Well, October and Autumn have certainly come in with a vengeance with storm Alex arriving from Italy and France. One minute we were watering some grass seed we had put down on some bare patches which were due to all the dry weather, the next minute the lawn is virtually all under water, and Time is enjoying playing in the puddles!
Last week I mentioned that Sarah Stonton’s Loxy had pulled out all the stops to qualify Level I in her first UK Scentwork trial.
Sarah has very kindly sent me an article on the day’s proceedings: –
My Trelowen Andrea AW(S) aka Loxy is now 9yrs old, she has previously competed in many canine activities-Breed Showing (she has 2RCCS), Agility (gaining her Agility Warrant Silver) Team Obreedience(she has been in the winning team on two occasions), and Rally Obedience (with 2 level 1 qualifying scores). In part due to Covid restrictions I decided to retire her from agility in March, as there were unlikely to be any competitions for many months, even when training in small groups returned. I love doing things with my dogs and find group lessons fun for all, so decided it was time to start both dogs on scent as the same trainer that did agility did this as well. We had a taster session previously, then during lockdown we did some online work, then both Loxy and Jack (Ch Arnscroft In Di Ana Jack RL1ex) -my breed and Rally star started weekly socially distanced lessons.
On 26th Sept Loxy and I headed for our first official Scentwork UK trial, held at a village hall just outside Norwich. A handler can only enter one dog at the same level at a time, to avoid the time and potential unfairness of altering things for a 2nd dog, so I had to choose only one dog to go, much to Jack’s disappointment. The competition was well organised and covid safe. Unfortunately, it was a cold wet and windy day.
Loxy had 4 searches to do. In the first it was finding the clove scent inside the hall from a mix of 10-15 boxes and bags. My nervousness passed to my girl-she was not searching as well as usual, despite almost climbing into some bags to check for fun things. I wasn’t sure if she was vaguely indicating the scented item and made the error of saying it was there when it wasn’t, and instead of using the rest of the 3 minute time allowed to go around again and praise her. It was not there! The second search was an assortment of 10-15 miscellaneous outside items including a flower pot ,metal container, a folding chair and a toy – Loxy vaguely indicated on a small carrier quite quickly but having been fooled inside, I decided to continue around all the articles and go back. She was telling me all along, so I got it right, BUT I lost a handling mark, as I tugged her a little with her long lead to tell her to move on and search. Third was a transit type van-she confidently took me along the length of the van around to the number plate which she indicated to be scented, again I wasn’t certain so took her past it towards the front corner where on she turned back and took me directly to the number plate again. Clever girl -and I remembered better praise this time. The final search was indoors 8 chairs and 2 tables. She was searching confidently by now and took me positively to the correct chair and kept repeatedly nosing it and glancing at me, which is how she alerts me to the find.
The judge was lovely giving praise and constructive criticism. Lots of fun ,lots of lessons learned, a few little distance chats with people I had previously met in the canine world ,then we left with Loxy having a qualifying score, which meant she can go up to the next level. She can also stay at Level 1 for longer which will be best for us both to gain confidence.
Thanks Sarah, I am sure Loxy told Jack all about it when she got home.
I finish with a couple of things that made me smile, I hope you enjoy them in what is a rather depressing time.
The first was a notice seen in the window of a Scottish Vet Practice. ‘If you come into the surgery without a mask, we will have to take your temperature. P.S We only have rectal thermometers. Choose Wisely.’
The next was when I was talking to someone who has a litter of puppies, I asked her if she was manging to get enough newspaper for the puppies’ pen. In normal times if newspaper was required a collection would be made at a show or other activity and taken to the needy puppies. Her reply was yes someone local to her was keeping the puppies in newspaper, and luckily, they were Broadsheet Papers which was so much better than the Tabloids! Make of that what you will!
Stay safe everyone.
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.