnessed  and hitched the main judge went over her to make sure her harness was on properly and not twisted.  At the beginning of this exercise, when the judge asked the steward to bring my cart in, Reese completely turned around.  One of the judges failed this and in speaking to him later he said that the stand stay was a main component to draft work, so he saw that as a major offence. 

 On day 2  we qualified under 2 judges and earned 2 of the legs for her Draft Dog title. Disappointed? Not on your life she did everything I asked and in 2 of the judges minds she completed everything a Draft dog needed The third judge failed her 3 minute down for fidgeting, curling a paw under and shifting from sphinx to side and back.


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Count down to the Draft Dog Test

The count down has started to the Draft Test this weekend.  When I signed up for the "Carting with your Dog" workshop this spring, my aspirations were simple.  a) hang out with my friends and have some fun b) hang out with my dog and have some fun.  Well I can honestly say that those goals have been met ten fold. You can see by Reese's face she enjoys it to. 

It is time to change gears, dig in and pull together as a team. 
These pictures were all taken at the Draft Dog Fun match about 2 weeks ago, even little 15wk old Draft Dog wannabe Nugget was on hand to cheer Reese on.

The Draft Test fun match was a chance for us to find out what the real thing will be like.  We were all put through our paces and I came away with the knowledge of what we needed to work on. 

The big thing was the ring exercises, I was to fumbly putting the harness on and the judge found a few twists in the harness...not good. I need to make the harnessing smoother. My off leash pattern was pretty good, but there is always room for improvement . On the 1 minute stand stay, Reese sat with 5 secs left. That is an automatic NQ, so practise, practise, practise  Reese did great on the 3 minute group down stay, which has been a problem, so this was great success. . Once I was harnessed and hitched, the cart manuevering went well.  The freight haul went well except for a spot where we were going up hill.  We got bogged down, because I slowed down to decide which angle I was going to approach at.   I should have had that figured out in the walk through and would not have needed to slow down and loose momentum.

I am very happy with how Reese and I have developed as a draft team and feel that we are well prepared for the test.  I am sure there will be a few anxious moments, but I  I have a wonderful partner and that is the most important thing. 

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Puppy Dash @ the QC Ex!

On August 2nd at Regina's Queen City Exhibition Nugget got to participate in a couple of shows.

Nugget was in the the Puppy Dash.   It was a race through the tunnel, through the hoop around the barrel and back. My motivator was a wooden spoon with peanut butter on it. It was a ton of crazy fun for dogs and handlers alike.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Summertime Fun!

Summertime, what a great time to have a brand new  puppy.  There have been so many opportunities to get Nugget out and about and socialized to people, places, sounds and other dogs.

On July 28th, KAOS was invited to perform 2 shows at the town of Chaplin's 100th Anniversary celebration. 

Nugget's part was to make her arrival carted in by Reese. It was 31 C degrees in the shade, and if you look really close you can see the Nug laying on her back in the crate as we wait for the introduction.
After a ride around the park. We stopped for Introductions and Nugget was sprung from her chariot.
Nugget handled the kids, the crowds and the heat like a pro. Of course the occaisonal dip in the paddling pool helped stay cool.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Whiskey Creeks Precious Mettle

Nugget @ 7 wks old

It seems like a lot has happened since I last posted in June.  Of greatest note is that a friend and I made a whirlwind trip to Wisconsin to pick up a very sweet Chesapeake puppy  to add to our canine family.  Nugget is her name and she is a spunky wee Chesapeake that comes from Whiskey Creek Chesapeakes in North Carolina.

Nuggets  registered name is “Whiskey Creeks Precious Mettle”  The definition of “Mettle” is:  ability to cope well with difficulties; of extraordinary spirit and resilience.  Kathy Case gave Nugget this name, because at 12 days old, Nuggets 11 litter mates were gaining ounces while she was only gaining an 1/8th of an ounce.  After a vet visit confirmed there was nothing wrong with Nugget, Kathy took her home and began bottle feeding her.  She remains a small girl with a  ton of spirit and resilience.

