Monthly Archives: November 2016

Gromit’s Tracking Test

Just a quick post to share the video of Gromit earning his Tracking Dog title on this very windy day.  I was really proud of the little guy working so well in tough conditions, even if he did stop to roll in something on the first leg of the track.  Out of 12 dogs today, only 3 (2 TD and 1 TDU) passed, but I think the high winds and drastic weather change had a lot to do with that.

A tracking test requires a dog to follow a path laid by a person at least 440 yards in length, with 3-5 turns (4 on this track) that has aged at least 30 minutes and locate a glove dropped at the end. 

Clancy's Curse of the Were-Rabbit TD BN RA HC CGCA

Clancy’s Curse of the Were-Rabbit TD BN RA HC CGCA


On Saturday, Maya and I attended our first nose work trial.  This is Maya’s “retirement sport” that we started after she stopped competing in agility.  The idea is to train the dog to find and indicate the odor of specific essential oils (birch in this case) in a variety of environments.  To earn a Nose work 1 title, the dog must successfully search an interior, exterior, the outside of 1-3 vehicles, and a group of containers (boxes) within a set period of time on the same day..  At the higher levels, conditions become more challenging and a wider variety of challenges can be presented.

This sport is in many ways a natural fit for a scent hound.  Most PBGVs come equipped with plenty of hunt drive.  While nose work doesn’t provide the reinforcement of the chase like rabbit hunting does, Maya is happy to be paid with treats when she finds odor.  And, how cool is this, you can carry treats with you in competition to reward right away when your dog successfully alerts.  Hound people, you really need to give nose work a try- Maya was the only representative of the hound group out of 41 dogs competing.

Here are the videos of Maya’s vehicle and exterior searches.  We’ll be practicing more advanced searches and working with anise as while as birch now to get ready for the next level.  Juno is also learning nose work and hopes to be following in Maya’s paw prints soon.

GCh. Ch. Gebeba Clancy Poetic Justice VCD1 RAE OA AXJ MXP MJP T2BP NW1 NTD RHX CGCA

GCh. Ch. Gebeba Clancy Poetic Justice VCD1 RAE OA AXJ MXP MJP T2BP NW1 NTD RHX CGCA

The Dog Training Tool in Your Hand

Chances are you are reading this post on one of my favorite dog training tools- the smart phone or tablet (ok, really iPhone or iPad- why would you want any other brand?)  Don’t believe me?  Here’s an example of how much less “stuff” I have in my training bag because I can depend on my phone.

  • Notebook/ training journal.  You do keep training notes and make lesson plans, right?  If your notes are on your phone, your notebook is always with you, so no excuses.  You can use note taking apps, but the regular note function has worked fine for me.  Each month I set up lesson plans and use my phone to keep notes on training, exercise, grooming and competition for everyone.


  • Calendar/ reminders- To help you follow that lesson plan.
  • Video camera-  It’s pretty common to record competition runs, especially in agility, but recording training sessions can have even more benefits.  The camera allows you to see a different angle and to see what you are doing, which might be why the dog is doing what she is doing.  There are plenty of low cost tripod adapters and remote starters for the camera function on your phone if you train alone.  You may not keep every video forever, and will definitely  need some kind of backup drive if you do, but even just watching the video right after the session can give a lot of information.  The regular camera comes in hand when you want a photo of that important win or your dog doing something adorable too.  If you run multiple dogs in agility, apps like Coaches Eye that allow you to watch side by side video can be a cool way to see where you are losing time and how consistent your handling is or isn’t.


  • Timer- Especially when you are shaping or working on body awareness or fitness training it can be a huge benefit to set a timer to keep sessions short.
  • Sound recorder- Need to desensitize your dog to trial noise or just play some music for background noise?  No problem.  There are also apps that can serve as your clicker.
  • Books-  If you are using a training plan from a book, you can keep in on your device and always have it to refer to during a training session.
  • Internet access- If you are an online class junkie like me, taking the classroom to the training field can be a big help- no need to ever print anything.
  • Course map storage/ trial records- Instead of keeping stacks of course maps and exhibitor copies of scribe sheets, I use a journaling app to keep my trial records.


#Opt Outside

So apparently this is a thing- do something outdoors instead of shopping on Black Friday.  Not a bad idea and I have the perfect suggestion- the Mid New Jersey PBGV Association hunt test in Flemington, NJ.  Friday, November 25 is the warm up day for the weekend’s hunt test. The field will be available for training and practice time in the afternoon and we are happy to group dogs and people new to hunting with experienced packs.  Entries open this week and the premium list can be found here.

Are you thinking, good idea but………

“If I let my PBGV hunt, he will want to hunt all the time.”  Well, yeah, the thing is that he’s a PBGV- he already wants to hunt all of the time.  If this is a problem for you, there are plenty of other breeds who weren’t selectively bred for the ability and desire to hunt.

“I’ll ruin my agility (or obedience, or nose work, or tracking) dog.”  If you look at the list of PBGVs with the highest level hunting titles (Parent Club Master Hunter Excellent and Rabbit Hunter Excellent), you will see that almost all of them have titles in companion events also.  Our dogs are smarter than we give them credit for and they know the difference in context between different events.  If you don’t believe me, ask MACH5 Chili RHX and MACH2 Salsa RHX.

“We have shows coming up and I can’t risk his coat.”  According to the PBGV breed standard “The most distinguishing characteristics of this bold hunter are:  his rough, unrefined outlines; his proudly carried head displaying definitive long eyebrows, beard, and mustache; his strong, tapered tail carried like a saber, alert and in readiness.”  In other words, if your dog’s coat isn’t rough and unrefined, as it may be after a weekend in the hunt field- he isn’t in correct condition and shouldn’t be winning in the show ring anyway.  If he has been stripped to the point of not having enough coat to protect him in the field, well, I’ve probably said enough about this in the past. 

“We might get dirty/ ticks.”  Yes, you will- wear suitable clothing and waterproof shoes and use something for ticks.  Oh, and don’t groom your PBGV before the weekend like you would for other events- wait until afterwards.  Dirt washes off and ticks can be removed.

I hope you will Opt Outdoors with us on Black Friday!