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 Title
Brodie and I had an incredible weekend at the Canine Coaching SDDA trial held at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. Big thanks to Samantha Freschette and all her wonderful volunteers for putting on another amazing trial and to Judge Richard Hatchman.
On Saturday there were 9 or 10 teams doing elite searches. That is the biggest Elite group we have ever trialed with (normally it is 5 or 6 teams maximum). We ran last so we had lots of time to wait and worry….ok I worried and stressed, Brodie didn’t care. It was so exciting to see each team come out from their searches all excited because they had passed. An incredible 6 teams passed all 3 components to earn an Elite title. For two teams it was their elusive first title. One amazing team (Al and Kerri) reached the ultimate pinnacle in SDDA and earned both their Sporting Detection Elite Champion and Sporting Detection Grand Master Champion. We earned our 2nd elite title, but more importantly we got our first gold score. We also got a first place in containers, 3rd place in interiors and a 3rd place overall.
On Sunday there were 6 elite teams competing and this time we searched first. Only one team titled on Sunday…..and it was us and it was another gold! Since we were the only team to title, we got first place overall and we were the only team to pass the exterior search so we got first in exteriors. I am still in shock. We now have 3 elites, under 2 different judges and the elusive 2 gold scores. We need two more elite titles to earn our Sporting Detection Elite Champion and Sporting Detection Grand Master Champion.
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.
Just getting caught up on our mail and found all of these titles that Spirit has earned recently in scent detection/nosework. She has been a busy girl.
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.
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.
We received two new official titles in the mail today. Brodie got his SD-MACH (Sporting Detection Master Champion) and Spirit got her silver level SD-E (Sporting Detection Excellent Title). They sure love this sniffing game. So proud of my “kids”.
This fall I made myself a promise that if we were lucky enough to earn our Sporting Detection Master Champion title, I would book a photo session with an amazing local photographer Bev Holoboff Photography Brodie proved to be a bit of a challenge. He wasn’t comfortable posing on top of the table so he was just panting like crazy. Nearly every picture she took, either his tongue was hanging out or his ears were back and he looked nervous. We decided we would try getting some actions shots by throwing a bunch of his scent detection ribbons in the air. Not sure that Brodie found it as funny as we did.
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.
So proud of my little man being the first Golden Retriever to earn his Sporting Detection Elite Title (SD-EL) and of course a Championship title is a nice addition too.
This weekend we participated in our final sporting detection trial for 2018. Chinook Dog Centre put on a really amazing event and it was their very first trial. Big congratulations to Joanne and Brandy-Lee. The timing of runs was fantastic, we were fed really well and we even finished early on Sunday.
On Saturday Brodie had a very busy day trialing at 3 different levels. Normally I would never do that but at the last minute we decided to pull Spirit’s entry because she just didn’t want to play scent games at the last trial and I didn’t think it was fair to force her to do it again (will be play over the winter to find out if she is still interested in Scenting or if it is time to retire). You can only get a refund for medical reasons so we substituted Brodie in for her events. He qualified in Excellent Working Exteriors and finished in 3rd place. He rocked Advanced working qualifying in all 3 components with a 1st in Interiors, 2nd in Containers and 2nd in Exteriors. He finished first overall in Advanced Working and we also won high in trial and got a basket full of goodies. He was fantastic at the Elite level. We qualified in containers and exteriors and got to the final room in our interior search and he alerted at the top of a fire extinguisher but the hide was 2 inches higher in the light switch. So close. It was a heart breaker.
On Sunday he only ran in Excellent and Advanced. We were both tired, he was a little crazy running all over the place and then decided to play soccer with the containers instead of searching them. Needless to say we NQ’d. He managed to slow down a little bit for the Advanced searches. We qualified in all 3 components with a 3rd in Interiors, 1st in Containers and 1st in Exteriors. Once again we finished first overall, won high in trial again and got a second basket full of goodies. So proud of my little man. If we had managed to get just one Excellent Interior qualifier this weekend we would have earned our SD-MACH (Master Champion). On the positive side, we have something to look forward to next year.
