Friday, 27 December 2013


With the temperatures above 0, it was a perfect day for kicksledding. With a little help from Yo driving the quad,  Reese and Torque figured out it was fun to race each other.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Kicking a little snow!

After a real cold snap of -33 the day before, we were treated to a day time high temperature of +3C the day the Grey Cup was played in Regina.  Since the game didn’t start until around supper time. I thought it a perfect opportunity to get out with the kicksled. I headed out to  Lianne’s  place where her  yard  had just been freshly cleared.  The yard and the approaching lane provided a pretty good surface for our maiden run. 

One of my 1st concerns was  how to hitch the sled bridal to the sled.  I had seen a few pictures of kicksleds that had rings welded to the top part of the runners.  My thought was to try using a couple of  rings that are attached to Velcro that were made to hold water buckets in soft sided crates with metal tubing.  So we fastened them securely, then attached the bridal and ganglines.  Reese was going to be the 1st to give it a try, I doubted that Nugget being smaller would be able to pull the sled and I on her own. 

Reese did great at being harnessed as she is used of standing still for drafting.  Once hitched , Lianne stood a short distance away with a target and some treats and she fairly effortlessly pulled.  We did this several times and lengthened the distances we had her pull.  Lianne and I took turns riding the sled .   
Reese seemed to be doing well, so I brought Nugget out and hitched her up.  Again not to many problems with hitching and getting them to stand with the “line out”.  On the cue of “hike” they took off, but very quickly Reese started to hang back letting Nugget do most of the pulling.  We had the idea of unhooking Nugget from the sled, but leaving her attached to Reese by the neckline.  Reese was still attached to the sled.  This was even worse, at one point Nugget was actually dragging Reese who in turn was dragging the sled. 

What I learned is that Nugget can definitely  pull on her own.  Also after  talking to Erin, she told me that probably Reese just needs to gain confidence on her own before adding the Nugg.  So next  outing, I will do some one dog pulling with Reese.  Erin also said that using a quad that will stay just ahead of them can also be useful in getting the dog to move out.

We also hitched Torque, Em and Sonny up.  Using the target to get  them going, and  a person calling, worked fairly well for our 1st time out.  Torque took me for a ride while Lianne called, and HOLY CRAP…all I can say is weeeeeeeeeeee!

 More Winter fun to come for sure.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Sparks away!

Today was the maiden run with the kicksled.  I loaded Reese , Nugget and the sled and then headed to White Butte trails.  I was happy that I could fit both dogs and the sled into the Orlando, with a bit of tweaking the loading and unloading will go smoother.

This outing was to find my snow legs and so I didn’t harness the dogs.  My plan is to harness Reese first and once she has the hang of it , add Nugget for some extra dog power.

There is a winter walking trail at White Butte  that is fairly wide.  The middle of the trail was packed by the foot traffic.  I started out in the fresh snow, but quickly found that the more packed the snow was the faster I could go.  The dogs were thrilled to be out for a run and over all did pretty good. We went about 4 times further then I would have been able go if I were walking in a quarter of the time.  Neither of the dogs were too thrilled about stopping for a picture, but it gave me a chance for a breather.  The kicking is a wonderful work out and a huge amount of fun.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Kicksled madness!

While at an agility trial in September, I was talking to a friend about carting with Reese and Nugget and lamenting the fact that winter would soon be on its way and carting would be done.   He asked me if I had any interest in sledding.  He and his wife had been left with numerous dog related items after a very good friend had passed away in the spring .   Among the items was a Kick Sled, complete with 2 harnesses. I jumped at the chance to have a look at them before I left Brandon and low and behold 2 weeks later they dropped the sled off in Regina.

I have been reading everything I can find on the internet to figure out what I need as far as equipment and training.    The smallest harness fits Nugget to a T.  The larger harness was too big for Reese, but it fit a carting friends Giant Schnauzer and she had a smaller one that fit Reese. Cool how that worked out for both of us.

Not that I want to rush winter, but I do want to be ready for the white stuff when it comes, I am looking at ganglines and a neckline.  I am working on teaching the 2 Chesapeakes left and right verbal commands.  Reese has a little history from agility, but her cues are muddied by also teaching spin and turn.  Nugget is a clean slate, so I have just been working left with her and she seems to have it.  On to right!  One other thing I can work on without  snow, sled or real lines, is a line out command.  This will be a command to get the dogs to hold the lines taunt and stand still, until given the release.

