Yesterday was the first day of spring and the first day of the 100 by Summer Dog Walking Challenge. The idea is that between the 1st day of spring and the 1st day of summer you and your dog(s) walk 100 miles. This is the 4th annual challenge but the first one that we participating in. Day 1 finished and we logged 6.5km. There are still a few days left if you want to sign up.
Tag Archives: training
We drove to Red Deer today to participate in a Sporting Detection Dog Association (SDDA) trial. Spirit was entered in the Advanced Working Dog category. I have been introducing Brodie to scent detection, and since he was coming along for the ride, I thought I would enter him in the Started category so that he could get some experience being at a trial. Dogs have to be at least 6 months old to trial so we were lucky that Brodie hit that milestone last week, just in time to participate. It was a bit of a hectic morning because they decided to run the Started and Advanced at the same time. Brodie was 10th to run in the Started Division and Spirit was 8th in Advanced.
Brodie had his Container and Interior Searches first. Just before they called us, Brodie yelped and lunged towards his backend as a wasp bit him. Poor little guy. He kept walking in a circle trying to reach the spot, obviously very upset. The Judges offered to let us take a break and come back later but I decided to just go ahead since this was only a learning experience for him. To my complete shock and amazement it took him only 8 seconds (3 minute time limit) to find the correct container and we got a score of 29/30 (we lost 1 point for having an inconsistent search sequence). The Judges were as shocked as I was. We had a minute to gather our composure and he started the interior component. Again, he found the hide in only 37 seconds (5 minute time limit) with a score of 39/40 (again we lost 1 point for having an inconsistent search sequence). I had to run back to the car, drop off Brodie and grab Spirit for her first run so I didn’t have any time to really digest what had just happened.
Spirit did Containers first. She found the first hide quickly and I got all excited, rewarded her and walked away. The Judges just stood there staring at me. After about a minute of awkward silence they said, did you forget that there is a second hide??? Dummy me, having just completed the Started search that has only has one hide, I completely forgot that Advanced has two hides and a distractor. We got back to searching and Spirit indicated on another container and when I called it the Judge told me she was wrong. Dang it. I messed my girl up. Interesting note, there were 30 dogs in the Advanced category and only 4 found the 2 hides the rest false alerted like Spirit. Makes you wonder if there was some contamination in the search area. Spirit immediately moved on to her Interior search. She found both hides in 1 minute and 7 seconds and we scored a perfect 80/80.
Once again, I ran back to the car, did another quick dog switcharoo and raced backed to do Brodie’s exterior search. Unfortunately we were late and missed our turn so we had to wait and run last. The exterior search was comprised of 3 tractors. The hide was hidden underneath the middle tractor. It took my amazing little boy only 1 minute to find it (5 minute time limit with another amazing score of 29/30 (I lost 1 point for my handling hindering my dog). One of the Judges was the founder of the Search and Rescue Dog Association of Alberta (SARDAA). She was so impressed by him. She told me I have an amazing, young working dog. What a wonderful compliment from a very knowledgeable and experienced handler. I thought Brodie was just going to have a fun play day practicing searching and he ended up get his Started title. Because we got all 3 components at the same trial, we also get an SP designation (special). And the news only gets better, we actually finished 3rd overall and got a big basket of SWAG. Last but not least, because we got an overall score of 97/100, our title will be at the gold level. WOW!!!!! Big thank you to Judge Jane Book and shadow Judge Mary-Ann Warren.
We had a long wait before Spirit got to do her exterior search. By then it was very hot and sunny, not good for a big, hairy black dog. She really struggled. Dogs can’t scent when they are panting heavily. We used the whole 5 minutes and she didn’t find the hide. Even when the Judge told us where it was, it took two passes for her to find it and alert on it. No worries. I’m still very proud of my girl. Thank you to Judge Doug Theeft.
Each dog got a ginormous knuckle bone when we got home.
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!!!
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.
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.
We drove to Calgary today to participate in a drafting/carting clinic put on by the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Canada and the Newfoundland Dog Fanciers of Alberta. We were joined by Coreen & Steve Johnson of Tailspin Bernese (Spirit’s breeders) with their Newfie Ryder and two other Tailspin Berners, brother and sister Gunnar and Felice.
We started out a little rocky. Spirit has been kicksledding for the last two months so she thought that she was supposed to take off like a rocket and pull the cart. It had to stand in front of her to stop her from racing off (and I have the bruises to prove it). Eventually she caught on and began to walk nicely at my side and even started making some decent left and right turns. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us before we could even consider taking the draft dog test.
We have a short term addition to our fur family. This is McMullin and he is one of the puppies that were donated to Hope Heels to train as a service dog. He is an 8 week old smooth Collie. He will be staying with us until he has a puppy raiser family to go to. He’s only been in the house for a few hours but he seems to have settled in just fine.
Today Spirit and I attended a pulling seminar. Berners were bred to pull milk carts so I thought it would be fun to try doing something that she would enjoy. It proved to be a bit of a challenge to start with. Spirit has been trained to walk beside me on a loose leash so I had a hard time getting her to go out in front of me and put some tension on the leash. The teacher said that dogs with good obedience always have more of a challenge with pulling sports. I did get her to drag a few old bike tires and at the end we did a little work with me on a scooter. If there was a dog in front of us she would pull a little. Hopefully I can get her to reliably pull in harness without losing her loose leash walk in a collar. Fingers crossed!!!!
Sunday morning we woke up to a winter wonderland. October 9th is way to early for snow and winter to start…and not great for Thanksgiving. We were supposed to do a 20km workout in preparation for our upcoming half marathon. After looking at all the snow, we decided to opt for a 10, leave our 20km for today and use it to work off some of the turkey and stuffing we snarfed last night.
It is the classic good news….bad news story. We got a phone call at 6am this morning. The Sergeant scheduled to do the certification tests today got called out on a Police call so he had to cancel. The tests will be rescheduled for some time in July. Having a little extra time to polish up all the different profiles and to work on Tango’s obedience is not necessarily a bad thing but everyone was all psyched up for today. I guess that means I can put Don to work in the yard today…..bonus!!!
Don and Tango have their certification test on Saturday. For the last couple of weeks they have been out training 5-6 times a week to make sure they are ready. Last night they worked on searching alleys. It was a particularly tough test for Tango because there was virtually no air movement. Instead of smelling an article many feet away and zoning in on the scent, she had to be almost on top of it before she could smell it. She got a real surprise when she found a hidden hammer just as a dog on the other side of the fence starting barking and charging the fence. Even with all the challenges, she managed to find all of her articles.
Three friends and I are in Calgary to attended the CAPPDT (Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers) conference. We arrived yesterday at noon, hit a few local quilt stores and then settled into our hotel rooms. I am really looking forward to hearing such experts as Jennifer and Steve White and of course the guru Karen Pryor speak. I have been awake since 5am and now I am waiting for the others to surface so that we can walk the dogs before the first session begins at 9am.
This is the first time Don has been left alone with the 4-legged kids and he knows I am a little worried. He sent me these picture to show me that everything is ok at home.