Dino in His Draft Cart in test in Phoenix

Dino in His Draft Cart in test in Phoenix

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Ninth Birthday to Dino, A true Renaissance Dog!

Happy Ninth Birthday to Dino, A true Renaissance Dog!


Eight years ago today, Georgette Musante with Grateful Dog Rescue, brought Dino to my place in Hayward, CA! What an incredible eight years it has been. Dino is always non-stop in excitement and energy in every aspect of living. Even going through doors and jumping out of bed causes excitement and barking and bouncing.

Dino has excelled at a wide variety of activities from Tracking, Obedience, Conformation, Rally, Carting/Drafting, Sprint Racing, Lure Coursing, Finding Lost Pets and Weight Pull with 32 titles to his name! To my knowledge he is the only Mixed Breed with that many titles!

In the world of Mixed Breed sports, he was the first Mixed Breed to earn the Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) title with the American Kennel Club in 2010, the first year AKC allowed Mixed Breeds. The following May, 2011, he was the second Mixed Breed to earn the Utility Dog (UD) title with AKC. Dino was the first Mixed Breed to show at the huge Golden Gate Kennel Club dog show at the Cow Palace in January 2012. He was the first Mixed Breed to earn a Carting/Drafting title and has earned titles in Bernese Mountain Dog, St. Bernard and Rottweiler clubs. To my knowledge, he remains the only Mixed Breed with any Carting/Drafting titles.

His best activity is being a best friend and constant companion to both people and dogs. He loves to go for long walks and hikes and dog parks and greets all strangers as a new friend. He will play "fetch" non stop. He adores his cat friend, Mercury, and thinks it is the best thing to run straight towards Mercury and take a flying leap at him, landing just in front.

Thank you, Dino! Can't wait for the next eight years!

Here is a small sampling of photos from some fun times with Dino

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dino Participates in Slatmill Races!

American Dog Preservation Group
Brentwood, CA
August 30, 2014

Dino competes in Slat Mill Races in the medium dog group. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Draft Practice in Hayward!

Draft Practice with Dino's Berner Friends
Hayward, CA
Cal State University, East Bay
April 18, 2014

Dino Finds Indoor Only Cat In One Hour After Missing For Five Days in Oakland!

I received this wonderful letter recently from Mina's person:

To Whom It May Concern,

My cat Mina went missing and I was absolutely devastated. I did everything I was supposed to, I created flyers, checked shelters, checked vets, talked to the neighbors, called the AVID chip company, etc. I hired Jackie for many reasons. First, Mina is a registered emotional support animal and it is very important to my well being that she is with me. Second, I was leaving on a week long vacation to the east coast and I was afraid of what could happen during the time that I was gone. 

Jackie, Dino, and my roommate Andrew went out to begin the search and it took barely over an hour to track Mina down. Partly by Andrew’s recognition of Mina and partly due to Dino eagerly sniffing around her hiding place, Mina was found and it was not long until she was back home.

Jackie was very flexible with my timing needs. She had very clear instructions and though I could not be there, I knew exactly what was going to be going on during the search. She gave me clear rules and expectations so there were no surprises. When Andrew brought Mina back in, Jackie was very kind and helped Andrew get bandages (Mina is quite feisty!). She provided food and other techniques to help get Mina out of her hiding place. I would absolutely recommend Jackie to anyone who is looking for a missing pet.

Thanks to Jackie and her dog Dino, Mina is back home with me and we could not be happier. I am very pleased with Jackie’s services and if it were not for her search techniques and experience, we never would have been able to find and bring Mina back home. Thank you Jackie and Dino for your hard work!


Jillien Davey


Mina is an 11 year old, 10 pound, indoor only Lynx Point/Tabby mix. She has a medium length coat with brown, grey, and white fur and has blue eyes. 

