Tom Middlemas

 

Natural methods

 
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As I approached Aviemore and looked up towards the high tops it was patently obvious that this was not going to be a winter skills training course as there was not a sign of snow anywhere but the weather must have had a concience and we had five days of cold but sunny trailing training.

As both Iain and Gwen have been working hard for the last year we were now ready to concentrate on more advanced work and specialist skills.

As the week prigressed we were able to assimilate a guide for what to do when the scent is scattered by the winds in open spaces and what happens in to bacteria in cold weather and also how things progress as the sun warms the land allowing easier trailing for the dogs.

We had some excellent trails thanks to the volunteers who wandered off quite happily through the forests in the sunshine and got themselves lost to await rescue by our four footed friends. This was made easier by the nice sunshine as due to the expertise of the dogs they had to wait from morning untill late afternoon for the dogs to start thus allowing for a degree of difficulty.

Strange but every time two people went out for a walk they always seemed to get seperated and we had some interesting trails as they wandered round the area looking for each other. It was extremely interesting to watch as one dog would follow one trail very happily whilst the other who was working on a different scent would take off in a different direction without a backward glance.

Everything went well and due to the weather I was able to prove many of the theories that I had only been able to talk about before but seeing is believing and we were lucky enough? to always have a few spectators who watched with interest as we worked through the whole range of disciplines from beginning with a new dog thanks to Caroline who came along with her dog keeper to end up with an information overload right through to the practical tests worked at the highest standard.

There are lots of people now purporting to do trailing in the U K and Europe but the differing skills and the standards make SAR dogs unique and the standards and rules they set ensure that these dogs will save lives.