Susanne Howarth

Well, one big challenge that I certainly hope we have overcome is my bad attitude! The past two NW2 trials were both successful (first for Blackie, then for Biscuit) and I think those successes were in large part due to my conscious decision that no matter what happened, we were going to have nothing but fun. Previously, I was so intent on titling, that the moment that first “no” was heard, my day was a waste of time — even though Blackie would usually bring me some placement ribbons along the way! I think I’ve learned the error of my ways in that regard!!!

Another challenge that Blackie and I seem to have overcome has been a tendency on her part to guess, especially when searching containers. I’ve learned NOT to trust her first “alert” but to ask her to consider her options a bit more thoroughly, and since adopting that method for container searches, we’ve done a lot better!

As for challenges on which we still need to work, I’ll second Deb’s comment regarding knowing when to stop searching. Even though it was so very obvious to me when watching other teams search that the dog was done, I’m not confident that I’ll be able to apply that learning to my own dog. Also, I think an ongoing challenge is consistent training — making time to set some hides and work with my dog, and doing so deliberately — i.e., with training objectives in mind for us both.