DNA is a fantastic tool in testing for the likelihood that an animal might suffer from a certain disease in the future. It does of course have many other uses, one of which is dating things. I was recently reading a paper on dog DNA. It says that the domestication of the dog can now be traced back 11,000 years, to the end of the last ice age. It confirms that dogs came to live with humans before any other animal and were common in the Northern part of the world and had already split into five different types. The thought is that wolves came into settlements looking for food and were gradually domesticated. Dogs have been living off human scraps of food right from their early days of domestication, and DNA extracted form bones and teeth of dogs, shows that they developed the ability to digest starchy food thousands of years ago. Today modern dogs can digest starch rich foods, but wolves cannot and are still carnivores. How some wolves became domesticated and some did not is still up for discussion, but it is thought that now there about a billion dogs in the world today but not even 10 million wolves.
The day after the club show Debbie and I headed off to Suffolk for a Level I Scent Trial. Debbie took her PSD Magic, and I took Time. As with the club show we went in our own cars, rather than go together to keep within the Covid rules. Scent Trials are run under the umbrella of Scentwork UK and not the KC. They ran online during lockdown but have been having actual trials for some time. They are one of the Canine Activities that even without Covid are socially distanced. There are two searches outside and two inside, and no one can watch. Only the judge and the scribe is in the search area, and they are never near the handler and dog just watching from a distance, and nothing is ever touched, the dog just has to indicate when the scent is found. The dog must find the scent within 3mins in the lower levels and 5mins in the higher levels as there are more scents to find. To make trials even safer Scentwork UK has brought in a couple of extra rules. Competitors are divided into groups of 6 and given a time to arrive, so that the previous group has time to leave. The dogs are given a running order for each search as usual but are called by the trial manager when the judge is ready for them to search. The results and certificates are posted online, with the 4 place rosettes sent by post. This is the first trial I have been to since lockdown, and it was very well run. The trial was in the village hall on the other side of a farm track to the village green, parking was on the village green so no problem of keeping the cars apart. The weather was a great improvement on the day before, being sunny and warm and with a large village green we were able to easily socially distance while waiting to be called to compete. There were two judges, one doing the two outside searches the other doing the two inside searches, with plenty of room around the hall, and several rooms in the hall, so the judges just had to move from one search area to the next, so the trial was over very quickly. I was very pleased that Time was 6th out of 18 and Magic was 9th. Sarah Stonton with Trelowen Andrea (Loxy) also qualified but she was in the previous group.
Later in week I had a lovely e-mail from Rosie Peacock Jackson who I talked to while waiting to compete.
Rosie wrote: – ‘My Swedish Vallhund and I went to a ScentworkUK Level 1 Trial on trial on Sunday 25th October. What a great time we had. It was so interesting to meet likeminded dog people who were on their Scentwork journey.
I was interested to meet different breeds, one being the Norwegian Buhund. Having a spitz breed it is always nice to speak to other spitz owners and agree that they do not work like other breeds. They are very independent and will willingly work on a lesson once or twice but then you get the look. “We have done this a couple of times why again ?!” It was great to meet Margaret Deuchar and learn that her Buhund like my Vallhund is a show dog as well. We both agreed that it was so important to keep these busy spitz breeds working.
My Vallhund Trev and I have been doing Scentwork and Mantrailing for just over a year. We had a break for a while because of my illness but have managed quite a full programme during this awful year. I would say to anyone thinking of working their dogs, have a go. Most dogs love it, and it gets them and you out and about. I have been lucky to have several scent work days with two great trainers, and this has given me and my little dog confidence to work anywhere. Margaret and I passed our Level 1, so we look forward to the next step. So do have a go. Look up Scentwork UK and or Mantrailing UK and read all about it. You will find the people friendly and helpful. Good luck’.
Thanks Rosie maybe we will meet again at another trial, but now with another lockdown starting, it will not be before next year.
We have three dogs with clear eye tests Nancy Kent and Jacqui & Michael Cobb’s Ch Kormandel Best Served Cold At Knytsahll(Jamie) & Knytshall Diamond Ted and Lillian and Michael Rumsey’s Kata Syndattir Av Fjeldvidda (Imp NLD).
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.