Tag Archives: Tailspin Bernese Mountain Dogs
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.
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.
This is how Spirit likes to celebrate her titles:
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.
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.
Big thanks to Anneli, the Judges and volunteers.
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 ❤️🐶❤️.
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.
GCH Werlwind’s Playing With Fire
Sophie Oct 25/2011- Oct 16/2019
It’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.
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
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.
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.
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
Our mailbox was overflowing with mail for Brodie and Spirit. Starting with Spirit, she got her CKC Scent Detection Instinct Title (SDIN) and her SDDA Aerial Games Title (SD-GA).
Brodie received his CKC Scent Detection Novice (SDN) and his Chase Ability Excellent (CAE)
SDDA Games Aerial (SD-GA), Games Speed (SD-GS) and Games Distance (SD-GD)
as well as his C-WAGS Scent Investigator (CS-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!!!!
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 spent the day at See Spot Run participating in a C-WAGS scent trial. We had a great day sniffing and hanging out with great people. Brodie was entered in three rounds, one Level 2 and two Level 3, and he qualified in all of them. He earned his Level 3 Scent Investigator (CW-SI) title.
Spirit ran in two Level 3 rounds and qualified in both.
Yesterday we got up bright and early to drive to Calgary to participate in the Shiba Inu Club of Canada’s Scent Detection trial at the beautiful Spruce Meadows. It’s a good thing that Spirit went first because the temperature soared to 30C later in the day. She found the hide in 10.61 seconds earning her Scent Detection Instinct Title (SDIN). By the time the Novice teams started it was unbearably hot outside. We started with containers and Brodie had it sourced from the start line so we finished in 8.19 seconds. By the time we ran the exterior searches, the search area was in full sun. Thank goodness he found it in 33.54 seconds. We finished with the interior search inside the barn. Brodie found the environment very “smelly-licious” and wasn’t as focused as he should have been. He found the hide in 33.54 seconds. Only 6 teams passed all 3 searches to earn their Scent Detection Novice Title (SDN) and thank goodness we were one of them. The majority of the teams failed on the hot exterior search. It is very difficult for dogs to scent when they are panting so hard. At the trial 2 weeks ago 20 teams passed the Novice test so the heat really appears to have been a factor at this trial.
Big thank you to the Shiba Inu Club of Canada, the volunteers and Judge Kelley Ladouceur for a great trial.
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.
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
We received two new official titles in the mail today. Brodie got his SD-MACH (Sporting Detection Master Champion) and Spirit got her silver level SD-E (Sporting Detection Excellent Title). They sure love this sniffing game. So proud of my “kids”.
When we finished our last trial in October I thought that would be the end of our 2018 season but I was wrong. When I saw the premium for the K9 Scentinels trial in Surrey BC, I just knew we had to enter. The best dog teams in our sport were going to be there and we would have the opportunity to trial along side them and learn so much. Traveling through the mountains at this time of year can be very treacherous but we were lucky and had great weather both ways. It is very rare to be able to see the top of Mount Robson…it is usually hidden in the clouds.
Brodie only needed one more Q in Excellent Interiors so I entered him both Saturday and Sunday hoping that he would pass one of them and earn his Master Championship. I also entered him in Elite for both days but we didn’t get a spot on either day. We ended up first on the waiting list for Saturday and 3rd on Sunday. Spirit has been “off” on scent work lately so I did not enter her at all. A few days before the trial we got the great news that someone has cancelled on Saturday so Brodie would get a chance to do an Elite run.
For Excellent Interiors you have 15 minutes to search 3 rooms. One will have 1 hide, one will have 2 hides and the other will be clear. You cannot leave a room until you call it clear or finished. As luck would have it, Brodie passed his Excellent run in 2 minutes and 40 seconds and earned his Master Championship on Saturday. K9 Scentinels made a video of each dog’s run and shared it with us after the trial (thank you!).
Since Brodie didn’t need his run on Sunday, K9 Scentinels allowed me to substitute Spirit in for him and switch it to Exteriors. I was so proud of Spirit. She worked her little heart out (slow and steady) and not only got high in trial but she earned her Excellent Title. Here’s Spirit’s video It was early Sunday morning, -2C and the whole search area was on a steep frosty covered hill (concrete and grass). There were 3 hides.
We ended up getting the opportunity to run Elite on both days. Elite is so much harder than all the previous levels combined. There are an unknown number of hides, you have to deal with converging and pooling odour and it is a real head game for the handler. Unfortunately not a single team qualified in Elite either day. I was so hoping to see history made and witness the first team ever to earn their Elite Championship or Grand Master Championship. There are two teams that just need one more elite title to reach both of these milestones.
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.
On the weekend we participated in the Cowichan Valley K9 Noseworks scent trial on Vancouver Island. Brodie had a great day on Saturday, He qualified in both Excellent Amateur Interiors (2nd place) and Containers. With those 2 qualifiers he earned his Excellent title.
Spirit struggled a bit but she qualified in Advanced Working containers with a 2nd place. We were really thrilled to learn that we were chosen as the Judge’s favourite team.
Sunday was complete opposite of Saturday. Spirit qualified in all 3 components and earned another Advanced Working Title. She also got a first place in containers and once again we were chosen as the Judge’s favourite team (different Judge).
Brodie didn’t qualify in any of his runs. Our exterior search was particularly interesting. He was so focused on whatever scents were in the environment that he completely ignored me for the entire 5 minutes before we timed out and were disqualified. The Judge and her assistants were in tears from laughing so hard watching me trying to get Brodie to engage with me. I had a good giggle when I was given my score sheets and saw the Judge’s comments……
Thank you to CWV9 for hosting a wonderful. A big thank you to Judges Jane Book and Kathy Hansen and all the wonderful volunteers.