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.
Brodie received his SDDA Aerial Games title (SD-GA) in the mail today.
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.
Samantha Freschette of Canine Coaching just posted this video of the first ever SDDA games trial that was held in Innisfail on February 22nd. At the about the 2:16 mark it shows Brodie doing a beautiful indication on the distance search and immediately after that is him indicating on the aerial search. There is also a great group picture at the end. It was such a fun trial.
So proud of both of my “kids” for doing so well this weekend. They spent 3 nights and 4 days cooped up in a kennel in the car or a small hotel room. When we got home last night they burst into the house, running and jumping all over each other so happy to be home and free to move. This is the first time we have done 3 days at a scent trial. By noon on Sunday I had run out of steam and had no energy left. I’m afraid I was the weak link again.
Brodie was great in containers. We received a perfect score….which I don’t think I have ever gotten from Judge Jean-Marc and we got 2nd place. I love trialing under him because he always challenges and tests the teams and I learn so much to help us improve as we move forward. We started out great in our Interior search. Brodie found the hide in the first room and I was ready to call finish and then second guessed myself and decided to check one more area again. Brodie pawed at the rug and I quickly called alert just as my head was saying “NOOOOOOO” that wasn’t his normal alert behaviour. We NQ’d. We still had Exteriors to do. Since we no longer had a chance to title, I decided to try running Brodie without going for an extra pee break to see if I could successfully interrupt his marking behaviour. Exteriors are particularly challenging for an intact male that is obsessed with marking. This search area was even more challenging because there was so much pee-mail already there. He found the one hide and as we were just finishing up the last few feet of the search area, he marked. It was so fast that I didn’t even have a chance to yell NO. A very valuable experiment. I am really going to have to work on teaching him the difference between peeing on a walk and not peeing when wearing his search collar. I’ve got my work cut out for me that’s for sure.
Spirit had a great container run and finished in 3rd place. Unfortunately we NQ’d in interiors because she alerted too far away from the source. It was a tough call because of the drafts and the pooling of odour. Most dogs indicated in the exact same place as Spirit did. Even the judges expressed some regret about the hide placement but once they had NQ’d the first team they had to be consistent and NQ everyone else. If we had approached the hide from the opposite direction, she would have alerted at the source first before encountering the pooled odour. We had the same problem in Exteriors, she alerted at the top of the post and not the base. Ironically, one of the articles in the exterior search area was the same shoe from previous day that so many dogs false alerted on, and ironically Spirit hit on it again. There is something about that shoe that fooled so many teams. Very odd.