She went missing suddenly on a Monday from a second story apartment in a highly urban part of Oakland, and we were called out to search on the following Saturday.  It was completely unclear how Mina got lost since she was never seen leaving the apartment, but her person did go down to the trash can sometime that night and did not see Mina leaving the area. All windows were purposely only opened a couple of inches at any time to prevent her from falling or jumping out the windows. There were multiple cats in the apartment and none, including Mina had ever left the apartment. 

There were no sightings of Mina after 8 PM Monday night, inside or outside, even after an extensive search of the apartment, buildings and surrounding gardens and streets. 

Between the back door to the apartment and the outside is a series of indoor only staircases and hallways and storage units all behind multiple, self-closing, high security heavy doors. I checked each one of them and all were so heavy that I had a difficult time opening and closing them with just one hand. Two hands were required to first unbolt the lock and then pull on the door handle simultaneously. Without the bolt and handle being unlocked and pulled at the same time, the door could not open. 

After checking the indoor hallways and storage areas, we went to the outside and I started to have Dino check all outside doors and driveways and gardens. Towards the back of this property, behind chain link fences was a very old and dilapidated red brick fireplace that was now covered from top to bottom in thick ivy and so was the area surrounding the fireplace for over 20 feet in all directions. According to the tenant, the fireplace was from decades earlier when the trash from the apartment was taken there and burned. 

When we got to the area to check for scent, I saw what appeared to be a striped cat running towards the back fence, but the cat ran fast into the ivy. Her person was behind me as we approached and did not see the cat. I told him what I saw and he went ahead to see if he could find a cat. He did not see any cats, so I moved ahead to bring in Dino. 

We found a hole in the wooden fence behind the fireplace that a cat could have easily gotten through to the neighborhood behind, and I had Dino check that. At this point, I was standing next to the fireplace and now the old fireplace was much clearer than when I was further back over 25 feet. See photo #1. Her person told me that he saw what appeared to be a small opening in the base of the fireplace that had a metal door that was open. See photo #2. I brought Dino around to that door and had him check for scent. He seemed to inhale a couple of times and he kept his head down, appearing to figure out something and then he started to whine and remained persistent on the door. I moved him away from the door, kneeled down on the ground thick with leaves and twigs and brought my flashlight to the door to look in. After a couple of seconds, I saw a striped cat staring back at me from about three feet back and the cat looked just like Mina! 

Her person kneeled down on the leaves and showed the flashlight into the hole and declared the cat was definitely Mina! Woot! Woot! I immediately moved Dino away as far as possible so she wouldn't get scared by him. Her person tried to get Mina to come to him, but she wouldn't. He did say it appeared she did recognize him and was meowing. I offered him some dog food from my treat bag and she did become slightly interested, but not enough to move towards the door. He said that he had some of her food in a container in the refrigerator and I offered to go get it. He gave me his keys and I went to the apartment. Just as I got to the refrigerator, I heard him behind the back door yelling, "Jackie, are you in there?" and I said, "Yes!" He said, "Quick! Open the door! I have Mina and she is biting and scratching me!" I could hear a cat screaming and a man crying out in extreme pain. I quickly opened the back door and I scurried out the front door with Dino and I saw out of the corner of my eye a shadow of a cat flying into the apartment.

I went to my car and put Dino inside and ran back to the apartment to let her person into his apartment since I had his keys. Unfortunately, his hands and arms were covered in deep scratches and multiple bites. He said, "She started to come towards the food and I reached in quickly to grab her and pulled her out. I ran all the way to the locked back door with her scratching and biting me. Luckily another person was there to let me in that locked door and then I ran up the stairs to my back door, which is when I found you." I could see his hands were already starting to shake from the pain and the skin around the wounds was swelling. I said to rinse and clean everything really well and I drove to a local drug store and bought some Liquid Bandage to start to put on the cuts and bites. He said he also had some Neosporin to start to put on, also. 

He had called his roommate, the co-owner of the cat, and she was so happy. I am not sure he told her about the bites and scratches, but he was so happy, he was almost grateful to have them and have his cat back. 

Good job to everyone! Sometimes it takes a village to get a lost animal home!

Photo #1. Fireplace is at the far back behind the trees. 

