Category Archives: Nosework

One more sniff for 2018

When we finished our last trial in October I thought that would be the end of our 2018 season but I was wrong.  When I saw the premium for the K9 Scentinels trial in Surrey BC, I just knew we had to enter.  The best dog teams in our sport were going to be there and we would have the opportunity to trial along side them and learn so much.  Traveling through the mountains at this time of year can be very treacherous but we were lucky and had great weather both ways.  It is very rare to be able to see the top of Mount Robson…it is usually hidden in the clouds.

Brodie only needed one more Q in Excellent Interiors so I entered him both Saturday and Sunday hoping that he would pass one of them and earn his Master Championship.  I also entered him in Elite for both days but we didn’t get a spot on either day.  We ended up first on the waiting list for Saturday and 3rd on Sunday.   Spirit has been “off” on scent work lately so I did not enter her at all.  A few days before the trial we got the great news that someone has cancelled on Saturday so Brodie would get a chance to do an Elite run.

For Excellent Interiors you have 15 minutes to search 3 rooms.  One will have 1 hide, one will have 2 hides and the other will be clear.  You cannot leave a room until you call it clear or finished.  As luck would have it, Brodie passed his Excellent run in 2 minutes and 40 seconds and earned his Master Championship on Saturday.  K9 Scentinels made a video of each dog’s run and shared it with us after the trial (thank you!).

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Since Brodie didn’t need his run on Sunday, K9 Scentinels allowed me to substitute Spirit in for him and switch it to Exteriors.  I was so proud of Spirit.  She worked her little heart out (slow and steady) and not only got high in trial but she earned her Excellent Title.   Here’s Spirit’s video  It was early Sunday morning,  -2C and the whole search area was on a steep frosty covered hill (concrete and grass).  There were 3 hides.

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We ended up getting the opportunity to run Elite on both days.  Elite is so much harder than all the previous levels combined.  There are an unknown number of hides, you have to deal with converging and pooling odour and it is a real head game for the handler.  Unfortunately not a single team qualified in Elite either day.   I was so hoping to see history made and witness the first team ever to earn their Elite Championship or Grand Master Championship.  There are two teams that just need one more elite title to reach both of these milestones.

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Filed under Brodie, Nosework, SDDA, SDDA Title, Spirit, Sporting Detection, Sporting Detection Dog Association

Another Scent Title for Spirit

This morning I was awake at 4am to get ready to drive to Red Deer to compete at the Little Nose That Knows/Canine Coaching SDDA trial.  The trial was held at the Sunnybrook Farm Museum.  We are so lucky that businesses like Sunnybrook support SDDA and allow us to hold trials there.  Both Brodie and Spirit competed today.  Running two dogs at the same trial can be a little hectic but I was very lucky because their searches didn’t overlap today.  This was Spirit’s first trial in almost a year.  We had to cancel several trials earlier this year because she was having trouble with her eyes.   I was a little nervous since we had been away from the sport for so long but she was a wonderful.  She qualified in all 3 components and got her advanced working stream title.  She came in first in interiors with a perfect score of 80/80, second in containers with a 57/60 and got a 50/60 for her exterior search . The icing on the cake was finishing first place overall in the advanced working stream. So proud of my girl.  With an overall score of 187/200 she earned a Silver title.

Not wanting to be outdone by his big sister, Brodie had a smokin’ day at the trial too. He Q’d in both excellent containers and exteriors. He would have got his title with SP designation but his Mom got too excited and called the alert too quickly on the last interior room search.  If I had waited 2 seconds longer I would have been able to tell the judge exactly where the hide was instead of being off by a few inches. For only 18 months old he just rocked it.  It was a tough trial and no one earned their excellent title.  We were thrilled to find out that we placed 2nd in containers and first in exteriors and we were the only team that qualified in exteriors.

Thank you to all the amazing volunteers, Judges Paul Dyer and Ryan-Ann King Smith and to Little Nose that Knows and Canine Coaching for hosting another great trial.

