Hi everyone, Lottie here and I have just got back from my first training weekend with SARDA and what a great weekend I have had.

Based at the Harford Bridge campsite just outside Tavistock, some 25 search dogs gathered for a long weekend training on the nearby Tors. Along with the ‘dogsbodies’ who go out and hide on the moor, dogs ranging from the puppy class to final Stage 3 pre-assessment were kept busy for the three days.

I joined in the puppy class alongside the other young dogs, Chief, Murphy and Jess, and started work with Dad on some tasks and skills needed to pass the registration test. The others had been doing it for a few more months than me so were amazing to watch and it won’t be long before they will be moving on to Stage 1.

As well as general obedience and walking to heel, we started work on exercises that will be useful when I start in the later stages of training including ‘down at a distance’, ‘recall with distractions’ and ‘down/stay’. I managed to stay where Dad wanted me to for about ten minutes but will have to keep practising because in the test Dad has to be out of sight for five minutes as well.

It’s all a big game and it’s great to play with the other handlers and I get a toy as a reward when I ‘speak’ to them (WOOF!) which is what I will have to do when I start training with the ‘dogsbodies’.

I have certainly not worked so hard and much to Dad’s relief was completely shattered by the end of the day and slept really well – which was lucky for the rest of the campsite!

What also really made the weekend was meeting my half-sister, Maya (that’s her on the right), for the first time. She is already doing really well in Stage 1 and had travelled all the way down from Derbyshire for the weekend with her handler, Dan.

Can’t wait for next month’s training – a bit further afield in the Yorkshire Dales.

By the way, if you missed my first blog for Exmoor Magazine, you can find it here.

More information on SARDA, the dogs and their training can be found on the website at www.sardaengland.org.uk

Made up entirely of volunteers the Exmoor Search and Rescue Team provides a Search and Rescue service across large parts of Devon and Somerset. The team assists the Police in locating lost or missing persons and recovering the injured or ill from remote locations as well as working closely with the Fire & Rescue Services and Ambulance Service in the area. Details on the team’s work and recent call outs can be found on the web at www.exmoor-SRT.org.uk and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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