Daphne's Successful Summer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Dowdle   
Sunday, 15 August 2010 14:39

Daphne has had a good start to her summer!

In June, Daphne competed in Earthdog Trials in Plattsville and Jerseyville Ontario. She was easily the most animated dog there as it is her favourite sport! She gets to hear her favourite words in the world: ‘Get The Rat!!’ She needed one more leg (qualifying score) to earn her Junior Earthdog title after getting her first one a couple of years ago. There are not many trialling opportunities so we did some intense homework, using my above ground wooden tunnels and live squirrels my Dad happily removed from his neighbourhood! No squirrels were ever harmed and after a few minutes of Daphne barking at them, they joined our neighbourhood.

In Plattsville on the first day, she was hesitant to go into the hole of the underground tunnel. It is very dark and rat scented! She finally went in, covered the 30 feet (with a couple of turns) and then worked the caged rats by barking and digging and whining at them. Unfortunately, she had gone over the time allowed so did not pass. On Sunday morning, she had the same ‘den site’ and went into the hole without hesitation! She did her work and passed. We were given a nice rosette and a small rat pin at the awards and the judge said she was a wonderful little worker. Now she had JE after her name!

We were allowed to move her up into the Senior Earthdog trial that afternoon. It is a lot harder, closer to the work of a real hunting situation. The tunnel configuration looks like an H lying on its side. She has to find the entry holes, which are at either end of the H’s bottom legs. She has 90 seconds to navigate her way to the top legs. One end has a False Den, an area with rat scented bedding but no rats. The rats are at the end of the other leg. Instead of Junior Level’s 60 seconds, dogs in Senior have to work the rats for 90 seconds. After they have done this (the Judge has a stopwatch) she will say ‘Call your Dog’. You have 90 seconds to get the dog back to you and under control! The rats have been removed from the tunnels so there is no reason to stay, but getting your dog out from underground can be tricky! I have been working on her recall using a sports whistle but she wanted to stay under! Finally, after almost three minutes she popped up out of one of the holes and I convinced her to come to me. She had done all the other parts in the required time, so we had almost passed the Senior Test! The Judge was amazed that this was her first attempt.

The next trials were in Jerseyville a couple of weeks later. As she seems to be the only Norfolk around here doing Earthdog, we are recognized when we go to an event. “ There’s Daphne!” we hear. I am known as Daphne’s Mom. At the Registration Desk that day, a woman said to me, “ Imagine! A Norfolk doing Earthdog!” I smiled at her and said that our philosophy is ‘Norfolks Can!’. Then I told her that Daphne does Earthdog, Obedience, Agility, Lure Coursing, Flyball and even a little Tracking! She doesn’t love all of those things but she does them.

This time was harder for her! She went into an entry hole but her head popped up and then she came out and went into the other entry hole and then she popped out again. Once you have given your dog a single command you must stand there quietly! Each time she popped out she looked at me as if for advice, but I could only stand quietly and smile at her. Finally she went in and found the rats and I could hear her barking almost without breathing, easily working the required 90 seconds. This time I got her back in 45 seconds so I was really pleased! But the popping in and out had used up too much time and she did not qualify. The next day, the same den, the results were the same - popping out, but again her recall was great, 50 seconds.

Daphne knows all the elements and just has to put it together so I am confident that she will soon be on her way to becoming a Senior Earthdog. Her next trial will be in the Fall, near Orangeville. I am so glad to give her the opportunity to do something SHE wants to do instead of what WE want.

In July, Daphne competed in Blyth Ontario in four Agility trials, two Standard courses and two Jumpers with Weaves. All of these were outdoors, in extreme heat! We kept dunking her in the kiddie pools of water provided. Daphne passed both the Standard courses. She qualified in one of her Jumpers trials but was too slow in the last trial. I think she was melting! She did try her hardest, on those little legs. On her first Standard course, she trembled and whined in Kim’s arms before she was set down on the start line.

She looked like she did when waiting to be released at Earthdog. When Kim told her “Okay!” she dashed across the field and Kim had to call her back to do the first obstacle!! Daphne will have to learn to keep her sports straight!! On the other hand, that kind of enthusiasm is good. It has been a good summer for Daphne. She is a great little girl, not afraid to show the world that she is a Norfolk terrier and that NORFOLKS CAN!

Posted on behalf of Teresa Martin


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