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Filed under Brodie, Nosework, SDDA, Spirit, Sporting Detection, Sporting Detection Dog Association

My Scenting Stars

BrodieStartedSPWe drove to Red Deer today to participate in a Sporting Detection Dog Association (SDDA) trial.  Spirit was entered in the Advanced Working Dog category.   I have been introducing Brodie to scent detection, and since he was coming along for the ride,  I thought I would enter him in the Started category so that he could get some experience being at a trial.  Dogs have to be at least 6 months old to trial so we were lucky that Brodie hit that milestone last week, just in time to participate.  It was a bit of a hectic morning because they decided to run the Started and Advanced at the same time.  Brodie was 10th to run in the Started Division and Spirit was 8th in Advanced.

Brodie had his Container and Interior Searches first.  Just before they called us, Brodie yelped and lunged towards his backend as a wasp bit him.  Poor little guy.  He kept walking in a circle trying to reach the spot, obviously very upset.  The Judges offered to let us take a break and come back later but I decided to just go ahead since this was only a learning experience for him.  To my complete shock and amazement it took him only 8 seconds (3 minute time limit) to find the correct container and we got a score of 29/30 (we lost 1 point for having an inconsistent search sequence).  The Judges were as shocked as I was.  We had a minute to gather our composure and he started the interior component.  Again, he found the hide in only 37 seconds (5 minute time limit) with a score of 39/40 (again we lost 1 point for having an inconsistent search sequence).  I had to run back to the car, drop off Brodie and grab Spirit for her first run so I didn’t have any time to really digest what had just happened.

Spirit did Containers first.  She found the first hide quickly and I got all excited, rewarded her and walked away.  The Judges just stood there staring at me.  After about a minute of awkward silence they said, did you forget that there is a second hide???  Dummy me, having just completed the Started search that has only has one hide, I completely forgot that Advanced has two hides and a distractor.  We got back to searching and Spirit indicated on another container and when I called it the Judge told me she was wrong.  Dang it.  I messed my girl up.  Interesting note, there were 30 dogs in the Advanced category and only 4 found the 2 hides the rest false alerted like Spirit.  Makes you wonder if there was some contamination in the search area.  Spirit immediately moved on to her Interior search.   She found both hides in 1 minute and 7 seconds and we scored a perfect 80/80.

Once again, I ran back to the car, did another quick dog switcharoo and raced backed to do Brodie’s exterior search.  Unfortunately we were late and missed our turn so we had to wait and run last.  The exterior search was comprised of 3 tractors.  The hide was hidden underneath the middle tractor.  It took my amazing little boy only 1 minute to find it (5 minute time limit with another amazing score of 29/30 (I lost 1 point for my handling hindering my dog).  One of the Judges was the founder of the Search and Rescue Dog Association of Alberta (SARDAA).  She was so impressed by him.  She told me I have an amazing, young working dog.  What a wonderful compliment from a very knowledgeable and experienced handler.   I thought Brodie was just going to have a fun play day practicing searching and he ended up get his Started title.  Because we got all 3 components at the same trial, we also get an SP designation (special). And the news only gets better, we actually finished 3rd overall and got a big basket of SWAG.  Last but not least, because we got an overall score of 97/100, our title will be at the gold level.  WOW!!!!!  Big thank you to Judge Jane Book and shadow Judge Mary-Ann Warren.

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Brodie’s haul: Green ribbon for 3rd place overall, 3 qualifying ribbons for containers, interior and exterior, purple Started Level Title ribbon with the SP designation and his basket of goodies.

We had a long wait before Spirit got to do her exterior search.  By then it was very hot and sunny, not good for a big, hairy black dog.  She really struggled.  Dogs can’t scent when they are panting heavily.  We used the whole 5 minutes and she didn’t find the hide.  Even when the Judge told us where it was, it took two passes for her to find it and alert on it.  No worries.  I’m still very proud of my girl. Thank you to Judge Doug Theeft.

Each dog got a ginormous knuckle bone when we got home.

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Filed under Brodie, Nosework, SDDA, Spirit, Sporting Detection