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One traditional activity for Berners is carting. Please share some of your carting experiences with people who may not know about this fun and rewarding activity.

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My Berner, Tillie, was attached to my wagon full of girl scout cookies. I dragged her over to a neighbor's house and engaged in coverstaion with the neighnor when all of a sudden Tillie took off to try and rid the loud thing from behind her. It flipped over and spilled ALL of the cookies out which made a louder noise and scared her even more. Any way after catching and calming down my dog we apologized to the neighbors for their broken cookies, and I took Tillie home.

ecr USA - Tuesday, March 30, 1999 at 11:54:11 (EST)

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Be calm, do not rush. The cart is freaking the dog out as much as it is freaking you out. Try allowing the berner to wear the carting harness for a while before you connect them to a cart. Short training sessions, keep the dog interested.

Nic Vlassis Lititz, PA USA - Saturday, January 30, 1999 at 20:21:26 (EST)

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A real good resource for carting information is put out by the Newfoundland Club, It is a book by Consie & Roger Powell, Ottawa Newfoundlands 5208 Olive Rd. Raleigh, North Carolina, 27606. Good luck, the Newfoundland Club here in California have been a super resource for fellow berner owners!

Brad Peceimer Fremont, California USA - Monday, January 18, 1999 at 23:40:08 (EST)

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This is a subject close to our heart! as we're looking forward to training our 9-month-old "Tobler" to pull a cart. Unfortunately we live in a very rural area and don't have the luxury of attending Carting Seminars -- or even obedience classes! -- so will rely on what we can learn on our own. Does anyone have any suggestions for good book or video material on carting training?

Jenn & Mark Sirges Port Alice, British Columbia Canada - Saturday, January 09, 1999 at 00:54:53 (EST)

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In our area (Nor Calif)both BMD clubs encourage the dogs to participate in parades pulling decorated carts and demonstrations. This builds great partnership with your dog and you make many friends. The dogs love the attention!

Training for carting is fun and good exercise. An added bonus is your dog can help in the yard, hauling branches and equipment. My Berner loves to pull.

Training for the Draft Dog test is challenging. After we passed last October, I feel that was the best thing Ranger and I ever did together as a team!

Ruth Rudesill Kenwood, CA USA - Friday, January 08, 1999 at 12:20:55 (EST)

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Carting is the most fun activity I have done with my Berner. Casey took to it right away. Some may need to be introduced to the equipment at a slower pace. Young Berners can be introduced to wearing a harness and having light-weight shafts (PVC pipe) on either side of them. You can also work on some commands without a cart or wagon (left, right, halt, back). Because they are slow-growing, Bernese should not be hitched up until they are about 18 mos old. Be sure to condition your dog gradually if you expect to have him/her pull any weight besides the cart itself.

Be creative. Put this activity to good use. Do you do yard work? Is there a market within walking distance of home? Your dog will love helping. There are several catalogs that offer carting supplies and some web sites. For those who are handy, you could make your own cart or wagon or even convert a child's Radio Flyer-type wagon. I would be happy to recommend a catalog if you email me.

L. Koonce Rancho Cordova, CA USA - Thursday, December 31, 1998 at 23:17:10 (EST)

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Our 3 year old female, Picabo is a sap for attention. No matter where I am or what I am doing, she always manages to plop her rear right on my feet. She must figure that since I can't move, I have to pet her! I took Picabo to a carting seminar the past two springs, and I was amazed at how fast she cought on. The instant she was hooked up it was obvious that this was what she was born to do. We got a cart for her in September, and she loves it! It's truly amazing to see how serious Picabo gets when she's pulling. It's as if nothing exists except for her, me, and the cart. She really hunkers down and gets to business. She seems to view carting as her personal job. She even tries to put the harness on by herself! She'll nose the harness and try to get it over her head. She knows the command "step" and puts her feet through the straps with little help from me. Instinctually Picabo waits calmly while she is being hooked up. This is a great way to exercise your Berner, as well as bond with it. You'll really become a team. I do recommend attending a carting seminar before you purchase a cart though. They will take you though step be step and let you and your dog try out different harnesses and carts. You can also order carts and harnesses through people at the seminars. Good luck!