Nugget’s arrival here seemed rather unexpected, but there are no coincidences and everything happens for a reason.  She fits in well and it feels like she has always been here.  She truly is a wonderful gift.  Thanks to Kathy Case of Whiskey Creek Chesapeakes, she arrives well loved,socialized and ready to take on what every comes her way.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Nikki's 11th Birthday - Swimming and Retrieving with friends

Ardi @ 11.5, Nikki @11 & Chaser @ 9
Happy 11th Birthday Nikki

Today was Nikki's 11th Birthday and there is no better way for a retriever to celebrate then swimming and retrieving with old friends. 

The 3 old timers retrieved a few bumpers and dokkens and did a little swimming. 



There were a few youngsters that enjoyed the birthday swim as well.

True (10months) and Torque (8 months)

Torque having a ball.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Curi's new life!

 What a wonderful surprise to come home from training to see these new pictures from Tennille of Curi in her new life!

Chutes and Ladders - I can stay!

Every dog has a threshold of comfort and although it seems obvious now, I was left scratching my head often when Reese could not maintain a group sit or down stay when there were many occasions she could hold a stay.
The situations Reese can hold a stay in:
-in the field while I walk 70 yds to throw a double.
-beside Ardi in nearly every situation, with nearly every distraction in my yard or house.
-in the agility field while I change the jump heights on course.
-in the training center while I put equipment away.
-on the start line in agility – 80% of the time.
-can stay in another room while I get her food ready.

So like I said, what seems obvious now is that the group situation, with other dogs and handlers exceeds her threshold for performing a stay.

We have some motivation to get ready for the draft test in September and to be ready she will need to do a 3 minute sit stay in a group. There is also a stand stay, for 1 minute, but it is done alone with the handler only 6 feet away.

Waiting @ the Agility Field

Lianne reminded me of a technique for lengthening behaviours, in this case the behaviour is a stay. Sue Ailsby in her book “Training Levels Steps to Success”, calls it Chutes and Ladders. What it means is you start by only going as far as you have success, returning before the dog reaches its threshold (breaks) and click and treat. You then head out and go a little further, then return again before the dog breaks. If the dog breaks, you move back to the beginning and start again.

In the case of Reese, I am working at both lengthening the distance I can move away while she stays and the length of time I can be away. I have to be careful to not change the requirements of both at the same time and increase the requirements in small steps.

We have had the opportunity to practise with a few dogs Reese knows. To begin, I’ve established that her comfort zone is about 15 ft for 30 sec. So we are working toward 1 minute at 15 feet. After 2 sessions with 2 different sets of known dogs, she has been successful in a 1 minute down and sit from 15ft. So we will continue working on duration and then up the distance. The important thing is to move in small increments to increase the threshold of her comfort.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Something on the Wind

Tonight , I trained in an old spot we frequented years ago. This is the spot where Kate, my first Chesapeakes ashes are spread. I could feel her on the wind, hear her in the rustle of the marsh grass and see her in the enthusiasm of the dogs,  retrieving for their people. She was a dog who loved life and her memory reminds of all the things in life to love.

This is a picture of Kate and Ardi in the field from years gone by.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Road and trail ready

Reese's cart painted and ready for the road

We have been out and about a few times with the cart since the workshop. We did a quick run at the aglity field and a good hour long cruise at Wascana Park. We have not really done to much load hauling as we are working on more control on turns, pace changes and stopping. 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Figure 8's, Turns and Dog racing

Tonight was a repeat performance of carting fun.  Reese and I met up with Jill, Yo and Sonny for some carting  and a little geocaching.  We carted across hill and dale, found 2 caches and enjoyed a wonderful spring evening.  Wind and bug free! 

Here are a few videos of the action.

Sonny and Reese side by side and an in turn...ha ha sounds like curling.

That went well, so next we tried a figure 8. The pile ons are set at 8'. In a test they can be set between 6' and 8'. 

Once the carts and harnesses were put away,  Sonny and Reese got down to a good old dog game of chase. What fun?

Zero to 60 - Chesapeake tested and approved

My cart was ready and picked up earlier this week. I have been itching all week to harness Reese up and hit the road. Unfortunately with crazy winds all week the weather didn’t co-operate. Last night was a different story. I dismantled the cart and loaded for transport.

I met Jill, Yo and their Golden Retriever Sonny at Mt. Pleasant. Mt. Pleasant is the site of Regina’s old landfill which has been turned into a sports area, with tobogganing hills, ball diamonds, soccer and football fields. Best of a all a huge graveled parking lot that was for the most part dry and empty.

