Canyon, the Grocery Helper

Canyon and I walking back from the grocery store. Canyon has his red and black drafting harness on and is pulling his red and wood cart that has a shopping bag inside containing a loaf of bread and package of pork chops. I'm wearing a dark purple tank top, black shorts, black leather sandals. a light pink baseball cap that has a horse embroidered in white on the side and black Oakley sunglasses. I'm holding a black leather leash that is attached to the front of Canyon's harness.

Canyon has a new job. He’s our grocery helper.

We are hoping to get him ready for a drafting trial in October, so have gotten his cart out. He is always wanting to go places with us, so we thought we’d hook him up to his drafting cart and walk over to the grocery store for a couple of things. It’s important to have a balanced load, so we started out really light. Canyon is also just getting back into drafting, so he needs to get used to turning, backing up and pulling the cart before we start adding too much weight.

Canyon’s Sporty Cart

Canyon stands wearing his red & black drafting harness, attached to his red with black cart.

Drafting Isn’t Just For Bernese Mountain dogs Anymore

Now that I have finally figured out how to share pictures with everyone, I thought I’d post a picture of Canyon with his new drafting harness and cart.

It has been quite rainy since it arrived in august, so we haven’t done too much with it.

But, I’m hoping we’ll be able to start drafting in the spring or if the snow isn’t to bad, then maybe during the fall or winter months.

Drafting Workshop: Rock Star

Yesterday was the drafting workshop in Barrie. There were about 11 or 12 dogs in attendance. There were about 5 or 6 Bernese Mountain Dogs, 1 Great Dane, 1 Leonberger, 1 mixed breed dog, 1 Swiss Mountain Dog and then Canyon.

The first half hour or so was spent learning about the importance of equipment and gaining the respect of your dog. Then we were given a short demonstration using an older female Bernie named Merlot.

Then we got our chance to start trying things out.

First, they had us walk our dogs around wearing a harness.

Then they had us attach the tracers to the harness and walk around the room.

Next, we placed the spacer between the tracers and had our dogs become comfortable with something dragging behind them. At this point they only used a hockey stick sized spacer.

When the dogs were comfortable, they attached a jug filled with water to the spacer.

Because Canyon had no issues with having the spacer and jug of water following him around the room, the instructor replaced his hockey stick spacer with a larger 4 by 4 sized spacer and a jug filled with rocks.

We then took a break for lunch, which consisted of a sandwich, soup, a cinnamon bun and coffee or a cold beverage. Canyon chilled out in his crate, playing with his new pink squeaky ball he had gotten from the workshop hosts while Huib and I ate lunch.

When the workshop re-commenced, the instructor had us all try out new harnesses with our dogs. The first harness we had used with Canyon in the morning was a red nylon harness, but in the afternoon we used a less stroppy dark leather harness. Once we had the harness secured, the instructor told us that Canyon was such a rock star that she felt he was ready for his first “training wheels”.

Canyon wasn’t too much of a fan of this first “cart” because it was not overly sturdy. He slowly became tolerant of it though, I think because we were comfortable with it.

The final stage of the workshop was with Canyon having an actual cart hooked up to him. This cart is called a training cart and will be similar to the one we purchase for him to use in his initial drafting lessons.

All throughout the workshop we had people come up to us complimenting Canyon on his quick progression through the various stages. I think the main thing which contributed to his success, was that he trusted us and as long as we were comfortable with stuff, then Canyon was also comfortable. Seeing how well Canyon did with his initial introduction to carting, we definitely think drafting will be our next adventure with the golden boy. It costs about $500 to get all of the necessary carting equipment – harness, tracers and training cart – so with a few over time shifts, we’re hoping to have things by the end of the summer.

Drafting Workshop

As mentioned in an earlier post, we have signed up for a Drafting Workshop with Canyon. For those who do not know what drafting is, you can check out this blog, which has some videos and posts on doing various tasks in carting.

Today I received our confirmation e-mail for the workshop and I can’t wait to see how Canyon enjoys it. The workshop did not fill up, so the instructor said we’ll have a lot of chances to get one on one direction and to get to know one another. it is an all-breed workshop,so I am really interested to see what breeds other than bernese mountain dogs show up.

I will write about the workshop when we return home on sunday.

Aspen, Cessna and Rogue are all staying home with a dog-sitter. Our landlord and her 14 year old granddaughter have offered to come stay with the girls while we take the golden boy to Barrie for the workshop. This will be the first time we’ve left all three girls home together with a sitter, so I will also let everyone know what sorts of mischief they get into. I’m not too worried about Aspen, but the labs can be a little much at times lol!

Showing In Chatham

This coming weekend is the Kent Kennel Club’s conformation dog show in Chatham. Canyon and Huib are entered into the Canadian Bred Dog category for Friday and Saturday. We have a judge from Columbia on Friday and then an Ontario judge on Saturday. We decided to forgo Sunday’s show because the judge is an actual golden retriever breeder who likes their white goldens over the Canyon-like ones. We got our confirmation letter in the mail today and it looks as though there are five males (not sure what ones are in which categories) and four females entered.

Canyon injured his right front leg somehow last month and we’ve been working really hard to have it healed up in time for the show. It is completely healed as of late last week, but he still wants to lick the area while the hair grows back in, so we’ve been making him wear one of Huib’s old long sleeved shirts. He doesn’t bother it at all while the shirt is on, but for some reason when it is off he still insists on licking at the old injury. We aren’t totally sure how he injured it, but we noticed a medium sized scab and immediately made him begin wearing the Elizabethan collar (cone) and treated the area with antiseptic spray. We’re not convinced the hair will be totally back by Friday, but we’re making Canyon continue to wear Huib’s shirt so that he has the best opportunity of regrowing his hair back in time.

If Canyon doesn’t do well on Friday, Huib is thinking we’ll forgo the Saturday showing because I have a final exam for my Business Law class on Friday so cannot come with them, which means after their showing on Friday they are driving back to Guelph. Chatham is about two and a bit hours away from Guelph, so Huib is thinking that there is no point in doing the extra driving on the Saturday if Canyon’s not even going to have a chance of doing better than last place. I told him he didn’t have to come back to Guelph after the show on Friday and that he could stay with Canyon in a hotel that night, but being Huib, he knows I really want to come watch them Saturday so he is doing the drive out of love 🙂

After looking at the various shows scheduled this summer, Huib and I have decided to make this one the last for a few months. We are going to focus on teaching Canyon to heel properly and begin learning the sport of drafting. We have a drafting workshop in May and are thinking that this might be the next adventure for us to take with our golden boy once he finishes up his Canadian championship title.

Please wish them luck!