With Iron Paws wrapping up this week I was sad our pulling time was coming to end. Not any more. We learned about a new group called Wheel Dog League. Now we will continue to have all the motivation we need to hit the trails. We can earn titles and participate in challenges. We’ve logged our first few runs and earned our first badge
Category Archives: Spirit
I can’t believe that it was 6 years ago today that Spirit joined our family. She had such a fearful and stressful drive home with us that I thought we had broken her. She shivered, drooled and sat frozen with fear the whole way home. She even refused food (for those that know Spirit, food is the most important thing in the world to her). I took her straight into the backyard and once I put her on the ground she quickly recovered her composure and inhaled any and all food offered to her. I knew we had a fearful puppy but it was comforting to see that she also recovered quickly. She has grown into a big, shiny beautiful black girl.
We have been blessed with the most wonderful, mild winter temperatures for the last week…..sadly that is about to end. We took advantage of the winter reprieve to get out as much as possible with the dogs.
This morning Spirit and I participated in a CKC Tracking Dog test put on by Wild Rose Tracking Club. I am over the moon proud of my big, black hairy girl. Out of all of her titles and ribbons, this one means the most to me. She is just shy of her 6th birthday so that makes it even more special for a breed with a average lifespan of 8 years. We were very lucky and had first draw but I pulled track #6….the last one. The weather forecast was for a cool, very dry and windy day with gusts up to 50km….the later the track the stronger the winds.
Only two of the 5 teams before us were successful so I was pretty nervous at the start. Spirit started well but about 80 metres into our track her head came up with her muzzle up high obviously air scenting, her body went stiff and she started racing back and forth in front of me. It clearly wasn’t a loss of track/turn indication, she was anxious about something that she smelled in the air. It took a while but I got her focused and back on track. From then on it was a blur. She was head down and pulling like crazy. I had to run most of the way just to try and keep up with her. She did a beautiful down on her leather and just like that….it was all over.
Big thanks to Wild Rose Tracking Club, their track layers, volunteers and Judge Greg Martin.
This is how Spirit likes to celebrate her titles:
We had fun today at See Spot Run Doggy Daycare & Training Inc’s Back to School C-WAGS Nosework Trial. Thanks to Anneli Hilton and Judges Robbi Bitner, Deb Proc and Christina. Both dogs Q’d in Ranger 1 and Ranger 2 and Don Ho made his debut as a timer.
Spirit had a great morning tracking and Brodie got to play disc dog. Now they get to enjoy a frozen Toppl with a sardine stuck in the middle. Mmmmmm
Both Brodie and Spirit got some bling in the mail. They both earned their Scent Ranger Level 1 titles. For the first time Spirit actually beat her brother by earning her title with 4 straight Q’s whereas it took Brodie 5 trials to earn his. Spirit also earned her Scent Detective Ace title which required 14 Q’s. Both dogs just love to play scent games.
Another great day at See Spot Run doing C-WAGS nosework. Thank you to Anneli, our Judges and the wonderful volunteers. Both Brodie and Spirit Q’d in Level 1 Ranger and Level 3.
Another fun day playing C-WAGS nose work. Not a stellar day for either dog but it was nice to be out with fellow dog sports people having fun. Big thanks to Anneli Hilton of See Spot Run Doggy Daycare & Training Inc, our great Judges Deb, Robbi and Christina, the wonderful volunteers and fellow competitors.
We spent this morning at See Spot Run having some fun sniffing. The dogs both did great passing 7 of 7 runs. Spirit earned her Level 1 Scent Ranger title (CW-ScR1) and her scent Detective Ace title (CW-SDA) and Brodie also earned his Level 1 Scent Ranger title.
Big thanks to Anneli, the Judges and volunteers.
We did our first ever blind track today and I am still flying high hours later. It was 283M and had 2 articles. It felt so weird not knowing where the track went and trying to trust and read Spirit’s body language. There was a cross wind that confused her in a couple of places but she was able to work out the puzzle. So darn proud of her ❤️🐶❤️.
