Weekend wonderland

Snow, cold temperature, and wind………..it’s defiantly still winter!! The girls didn’t care they were just happy to have some good training days ahead of them. Friday we headed to Hancock to work with the dog corp boys and get both girls some quick working problems.

My girls














Eme did great, the snow was over my knees but she plowed through like a champ and got her subject.  It would have been a good refind too if mom hadn’t walked into a pricker bush and poked her eye!!! Ohhh well it was still great!

Finally done working











Saturday we moved on to building training in Vestal at an hold veterinary hospital.  The girls both did amazing especially after the day down at kingston getting in building work. Eme’s most challenging problem was Kara up in the attic. She had never done an up high building before and it was great for her to learn the scent picture.

Working the person in the attick










Raina got some good problems in and her recall and indication is perfect right now. She is so smart and so drivey she just wants to work 24/7



We also added felix blue to the group on saturday and have already begun his training. Felix is a wonderful stable nerved german shepherd. You can see him and Eme at Kara’s house hanging out!!

Felix blue!!


Is this really my life?

Sometimes i stop and think, wow am i living a dream or is this really my life? Everyday is a new experience, a new lesson, a new opportunity to learn more about how best to communicate and live with dogs and exercise that every second of every day.  I really do live a dream, and this weekend was a great one!

Friday was a fun day at home depot with kara and mika training and working obedience. Rainas SAR training is progressing so fast, now that i finally have a kink free method of back and forward chaining and a smooth way to teach nose work, recall, and refind, while also working her indication for a bark outside of the search work. I realize how quick she will be up and going now that i know how to do it perfectly for these shepherds.

Raina loves to tug










Eme is also doing great and while working two dogs this close in age is tough its worth every second.

Eme after her SAR problem

Saturday brought a training session with a client which was powerful and successful. It is always the best when i get to see another pack of dogs improve because of what i am teaching.  It helps remind me that my understanding of canines is correct, and my communication and my foundation that i lay prior to working with a dog is what really gets them started on the right track. I’m happiest when i get to teach someone else how to have a canine co-pilot for life!





Saturday was another pack visit day, we worked on some Life Long Tails grants and got the website updated and looking pretty. We also went out and did a short problem with both girls so the other members of the rescue were able to see how it all works. April was nice enough to hide and flank me and nick did the same even though he couldn’t feel his feet!

Ok whats next?


It was another good successful find with both eme and raina getting some practice with new subjects.

Getting ready to start


Sunday came quick and 6am found the girls and I, kara and mika, and stacey in the truck headed to an old IBM builing at Tech City in Kingston. We had access to 3 floors of empty building to work some SAR problems. This was Eme and Raina’s first time doing any building work and i was BLOWN AWAY.


Eme was quick to catch on and we did a few short run aways to get her into the scent picture of a building. Air flows VERY differently in buildings especially when there was some heat and duct airflow. Eme blew through problems and delivered a perfect refind, bark indication as long as i asked, and show me back to the subject. There was NO light what so ever and the dogs were asked to work in PITCH BLACK. Eme would body slam the doors to open them and clear the room as soon as i asked her to “check”  She took direction perfectly but also worked independently on her own.  We worked some longer problems with her and she stayed frustration free, giving me no false indications, only pin pointing the subject, coming back to me to tell me and  bringing me right back.

and....... SEARCH!

Raina was baby steps but by the end of the day she was doing short blind problems with her recall back to me. We started out by placing subject in the door to the dark room and making her bark to get in and get her reward. Then we moved to short run aways like that, then to longer run aways where she had to actually search a few rooms. Then we would place a subject and give her 3 rooms to search to find him. It was so great to see a  young dog take to working scent in a difficult environment. You could hear her stack her breaths when in scent and you could watch her follow the scent cone into the subject!

Focused and ready

The holy day of the week

My girls












Sundays are another good training day with the co pilot pack. This weekend we headed down to ritas with the girls all in tow to work some of the regular obedience, socialization, and of course SAR.

hanging at the school













Raina spent some time at the school, in the gym working on recall obedience then just hanging out with the kids. We practiced her commands with a lot more distractions present and upped the requirements a little.  We also did her short problems with a refind back to mom. Raina has A LOT of subject loyalty and while her indication (a bark and hold to mom) is coming along great we need to stop the game at mom for awhile to get the fast bounce back for refind.


With my ball after the find














We set up a short problem for Eme to see how her refind and indication would hold up. It turned into a bit of a mess but she found the subject, came  back, indicated upon asking, and did a good show me! We solidified it with a few more short drills and let her take her prize to the top of the mountain of snow!

Both girls did great and enjoyed playing with Mika and Tank who is Raina’s brother. Another wonderful training with my good friends.

The heart swells with pride

When owning dogs you have good days and bad days, especially when you have a large pack to manage and most are working dogs that are on the path to certification. Today was a great day, a day that makes me realize that all the time, effort, love, and discipline i put into my dogs everyday is worth it.  A day that makes me realize that what i do, what i teach, and what i know really is amazing.

Emeline and Raina and i started the morning out meeting Amigo SAR dog team members at Cole park.  I worked eme first on a short snow burial, her first ever with a nice quick refind to remind her what we have been practicing the last few months.  Then i took the plunge, i knew the last few weeks she was getting the whole concept of refind and it had been forever since the girl had a LONG problem where she had to work out scent. She was first up with an off trail problem over a mile long. As we were working she stayed close and checked back at me often, sometimes with bits of frustration, probably wondering why all of a sudden she was working so long to find her toy!

I was not sure where the subject was and only had man tracking to try to tell me when we were getting close. I wanted to make sure Eme had a successful find since it had been so long but i was worried her refind and indication would drop out like it had been a few months back.  Through the first 1/2 mile i had head pops across the water towards the subject so i knew she was working good. Once we got about 250 feet down the trail prior to the subject i noticed a body language change and a pep in her step! I was about to comment i thought we were close when she head popped right and took off up the hill, after working the cone back in to the subject so got him perfect, turned around came back to me as i gave her words of encouragement, sat in front of me barked and with a “show me” we were off to the subject! PERFECT!!!  We ended the problem with a 20 minute play session on the way back to the truck. We tugged, we fetched, we lost the toy a few times and found it again.  It was a great mesh of working dog and working handler. I love it when all the work pays off!

We worked Raina on some small short problems and now that she knows the game we are incorporating a refind back to me starting now. Her loyalty to the subject is already unwavering so bringing it back to mom now will help any hesitation later on in training.


Pull mom PULL











After training we hit the town and made rounds to Gander Mountain, the pet store and home depot for some in store work and out of store work. My emphasis with Raina is focus in public places and work on obedience commands with distractions. She is great at tuning out any noise but kids playing in the snow was just to much so we distanced ourselves and worked our obedience at Home Depot.














The girls all did great and Emeline and Raina shared their truck so nicely with Bonsai and Mika during the trip.  All 4 girls worked obedience for a few hours and even made some new friends and impressed some complete strangers with their obedience!