Something I often run into when carting is, people who think it is cruel to have the dogs pull a cart. If the dog is in good physical condition, the cart is well balanced, the harness fits properly and the weight being pulled is suited to the dogs size there is no physical danger to them.  Both Reese and Nugget love to pull and I mean that as in loving it as much as they love to chew a bone.  However they were both introduced to carting slowly and safely.  When it comes to sledding the rule of thumb is if the sled  and rider weigh more then the dog plus 100lbs then another dog should be added.  This is considering that the dog is at least 40lbs.

So yesterday we had our 1st snow, it won’t likely stay, but it prompted me to order a 2 dog gangline and neck line.  If all goes well the lines should be here by the end of the week.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

2 X 2 Weave training with Nugget

Nug getting ready to try the freshly taped poles.
This weekend I started weave training with Nugget. After several sessions we have gone from 2 poles angled on the reward line at 9 and 3 (of a clock face) to 2 sets of poles angled at 1 and 7 and about 7 feet apart. 
Things seem to be clipping along at a pretty good rate. One factor is that Nugget really seems to like the pole game as much as she likes to retrieve. My struggle has been the timing of my throw and the accuracy, but she is forgiving on all accounts and just keeps playing.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

You are at the top when.....

by Zig Ziglar
  • You clearly understand that failure is an event, not a person, that yesterday ended last night, and today is your brand new day.
  • You have made friends with your past, are focused on the present, and optimistic about your future.
  • You know that success doesn't make you and failure doesn't break you.
  • You are filled with faith, hope and love; and live without anger, greed, guilt, envy or thoughts of revenge.
  • You are mature enough to delay gratification and shift your focus from your rights to your responsibilities.
  • You know that failure to stand for what is morally right is the prelude to being the victim of what is criminally wrong.
  • You are secure in who you are, so you are at peace with God and in fellowship with man.
  • You have made friends of your adversaries, and have gained the love and respect of those who know you best.
  • You understand that others can give you pleasure, but genuine happiness comes when you do things for others.
  • You are pleasant to the grouch, courteous to the rude and generous to the needy.
  • You love the unlovable, give hope to the hopeless, friendship to the friendless and encouragement to the discouraged.
  • You can look back in forgiveness, forward in hope, down in compassion and up with gratitude.
  • You know that "he who would be the greatest among you must become the servant of all."
  • You recognize, confess, develop and use your God-given physical, mental and spiritual abilities to the glory of God and for the benefit of mankind.
  • You stand in front of the Creator of the universe and He says to you, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant

Group Stays CONQUERED!

On August 24, 2013 at the Shamrock Kennel and Obedience Club's (Yorkton) show and trial held in Springside, SK.  Reese completed her final leg to earn her CKC Companion Dog title.  Our nemesis has been the group sits and downs, but today she aced them. In each of Reese's qualifying rounds she was High in Class. 

In the afternoon we moved up to Open, where we both had a lot of fun.  No qualifier though as she walked the broad jump and came back around the solid jump on the retrieve over the jump.  No biggy it was unbelievably hot upwards of 30 degrees and the mats were slippery from the humidity.  What I was most happy with were her solid group sit and down while I was out of sight, even with Best in Show judging going on in the next ring. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Two in 1 Day!

On the same day August 18, 2013, at the Regina Retriever Clubs Working Certificate Test,  Reese earned her WCI. I was most impressed with her heeling to the line, her steadiness, manners in the blind and her honoring.   She will be taking some lessons from Nugget on "HOLD" and recalls.  But overall it was a privledge to run both girls and have them earn new titles on the same day. 

Whiskey Creek's Precious Mettle WC

Nugget earned the title of Working Certificate at the Regina Retriever Clubs WC test on August 18, 2013.    I was nervous about the  WC land marks right off the hop and the water marks were not a gimmy either .  About 2 weeks ago Nugget was barely doing 40yd marks. So the 75 and 72 yd marks, the gallery and judges seemed to be a big challenge.

 I thought back to everything we had done this summer and remembered the day at Lianne’s when Heather and I did a few recalls with Nugget and tried throwing a bumper and she had Zero interest in it.  Then there was  Decoy Days in June and she wasn’t picking up anything,  but she walked through the decoys and took a turn honoring to a big dog. I remember Lianne and I spending the hottest part of a day in June with a duck on a leash.  Throwing it dragging it and having a big party when Nugget finally picked it up.  