Photo #2 of the small metal door at the base of the fireplace. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dino Appears in Canine Partners Newsletter!

Drafting and Carting with Your Dogs
Drafting and carting are sports that are open to all breeds of dogs, including mixed-breeds, by several clubs. Pulling carts to help transport items was a task that many dogs were — and still are — trained to do to help around farms. Dogs like to pull – and this gives them an acceptable way to exercise their right to do so! Jackie Phillips and her All-American Dog, Dino, are the first mixed-breed team to earn drafting titles, and in this article, Jackie tells you everything that you need to get your dog started, from the equipment to the training to the competition organizations.
I discovered Drafting/Carting totally by accident one day in early 2013 after putting Dino into his weight pull harness, attaching him to my crate dolly cart and having him bring several boxes to one of my neighbors nearby. He was so happy to be in his harness and pulling. I immediately went online, looking for groups that allowed all breeds in their draft events. I found the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America, which states in its rules that it allows all AKC-registered breeds, including mixed-breeds. I contacted a local training friend who has Berners and participates in the club events. He invited me to a practice and I started attending regular practices at a local Berner club in preparation for its upcoming Draft test in Scotts Valley, CA. In August 2013, Dino passed the Berner Novice Draft test, becoming the first mixed-breed to earn a Draft title. In November 2013, we passed the St. Bernard Novice Draft Test and in February 2014, we passed two Rottweiler Carting tests.
Here are some of the things you need to know about getting started in this fun sport:
Most tests require a flat or buckle collar, and most also allow choke chain or martingale collars, but no prong or electronic collars are allowed. Since most of these tests are run by AKC breed clubs, most will follow the standards of equipment allowed on AKC show grounds.
When a dog is worked “on leash” during a test (usually Novice and Beginner levels), a 6-foot leash is considered standard since some clubs have an on leash “Stay” exercise built into their tests, and the hander must be 6 feet away from the dog.
A longer leash also gives the team extra room to avoid “tight leash” deductions or faults during the test. This requirement is similar to many Novice Rally and Obedience tests where tight leashes can become minor deductions or disqualifications.
Siwash Harness
Dino is the first All-American Dog to earn a carting title. Most clubs open their carting events to all breeds, including mixed-breeds.
Wooden cart with weight pole
Four-wheel wagon
Wooden cart with wooden shafts
Siwash: (pronounced like SI-wash)
This type of harness has a padded “V” that crosses from the shoulders down to the front chest and then back down to underneath the dog. This provides a lot of freedom of movement for their legs and comfort for dogs pulling weight. This is also the common style of weight pull harnesses; however the Siwash harness will stop at the waist of the dog and then be connected to the cart by individual traces or straps. The harness is custom fitted to the dog and should have multiple buckles or snaps where a proper fit can be adjusted, and then the extra strap can be trimmed off once the size is determined.
This type of harness has a type of thick “band” that comes across the chest of the dog from side to side, instead of in a “V” from top to bottom. It is usually a more decorative type of harness and is also called a “parade” harness since they tend to be used more for decoration and to pull a light cart without any weights.
All harnesses will connect to the cart through two ways: once to the shafts on each side of the dog and then by the tracers that connect to the front of the cart. Shafts are the bars that run alongside the dog, just past the shoulders and connect to the cart. They can be metal or wooden and are sized to fit the dog exactly. The shafts, usually connected by pins and screws, can be removed from the cart for easy packing.
On the shafts are “brakes.” Brakes are pieces that stop the harness from sliding up and down on the shaft, which is especially important when going up and down hills and carrying heavy weights. They are individually adjusted to the dog depending on where his shoulders meet the shafts and how long the dog is in proportion to the cart.
Tracers are the lines or straps that run from each side of the harness at the dog’s waist to the front of the cart. These should be individually adjusted to the dog and the harness and the cart. The connection of the traces to the cart is usually a piece of long wood, connected to the cart by an eyebolt, which moves freely side to side as the dog moves side to side inside the shafts. This piece literally moves as the dog moves.
There is so much variation in carts, even just for tests. There is an even wider assortment if somebody wanted to do more fancy events like parades. Many times four wheeled wagons are used more for parades and informal work around a ranch, since they are less maneuverable, heavier and sturdier than two-wheeled carts, which are less weight for tests.
For tests, generally two-wheeled carts are used since they are lighter and easier to move on less agreeable surfaces like grass, gravel or dirt. Carts can be handmade or come from a professional cart creator. As long as they are able to perform in the test and adequately carry the necessary weight and maneuver, they can be used. Since the cart’s weight will be in addition to the weight required to pull in the test, which is set inside the cart, most people try to get a lighter weight cart so it does not add to the weight the dog must pull in the test. For example, Dino has to pull between 20 and 40 pounds in a test, so I found a super lightweight plastic cart that only weighs 18 pounds. Plus, the cart is full collapsible and can be easily moved in my car.
