So proud of both of my “kids” for doing so well this weekend. They spent 3 nights and 4 days cooped up in a kennel in the car or a small hotel room. When we got home last night they burst into the house, running and jumping all over each other so happy to be home and free to move. This is the first time we have done 3 days at a scent trial. By noon on Sunday I had run out of steam and had no energy left. I’m afraid I was the weak link again.
Brodie was great in containers. We received a perfect score….which I don’t think I have ever gotten from Judge Jean-Marc and we got 2nd place. I love trialing under him because he always challenges and tests the teams and I learn so much to help us improve as we move forward. We started out great in our Interior search. Brodie found the hide in the first room and I was ready to call finish and then second guessed myself and decided to check one more area again. Brodie pawed at the rug and I quickly called alert just as my head was saying “NOOOOOOO” that wasn’t his normal alert behaviour. We NQ’d. We still had Exteriors to do. Since we no longer had a chance to title, I decided to try running Brodie without going for an extra pee break to see if I could successfully interrupt his marking behaviour. Exteriors are particularly challenging for an intact male that is obsessed with marking. This search area was even more challenging because there was so much pee-mail already there. He found the one hide and as we were just finishing up the last few feet of the search area, he marked. It was so fast that I didn’t even have a chance to yell NO. A very valuable experiment. I am really going to have to work on teaching him the difference between peeing on a walk and not peeing when wearing his search collar. I’ve got my work cut out for me that’s for sure.
Spirit had a great container run and finished in 3rd place. Unfortunately we NQ’d in interiors because she alerted too far away from the source. It was a tough call because of the drafts and the pooling of odour. Most dogs indicated in the exact same place as Spirit did. Even the judges expressed some regret about the hide placement but once they had NQ’d the first team they had to be consistent and NQ everyone else. If we had approached the hide from the opposite direction, she would have alerted at the source first before encountering the pooled odour. We had the same problem in Exteriors, she alerted at the top of the post and not the base. Ironically, one of the articles in the exterior search area was the same shoe from previous day that so many dogs false alerted on, and ironically Spirit hit on it again. There is something about that shoe that fooled so many teams. Very odd.
Tilly photo bomb
It was a great first day at the trial. Both dogs did so well. Brodie went first in Elite. We started with exteriors…darn cold and windy exterior search. The area was also full of dog pee, it was an incredible challenge to keep Brodie from responding to the pee-mail. We managed to qualify and finished 2nd. Containers went really well and we finished in 2nd place again. Then came the dreaded interior search. Brodie narrowed in on the scent quickly but his silly partner jumped the gun and called the alert too quickly. If I had just waited 1/2 a second I would have been able to give the judge the exact location when I heard the dreaded “where?” Instead I was off by a couple of inches. There is so much added pressure when you have passed the first two and know that you need the 3rd component to title. Hopefully tomorrow I will remember to stop and take a breath before calling alert.
Spirit ran in Excellent. We started with the container search which she passed and finished 2nd overall. Then came our interior search. We had 3 rooms to search, two of which where bathrooms. She was very uncomfortable going into the stalls in the men’s bathroom. By the time we got to the ladies bathroom she was shaking and dropping to the ground in fear as we approached the first stall. I did my best to comfort and encourage her. This is the first time she has shown any fear in a bathroom. Thankfully we made it through all three rooms and finished 1st overall. Now the pressure was on. If we passed the exterior search she would not only earned her excellent title but her Championship as well. Alas it was not to be. She alerted on a shoe and we heard the heartbreaking “no'”. We later learned that the first 4 dogs all falsely alerted on the same shoe. We still have tomorrow to hopefully pass the exterior component and earn the titles.
We, or should in say I earned one more title…..”most dramatic”. When I got over the disappointment of Brodie missing his elite title because of my mistake, I blurted out “yeah that means we don’t have to search the urinals”. Turns out the joke was on me. In Spirit’s trial, not only did she have to search the men’s bathroom but also the women’s. The judge even put a hide on top of one of the urinals. No face smooches for her until I can scrub her muzzle. YUK!!
Well it looks like that beautiful sunrise this morning was a good omen. We just finished competing in the first ever SDDA (Sporting Detection Dogs Association) Games trial hosted by Canine Coaching. We started with the Distance component and we found the hide in 35 seconds. Then we moved on to the Aerial search and we nailed it in 25 seconds and came in first overall. Next was the one minute Speed search. 20 containers down a hallway and into one room. We found the 3 hides in 56 seconds and came in 2nd overall. Last and most terrifying was the Team search. We were paired with a total stranger and her dog and only had 2 minutes to chat before trialing to come up with a search plan. We started out strong with each of us finding a hide quickly. Sadly the other team false alerted so we were all disqualified. So pleased to walk away with 3 Q’s. Brodie worked his little heart out for me today…so proud of him!!
My handsome, sweet boy is 2 years old today. Man time flies. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful golden in our lives. We spent the morning doing a 7km canicross at -20 Celsius which felt quite mild compared to the -30 to -40 it has been for the past few weeks. Look at the frost icicles on his chin.
The passage of time:
Well my first Iron Paws has come to an end. We did pretty good considering we got very few points over the last two weeks because of the damn polar vortex. Overall we finished 75th out of 296. In the 2 dog sled category we finished 7th overall. The Edmonton Regional Group finished 12th overall and Team Spirit came in tied for 2nd place in our region. It was great to meet so many people in our area that love to get outside and play with their dogs. I definitely plan on doing another Iron Paws.
It has been almost 2 weeks since the dogs have been able to go outside for anything more than a potty break or a brisk 1km sprint. I can’t remember the last time we had such an extended cold spell. And the wind makes it even worse. Sadly we recorded no mileage or points for the final week of Iron Paws. It looks like there might be a slow improvement in temps coming in the next week.
Finally got the dogs out for a quick off leash run. They were so happy to stretch their legs and run free.
Because of the cold, I am falling behind in my training for the 1/2 corked marathon. I forced myself to bundle up and head out for a brisk 4km this morning. The temp with the windchill was close to -40.
Look what arrived today. It is a plaque acknowledging the Elite title that we earned at the Sniff and Tell trial in Picture Butte last October.