I remember Jill and I setting up the bumper boy for Danno, Reese and Sonny and not being able to resist firing a bumper for Nugget, then me being thrilled with how she came alive even though she wouldn’t pick it up. Then at the picnic trial in July, she was in season, but came out last and tried a few retrieves with a bumper. Keith did everything under the sun to help her finally bring back one bumper. I remember feeling like we turned a corner when Nugget ran out and picked up a bird after Lianne and I had her watch Torque do some short retrieves. 

I am really pleased with all that Nugget did this year and at the Test, but I have to tell you there is no one happier than her breeder, and that is kind of cool.  In everything I have ever done with the dogs no one has been more proud then Kathy Case, yeah yeah it is a WC, Canadian at that, but she is very proud of her.  Good Girl Nugg!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

A busy summer!

We have been enjoying a fun filled summer outdoors.  Filled with playing and training.  

Nug, Ardi and Reese

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Recallers 4.0

Recaller 4.0

Recallers 4.0 is an online course with Susan Garett at “Say Yes” dog training.  Over the last couple of years I have been reading her blog and have ordered and worked through her One Jump and Crate Game DVD’s.  Recently she offered several free webinars leading into the Recaller 4.0non line course.  What I saw in the dogs that have taken the course in the last 3 sessions, I really wanted for Nugget and Reese.  I saw dogs being recalled amidst distractions, people building working relationships with their dogs and most importantly dogs and people having fun.  Even 12year old Ardi is still up for some fun and training has always been fun for her.  I also saw that new behaviours could translate to a better life for our household of 3 Chesapeakes and 2 people.  So as they say “Let the games begin”

Susan’s blog can be found at

 Nugget on her way to a Brilliant Recall!

Day 1 Reinforcement Zone-

The day 1 Game of the Recallers 4 online course is Reinforcement Zone. Reinforcement Zone is the area around you that your dog looks for and finds reinforcement in.  Ideally for most dogsports it is at your side. Part of the days game was to do a test to see where the dogs natural reinforcement zone is.

 I was surprised to find out that 10 month Nugget had a very good clear reinforcement zone which was right by my side in what obedience people would call the heel zone, her sits were fairly straight and she was close, but not on top of me.  But not too surprised to find that she could not maintain the position for too long nor was it easy to find it if you moved, mostly she just got distracted and thought the game was over.

Reese found her reinforcement zone quickly and could maintain it for a length of time with focus.  Her zone was slightly ahead of me, in what most would know as forging, her sits were pretty straight, but they did tend to curve toward me, with focus on my hand.

Just for fun, and because Ardi is game to try anything, I checked to see where Ardi liked to hang out naturally.  It was pretty much with both feet on top of mine in front of me.  If you asked her to move or heel she complained, but she had the best focus of all. 



Saturday, 26 January 2013

Sit means , Sit

Just back from a 2 day workshop with Kim Collins in Prince Albert.  Since my last post talks about stays, I thought I would write about a revelation I had at the workshop regarding the stay.   To make it simple, sit means sit until released, down means down until released and stand means stand until released.  If the dog breaks, how can you convey to them what was wrong except to reinforce the position you left them in.  If you use stay or wait and the dog breaks how is the dog supposed to know what part they got wrong.


In both the CKC Draft Test and the Obedience trial I entered last year with Reese, we NQ’ed on the stays. I use the word wait on a recall and stay on an exercise in which I will return to release the dog.  I can see where although not confusing to me, it is not clear to the dog.  It is much simpler to reinforce each position.  So I have already started to do that with Reese and I see it makes things clear to her.  I’ve also just been using the position cue with no wait or stay with Nugget and having some success. 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Stay, I say!

Well 2013 is here and we have been doing a little training in January.  Of note is Reese’s Open Class every Thursday.  We are only into week 2 of 8 classes, but things are going good.  This week we practised our long downs in a new way I think is really good for Reese.  

The sits and downs have been our nemesis in both the Obedience Ring and the Draft Dog ring, so any help we can get is huge. I wasn’t sure I was up for out of sight stays, since we have had limited success with insight stays.   What we did 1st was a 1 minute sit stay.  We then returned to our dogs and released.  Then set them up for what when done would be a 3 minute down with some period where the handler was out of sight.  There were 8 handler/dog pairs, so our instructor had us leave our dogs and go to then end of the room, after a few seconds the first 3 handlers left the room, walked out of sight, counted to 10 and returned.  Then the next 3 left the room, when they returned, the last 2 went and returned.  Once the last group returned, we all returned to our dogs. 

This was great for Reese, the handlers leaving intermittently was enough of a distraction for her to not get stressed about her stay.  She did shift her feet in position when I left, but did stay in place, which I will take as success.  Always...more to come.