Weight in the Cart:
A common type of weight used in tests is barbell weights that have the hole in the middle and then the weights go over a stationary pole in the middle of the cart. I have been using bags of bird seed and ankle weights enclosed in a nylon sports bag. This prevents the weight from moving and shifting in the cart since they are tightly inside the bag.
The weight required to pull for each test will be different for each club and the level of difficulty being entered. Some Beginner levels can require 20 to 25 pounds or even 40 or more. The more Advanced or Intermediate levels will be higher. The requirements will be clearly stated in the Rules and Regulations for each club.
Basic Exercises
Here are a list and brief description of some common exercises in Carting and Drafting tests. There will be variation in these exercises, in addition to an increased level of difficulty. For example, a common increased level of difficulty would be if the exercises are to be performed off-leash as in an Advanced level. The exercises will remain the same, but some teams will be performing the exercises off-leash. Also, some of the tests are performed in an enclosed roped-off environment, but others will be without ropes. And many tests are held in open public parks with the common distractions of public places on a busy weekend.
Obedience Routines: 
This commonly requires a “heeling” pattern with a “recall” and a “stay.” Some clubs do this in the same ring as part of the Drafting maneuvering exercises and some do it in a group in a separate ring before the maneuvering exercises. The “stay” exercise is generally with the dog attached to the cart, though I have seen one group do both: a “down stay” without the cart as a group exercise and a “down stay” attached to the cart as a group exercise. Some “stays” will be on-leash, and some will be off-leash from across the ring. Some Advanced levels require out-of-sight stays.
Harnessing, Hitching, Equipment Check: 
This exercise requires the judge to watch the harness being put on the dog and the dog being hitched to the cart. The judge will then walk around the cart to confirm the harness is properly fitted and the connection to the cart is correct. Most of the time, the maneuvering exercises in the ring will then follow for that dog.
There is also a full equipment check at the start of the test without the dog. Before the test, the cart and weight are brought to a designated spot near the ring for the judge to inspect and approve. The collar, leash and weight are put inside the cart for the judge to review. The judge can ask any questions of the handler at that time.
Maneuvering Exercises:
Once inside the maneuvering course, the following exercises are commonly seen. Some tests have weight in the cart during these exercises, and some will have the dog pull an empty cart.
90 Degree Left and Right Turns
Circle Left and Circle Right
Fast, Normal and Slow Speeds
Backing up a minimum of a few feet, usually 3 to 6 feet
Different types of distractions outside the ring like sounds and moving objects
Going through gates of different sizes and widths and heights
Serpentines around cones or high stakes like poles or posts
Figure 8 around objects like trees or cones
Loading and unloading of lightweight objects like baskets or backpacks with another human
Freight Haul:
Once the maneuvering exercises are completed by all dogs in that group, a long distance freight haul is also seen in some tests. These are usually done in groups with other dogs and handlers in a line, and the dog is pulling the full designated weight in the cart. There are even specific rules on these freight hauls that must be abided by, like the handlers cannot pass each other, without approval by a judge or a steward. Depending on the location of the test, some freight hauls will be in, out and around suburban neighborhoods or more rural locations and hiking trails. Some tests require a distance of a half-mile, while others require a full mile or longer.
Once again, please read the Rules and Regulations of each club and test to determine exactly what exercises will be used.
Getting started
Previous training:
Carting and Drafting is not a sport for a beginner handler or dog. I would recommend a solid foundation in basic obedience in a show or ring environment where there are a lot of distractions coming at you in all directions. I have seen dogs who had very little foundation in obedience and watched them run out of the ring off-leash dragging a full cart towards their nearest favorite person with their handler desperately trying to get them back.
I have found it also to be helpful if your dog has had some previous experience wearing a harness like for weight pull or tracking. Drafting harness are custom-made for the dog and should fit very snuggly to the body, and the dog should be accustomed to standing still while the harness is put on and removed since this is often a part of many tests.
In addition, if your dog has had previous training in weight pull, then that will be one less thing that dog has to become accustomed to: being attached to a cart that moves behind them when they do. The main difference in a weight pull cart and a drafting cart is that in a drafting cart, the dog is literally “one with the cart” between the shafts alongside him and must learn how to turn a solid object whereas in weight pull, the dog can freely step from side to side and the cart still doesn’t move.
