It’s official, Spirit received her SDDA Games Champion title in the mail. Back in December, she was the first Bernese Mountain Dog to earn this title and she is still the only one. So proud of what she has accomplished.
Category Archives: SDDA Games
I just love this big goofy girl. She does not do scent work for the love of the game, she does it because she loves engaging with me and seeing me get so excited when she finds the hide and, well lets be honest here….she has an intense love affair with food. We’ve had more than our fair share of struggles along the way. I used to say that if we could just make it to our championship I would be thrilled. Then it was maybe a Master Champion title was actually possible. With each milestone we reached she showed me she could do it and that I underestimated her. Then came Games. Once again, I sold her short. At best I thought we had a chance of getting our Aerial title but that was it. Yesterday we earned our Games Championship. In so many ways this title means more to me than when her younger “brother’ Brodie became the first dog to earn a SD-GCH. For him it was relatively easy and somewhat expected that he would, at least at some point, get the title. For Spirit this is a real achievement….she actually got 3 Speed Q’s…if you’ve ever watched her search, speedy is not an adjective you would use to describe her style 😉. Moral of the story…..dream big and trust your dog 💜💜💜
She is the first Bernese Mountain Dog to get this title and only the 6th dog of any breed to earn it. If you think about it, that is pretty amazing for a breed that is not associated with scent work. She is now officially known as:
Tailspin’s Winter’s Spirit RI SDIN, SDDA: SD-MACH SD-GCH, C-WAGS: CW-SI
Our mailbox was overflowing with mail for Brodie and Spirit. Starting with Spirit, she got her CKC Scent Detection Instinct Title (SDIN) and her SDDA Aerial Games Title (SD-GA).
Brodie received his CKC Scent Detection Novice (SDN) and his Chase Ability Excellent (CAE)
SDDA Games Aerial (SD-GA), Games Speed (SD-GS) and Games Distance (SD-GD)
as well as his C-WAGS Scent Investigator (CS-SI).
I am so glad that we were able to combine our family visits with the Sporting Detection Dogs Association’s inaugural National Challenge Cup. We had a blast meeting so many wonderful people,talking dogs and sniffing.
The festivities started on Friday with a lovely wedding. Esteemed Judge Doug Teeft and his fiancé Cathy tied the knot. Their cake was appropriately topped with German Shepherds.
The Games trial came next. Originally I had signed Brodie up for all 4 games but since that time he has earned all 4 titles. I substituted Spirit in the Speed component since she needs two more Speed Q’s to get her title and championship. Since we had already paid, Brodie ran in the remaining 3 games for the heck of it. Spirit nailed Speed and Brodie Q’d in Aerial and Distance (18 seconds WTG).
Then came the Team component. We didn’t have a pre-arranged partner so Stacy Barnett and I partnered up. She wanted to split the areas up and not call a hide until the other dog came in and confirmed it. Since we already have our title I was happy to follow her plan. Unfortunately that ate up a lot of time. We had successfully called 3, Brodie had sourced the 4th hide but Brava couldn’t confirm it so we timed out. Oh so close. In NACSW they don’t have to be as exact as SDDA when they call their hides. Brava was able to say there is something somewhere around here but I had to bring Brodie in to pinpoint the exact location before I was able to call each of the hides. Although we didn’t Q (only one team did) it was an honour and pleasure to search with such a well known and respected participant, Judge and international nose work instructor.
The Nationals started Saturday morning with each team doing 4 searches (exterior containers, interior and 2 interior/exterior combos). In 3 of the 4 searches we found all the hides for full points plus bonus points. We only found two of the 4 hides in the last interior/exterior combo but since we found the two hardest hides we still earned decent points. Our two afternoon searches weren’t quite as successful. We nailed the exterior search but NQ’d on the vehicle search which cost us a maximum of 30 points. At the end of the first day we had 182 points which put us in 9th place overall
Saturday night was the banquet. We shared a table with Jane book and several of her students and had a wonderful evening. There was a very interesting speaker with 40+ years experience training dogs and handlers all over the world. He talked about how scent behaves and how he approaches a search.
Sunday morning we had 3 searches. They upped the ante by reducing our search time to only 2 minutes each. My amazing boy nailed all 3. Watching him work just made my heart sing. How lucky am I that I get to play sports and share my life with this smart, athletic, goofy and handsome boy. I could have gone home at that point completely happy with our performance.
All of a sudden people where hugging and congratulating me and I didn’t know what was happening until I actually saw the official results. Much to my utter shock, we ended up placing 4th overall. Holy cow….completely unexpected.
The top 12 teams got to participate in the finals. The dogs ran in reverse order of score so we were the 9th team to search. There were 2 search areas, 3 hides in each and only 2 minutes per search. We all started fresh with zero points.
I listened to lots of clapping and cheers for the previous competitors. By the time it was our turn my mouth was dry, my palms and forehead were sweaty and my stomach was doing flip flops. We were way out of our league competing against scent work teachers, judges and some of the best in our sport. When I walked up to the vehicle search and saw the crowd of spectators my hands started shaking. Scent detection is usually a solo sport with just you, your dog, the timer and Judge.
Our first search was not stellar. We missed the first hide right at the front corner of the trailer, found the second inside the bed of the trailer and then moved on to the second vehicle. Brodie picked up the odour and worked it back to source but we timed out just as I called alert.
Thank goodness we had a couple of minutes to wait before we started the exterior search. I was able to sit down, stroke Brodie’s sweet soft forehead and practice some deep breathing to try and relax. I told myself to calm down and forget about who else is searching and how many people are watching and judging us. Just focus on my boy and enjoy ourselves. It worked. We nailed all 3 hides. So proud of Brodie. He is the heart and soul of this team.
We ended up finishing in 7th place, way exceeding any of my dreams. We got a lovely ribbon and a bag of swag.
I wish I could have had a do-over on the first search but that’s how it goes. Valuable lesson learned. Forget about everything else and most importantly trust your dog!!!!
Games night at the Manitoba Scent Detection Trial is over. Thanks to our awesome Teams partner Michelle and Neuman, Brodie and I got our 3rd Q and earned our Teams Title. I think that makes us the very first to get all 4 Games Titles 🏅🏅🏅🏅.
Spirit earned her Distance Title giving her her 2nd games title. She completely surprised me by earning a Q in Speed. Anyone who has seen her search knows that speed is not her forte….slow and steady is her mantra. We called the last hide with just a millisecond to spare.
Thank you to all the volunteers, hosts Michelle & Diane and our Judge John-Marc Dugas.
We had a great weekend at the Alert K9 trial in Pilot Butte Saskatchewan. We started with Games on Friday night. The first component was speed, the only Q Brodie needed for his third Games title and the championship. He nailed it. According to the latest stats as of 2019SEP08, no one has 3 titles yet so he could be the first dog to attain a Games Championship but we won’t know until the updated stats are available. We were lucky to be paired up again with Darla and Jetta in Team which resulted in our 2nd team Q. Spirit ran both distance and aerial and Q’d in both.
Brodie and I did Elite on Saturday and Sunday. Our streak of passing 2 of 3 components continues. So close😉. No teams passed elite either day.
Big thanks to host Christina, her amazing volunteers and Judge extraordinaire Kathy Hansen.
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.