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Gullwing Labradors
Canada Trip - August, 2008

Canada, August 2008 Trip

You can watch the pictures go by above, or you can click on one of the pics below for a high-resolution (2MB) copy.

The Trip

I spent 4 days in August of 2008 taking my first trip to Canada to show two of my Labradors, P.T. and her daughter, Cruiser. P.T. was entered in Obedience, Rally and Tracking, while Cruiser was entered in Tracking. I hadn't done very much with P.T. in the past few years, not since she started having puppies. Plus, she didn't have nearly as much experience in Tracking as Cruiser, so my expectations were not high for her.

Obdience and Rally were held in Long Sault (pronounced Long Sue), Ontario and the Tracking was held in Powassan, Ontario. The ride from home in New Jersey to Long Sault is about 430 miles (735 km). From Long Sault to Powassan is another 300 miles (500 km). The total trip distance was 1,569 (2,500 km).
Friday and Sunday: Obedience and Rally in Long Sault

Along with a good size conformation show, the Obedience and Rally competitions were held on a beautiful island park on the St. Lawrence River. We camped Thursday and Saturday nights on the island, a short walk away from the Obedience and Rally rings.

Surprisingly, I ran into a handful of people at Long Sault that I knew. Micki Beerman from the Mid-Jersey Lab club was in conformation, along with Kathy Mines from Skylands Lab Retriever club. Phyliss Broderick, a US Obedience and Conformation judge, competed with us in Obedience both days. We ran into Michael Calhoun, a Canadian Obedience and Rally judge whom I have shown under here in the US. Also, I was very glad to meet the stud from Cruiser's recent litter, Fergus, and his owner Nicola Alynn.

P.T. was entered into both Obedience trials on Friday. In the morning trial, she gave her best performance of the weekend. See the RealMedia videos here: hi-resolution/broadband and low-resolution/modem. She was working on a 189.5 after the individual exercises, but during the 1-minute sit exercise, she layed down, which is a disqualification. As frustrating as that is, it was very sunny and hot, so I realy couldn't really blame her. I was concerned that the weather would remain the same throughout the day, so I decided to forget about the afternoon trial and head out earlier for the Tracking site.

When we returned on Sunday,P.T. completely redeemed herself! She got two qualifying scores (aka legs) in Obedience with 2 first place finishes, and 2 legs in Rally Obedience with one second place finish. This is a great motivation for me to go back soon-to knock off 2 titles with her.

Shown below are pictures of the campsite and the obedience ring at Long Sault.

Saturday: Powassan

See the video of Cruiser's track here (RealVideo)- hi res/broadband (28 MB) or low res/modem (3.6 MB).

Leaving Long Sault early on Friday was a good idea. We got to Powassan while it was still daylight and I found the tracking test headquarters and set it into my navigation. The cabin at Booth Landing was quite rustic, but clean and right on the water. The owners of the campsite were very nice, they even fed me some pizza when I got there.

The dogs woke me at around 1:30AM. I took them out, then came back inside the cabin and layed back down. It started raining, but I was back to sleep in just a few minutes. People at the test the next morning told me that it rained pretty heavily for about an hour. This made the field conditions just perfect.

There were 4 TD entries that day. Cruiser drew track 2 and P.T. drew track 4. I liked this because it got Cruiser out first and it gave me a chance between the tracks to get rested up. A Belgian Sheepdog went first and passed. Cruiser followed, also with a pass. The third track went to another black Lab, who passed, too. Unfortunately, P.T. broke the string of successes.

Before getting onto Cruiser's course, the judge went through the items in my fanny pack, to make sure it was all legal. Unlike in the US, Canadian tracking rules say that you can only carry water in a factory sealed container and you may only give water to the dog at an article (which, for a TD test, means only at the end of the track). The judge also asked that I have the tracklayer carry my Hydrogen Peroxide bottle (I carry this with me because Cruiser has in the past eaten a leather glove on track. The Peroxide will cause her to throw up. Fortunately, I didn't need it this time.)

Between the rain the night before, the overcast conditions at test time and the lush thickness of the grass on her field, Cruiser had no excuse for not passing. She had a little bit of a slow start, but that's typical for her. Her only real difficulty came at turn 3. There, she did a couple of circles, then decided to go toward the road. It was obvious that the track couldn't go that way, so I held my ground and allowed her to come back. She then decided it was time to go potty. After that and a couple more turn-arounds, she started right back on track and never lost it from there. She found the glove in about 6 minutes, including the couple minutes she took at turn 3. This is just what I was expecting from her.

P.T. was not so lucky. She got off to a slow start and never really stayed on track. The judge called her on the third leg and by then, she was well of the track. As I said, she hadn't had nearly as much Tracking experience as her daughter, so I wasn't expecting much from her.

The pictures below are of the camping site and the tracking headquarters. The last picture shows the award for driving the longest distance, given to us by the folks at EPS. It's a lovely country tin filled with local Canadian products- Maple Sprinkles (for on top of ice cream), Cinnamon Maple Sugar (for cinnamon toast), Maple Barbeque Steak Sauce, Red Pepper Maple Jelly and of course, Maple Syrup.


After leaving Powassan Saturday afternoon, we again stopped at Long Sault for more obedience. After the trials on Sunday, we headed back to New Jersey. This was a late drive, mostly in the dark, and with only a little bit of rain at the beginning of this leg of the journey. We arrived safely about at 2:00AM on Monday morning.

My thanks to Alana for staying with Breaker and Retro while the rest of us were away. This was a really big help to me!

Things I learned on this trip:

  • My high school French skills are gone.
  • I should have gotten a Verizon phone, which worked for someone on the island on the St Lawrence.
  • Stop at Tim Horton's for a dounut.
  • A Canadian dollar coin is known as a Loonie.
  • A Candian two dollar coin is know as a Two-nie.
  • If you hear it enough, you'll start saying "eh?" at the end of all your sentences, too.