On Monday a group of us went to the beautiful Eden Valley for an Introduction to Scentwork and Hoopers run by Hazel Kemble of Bretherdale Sniffers
Before starting to work with scents, the dogs individually off lead searched the room for their favourite JR Pate, it was fascinating to see how different dogs worked, Delta is an air scenter, Murphy, Dottie and Rubywoods the spaniels where busy and fast and not so methodical as Logan the cockerpoo and Zazoo the Labrador. Without fail everyone of our group took to Scentwork, it is a symbiotic activity which fits beautifully in with gundog training and teaches the dogs to use their instincts for alternative recreational purposes. We have homework to do and may well be organising an evening to practise what we learned. For sure Claudia and I will be going along again and I'm sure all the rest of our group will too. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for events we organise but please contact the fantastic Hazel Kemble at Bretherdale Sniffers for more information. Really can't recommend Hazel highly enough she has competed in agility, scentwork and hoopers at the very top level with her vizlas. Hazel is a patient teacher who is extremely knowledgeable and qualified at in a well known and respected sector of her field. Most importantly Hazel has many years of hands on experience, understands dogs and people and makes you come away feeling enthusiastic and confident that you understand what has been taught. The facilities at Bretherdale are fantastic and well thought out and the setting must be one of the best in rural Cumbria.
Onto Hoopers which is a fantastic recreational activity, involving handling at distance from both sides which for me was something I just couldn't get my head rounds but I am somewhat rigid and stuck in my ways and the thought of getting Rupert to work on my right was a step too far, however I couldn't get my lefts and rights to compute in my head, but it was a lot of laughs. Claudia and Archie had a great time, as did Ruby Woods, Zazoo and Logan they took to it like a duck to water, Denise and Dottie and Rupert and I were a bit more hopeless, however I think that says more about how our minds work than Hoppers as an activity, its a great way for dogs which may have retired to have mental stimulation and fun...and for those handlers who know their lefts and rights to crack on and try something new, I wouldn't write it off but for now personally I will be sticking to the scentwork.