I have also found that a good “Leave” cue, and good focus and attention should already be established since it will be necessary to have the dog’s full attention, both physically and mentally, while in a cart. Urinating or defecating while in a cart is an automatic disqualification while in a test, even in a freight haul, and the dog must pay attention to the obstacles on the course and not want to leave the ring to smell some bushes or visit another obstacle, person or animal. Touching or crashing into objects and obstacles in a test is a disqualification and is considered unsafe.
I have discovered the hard way that the single most important word to have in a drafting dog is “Halt” or “Stop.” If anything comes up at any time where immediate control must be established, that single word can be what saves the test or the practice. While practicing in a large public park, I have had children run directly up to Dino and want to pet him and play with him. Luckily, I can get Dino to “Stay” and “Stand” or “Sit” until the distraction passes, but a less controlled dog could send the cart flying upside down. An uncontrolled dog pulling a cart with a lot of weight in it can be a disaster waiting to happen.
Any dog who will be pulling a cart should be in excellent physical shape, and if there are any questions, the dog’s veterinarian should be consulted. The dog should have very good muscle tone and not be overweight. The dog must be able to handle pulling a full cart up and down a hill and at both slow and top speeds and remain under complete control to immediately change direction or speed.
Read the Rules and Regulations of Each Club:
Make sure that the rules and regulations of each test and each club are read and understood. They are all different with their own weight requirements and standards. This is where working with experienced people can be very helpful. Before my first test, I asked 20 questions at each practice to be sure I understood exactly what I should do and what is required, in addition to reading the rules and regulations.
As with any other sport, practice is essential. However, since these tests are set in real life situations and not inside enclosed buildings with secluded rings, the practice must also mirror what the test will be.
If local drafting or carting groups can be found that hold their own practices in public places, that would be best since the dogs need to have experience working around other dogs, especially on a freight haul where there will be dogs very close in front of them and behind them in a single line. My favorite places to practice are college campuses, since there are a lot of distractions with other people and many natural landscapes to practice on like poles, trees, hills, grass, concrete, sidewalks and squirrels running back and forth! These are best on the weekends since you will have more freedom, and often parking is free.
Large public parks are also ideal if there is not an issue with off-leash dogs. I would avoid any public parks or public areas where dogs are not leashed and under control since it will be very difficult to focus on practicing and having to dodge uncontrolled dogs. In a real test environment, there will not be an issue with off-leash dogs, so it is not something that needs practicing.
Entering Drafting and Carting Tests
I have found a few ways of finding out about drafting and carting tests. There is a Yahoo! Carting group, and even though it is very low volume, occasionally news of tests is posted. There is also a Dog Carting group on Facebook that is active with a variety of carting and drafting posts from all over the US and Canada. The third way is to check the breed parent club websites. Many tests are hosted by local clubs.
The entry forms are standard AKC forms and simple to fill out. Any questions can be directed towards the test secretary.
Below is the list I have found of the clubs that currently offer carting and drafting tests. I have broken it down into the groups that openly state they allow all breeds and mixed-breeds and the clubs that state “AKC Registered Dogs Only” and the handler must contact the secretary to ask if mixed-breeds or non-AKC breeds are allowed.
It is common that the club’s breed will be given preference to other breeds, including mixed-breeds. So, this means that the club’s breed will be given preference for the open spots and the remaining spots will be given to when the entries are received with pure-breds and mixed-breeds being treated equally.
I have not found one so far that states openly that they can decline or accept Mixed Breeds specifically. If they only allow their own breed, they close it to all other dogs, equally to purebreds and mixed-breeds.
This list of clubs and their requirements are subject to change.  Please let me know if any changes are noted.
These groups state in their rules that all breeds/mixed breeds are allowed, with preference given to their own breed:
American Bouvier des Flandres
Bernese Mountain Dog
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
American Working Collie Association
Some clubs do allow “AKC registered dogs,” but state that, “other breeds” can enter at the option of the club giving the test and preference is given to their own breed.
St. Bernard
Great Pyrenees
(see section 22 in Chapter One: “Entries of Other Breeds”)
Sample Titles
NDD - Novice Draft Dog: Individual Dog On Leash
DD - Draft Dog Individual: Dog Off-Leash
NBDD - Novice Brace Draft Dog: Brace of Dogs On Leash
BDD - Brace Draft Dog: Brace of Dogs Off-Leash
TDD - Team Draft Dog: Team of Dogs (possibly more than 2 dogs) Off-Leash
CS - Carting Started: Individual Dog On Leash
CI - Carting Intermediate: Individual Dog Off-Leash
CX - Carting Excellent - Dog: Handler sits in cart
CST - Carting Started Team: Two or More Dogs On Leash
CIT - Carting Intermediate Team: Two or More Dogs Off-Leash
CXT - Carting Excellent Team: Two or More Dogs – Handler sits in cart

