It is many months since I have been able to write about a face-to-face canine activity, and while it has been absolutely fantastic to be able to take part in various online activities whether it be shows, obreedience or other activities that have been run by dedicated organisers and also to have zoom scent training sessions, but to actually go out the door with Time (aka Rikarlo Gable JW) to compete again, was something special. The slight relaxation in the covid rules meant that a covid safe scent trial could take place. The competitors were divided into groups of four with the judge and the writer making the group of six, quite a few had a couple of dogs, so then the scent hide had to be changed for the second dog. Each group was given a time to arrive with a half an hour gap between groups to clean things down if needed. Our start time was 9 am and as the trial was 2 hours plus away near Wisbech in Cambridgeshire it meant an early start although not quite ‘a silly o’clock’. I think Time was quite surprised to see me up early but then when he saw his Scent Bag which he knew always went with him in the past to scent training and or trials, he became very excited not letting me out of his sight till I put him in the car.
The trial was organised by the club Sarah Stonton attends for scent training, I did a training day and trial with the club last summer but then the rise in Covid cases and lockdowns put an end to all that till now.
On this occasion there were three searches looking for the scent of cloves which were timed, 5 minutes maximum was allowed for each search. The first search was in an open sided Dutch barn so plenty of fresh air, the search area was marked out, and we were first to go, Time was so excited and rather vocal to say the least, but the judge was very understanding, knowing that it was ages since any of the dogs had competed. There were three hides two on the wall in various containers and one on a chair and he found all three. We were second in the next search, which was in marked off area in the field, here there were items that might be found outside and on the outside of a caravan. He found the hide on a carrying item quite quickly but took time to locate the hide hidden under the wheel arch on the caravan this occasion there were only two hides. The last search was on an outside wall a real old wall with many crevices for hides to be placed, we were last to go, and he only found two although there three. However, when all the groups had worked and the results tallied up Time ended up third out of thirteen dogs competing, which I was thrilled with, he was only beaten on time which as usual was handler error, as he tried to tell me there were only two hides in the field, but I kept him searching for the third forgetting that there might only be two, and no dog found all three hides on the outside wall.
Debbie and partner Richard now live on the way to the trial venue, so my husband David stayed there while we competed, later we had lunch in the garden while Time enjoyed paying with their dogs It was a great day out. Time wanted to play ball when we arrived home, but it did not last for long, he was soon asking for supper before going sound asleep.
The next day Sarah Stonton competed on the second day at the same venue and sent me details of her day.
“So lovely to meet up with people with whom I normally do scent training. Since December Jack (Ch Arnscroft In Di Ana Jack RL1 Ex ) has been to a training session once and Loxy (Trelowen Andrea) not at all but I have tried to keep them working a bit at home and in the garden with a mixture of scents-clove, gun oil and truffle oil. Loxy in particular knows when we are going to a show, trial, or competition and behaves impeccably before we leave, unlike a ‘normal’ day. Today at 8am she was beside herself with excitement and knowing I would not proceed if she barked, she continued with mix of squeaks and mutters with her mouth shut from when I put her lead on until she got in the car. Then silence prevailed.
At the club trial, where I train, there were two of us competing with two dogs, the other pair were German Shorthaired Pointers, so we were kept busy. Different items were scented for each of our two dogs so no cheating. We had a wall with scent packed into crevices and cunningly in a poo bag at the foot of the wall for Jack, Loxy had a different wall with scent in a hole, another amidst debris on the floor and the final in a tin crevice. In the open sided Dutch Barn, scents were in a mix of pots, chairs, bike tyres and pegs on the wall. The outside search had scent in a bag, on the foot of an agility jump and under the door of the caravan.
Both dogs worked well and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, they both found all the scents, but their indications were not strong enough for me to always realise and ‘call them’. Loxy had 6 out of 8 correctly called by me, and Jack 5 out of 8. They are better than me, so my home focus needs to be getting them to indicate to me more strongly and for longer. Loxy touches her nose on it then stares at me -I need to keep her nose on the scent for longer. Jack noses it, takes a small step into show stance then looks at me but sometimes so briefly -he taught himself to indicate in that way, must be a Champion thing!
Next my dogs and Wendy’s (our trainer) had a brief run and play in the agility field then back to work. We stayed to do an introductory man-trailing course with Wendy only Loxy this time. Six hours on from leaving home (the venue is only 20 miles away) on returning home both Buhunds feel asleep with smiles on their faces. To them it is a game, find the scent and you are rewarded with treats. It was a great day” Sarah sent me this before the results were in, but I can now say Loxy was second and Jack fourth, so a good day at the office.
Margaret Deuchar firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in Margaret’s Breed Notes are hers and hers alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Norwegian Buhund Club of the UK.