Big thanks to Judges Mary-Ann Warren and Doug Wilson
This past weekend we made the long drive down to Picture Butte Alberta to attend the Sniff and Tell Sporting Detection Trial. The trial was held at Coyote Flats Pioneer Village. What a terrific venue for a scent trial. The weather was amazing and Team Brodie had a fantastic weekend. We ran in both Working Advanced and Elite. On Saturday in Advanced we got 2nd place in Exteriors, 3rd place in containers and finished first overall. Elite didn’t go as well. We didn’t qualify in any component nor did any of the other competitors. On Sunday we finished 1st in Advanced Working Exteriors but the big news is that we earned the elusive Elite Title and we are the first Golden team to earn it. It was such a rush and an emotional roller coaster all in one. The Judge gave me a big hug after our last component and all of the other competitors were huddled outside cheering for us when we came out. That is one of the things that I love about this sport. We are all cheerleaders for one another and we are happy for each other even when we haven’t been successful. We were the only team to earn a title so by default we got the High Overall Elite award. Look at the haul of awards and goodies we came home with.
Spirit ran in the Amateur Excellent stream on both days but false alerted on every run. Very unusual for her but she seemed very happy doing it.
We went to the Canine Coaching SDDA trial in Bowden Alberta this weekend. We drove down on Friday so that we wouldn’t have to get up at 4am on Saturday morning in order to get to the trial on time. That turned out to be a good choice because when we woke up Saturday morning and looked out the window of our hotel room we saw a freezing winter wonderland. It would have been a scary drive. I’ve never practiced in a snow storm never mind trialed.
Neither dog titled on Saturday but Spirit got a 2nd place in Advanced Working Containers and Brodie got a first place in Excellent Working Containers and was the only dog to qualify in that component.
Sunday was an amazing day for Brodie. I am so incredibly proud of my boy. He just loves this game of Scent Detection. He earned his Excellent Working Title with a 2nd place in Containers, 1st place in Exteriors and a 3rd place in Interiors. We finished 1st place overall. With a total score of 194/200 we earned our second gold level title.
But the good news doesn’t stop there. Brodie earned his Scent Detection Championship, a beautiful ribbon and beautiful swag. I have to remind myself that he is only 19 months old and he has already accomplished so much. I checked the latest title stats (updated as of 2018SEP09) and determined that as of that date, there have only been 6 Goldens who have earned their Scent Detection Champion SD-CH title so far. When they have them updated I will check again and confirm if he is the 7th.
We got so many compliments on how amazing he was for such a young dog and how well we work together as a team. Those compliments mean so much more to me than any title we have earned.
Spirit came so close to titling on Sunday but we just missed on the exterior component. We qualified in containers with a 3rd place and she finished first in interiors.
On the more humorous side, on Saturday Brodie and I got an extra special fun ribbon for “Sassy Handler” because his Mom let out an expletive during one of our searches. On Sunday we got another special ribbon for “Most Dramatic” because I was so excited when we completed our final component and I realized that we had earned our Championship….I rolled around on the floor with Brodie and smooched him up. And believe it or not, Spirit and I also got one of the “special” ribbons for “Epic Fail” when we NQ’d on our Exterior search on Sunday. They didn’t hand out that many “special” ribbons but somehow we managed to snag three of them. Crazy handler. There was a lot of laughing and a good time had by everyone.
On the weekend we participated in the Cowichan Valley K9 Noseworks scent trial on Vancouver Island. Brodie had a great day on Saturday, He qualified in both Excellent Amateur Interiors (2nd place) and Containers. With those 2 qualifiers he earned his Excellent title.
Spirit struggled a bit but she qualified in Advanced Working containers with a 2nd place. We were really thrilled to learn that we were chosen as the Judge’s favourite team.
Sunday was complete opposite of Saturday. Spirit qualified in all 3 components and earned another Advanced Working Title. She also got a first place in containers and once again we were chosen as the Judge’s favourite team (different Judge).
Brodie didn’t qualify in any of his runs. Our exterior search was particularly interesting. He was so focused on whatever scents were in the environment that he completely ignored me for the entire 5 minutes before we timed out and were disqualified. The Judge and her assistants were in tears from laughing so hard watching me trying to get Brodie to engage with me. I had a good giggle when I was given my score sheets and saw the Judge’s comments……
Thank you to CWV9 for hosting a wonderful. A big thank you to Judges Jane Book and Kathy Hansen and all the wonderful volunteers.
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.