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The nose always knows aka Trust your dog

April 19, 2018

I am fairly new to the scent sports having started it a couple of years ago as something I was interested in and had the opportunity to do some introductory training.  I find it interesting to watch the dogs work, it really is amazing (A reason I like barn hunt too). But like most things I only have time for so much, so my dog and I are still at a Novice level.

So what are Scent Sports?  There are several different venues that offer competition based on the work of detection dogs (drug dogs, bomb dogs, S&R dogs).  Like most things we compete in we are currently doing the AKC version called Scent Work (different venues use different rules and equipment). In the AKC venue the dogs have various difficulty levels in each search element (Container, Buried, Interior and Exterior searches).  The dogs search for cotton swabs soaked in essential oils of Birch, Anise, Clove and/or Cypress. The scents aka the hides are placed out of sight in a designated area and then the dog has to find them and let the handler know where it is located. The search is timed, the handler tells the judge the dog has found the hide and the time stops.  Fastest dog wins but a successful find is a qualifying run as long as it is done in the time allowed.

Trust your dog, how many time have we heard that phrase?  

But I have a hard time trusting my dog, not trusting that she knows what she is doing but trusting that our communication is good.  Trusting that I understand what she is trying to tell me.

I know she knows what she is doing since she possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in her nose, compared to the about six million that I have in my nose. And the part of her brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than mine.

So why don’t I trust her, why do I second guess her?  That goes back to fear and training. Why fear? I am afraid I will make a wrong call and not get a ribbon.  Oh the Horror! I might not get a ribbon can you imagine how my life would be over if we didn’t Q. The fear is there because of training, have we trained enough that she knows what I am asking her and if so am I trained enough to understand what she is telling me?   Have I given her enough opportunities to work through any problems that might in the way? Weather, surfaces, distractions? Have I learned what she is telling? Currently the answer is a big fat NO! Lucky for us on our competition runs she has been a rock star and made sure her human partner is up to speed but it is strictly the talent and effort on the part of my canine partner that we have been successful.   It is all her at this point.

I am excited to move forward with my wonderful partner Bailey and Cali is going to start learning the language too.


Bailey, GCH Solstice Flying Circus, CAX, B-CAT SIN, SCN, SEN, RATS

2017 Reflections

January 2, 2018
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As many of us do we spend the New Year’s holiday looking back and looking forward.

We had a pretty successful year.  Caliwags was our focus and we started 2017 doing some non AKC events and Cali completed her IABCA puppy championships and started her quest toward her AKC Championship.

It didn’t take long to get to that Championship.  She started at the Cherokee Rose winter Cluster in February and finished on December 1st at the Winter Wonderland cluster in Perry, GA.   She finished with 3 majors in limited showing.  Of course none of that would have happened with out her “Team”  McLo, professional handlers Junior McDaniels and Ashley Lowery and their great team (and my friends), and of course talented Junior Handler and Cali’s new co-owner Ellie Kidd and me!




Just for fun this summer we learned some tricks and Cali earned her Trick Dog Novice title too.

Bailey was the working dawg again this year.  She did a bit of Barnhunt, added 11 more runs towards her CAX (4 to go) and she added some more points toward her DCat Fast Cat title.  She did her 1st Scent sport event, passing her NACSW Nosework ORT and then this last weekend of the year she earned her AKC Scentwork Novice Containers and Interior titles.


Other fun things that happened, the momma dog Lindy was awarded the CWCCA Registry of Merit Versatility Certificate and Charlie and Cody earned their Companion Dog Excellent title.

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I had lots of fun, I got to go to NYC for the Westminster Kennel Club show with my BFF Leslie, it was a great trip!


In May, I had the great privilege to represent Atlanta Obedience Club and The Georgia Canine Collision as Governor Deal declared May 1st Purebred Dog Day in Georgia.


And of course we had our hearts broken when we lost our little friend Sienna our Brussels Griffon last winter but were happy to welcome our new little friend Sunni to our world.


All in all the year was wonderfully successful and I am proud and happy for the year that was and we are looking forward to 2018!


December 21, 2017

And so it begins, winter. The Solstice, the longest night, the dark. As the world grows dark tonight , tomorrow the world begins to renew. The light grows stronger and the days begin to lengthen and the promise of renewal begins.

As we do every year on this day we reflect on all we are thankful for and are grateful for those that fill our lives with joy.

We wish for each of you light and love. May your days be filled with wonder. May you celebrate this season of light with your beliefs and traditions, may your memories of those who have gone before be of comfort and love. May those you love be safe and happy.

