We spent the past weekend in Olds Alberta at the Canine Coaching SDDA trial. Both dogs had a great weekend. Although Spirit had retired from SDDA more than 2 years ago, she came back this weekend without missing a beat. On Saturday so got an advanced title with 3rd place in exteriors, 2nd place in containers and 1st place overall. Sunday morning she ran in Advanced again and got 3rd place in interiors, passed containers but we timed out in exteriors. Sunday afternoon she tried Excellent and got 3rd place in exteriors and 3rd place overall. So proud of her. She got a Mickey D’s ice cream cone to celebrate her achievements.
Brodie ran in Elite on Saturday and Sunday. No title for us (or for anyone this weekend which is not that unusual for Elite). On Saturday he got a 2nd in Exteriors and Containers (we finally broke our container jinx) and Sunday he got a 2nd in Interiors.
It was so nice to reconnect with so many handlers that we haven’t had a chance to visit with in over a year. Overall and fantastic weekend.
Took the dogs out early this morning for some tracking. Brodie did a 300 metre field track. The crop was taller than him and filled with dew and seed heads. The yellow seeds turned Brodie into a “ golden” Golden Retriever instead of a cream coloured one. Both he and I have thousands of little seeds in every crack and crevice of our bodies and my clothes. My pants were so wet from the heavy dew that they were weighted down and moving towards my ankles as I ran through the field trying to keep up with Brodie 😂😆
Thank goodness we have a high powered dog blow dryer to get these seeds off.
Spirit ran a 700 metre urban track that was aged for 75 minutes. Unfortunately for the second time this week, just before we started to run the track, huge industrial lawn mowers went right over our track and articles. After a few expletives, I decided we would try and run the track anyway. She struggled for the first 200 metres weaving widely back and forth but eventually we made it to an area that hadn’t been mowed and she got back on track. So proud of her for handling this very tough puzzle and making it to end successfully.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a crazy dog lady. There is almost nothing I won’t do for my critters. Case in point…..for the last 2 mornings I was up at 4am so that I could lay some urban tracks, let them age, have the dogs run them and back home by 8am. This morning it was already 26 degrees Celsius by 08:30. That’s crazy. No more tracking for us until the morning temps are below 20C.
The dogs sure enjoy their stuffed frozen zogoflexes when we get home.
We finally got our official title certificate from CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) for Spirit’s Tracking Dog title that she earned last September. I guess we can be grateful that it only took 8 months….some people have waited almost 2 years to get theirs.
Brodie and Spirit got mail from C-WAGS today. Spirit earned her Level 1 Ranger Ace title which means she earned 14 qualifiying runs (4 runs for the Scent Ranger Level 1 title and an additional 10 runs to get the Ace). This is the first time Spirit has earned a title before Brodie. Brodie earned his Level 4 Super Sleuth Title (4 qualifying runs).
Friday, sourdough discard bake day, started with some delicious fermented sourdough pancakes for breakfast (we snarfed them before I had a chance to take a picture). Then came chocolate chip cookies and liverwurst dog treats.
There is also a pail of sourdough doing a bulk rise before I bake my bread tomorrow.
Spirit is impatiently waiting for her treats to cool.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
We started 2020 off on the right foot by participating in the Running Room’s Resolution 5k. We like to do this run every year as a renewal of our commitment to remain active throughout the year.
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.
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