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.
Tag Archives: Nosework
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.
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
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!!!!
On Friday night we braved pouring rain, thunder and lightning so that Brodie could participate in a CKC Chase Ability run. We didn’t get home until almost 10pm and didn’t get to sleep until closer to midnight by the time we had unloaded and reloaded the dogs.
Our alarm went off at 3:15am so that we could drive to Calgary for Spirit to compete in the first CKC Scent Detection trial in Alberta. Her first two runs were perfect. On our third run we heard the dreaded “I’m sorry”. She has a bad habit of alerting at the fringe of odour rather than following it back to source. Too bad, we headed back to Edmonton with 2 qualifying ribbons but no Novice title.
Sunday morning we were up at 6am for a 45 minute drive east of the city to attend the final day of the ALCA speed demons trial. Brodie ran 2 Sprinters and 1 CAP. He managed to get two new personal bests on his Sprinters. He is the fastest male Golden Retriever in Canada running 42.33 km/hr. There is one female Golden who is faster than him at 42.5 km/hr…..so close!!!
At the end of his last Sprinters run he slid through a muddy slough and came out looking like this
Brodie qualified in all 4 of his runs this weekend.