We wish for you as the earth renews that the light grows with in you, all the peace and happiness to you and yours.

Blessed Yule

Jinnie, Solstice

Our friend Ellie

October 27, 2017
I am not a kid person, I have never had much to do with kids by choice.  I really didn’t like my little brother Randy too much when he was a kid (I like him now, he really is the best brother).  So it is sort of a surprise that I am hanging out with a kid at the dog show.  A very nice 11 year old named Ellie.
Last year Ellie and her folks Yvette and Jim became part of our dog show crew.  My BFF Leslie had placed a puppy in their home 7 years ago and last year Ellie decided she wanted to train and show her dog Dixie.  And Leslie being the type of person has made sure she has what she needed to start show in Junior Showmanship.   Ellie is one of those who has a natural affinity for showing dogs and she and Dixie quickly went from Novice to Intermediate Junior showmanship.  She picked up both a RBJIS and a BJIS and spent most of the year as the #1 Pembroke Welsh Corgi Junior.  A minor surgery kept her away from the rings so I think she ended the year as #3. Darn Tonsils!
Ellie wants to show everything!  Lucky for her our Pro handler friends of team MCLO give her lots to do, she will walk, bathe, groom, hold whatever you ask her to do in hopes of going in the ring with a dog.  She is doing so well that other members of her kennel club often look for her to take that extra dog into the ring.  She is going to be good, well she is good but she will be very good as she grows up.



Ellie loves our Caliwags so I had promised her she could show Cali at an upcoming show but it wasn’t until last week at the Atlanta Kennel Club show that the opportunity came about for she and Cali to have some fun in the breed ring.   She did a great job of showing Cali and came away the winner adding more 2 more points toward her Championship. With 5 more singles to go I am betting that Ellie and Cali will be together again.



It has been fun watching a young person discover the job of show dogs, it has been fun to watch her interact with the adults and watch her soak it all.  My hope for her is that she always finds the joy in our wonderful worlds.
Cali and I say thanks for joining our team!

Fun time in the Summer

August 13, 2017

It has been awhile since I updated our blog.   We normally spend the summer just hanging out.  We started our summer vacation after attending the dog shows in Gray, TN where Cali earned 2 more points towards her AKC Championship.  She is now a third of the way there now with 5 points and with 1 major win.  We also showed in 2 IABCA shows with some wonderful comments from the judges.  Cali also earned her AKC Novice Trick title so we did a little work this summer.  At the end of August the show season starts up again so I’m sure we will have more to report.

A snapshot of our summer.



Shop or Adopt it is your choice

August 13, 2017

I posted the following on Facebook back in June and it got a lot of response.  I am reposting it here to a wider audience than just my like-minded friends.

FACEBOOK – June 23, 2017

There is so much going on in the dog world and it is time for those of us who love dogs and adore our pets need to start paying attention.

How did you find your pet? Did you buy one? Did you rescue one? Do you know the difference?

In reality if you paid money for a dog then you bought a dog it is just a matter of what source you bought your dog from and what was the motivation of the seller?

If you bought a purebred dog then you probably had a type of dog you were looking for. Size, temperament, coat type, etc. If you bought a mixed breed dog you were looking for something that struck your fancy but you didn’t have any particular expectation of conformity. If you bought a designer dog then you were looking for a something cute and fashionable with some type of expectation of similarity to others with the same name.

You might think it doesn’t matter where you got your dog but it really does matter and here is why.

1. If you buy a purebred dog then make sure you know where it comes from, is the breeder breeding for the preservation of the breed or is it a business venture? If you want to make sure your dog matches the look and temperament of your chosen breed a preservation breeder is the way to go as they are trying to create a beautiful, healthy dog that looks and acts like you expect. They offer lifetime support and health guarantees. If you chose to buy a purebred dog from someone who is in the business of selling dogs, you might or might not get what you expect and you might pay a heftier price than if you had worked with a preservation breeder. If you are buying a purebred dog then make sure you know what to expect. My 2 minimal requirements are A. The breeder is doing appropriate breed health testing and B. They will take the dog back for any reason at any time during the dog’s lifetime. There should not be any type of rehoming fee from the breeder.

2. Did you buy a poo or a doodle? Just remember you bought a mix breed dog. There are no poo or doodle breeds, they are given their cute names as a marketing technique. Each dog brings their set of genes and genetic material to the party and you might get a dog you expect or you might not depending on which genes dominate. A labradoodle is a cross between a Lab and a Poodle so you might get Lab hair or Poodle hair, but what you will get is a good sized energetic dog with a bird dog temperament. Again, most of the designer breeds are mixed breeds with clever marketing trying to separate you from your money. Can they be great dogs and just want you wanted and expected, OF COURSE! Just be mindful of the motivation behind the breeder.

