We spent the day at See Spot Run participating in a C-WAGS scent trial. We had a great day sniffing and hanging out with great people. Brodie was entered in three rounds, one Level 2 and two Level 3, and he qualified in all of them. He earned his Level 3 Scent Investigator (CW-SI) title.
Spirit ran in two Level 3 rounds and qualified in both.
After Spirit’s emergency surgery on Tuesday, we never thought we would be going to Red Deer to compete in the Little Nose that Knows/Canine Coaching Sporting Detection trial. The Vet said we would be surprised at how quickly Spirit would recover but we never expected to be going to a scent trial 4 days after her surgery. We waited until 4:30am Saturday morning to make our final decision. Spirit was happily eating, peeing and pooping so we decided to go so that Brodie could play.
Brodie competed in Elite on Saturday in the biggest group of Elite competitors that I have ever seen. Unfortunately not only did no team title, not a single team passed even one of the three components. Sunday was a much better day. Several teams passed 2 of the 3 components but we were the only team that passed the first two components and had an opportunity to title if we got the third one. Brodie was doing really well. He found two hides in the exterior search where there can be 0 to 3 hides. We had less than 1 minute left in our search and he pawed at a picnic bench and I blurted out Alert so fast….sadly too fast because immediately I knew that it wasn’t a hide it was a distractor. Lately Brodie has started pawing at distractors (which is his alert at source) so I have been trying to wait to make my call to make so that I can be sure that the rest of his body language also leads me to believe that it is the hide and not a distractor. It was so disappointing being that close to a title and missing it. Ironically I think the Judge was even more disappointed that I was. He came up to me at the end of the trial to tell me what a wonderful partner Brodie is and how well he searches for a young dog. We ended up with a 2nd place in Interiors and a 3rd in containers.
Over the weekend, every time I came to take Brodie out of the car for a search, Spirit got all excited thinking it was her turn. It broke my heart to see how disappointed she was when I said Brodie’s name instead of hers.
Sunday afternoon we had the games searches. Brodie was entered in Speed, Distance and Team and Spirit in Aerial. Brodie passed the Distance search to earn his Distance title but just missed the Speed component which would have given us a Games Championship. Our partner in the Team component false alerted early in our search so we were done for the day. The Aerial component was run last. I went on the walk through to see the search area and discovered that all the hides were hanging up against a wall and they were all at Spirit’s nose height. I spoke to the Judge and told him about Spirit’s surgery and how she really just wanted to get out and “play”. I said I would just let her walk slowly by the hides and not worry about passing or failing…just giving her a positive end to a crappy week. We were the first team. She strutted down the side of the building wagging her tail and walking with the classic Berner prance. It was so wonderful to watch her. To my surprise she went straight to the hide and did a brilliant indication. She was so proud of herself. It was her 3rd qualifier in Aerial so we walked away with a Title.
Many thanks to Samatha and Kristina for holding the trial, all the amazing volunteers as well as Judges Jean-Marc Dugas and John Mairs.
Yesterday we got up bright and early to drive to Calgary to participate in the Shiba Inu Club of Canada’s Scent Detection trial at the beautiful Spruce Meadows. It’s a good thing that Spirit went first because the temperature soared to 30C later in the day. She found the hide in 10.61 seconds earning her Scent Detection Instinct Title (SDIN). By the time the Novice teams started it was unbearably hot outside. We started with containers and Brodie had it sourced from the start line so we finished in 8.19 seconds. By the time we ran the exterior searches, the search area was in full sun. Thank goodness he found it in 33.54 seconds. We finished with the interior search inside the barn. Brodie found the environment very “smelly-licious” and wasn’t as focused as he should have been. He found the hide in 33.54 seconds. Only 6 teams passed all 3 searches to earn their Scent Detection Novice Title (SDN) and thank goodness we were one of them. The majority of the teams failed on the hot exterior search. It is very difficult for dogs to scent when they are panting so hard. At the trial 2 weeks ago 20 teams passed the Novice test so the heat really appears to have been a factor at this trial.
Big thank you to the Shiba Inu Club of Canada, the volunteers and Judge Kelley Ladouceur for a great trial.
On Friday night we braved pouring rain, thunder and lightning so that Brodie could participate in a CKC Chase Ability run. We didn’t get home until almost 10pm and didn’t get to sleep until closer to midnight by the time we had unloaded and reloaded the dogs.