Shannon and Picabo Walnut Creek, California USA - Monday, December 21, 1998 at 21:44:09 (EST)

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My 2 1/2 Year old Bernese Mountain Dog Missy, took to carting like a fish does to water. I fell in love with carting at the 1998 National Speciality in Rhode Island, and ended up returning home with our very own cart. We were only home a few days when my twin sons, Mike and Max were asked to be in a parade near our town and they wanted Missy in it too! We hooked her up and she proudly strutted her stuff with a dozen horses behind her. I feel that the main thing with carting is to be patient and remain confident that your dog will enjoy it. Missy is a very bomb proof dog, because of my sons. She is very sure of herself. I have a male Berner that I am also working with who may take a bit longer to accept the cart. He was'nt raised with the commotion of my children and he needs some reassurance that he will be safe. Carting is so much fun and an activity that the family can share in. If you have the desire -- Go with it! The Berner folks I met at the Speciality were very helpful and encouraging and I thank them for the spark that got me started. Carting draws attention and if your dog likes people and petting -- this is an activity for you! Enjoy - we sure do!

Michele and Missy Middletown, New York USA - Monday, November 23, 1998 at 22:25:16 (EST)

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In the past year I have built a large "Budweiser Style" dog cart that up to 5 dogs can pull (it is a 4 wheel cart that is 7' in length and 3' in width. This is used for several different parades (including xmas & 4th of July) and we always get a really good reception for this cart. This december we will be using it to haul presents (foil covered empty boxes w/ bows) on a battery lighted cart. We will be using some sleigh bells... it should be very fun! The cart is not too heavy, very imporant for when a single dog pulls it, as it the fact that this parade is completely flat. This cart is built of thin gauge 2" square steel tubing and requires only a pull of 7 pounds when it gets moving. My 67 pound female can move it easily, this cart has had a seat placed on it and it you can to carry a child, but in this case you would have to use more 2 dogs or more (dependent on the weight). My female really enjoys the carting, but I am suspect that she really just enjoys the attention that she gets. If anyone is interest I can send out some plans for several different carts, including the use of whell chair axels with the quickly removable axels & wheels (which helps in the dis-assembly and placement into a small car.... I have a small - 2 seat german car and I can pack it up easily). If so please e-mail me with your address and I will send you out a copy.

The important thing is to have fun!!!!!!

B. Peceimer Fremont, CA USA - Wednesday, November 18, 1998 at 21:20:10 (EST)

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Baron loves draft work and he is a ham. We combine these two "talents" by participating in parades. Baron pulls a large wagon (22" x 46") that we have converted into a variety of "floats". The 10" red, wooden stake sides are a wonderful start for patriotic events and Christmas. We made 5" natural wood sides that show off baskets of produce for Octoberfest or stuffed animals for theme parades. We just won a trophy for best walking entry in the Halloween parade. To follow the Beannie Baby theme, we had a 3' stuffed buzzard (garage sale purchase) looking into a cauldron of "Beannie Soup". The adults loved the idea; the children liked the dog.

We also made a covered wagon conversion for the wagon. Sometimes we have real dogs(small breeds) riding in the front and sometimes there are stuffed Berners in the "driver's seat".

With a little imagination, anyone can turn their cart or wagon into a parade entry. And the parade organizers are usually thrilled to have someone call and volunteer to participate in their event.

The plus side for the owner (besides the fun) is that after all the noise and commotion of a parade, any visual or auditory distraction at a draft test is minor compared to what the two of you have been exposed to.

However, before you enter your first parade, be sure you and your dog have a good working relationship, your draft skills are good, you have worked in noisey, congested areas, and that you and your dog are in excellent physical condition. Fourth of July parades are often out of the question due to heat. Consider the time of day and temperature of the pavement before you enter. Check the length of the parade and remember that you have to walk back to where you parked. Take water, poop bags, and emergency supplies (you can hide them in the "float"). And please remember not to follow the horses!

There are web sites with wonderful parade suggestions, be sure to visit them and get all the information you can before you enter your first parade. As much fun as they are; if you are not prepared, they could be disasterous.

Linda & Baron Moline, Illinois USA - Wednesday, November 11, 1998 at 15:05:23 (EST)

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