See how nicely the cart fits in the Saturn.

First up was putting the cart back together. Its design allows the wheels and shafts to come off for easy transport. Taking it apart was easy enough and I was prepared for a bit more challenge of putting it back together. It took all of 5 minutes and had I paid attention to which shaft went where, it probably would only have taken half the time. I am ever so grateful to Rick for building it for me, its light, easily transported. 

Once the carts were ready to go it was time to get Sonny and Reese out and harnessed and hitched to their carts.

We started with a straight away off the gravel parking lot and on to the grass. Next a wide turn back towards the parking lot and an unhitching and rehitching so Reese could go to the bathroom. In my excitement to get going I forgot to ex her first. Then we headed through some trees and back on to the parking lot. We tried a few tighter turns and a modified (meaning wide) figure eight. That went well so we thought we would try a hill.

Mt. Pleasant has a 2 tiered hill, great for tobogganing. It’s covered with natural prairie grass, many gopher holes and some debris that is surfacing from the mound of trash the hill is built on. My vision was to make it to the 1st plateau which has a long easy grade of a climb. But with Sonny in lead Reese went from Zero (not budging without a treat under her nose) to 60, pretty much full speed ahead unless she ran the shafts into my leg or ran over my foot when I turned into her to slow her down. In no time flat we were at the top of the hill where Sonny and Reese stopped to survey the path they travelled.

Sonny and Reese smiling at the top of Mt Pleasant

While at the top of the hill Yo had a bead on a cache located metres away. To help look for the cache we unhooked the carts to prevent Sonny and Reese from laying down or sitting while hitched. After a few minutes Yo and Jill had the cache in hand and we hitched the dogs up to make the trek back.

Once back to the vehicles we tried a few more turns and added a little bit of weight to Reese’s cart before unhitching the dogs and giving them a drink. Now Reese’s cart has been Chesapeake tested and approved.

Monday, 9 April 2012


Well, Reese's harness came and I got the chance to hook her up to a friends cart. Here she is hitched.  Yea I know she does not look impressed, it is sort of like " first you say don't pull, now you say pull, make up your mind"

Pulling in the building with matting on the floor was a good introduction for Reese.  The cushioned floor made the cart fairly noise free, so she just had to contend with the restriction of the shafts and something following her. 

Now that we have her harness our next step is to get out pulling the sacrifical tree to get used to more drag and noise. Also I have my own cart in the works, so looks like more carting fun in the works.

Here is a picture of Nicky, my friends Irish setter pulling the sacrificial tree. He did great and his tail never stopped wagging.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Putting the dog before the cart.

Reese and I attended part 1 of a 3 part series on Carting facilitated by Sue Ailsby. After Reese’s biking efforts last year, she is no stranger to wearing a harness and loves to pull.

The 1st seminar was a bit mind boggling, with explanations about different types of harnesses and carts We also got to see a demonstration of what a beginner Draft Dog Test would be like. The host club had a number of carts and harnesses on hand and the 1st thing we did was harness our own dogs . Once they were comfortably walking around in the harness we introduced them to the cart , then to a moving cart.

After spending much time last year getting Reese comfortable around the bike and teaching her not to bark or bite at the tires, I was prepared to take it slow and work through anything that cropped up. I am happy to say that she was not disturbed by the carts at all. We worked in pairs and my partner moved the cart while Reese stood close, touched her with the shafts and eventually moved it along side her while I treated and encouraged her. I also coaxed her to walk in between the shafts and back out. Next we attached 2 leashes to the harness and my partner walked behind Reese putting some drag on the leash and giving Reese the feel of pulling.

This week I ordered Reese a harness of her own from

The next part of our Carting Workshop is in 4 weeks, and our assignments are to get our dogs pulling. So I made what is called a sacrificial tree.  I used a 2 X 4 cut to about 3 feet and screwed 2 eye bolts about an inch from each end and a third eye bolt on the other side of the 2 X 4 in the middle. We will get out and try it with the bike harness until our harness gets here.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Ribbons are nice but.....we play for the toys!!

Ribbons and titles are nice, but  both Ardi and Reese really play for the prizes.   Stuffed toys to be exact.  Funny thing is that whatever you give Ardi, she likes and makes it her own forever.  But no matter what you give Reese, she wants what Ardi has.