Our alarm went off at 3:15am so that we could drive to Calgary for Spirit to compete in the first CKC Scent Detection trial in Alberta. Her first two runs were perfect. On our third run we heard the dreaded “I’m sorry”. She has a bad habit of alerting at the fringe of odour rather than following it back to source. Too bad, we headed back to Edmonton with 2 qualifying ribbons but no Novice title.
Sunday morning we were up at 6am for a 45 minute drive east of the city to attend the final day of the ALCA speed demons trial. Brodie ran 2 Sprinters and 1 CAP. He managed to get two new personal bests on his Sprinters. He is the fastest male Golden Retriever in Canada running 42.33 km/hr. There is one female Golden who is faster than him at 42.5 km/hr…..so close!!!
At the end of his last Sprinters run he slid through a muddy slough and came out looking like this
Brodie qualified in all 4 of his runs this weekend.
Just 2 weeks ago I was blogging about how proud I was of Spirit for getting her Championship. Well she has taken it to the next level. I am over the moon proud of her for earning her Sporting Detection Master Championship this afternoon at the Alert K9 trial. I was so nervous before we started our Exterior search. Christina, the trial host, gave me a big hug and told us we could do it … and we did!! Spirit is just the 2nd Bernese Mountain Dog to reach this level. When I called the final alert the Judge hesitated and my heart sank. Then he gave me a big smile and said Yes! He enjoyed messing with me for a few seconds. I burst out with a big yahoo and gave my girl a big hug and a handful of treats. I have to admit that I had a few tears in my eyes too. Just for a little icing on the cake, we also competed in the aerial and distance games and she Q’d In both.
In just love how she is looking at me in this picture
This past weekend we went to Red Deer to participate in the Little Nose that Knows SDDA scent trial. Mother Nature did her very best to make the weather conditions as miserable as possible. Despite that, Spirit got her much needed Excellent Exterior search component to finally earn her Championship. It has been a real struggle and I’m so proud of her. Not only did she get her beautiful ribbon, but a bunch of swag as well
Many thanks to our host Kris and the all the wonderful volunteers.
We attended our 2nd CWAGS scent trial today. It was hosted by Anneli Hilton of See Spot Run Doggie Daycare and Training Inc. Brodie earned 2 more Level 2 Q’s which earned him his first CWAGS title of Scent Detective CW-SD. He was far less distracted by the environment this time.
Spirit participated in her first CWAGS trial. See qualified in both of her runs with very focused and thorough searches. Very proud of my girl.
We spent St. Patty’s Day at our first C-WAGS scent trial. Anneli and everyone at See Spot Run were so welcoming and friendly.
Brodie and I did one Level 1 and two Level 2 trials and we qualified in all 3. It wasn’t very pretty. He was so distracted by the environment (doggy day care) that it was a constant struggle to get him focused and sniffing.
We were very grateful to win a Judges award for qualifying in all 3 runs at our first trial. We got this pot of “gold” as our prize.
Thanks to our Judges, volunteers and See Spot Run for making our introduction to C-WAGS so positive.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
We 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.
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.
We received our official Advanced Title in the mail today. I didn’t realize it but we received a gold level title which means we scored 96% or better in each of the disciplines. Her started titled was a bronze so I guess it means that we are improving as a team….yeah us!!!
We were up bright and early this morning to drive to Red Deer to participate in Nosey Pawtner’s Sporting Detection Dog Association trial. We had a slow start but a great finish with lots of swag.
Spirit got a second place on the interior search component, 2nd place overall and she got her Advanced title today. So proud of my big girl. So now we have to move from the amateur steam and start competing in the working/professional scenting dog stream.
Throughout the photo shoot she had her eye on the cookie and couldn’t wait for permission to gobble it down.
We just finished our third and final Sporting Detection trial of the year. It was hosted by Nosey Pawtners in Springbrook Alberta. The results were almost an exact repeat of our advanced trial in August. Spirit got another perfect score in Containers, but we only got a second place finish this time because another dog also had a perfect score but finished faster than we did.
Then came the Interior search. Once again we failed to qualify because of handler error. Spirit found the hide but I could not tell exactly where it was. The judge picked up on my hesitation and asked me to point it out and I was off by a few inches. Darn it!!! I should have called Spirit off the hide, circled back around and got her to indicate again. I may have lost points for calling her off the hide but we would not have been disqualified. Another great learning experience.
The final search was an Exterior instead of a Vehicle, which I think is much harder because there are literally hundreds of places for a hide in an exterior area. We got a near perfect score of 59/60 and got third place.
