Tag Archives: Sporting Detection Dog Association

Spirit Got Mail

SpiritSDDA_SD-GCH.jpgIt’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.

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More Elite Titles

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Two days of sniffing is exhausting

 

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SDDA Nationals

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!!!!

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SDDA Games Champion

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.

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Sniffing Long Weekend

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.

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Spirit Got Mail

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.

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Master Champion

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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 picture10221BB7-3EBB-45E2-A1A1-40C17444A038

 

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Advanced Title – It’s Official

We received our official Advanced Title in the mail today.  I didn’t realize it but we received a gold level title which means we scored 96% or better in each of the disciplines.  Her started titled was a bronze so I guess it means that we are improving as a team….yeah us!!!

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Another Title

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We were up bright and early this morning to drive to Red Deer to participate in Nosey Pawtner’s Sporting Detection Dog Association trial.  We had a slow start but a great finish  with lots of swag.

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Spirit got a second place on the interior search component, 2nd place overall and she got her Advanced title today.  So proud of my big girl.  So now we have to move from the amateur steam and start competing in the working/professional scenting dog stream.

Throughout the photo shoot she had her eye on the cookie and couldn’t wait for permission to gobble it down.

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Another Scent Trial

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We just finished our third and final Sporting Detection trial of the year. It was hosted by Nosey Pawtners in Springbrook Alberta.  The results were almost an exact repeat of our advanced trial in August.  Spirit got another perfect score in Containers, but we only got a second place finish this time because another dog also had a perfect score but finished faster than we did.

Then came the Interior search. Once again we failed to qualify because of handler error. Spirit found the hide but I could not tell exactly where it was. The judge picked up on my hesitation and asked me to point it out and I was off by a few inches. Darn it!!!  I should have called Spirit off the hide, circled back around and got her to indicate again. I may have lost points for calling her off the hide but we would not have been disqualified. Another great learning experience.

The final search was an Exterior instead of a Vehicle, which I think is much harder because there are literally hundreds of places for a hide in an exterior area.  We got a near perfect score of 59/60 and got third place.

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Even though we only qualified in two of the three components, Spirit’s scores were so high that we placed 4th overall.  This trial was a little different.  Instead of awarding ribbons for 1st – 3rd in each component, they chose to give out certificates and dogs toys.  Ribbons were award for only the overall winners.  So we ended up with two certificates, one ribbon and 3 toys.  I would have preferred the ribbons but I think my girl likes the toys better.  So proud of Spirit especially since it has only been a few weeks since her emergency surgery to remove a blockage in her intestine.  A very big thank you to Judge Doug Teeft.

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Sniffin’ Along

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On Saturday Spirit and I participated in an SDDA (Sporting Detection Dogs Association) Advance Trial in Red Deer hosted by The Little Nose that Knows.  Two days before the trial Spirit surprised us by going into heat.  I contacted the trial co-ordinator and she said we could still compete if Spirit wore a diaper and that we would have to go last.   We’ve never trained with her in heat or with a diaper.  I decided that we would still go to the trial for the experience…….just treat it like a training session with no expectations.

While we were waiting for our turn to start, I walked Spirit around so that she would get used to wearing her search vest and diaper.  Before I could stop her, she squatted and took a pee.  Great now not only was she wearing a diaper but it was sagging and heavy with pee.  We didn’t have time to change so we had to go ahead and do our first two searches that way.

Our first search was containers.  At the advanced level there are two finds and one distractor with dog food in it.  Spirit is not what you would call a high energy or speedy dog.  She slowly but methodically makes her way through the search checking each container.   I could tell when she hit the distractor because she was very interested in the delicious smells wafting out of the container.  I was very relieved when she moved on without alerting on it.  We finished our search in 1 minute and 8 seconds (3 minute time limit).

We immediately went on to the interior search…generally the hardest component because you are inside, there is not much air movement and there are literally hundred of places where the hide can be.  I could tell that she had located the scent cone of one of the hides under a table but she was having trouble finding the source.  I should have asked the Judge if I could move some of the chairs out of the way to give her more room to maneuver but I didn’t.  Classic handler error.  She gave her alert and the Judge asked me to identify where the source was.   I knew it was under the table but I could not tell him exactly where so I took a best guess and pointed to where I thought it was but I was a few inches off.   Too bad…game over no hope of an advanced title today.

We had to wait another hour before we did our final search….an exterior.  She located the scent cone quite quickly but it was so windy she had trouble finding the source.  She went back and forth in the same area several times but then all of sudden she went straight to the hide and gave a beautiful indication.   It took her 1 minute and 49 seconds (5 minute time limit).

Considering the circumstances we did great and I am so proud of Spirit. The NQ for the interior was my fault and a good lesson was learned.  At the award ceremony I was just standing at the back enjoying everyone’s accomplishments when I was shocked to find out that we got a perfect score on the container search and came away with a first place ribbon.

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Her first Title SD-S, SP

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Spirit and I competed in our first sanctioned SDDA trial on Saturday, April 23rd in Morinville, Alberta.  I am thrilled to announce that we qualified in all three components: container, interior and exterior/vehicle (3 purple ribbons).  Spirit now has her Sporting Detection – Started title: “SD – S “.  Because we qualified in all 3 components on the same day, we also earned a special designation making her title “SD – S, SP” (large purple/black ribbon).  And if that wasn’t enough, we placed 3rd in the interior search which is the hardest of the three (large white and black ribbon).  Thank you to SDDA Judge Paul Dyer.  I am so proud of my girl.  I think she was also the youngest dog at the trial.

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Thanks to photographer Bev Holoboff for donating her time to take pictures of the teams at work.

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A special thank you to Ryan-Ann of Doglogix Scent Detection for hosting an amazing trial and being a talented scent detection instructor.  Team Spirit’s success is because of you.

After a long, cold and windy day at the trial we came home and relaxed together in the La-Z-Boy.  Spirit loves to use me as her personal pillow. Note Tilly’s disgusted look.

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Another DOT

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On February 24th (the night before Spirit’s shoulder surgery) she participated in her Sporting Detection Dogs Association (SDDA) advanced Designated Odor Test (DOT) for pine.  Even though she was sore she still worked very hard and passed.  We just got our  ribbon and certificate so we thought an official portrait was in order.  Look how nicely the fur is growing back on her shoulder and leg.  With these two DOT tests under her belt, Spirit is now able to participate in sanctioned SDDA started and advanced trials.

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Smelly Girl

WintergreenDOTOur girl has a good nose.  Spirit passed her first Sporting Detection Dog Association (SDDA) test.  She got her Designated Odour Test (DOT) certificate and ribbon for Wintergreen.  There were 14 containers and the hide was in the 12th one.  It took us 28 seconds to complete it.

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