It has been a very long drought for us but I am so thrilled that we earned our 4th SDDA Elite title today. Even better than that, my normally “chicken sh!t” dog amazed me by not only jumping on a table but he climbed up on a tractor and even on an open grate spiky metal platform. I couldn’t be more proud of him. Big thanks to Kristina of Little Nose That Knows, our Judge Kelly Ladouceur, the volunteers and my fellow competitors for cheering us on.
Tag Archives: Sporting Detection
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
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!!!!
Games night at the Manitoba Scent Detection Trial is over. Thanks to our awesome Teams partner Michelle and Neuman, Brodie and I got our 3rd Q and earned our Teams Title. I think that makes us the very first to get all 4 Games Titles 🏅🏅🏅🏅.
Spirit earned her Distance Title giving her her 2nd games title. She completely surprised me by earning a Q in Speed. Anyone who has seen her search knows that speed is not her forte….slow and steady is her mantra. We called the last hide with just a millisecond to spare.
Thank you to all the volunteers, hosts Michelle & Diane and our Judge John-Marc Dugas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was a great first day at the trial. Both dogs did so well. Brodie went first in Elite. We started with exteriors…darn cold and windy exterior search. The area was also full of dog pee, it was an incredible challenge to keep Brodie from responding to the pee-mail. We managed to qualify and finished 2nd. Containers went really well and we finished in 2nd place again. Then came the dreaded interior search. Brodie narrowed in on the scent quickly but his silly partner jumped the gun and called the alert too quickly. If I had just waited 1/2 a second I would have been able to give the judge the exact location when I heard the dreaded “where?” Instead I was off by a couple of inches. There is so much added pressure when you have passed the first two and know that you need the 3rd component to title. Hopefully tomorrow I will remember to stop and take a breath before calling alert.
Spirit ran in Excellent. We started with the container search which she passed and finished 2nd overall. Then came our interior search. We had 3 rooms to search, two of which where bathrooms. She was very uncomfortable going into the stalls in the men’s bathroom. By the time we got to the ladies bathroom she was shaking and dropping to the ground in fear as we approached the first stall. I did my best to comfort and encourage her. This is the first time she has shown any fear in a bathroom. Thankfully we made it through all three rooms and finished 1st overall. Now the pressure was on. If we passed the exterior search she would not only earned her excellent title but her Championship as well. Alas it was not to be. She alerted on a shoe and we heard the heartbreaking “no'”. We later learned that the first 4 dogs all falsely alerted on the same shoe. We still have tomorrow to hopefully pass the exterior component and earn the titles.
We, or should in say I earned one more title…..”most dramatic”. When I got over the disappointment of Brodie missing his elite title because of my mistake, I blurted out “yeah that means we don’t have to search the urinals”. Turns out the joke was on me. In Spirit’s trial, not only did she have to search the men’s bathroom but also the women’s. The judge even put a hide on top of one of the urinals. No face smooches for her until I can scrub her muzzle. YUK!!
This weekend we participated in our final sporting detection trial for 2018. Chinook Dog Centre put on a really amazing event and it was their very first trial. Big congratulations to Joanne and Brandy-Lee. The timing of runs was fantastic, we were fed really well and we even finished early on Sunday.
On Saturday Brodie had a very busy day trialing at 3 different levels. Normally I would never do that but at the last minute we decided to pull Spirit’s entry because she just didn’t want to play scent games at the last trial and I didn’t think it was fair to force her to do it again (will be play over the winter to find out if she is still interested in Scenting or if it is time to retire). You can only get a refund for medical reasons so we substituted Brodie in for her events. He qualified in Excellent Working Exteriors and finished in 3rd place. He rocked Advanced working qualifying in all 3 components with a 1st in Interiors, 2nd in Containers and 2nd in Exteriors. He finished first overall in Advanced Working and we also won high in trial and got a basket full of goodies. He was fantastic at the Elite level. We qualified in containers and exteriors and got to the final room in our interior search and he alerted at the top of a fire extinguisher but the hide was 2 inches higher in the light switch. So close. It was a heart breaker.
On Sunday he only ran in Excellent and Advanced. We were both tired, he was a little crazy running all over the place and then decided to play soccer with the containers instead of searching them. Needless to say we NQ’d. He managed to slow down a little bit for the Advanced searches. We qualified in all 3 components with a 3rd in Interiors, 1st in Containers and 1st in Exteriors. Once again we finished first overall, won high in trial again and got a second basket full of goodies. So proud of my little man. If we had managed to get just one Excellent Interior qualifier this weekend we would have earned our SD-MACH (Master Champion). On the positive side, we have something to look forward to next year.
Big thanks to Judges Mary-Ann Warren and Doug Wilson
We went to the Canine Coaching SDDA trial in Bowden Alberta this weekend. We drove down on Friday so that we wouldn’t have to get up at 4am on Saturday morning in order to get to the trial on time. That turned out to be a good choice because when we woke up Saturday morning and looked out the window of our hotel room we saw a freezing winter wonderland. It would have been a scary drive. I’ve never practiced in a snow storm never mind trialed.
Neither dog titled on Saturday but Spirit got a 2nd place in Advanced Working Containers and Brodie got a first place in Excellent Working Containers and was the only dog to qualify in that component.
Sunday was an amazing day for Brodie. I am so incredibly proud of my boy. He just loves this game of Scent Detection. He earned his Excellent Working Title with a 2nd place in Containers, 1st place in Exteriors and a 3rd place in Interiors. We finished 1st place overall. With a total score of 194/200 we earned our second gold level title.
But the good news doesn’t stop there. Brodie earned his Scent Detection Championship, a beautiful ribbon and beautiful swag. I have to remind myself that he is only 19 months old and he has already accomplished so much. I checked the latest title stats (updated as of 2018SEP09) and determined that as of that date, there have only been 6 Goldens who have earned their Scent Detection Champion SD-CH title so far. When they have them updated I will check again and confirm if he is the 7th.
We got so many compliments on how amazing he was for such a young dog and how well we work together as a team. Those compliments mean so much more to me than any title we have earned.
Spirit came so close to titling on Sunday but we just missed on the exterior component. We qualified in containers with a 3rd place and she finished first in interiors.
On the more humorous side, on Saturday Brodie and I got an extra special fun ribbon for “Sassy Handler” because his Mom let out an expletive during one of our searches. On Sunday we got another special ribbon for “Most Dramatic” because I was so excited when we completed our final component and I realized that we had earned our Championship….I rolled around on the floor with Brodie and smooched him up. And believe it or not, Spirit and I also got one of the “special” ribbons for “Epic Fail” when we NQ’d on our Exterior search on Sunday. They didn’t hand out that many “special” ribbons but somehow we managed to snag three of them. Crazy handler. There was a lot of laughing and a good time had by everyone.
We made another trip to Red Deer today to compete in a scent trial hosted by the Little Nose That Knows. Brodie had a great day in his advanced trial coming in 2nd in interiors and vehicles and finished first overall. He got lots of ribbons and swag. Thank you to Judges Ryan-Ann King-Smith and MaryAnn Warren and to Kristina Sveinson and Samantha Freschette for all their hard work organizing the trial.