Friday, January 23, 2015

It's Been an Exciting Month!

Well, not really.  Nothing is really exciting when it's below zero out (today it's in the 20's it's a heat wave!). Winter can move on any time now.


Earlier this month Peanut and I got an amazing opportunity to go try out for a K9 Search and Rescue team for our state.  Now this team normally doesn't accept new dogs over the age of 2, and if you can believe it she is already 3 1/2, so to even have the opportunity to try out was awesome.  Of course Peanut being Peanut does what she always does and blew their minds with her nose.

I tell you this dog is amazing and it blows my mind that she can do what she does.  She needs some work and a lot of brushing up but we were invited to join their team and will be their only trailing dog on a team on 20+ Air Scent and Human Remains Detection (HRD) dogs.  Seems like  Tracking/Trailing dogs are rare in Michigan which is a shame.  Yes Police K9's can track but unless taught they aren't scent specific but normally only follow the newest scent.  Their skills are perfect for following someone who recently robbed a bank or made a dash out of a car on a traffic stop but a scent specific dog does better in large crowds and in areas where there is a lot of traffic.

So here we start a new chapter in our Search and Rescue career.  Go Team Peanut!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Yup, it's that time of year.  From the Nut House to your family, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Oh Winter Time...

Winter has come in with vengeance in Michigan with the snowiest November ever in parts of Michigan, and we got hit with a lot of snow here.  With winter coming in so fast, the Nut House went from spending 4 hours a night outside to just taking quick potty breaks and then warming ourselves by the furnace.  Things have been hectic around here with two dogs with much pent up energy. 

The first weekend in November I got the opportunity to take Peanut to a Search and Rescue training weekend in southern Indiana.  This is the first time I've had people in the SAR community outside of the team I work with take a look at her skills and tell me if she had what it takes to be a trailing dog or if I should just give up on it and start on other work for her.

It was a 5 hour trip for us, well 5 1/2 hours on our way down thanks to car issues.  Never a dull moment!  We arrived to a beautiful place called Camp Lakeview.  After locating camp I got to meet a handful of people there for the weekend and set up in out cabins.

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Our Cabins!

We sat around a campfire and introduced ourselves and our dogs.  One of the questions we were asked is "What level do you think your dog is it" which I replied honestly "Not a beginner but it depends in your definition of intermediate.  Maybe beginner intermediate."  Later I found out that a lot of people who say "intermediate" or "advance" are those who have big egos, I just didn't want to get stuck on puppy runs because I know Peanut is far beyond that and would get bored.  Peanut has done some really complex tracks over the years so I know she's beyond a beginner, I was just being truthful.

Well we got stuck on a puppy run for the first track of the night and of course Peanut just did fantastic as she always does and we got moved up to the intermediate class.  

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Our puppy run next to a beautiful lake.  Pictured is Sophie and her handler

The next day was a blast.  So many different trails and so many different problems to work out and so much to learn.  I learned so much on handling Peanut while we were there,  things we needed to work on, and things to do to advance us further in our training.  Peanut was really a rock star while we were out there and people just couldn't help but to fall for her.  She blew everyone's minds and went well beyond what they thought she could do.  She loved on everyone that would let her and she even found her toy drive that I've been searching for over the years.  I am so proud of this dog and where she is at.  

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Sadie a Golden Retriever trailing

 So overall I got the answer I went there to get which was "Do you think this dog can be a SAR dog" and got the answer "She already is".  It was so encouraging to be down there with so many people who have the same passion I do and so much more knowledge on subjects I'm still getting my feet wet in.  I also learned I have a LOT to learn about handling Peanut.  

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Peanut chilling on our ride home

I was waiting until I got some photos of Peanut from the weekend training but nothing has come up yet so, pictures are still yet to come!  So until then, here's a collection of photos from the past of Peanut's work. 

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Friday, August 22, 2014

It's Been a LONG time

First of all I'm so sorry for abandoning this blog.  Life has been so hectic that I haven't been able to do much to even report on the blog.  I ended up becoming President of my Search and Rescue team,  Volunteering my time with my local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), becoming a trainer for that, doing lots of trainings outside of the dogs, then personal family issues that I barely have time to even think anymore.  I've started a few blogs but never had time to post them.  I'm going to try to make a point to post once a month but bear with me.  Times are tough!

What is up with the Nuts you ask?  We not a lot.

Nubs:
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Nubs turned 7 this year and while improved drastically, had a small set back this past week with his knee.  He was off of pain killers completely since June up until last week and was doing fantastic over all.  Some nights he felt his age but he's been tearing around the yard like a nut that he is.  He's still my cuddle buddy and while he's showing his age ever so slightly he's still a pup that can keep up with Peanut.

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Peanut:
While we've been doing a lot, we haven't really done a lot.  That makes sense doesn't it?  This year I decided since it's about impossible to find anyone to hide for me for tracking that I would make use of her nose and start cadaver work.  Yes this means I have blood, bones, and teeth in my house which is kinda creepy but it's a lot of fun to watch Peanut do the work.  With us becoming a big part of our Emergency Services department (Someone has even been elected as the team mascot!), Peanut got herself a nice fancy new search vest for working.
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We also did the big Cereal Festival downtown, and for the first time ever we got to be in the parade!  Peanut did FANTASTIC in that parade with dogs freaking out around us as we walked down town.  We even made the local newspaper online.  That was awesome.
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And here are some photos of her first time out in the field doing cadaver work.  She's come a LONG ways and is doing fantastic.  That night I took her 6 tubes and threw them in a large field (so that way she can't track my scent to find the tubes).  3 tubes had scent in them and 3 tubes were dummy, empty tubes to insure that she wasn't looking for the tubes but for the scent.  Well I can confirm she was on the scent.  She located the 3 tubes of scent, ran past 2 empty tube with no indications on them.  Then I spent the next 30 mins searching the field for the last empty tube because she wouldn't alert on an empty tube.  That was hard to find and made me respect her nose even more.  WTG Peanut and keep up the hard work!

"I found it!"
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Photo HEAVY. A Trip Over Time

Not much to say about this post, the photos speak for themselves.
June 26th, 2011
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July 18th, 2011
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July 29th, 2011
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August 21, 2011
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September 4th, 2011
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September 27th, 2011
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October 23rd, 2011
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November 27th, 2011
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February 24th, 2012
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March 21, 2012
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July 1st, 2012
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August 22nd, 2012
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September 30th, 2012
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October 23rd, 2012
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Around this time, Nubs started having issues sitting so these photos became fewer and far in between, so for one year I was unable to get him to sit next to Peanut at all.  With his decline of health so went my passion of photography. However this finally happened...

October 7th, 2013
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November 30th, 2013
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 And that is how my dogs have grown over the past 2 and 1/2 years.