3. If you rescue a dog, make sure you working with a legitimate rescue organization and not a retail rescue whose sole purpose is to sell pets for a profit. Rescues do great work, they make people feel good about helping unfortunate animals, the problem is that greedy/lazy people have discovered that they can make money by marketing sad stories and becoming “rescues” who are in reality nothing but a money making scheme, they are the new pet stores aka retail rescue.

So what is a retail rescue? These are the groups that go around and “buy” dogs from shelters, unscrupulous breeders, craigslist “opps” litters and the worst case they import dogs either from out of state shelters or from 3rd world countries. They market them with a sad story and inflate the cost of their care and then charge the “adopter” a ridiculous adoption fee which goes straight into their pockets.

You may ask “what is so bad about that? It is still helping dogs in need?” So here is why it is a bad thing. First of all it is creating an industry for rescue dogs. People are breeding mix breeds and then selling them to retail rescues which squeezes out real dogs in need. It cause lost dogs to never find their owners as shelters let retail rescues rush in and “save” the dogs in the shelter sometimes within hours of a dog going missing. The worst case is the importation of dogs from 3rd world countries. These rescue dogs do not have to pass the same strict requirements that importation of breeding animals have to pass before they are brought into the USA. This is bring in disease that was previously unknown in the USA. Example the H3N2 Canine Flu that is now being call an epidemic. This was brought in from China and other Asian countries and has now exposes our dogs to this dangerous and sometimes deadly virus.

Wake up People! It is a scam to get your money! I live in Atlanta and I know of at least two groups of rescue Golden retrievers have been imported from Turkey, really…… There are packs of purebred Goldens running around the streets of Istanbul? That is just bull! They have good thing going in Turkey, breed them, import them as rescue with no oversight and then market them as poor street dogs and sell them to kindhearted, gullible American buyers. The same with the Chinese meat dogs. Those meat dog breeders are now breeding for the US rescue market, I’m sure they make more money on rescue than the meat market.

We love our pets in the good old USA and we love a good rags to riches story and greedy, lazy people love to exploit our kindhearted nature but it is time to wake up. There are forces at work that are trying to make sure that we don’t have pets and one of them is the “adopt don’t shop: mentality. It is putting all our pets at risk.

Think about this: There are cities/counties that are trying to pass laws that say you can only adopt aka buy a rescue dog. You can’t pick the size/coat/temperament but you can go to an unregulated “rescue” and pay an adoption fee and get a dog that is available and you get what you get. Now if they are the only game in town what do you think the “adoption fees” are going to be? Stay with me for a bit, now rescue dogs are normally required to be altered aka spayed or neutered so there are not any unwanted puppies. So where are the dogs going to come from? Yep, importation! So now you can’t buy a puppy from a breeder but if you want a Great Dane or Chihuahua then you have to hope something comes into a rescue and then you can get a dog with no history of health or temperament and hope everything is OK. Is that what you want your choice to be?

It’s not “adopt don’t shop” it is about choice, it doesn’t matter where your dog comes from except that you need to be aware of the source and support those who want to preserve their beloved breeds or who are doing their best to find homes from dogs who don’t have one. Don’t help greedy/lazy people keep taking your money and perpetuating their scam. Don’t let groups like HSUS or PETA be the spokespeople for animals since they are the ones who want to do away with our rights to have pets, don’t let the animal rights people write the legislation that regulates how and where your can find your next best friend.

Take a stand, you get to choose where your pet comes from, be proud of you dog but don’t be a bully about it. Don’t act superior or holier than thou about how you got your dog. “My dog is a champion of champions”, “my dog was pulled from a dark hole and I gave her a home” NOBODY really cares! You have a great dog, love that dog, show off that dog and stand up for your rights as a dog owner. Time is running out, PAY ATTENTION (yes I am shouting)! I want to keep enjoying my dogs, do you?

Because I was asked – Yes permission to share

Welcome Red Thang!

May 29, 2017

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In January tragedy struck and we lost our little Sienna.  This weekend a new face arrived!  Welcome Sunny!  She is fitting right in and she and Cali are already play buddies and Bailey is so happy to have a little Griffy friend again.   She comes from Cherwyn Brussels Griffons in Florida.  We are leaning towards Cherwyn Walking on Sunshine (her breeder Cheryl likes to use song titles).

Happy Days are here again!