On Saturday Spirit and I participated in an SDDA (Sporting Detection Dogs Association) Advance Trial in Red Deer hosted by The Little Nose that Knows. Two days before the trial Spirit surprised us by going into heat. I contacted the trial co-ordinator and she said we could still compete if Spirit wore a diaper and that we would have to go last. We’ve never trained with her in heat or with a diaper. I decided that we would still go to the trial for the experience…….just treat it like a training session with no expectations.
While we were waiting for our turn to start, I walked Spirit around so that she would get used to wearing her search vest and diaper. Before I could stop her, she squatted and took a pee. Great now not only was she wearing a diaper but it was sagging and heavy with pee. We didn’t have time to change so we had to go ahead and do our first two searches that way.
Our first search was containers. At the advanced level there are two finds and one distractor with dog food in it. Spirit is not what you would call a high energy or speedy dog. She slowly but methodically makes her way through the search checking each container. I could tell when she hit the distractor because she was very interested in the delicious smells wafting out of the container. I was very relieved when she moved on without alerting on it. We finished our search in 1 minute and 8 seconds (3 minute time limit).
We immediately went on to the interior search…generally the hardest component because you are inside, there is not much air movement and there are literally hundred of places where the hide can be. I could tell that she had located the scent cone of one of the hides under a table but she was having trouble finding the source. I should have asked the Judge if I could move some of the chairs out of the way to give her more room to maneuver but I didn’t. Classic handler error. She gave her alert and the Judge asked me to identify where the source was. I knew it was under the table but I could not tell him exactly where so I took a best guess and pointed to where I thought it was but I was a few inches off. Too bad…game over no hope of an advanced title today.
We had to wait another hour before we did our final search….an exterior. She located the scent cone quite quickly but it was so windy she had trouble finding the source. She went back and forth in the same area several times but then all of sudden she went straight to the hide and gave a beautiful indication. It took her 1 minute and 49 seconds (5 minute time limit).
Considering the circumstances we did great and I am so proud of Spirit. The NQ for the interior was my fault and a good lesson was learned. At the award ceremony I was just standing at the back enjoying everyone’s accomplishments when I was shocked to find out that we got a perfect score on the container search and came away with a first place ribbon.
Linking up to (not so) Wordless Wednesday at Blogpaws:
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