Rally O Fun

Excellent Team Titles
& High in Class
Dayna and Gio
Patti and Ardi
judged by Patty Rollheiser
Ardi and Gio teamed up at the March 10 and 11th, 2012 CARO trials to get legs 2 and 3 to complete their Excellent title. The were team mates for all 3 legs and were High in Class for all 3 legs.  Gio is almost 10 and Ardi is 11.  A very cool pair of old dogs.
Advanced Team High in Class
and Advanced Team Title for Rush

Patti & Reese
Rush and Debbie
judged by Patty Rollheiser

Reese and Rush have been training partners for some time in agility and in Rally O, so it is pretty cool that they got to try a few team runs together.  This High in Class run completed Rush's Advanced Team title.  Perhaps they can team up once they are ready for Excellent team. 

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Eighty-Dollar Champion

I finished reading  "The 80 Dollar Champion"  by Elizabeth Letts. It was suggested as part of the homework given a the end of an agility  workshop given by Kim Anderson.  She felt anyone who trains any sort of animal should read it. It speaks to the relationship between man and his horse, but applies to the relationship we build with our dogs.

The book is a true story that follows the journey and partnership of Harry de Leyer and his horse Snowman.  From buying Snowman from a wagon bound for the slaughter house for $80 dollars to Champion.

I  ♥ ♥ ♥ 'ed this book . A few of my favourite passages from it were.

“Our horse is already a champion, he said, and no one can ever take that away from him. And best yet , he ‘s in the trailer and he’s on his way home.”
“Snowman and Harry showed the world how extraordinary the most ordinary among us can be. Never give up even when the obstacles seem sky-high. There is something extraordinary in all of us”

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Good-bye Brown Bomber

Curious says "Good-bye and Thank-you!"

It had been  almost 4 months since I first picked Curious up in Rosthern, and last Saturday her new owner took her home. 

After a walk down a country road near Lianne's property, we gathered the old beat up football Curi came with, her CKC registration papers and some food and handed them over to Tennille.   Lianne stuffed a new rubber football with treats for the trip home.  Tennille opened the back door to her car where the seats were carefully covered with sturdy blankets .  As this door opened and Curi hopped in a new chapter in her life began.  
This new chapter will include life indoors, a dog bed (something she has not had in a very long time) and  plenty of walks and outdoor activities. This summer Tennille plans to get her out swimming, something every Chessie has on their bucket list.   Most of all she will have her own person.

While Curious was here she underwent a huge transformation.  I believe this transformation has just begun and will continue in her new life.

Good bye Brown Bomber!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Settling a Score

This morning  a score was settled. About 3 months ago I walked into the vet’s office with a muzzled 7 year old rescued Chesapeake named Curious. She had been with me less then 24 hours and was there for a check up and shots before going to be fostered. I doubted she needed to wear the muzzle, but knew that no one should risk being bit and that Curious did not need the stigma of having bit someone.

On that day, the vet opened the examining room door and said “a Chessie wearing a muzzle…why am I not surprised?" I could feel my back stiffen as I bit my tongue. I instantly remembered why I had stopped going to this vet, but also remember this was the only place that could take us today.

Curi Jan 13, 2012

Today Curious and I walked into the same vet office. Curious was a much brighter and lighter Chesapeake, who is bound for her new home tomorrow. We came with a box of donuts and cookies for the staff and under the guise of coming to be weighed,  Curious strutted her stuff. She walked in head held high and tail constantly wagging,  on a loose leash, accepting pets and sitting on the scale when asked to. She sat politely while everyone ogled over her. The vet was in surgery, so we thanked everyone for their care and asked if they could please pass Curi's ’ news of a new home,  on to the vet. The whole front office said good luck to Curious and assured me that they would tell the doctor how brilliant she looked and acted.

Now off to  the groomers for a nail trim and brushing before the next chapter in the story of Curious begins.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy 2012

New Year  
New chapter in the book of Curious

The 1st day of ‎2012 started  in a very good way for Curious . Today Curi met her new forever owner. The two are a brilliant match. Curi’s new owner has “ plenty of chessie experience" and believes you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Many thanks to Lianne D. for housing Curi at Charmlee Dogworks boarding kennel and playing a huge role in her care, training and socialization over the last 3 ½ months.

I am going to miss this brown bomber, but know she is going to a great home .  I hope to add updates to Curi's story soon.