April brings us the yearly Pennsylvania search and rescue council experience and 2012 was a different one! The one and only time I ever attended this was when Bo was in training back in 2010. This year I went sans 3 German Shepherds, 2 Belgian Malinous, 1 Chihuahua, and 6 students!!!!!
As always a lot was learned for both the dogs and the handlers. Raina and Abby worked with Linda Murphy and John Valvardi of PA Recovery Dogs. They set up amazing search scenarios and both girls had some challenging nose work all 3 days.
Eme got to work a few trails, giving her variety in her locations and allowing other handlers and trainers to watch her raw talent. She has some impressive natural trailing traits in her genetics, we are fine tuning them and me as a trailing handler!! It was also great to watch a bunch of other trailing dogs work, i never knew how many people did trailing and the variety of dogs too!!! This was my first experience as a trailing dog handler at a public trailing event, most of what i learned came from the days when Maya, Emes mother was a trailing dog and my general overall absorption from over the years.
Of course the kids had fun, they had responsibilities too like helping take care of the dogs, taking a few classes for humans, and assisting the trainers with setting up problems. Everyone also took turns helping work the dogs through drills or other search work. Some times though they just hung around.
Our evenings held one of the greatest activites, the pack walk! Now we were in a public campground with not only other SAR dogs and persons from this event but hundreds of locals who keep campers at the campground year round. We took off each evening with 6 Shepherds, 2 Malinois, 1 chihuahua, and 1 golden retriever. If that isn’t a site to see I don’t know what is!!! Everyone was well behaved and it gave us time to fine tune our obedience in a busy public place.
The kids behaved wonderfully, the dogs were amazing, and the experiences priceless!! What a better way to spend an April vacation?