Even though we only qualified in two of the three components, Spirit’s scores were so high that we placed 4th overall. This trial was a little different. Instead of awarding ribbons for 1st – 3rd in each component, they chose to give out certificates and dogs toys. Ribbons were award for only the overall winners. So we ended up with two certificates, one ribbon and 3 toys. I would have preferred the ribbons but I think my girl likes the toys better. So proud of Spirit especially since it has only been a few weeks since her emergency surgery to remove a blockage in her intestine. A very big thank you to Judge Doug Teeft.
On Saturday Spirit and I participated in an SDDA (Sporting Detection Dogs Association) Advance Trial in Red Deer hosted by The Little Nose that Knows. Two days before the trial Spirit surprised us by going into heat. I contacted the trial co-ordinator and she said we could still compete if Spirit wore a diaper and that we would have to go last. We’ve never trained with her in heat or with a diaper. I decided that we would still go to the trial for the experience…….just treat it like a training session with no expectations.
While we were waiting for our turn to start, I walked Spirit around so that she would get used to wearing her search vest and diaper. Before I could stop her, she squatted and took a pee. Great now not only was she wearing a diaper but it was sagging and heavy with pee. We didn’t have time to change so we had to go ahead and do our first two searches that way.
Our first search was containers. At the advanced level there are two finds and one distractor with dog food in it. Spirit is not what you would call a high energy or speedy dog. She slowly but methodically makes her way through the search checking each container. I could tell when she hit the distractor because she was very interested in the delicious smells wafting out of the container. I was very relieved when she moved on without alerting on it. We finished our search in 1 minute and 8 seconds (3 minute time limit).
We immediately went on to the interior search…generally the hardest component because you are inside, there is not much air movement and there are literally hundred of places where the hide can be. I could tell that she had located the scent cone of one of the hides under a table but she was having trouble finding the source. I should have asked the Judge if I could move some of the chairs out of the way to give her more room to maneuver but I didn’t. Classic handler error. She gave her alert and the Judge asked me to identify where the source was. I knew it was under the table but I could not tell him exactly where so I took a best guess and pointed to where I thought it was but I was a few inches off. Too bad…game over no hope of an advanced title today.
We had to wait another hour before we did our final search….an exterior. She located the scent cone quite quickly but it was so windy she had trouble finding the source. She went back and forth in the same area several times but then all of sudden she went straight to the hide and gave a beautiful indication. It took her 1 minute and 49 seconds (5 minute time limit).
Considering the circumstances we did great and I am so proud of Spirit. The NQ for the interior was my fault and a good lesson was learned. At the award ceremony I was just standing at the back enjoying everyone’s accomplishments when I was shocked to find out that we got a perfect score on the container search and came away with a first place ribbon.
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Spirit and I competed in our first sanctioned SDDA trial on Saturday, April 23rd in Morinville, Alberta. I am thrilled to announce that we qualified in all three components: container, interior and exterior/vehicle (3 purple ribbons). Spirit now has her Sporting Detection – Started title: “SD – S “. Because we qualified in all 3 components on the same day, we also earned a special designation making her title “SD – S, SP” (large purple/black ribbon). And if that wasn’t enough, we placed 3rd in the interior search which is the hardest of the three (large white and black ribbon). Thank you to SDDA Judge Paul Dyer. I am so proud of my girl. I think she was also the youngest dog at the trial.
Thanks to photographer Bev Holoboff for donating her time to take pictures of the teams at work.
A special thank you to Ryan-Ann of Doglogix Scent Detection for hosting an amazing trial and being a talented scent detection instructor. Team Spirit’s success is because of you.
After a long, cold and windy day at the trial we came home and relaxed together in the La-Z-Boy. Spirit loves to use me as her personal pillow. Note Tilly’s disgusted look.
On February 24th (the night before Spirit’s shoulder surgery) she participated in her Sporting Detection Dogs Association (SDDA) advanced Designated Odor Test (DOT) for pine. Even though she was sore she still worked very hard and passed. We just got our ribbon and certificate so we thought an official portrait was in order. Look how nicely the fur is growing back on her shoulder and leg. With these two DOT tests under her belt, Spirit is now able to participate in sanctioned SDDA started and advanced trials.
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Our girl has a good nose. Spirit passed her first Sporting Detection Dog Association (SDDA) test. She got her Designated Odour Test (DOT) certificate and ribbon for Wintergreen. There were 14 containers and the hide was in the 12th one. It took us 28 seconds to complete it.
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