Friday, May 31, 2013


Me and Bella did some tracking this evening, I did a mini-tracking test simulation with 3 articles, two turns and half the distance a tracking I test is. I tried inserting the track below.

Sjá Capital Region á stærra korti

I'm really happy with how it went. This is the longest track I've done with Bella so far. It was aged about 10 minutes when I started and it took us 15 minutes to complete. The first leg was very good, then when reaching the turn she missed it but worked herself back to it after some swaying back and forth.
When she was securely on the second leg it was all rainbows and unicorns as before, until we reached the turn. She didn't quite catch the turn, but was a lot more confident in searching for it and it and was back on the final leg.

The final leg was without a doubt the most challenging. She worked half of it without a fuss but then she had clearly gotten less focused on the job and was swinging to the sides sniffing and biting grass. She even tried to roll but then I finally interfered and told her to track. Which she did. And finished. Yay!

If I nail the marking, we'll nail the test. I have the entire summer to build up distance. I think I might even just train for the Track II test in October because the Track I test is so simple. (Please no one bring this post back up if I fail the test down the line! haha)

Last Few Days

Last weekend me and the whole family went to a cabin we've been to many times before. We were hoping to get some sun and mild weather but spring in Iceland has been aborted so we got rain, lots of wind and cold weather.


In general it was a good excuse to be lazy. I did lay one track for her and it was excellent, except I jumped the gun a bit and forgot to give her plenty enough time to pee before putting the harness on. Once the harness was on she was just running around trying to find the start of the scent and when she found it she got her moment of zen and decided to pee on it. Pure handler mistake there!

I really need to start working on teaching her to mark objects when tracking. I am just torn between whether to teach her to  pick it up -which I just recently knew was allowed- or sit/lay down. I had started teaching her to sit down when doing the peppermint detection training but haven't gone very far with it as I had to throw my idea of using balls into the ocean. She's not toy driven. at. all. It had turned into her seeing the ball go down, then instead of trying to get the ball and sniff where the scent was she just stood back and stared at me, except she sometimes sat down because she knew that had something to do with it. Stalemate!


On Monday I crashed something awful, I barely got out of bed without getting ridiculously dizzy and whatnot. It took me two more days to snap out of it and yesterday I was next to normal, just in time to watch an Obedience competition. It offered Bronze grading and Obedience I. I am aiming to do a tracking test next fall and have been considering if I should give the Bronze obedience test a try. I spoke to a trainer there (and a Border Terrier owner!) and she was encouraging me to give it a go.
What cripples me the most is the fear of Bella running away from me during testing. Memories of me chasing her around the agility arena still haunt me. Since I'm on maternity leave this summer that it's an excellent opportunity for me to train her in areas with distractions and see where it gets us. I know she can do this, we just need to work hard.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Day Off

Two weekends ago me and fiancé went to a hotel out of town. I was so busy taking care of what to do with the two year old and packing for the little one who would stay with us that the night before leaving I realized I had completely forgotten to make arrangements for Bella.
There's no such thing as dog friendly hotels in Iceland and just recently some camping sites have started allowing dogs to stay. I was really disappointed in myself.

But to make the best out of things I decided to check the weather forecast and the following night promised cloud and rain. If it would come true it would mean Bella could sleep in the car overnight. Despite it being spring the temperature is fairly low.


The drive was a lot of fun, we drove through a fjord that's called Hvalfjörður which translates as Whale-fjord. It's a short driving distance from the city and used to be the only way to get to western Iceland but a tunnel rendered the road useless and now it's barely used.

When we reached the hotel I was freaking out because the sun was shining and there was no way I would let Bella stay in the car that way. I was trying to figure out if and how I could smuggle her inside or what else I could do. Thankfully, while I was agonizing over what to do, the sky thickened up and it started raining in the evening. Bella was in excellent shape the morning after.

On the way back home (and actually also on the way to the hotel, but I discarded the photos) we stopped to let Bella loose.


There was some running. And then:


Emergency brakes!


There's sniffing to do.


Sniffing at the beach.


More sniffing to do.


Back to the beach to.. yep, sniff!


I am fond of this last one, it just lacks the tracking line and we would look like professionals.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Starting Again

I have been a bit lazy with the camera in the past few days. The days fly by so quickly that I never get to do everything that I want to do.

Bella in the Sofa

I did attempt to sign me and Bella on a 10 week course in Obedience this summer but it was full. Maybe a spot will open up, maybe not. It doesn't look like there will be a tracking course for us either.

More excitingly, my physiotherapist assured me I would be biking this summer and encouraged me to give it a go whenever I felt I was up to it. So I went on a 2 minute ride on Monday with no bad results. So today I went ahead and took Bella with me on a short 5 minute jog.

Bella Biking

She looks very calm and stoic in these two pictures but in fact she was running back and forth whining because she was so excited to go.

Bella Biking

As expected she still pulls like a freight train. I need to put effort into breaking that habit if I am to allow her to bike with me this summer. What's more exciting is that now I finally have a car that can haul bikes which means I can also find biking spots where she can be off leash. I've dreamt about that for several years now.

What a fantastic summer this will be!