We went to our first nose work trial since March. It was a C-WAGS trial hosted by See Spot Run Doggy Daycare. It was so nice to be around our “dog people” again. It was a small trial and everyone was very careful to practice social distancing. The host had everything setup so that you didn’t have to touch any surface or door and you could get in, search and leave the building without coming into close contact with anyone. Really well organized. We haven’t done any CWAGS practices and only one SDDA in two months so I was very surprised to see how well they just jumped back into the Sport. The dogs qualified in 6 out of 6 searches. Spirit did a Level 1 Ranger, two Level 2 and one Level 3 search. Brodie did a Level 1 Ranger and a Level 3 search. Big thanks to our Judges, volunteers and fellow search teams for a great day.
Look at all the dogs focused on Don’s cheezie with puddles of drool falling from their jowls.
I love throwing goodies for Spirit to catch. She is such a piggy that she overreacts and misses all the time. Brodie on the other hand rarely misses no matter how bad the throw is. This is a great slow motion video of one of Spirit’s epic fails.
Last summer we learned that Spirit’s Mom Sophie had been diagnosed with Histiocytic Sarcoma, a very aggressive and incurable form of cancer. She put up a brave fight against this horrible disease until she crossed over the rainbow bridge on October 16th just days short of her 8th birthday. Her family posted this picture of her on Facebook and shared with everyone how much a part of their lives Sophie was with her loving personality. She was also the foundation bitch of their kennel. It just touched my heart. When we got home from our vacation at the end of October, I immediately started working on a wall hanging to reproduce this picture. I recently gave this fabric mosaic to Coreen and Steve of Tailspin Bernese Mountain Dogs to honour their beautiful girl Sophie.
GCH Werlwind’s Playing With Fire
Sophie Oct 25/2011- Oct 16/2019
We spent the last 3 days attending Barn Hunt and C-WAGS trials. So proud of both my kids. Between the two of them they earned 3 new titles and 10 Q’s
Brodie got his Barn Hunt Instinct and Novice titles as well as his C-WAGS Level 2 Scent Detective Ace title (RATI RATN CW-SDA). He also got his first Q in Barn Hunt Open and 40 points towards his Barn Hunt Crazy 8’s title. He earned a Q in C-WAGS Scent Ranger Level 1, Scent Detective and Scent Investigator
Spirit is too big for the Barn Hunt tunnels but she Q’d in all 3 of her C-WAGS runs today
Our Edmonton Iron Paws group met for a social in our beautiful river valley this evening. Afterwards I took Spirit to McDonalds for an ice cream cone. I didn’t even get one stink in’ lick before she deep throated the entire cone. I didn’t even have a chance to pull away from the drive thru window before it was gone. She sure entertained the drive thru staff. She is one happy girl….no sharing with Mom 😉😂🐾🐶 I did manage to capture a few pictures of our Cani-cross.
The dogs and I also signed up for our 2nd Iron Paws. I have a couple of injuries that will prevent us from doing much kick sledding so I signed us up for the recreational canicross category instead. The Resolution run also counted towards our runs for the 1st week of Iron Paws…..bonus!!
We spent today at See Spot Run participating in our last C-WAGS trial for 2019. Brodie earned two Level 2 Q’s. Spirit whipped his butt by not only earning two Level 2’s but also her first Level 4 Q. Thanks to Judges Deb, Christina and Robbi.
Spirit has had a great sniffing week. First she earned her SDDA Games Champion title on Sunday and today we got her C-WAGS Scent Investigator (Level 3) title in the mail.
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
What a beautiful late fall day. We are supposed to get up to 11 degrees today. I took this opportunity to give the dogs a good brushing and mani-pedis. They went from polar bear feet to this. We are supposed to get very cold next week 😢😫
This is just a fraction of the fur that I got out of Brodie and Spirit.
We had our first snowfall of the season. Brodie and Spirit seemed pretty happy with all the white stuff.
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).
We spent the day at See-Spot-Run participating in their Pre-Halloween Howler scent detection trial. Both dogs were on their game qualifying in 7 out of 7 runs and we had a great time.
Spirit got two Level 2 and one Level 3 Q which earned her a Level 3 Scent Investigator title (CW-SI).
Brodie also earned two Level 2 and one Level 3 Q. He ran his first Level 4 search and qualified. So proud of both of them. We are so lucky to be able to participate in scent detection under three different organizations with different scents and rules (C-WAGS, SDDA and CKC)
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!!!!