Jackie adopted Dino through Grateful Dog Rescue in December 2006, and since then he has earned 32 titles including being the first mixed-breed to earn the AKC Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) title, the second to earn an AKC Utility Dog (UD), and the first with a draft title. In addition, he has worked full time since 2009 as a tracking dog to help find lost pets throughout California. He has completed more than 510 cases, and many of those cases involved multiple days, weeks and months. He has also earned two Honorable Mentions in the AKC Humane Fund ACE Awards in 2012 and 2013 and was featured in the March issue of Dog Fancy magazine. You can read more about Dino and Jackie’s adventures via Dino’s blog: http://dinostraining.blogspot.com/
For more information or questions about this article, contact Jackie at jackie@thesocialpet.com.
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dino Practices Drafting at Stanford University!

Dino Practices Drafting at Stanford University!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dino Practices Drafting with his Berner Friends in San Francisco!

Dino Practices Drafting with his Berner Friends in San Francisco!
March 15, 2014

That is the Golden Gate Bridge in the background and Dino is looking straight at the Palace of Fine Arts.

This park is on the grounds of the Letterman Digital Arts Center, which is the former grounds of the Letterman Army Hospital. This is the first time I have been here since the new buildings were put in. 

I was amazed how seamless the entire area was with the surrounding original Presidio buildings. A person walking through the area without prior knowledge of what used to be there would barely notice the difference. As a San Francisco native, I knew the hospital had been torn down and new buildings were put in, but I was not fully aware of the scope of the project. 

It was stunning! If anybody gets a chance to go there, it will be well worth the trip! There is a lot of hiking and walking all around and stunning views and places to visit within a short distance. For Starbucks fans, there is even a spacious shop there with a large outdoor patio looking over the park and lagoon. 

Thanks to the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Northern California for holding a Drafting seminar and practice in this wonderful location.

Here is the link to the Wikipedia article about the new center and the old hospital: