News from former Bolton MRT / SARDA England Search Dog Handler Dave Marsh regards his latest (Fingers crossed and a lot of training to come) Dog Sash

“Following SARDA training on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th October, which involved heel work, long down stays [of 5-10 min duration] etc I am delighted to inform the team that Sash has now been observed to be tolerant of sheep as of this morning, Sunday 9th October.

A flock of sheep is driven towards the dog and a tennis ball is thrown in amongst the sheep. This gives the dog plenty of opportunity to take ’more interest in sheep’ than a cursory glance, but on all occasions Sash focused on collecting and returning the ball to me to carry on with the game. Phew – that’s one test completed successfully.

The next one will be at the December 2011 SARDA meeting, whereby she will be assessed on obedience, heel work, and the dreaded long down stay.

LDS’s involve the search dog handler settling the dog in either a sitting position or a down position which they then have to maintain for 5 minutes in sight of the handler who then moves out of sight to the dog. The dog has then to maintain its position for another 5 minutes without moving, after which if all is OK, the dog will be allowed to enter the SARDA training system.

In this instance, Sash will be trained along lines for water search [of which there is only one other dog of this type in the UK].”

We will regularly report via this website the progress of Dave and Sash through their training over the next couple of years.