The training site is in a VERY narrow valley, really only two football fields wide, if that much, with high mountains all around.
Firstly, the public has access to the area as it is part of a walking trail. NOTHING is fenced off, and I mean NOTHING. So there are these rubble areas (photos in the previous blog) that anyone can walk or crawl over, including children.
Then, leading in from the the entrance (also open) there is a long field that ends where the larger of the rubble piles starts. There are smallish buildings and shelters dotted around. Now get this! The ARCHERY people practice their art on this field whilst we are there training our dogs. We are of course not allowed to walk onto the field as we might stop an arrow - not good form. Their side of the field is separated by a narrow internal road. They stick to their side and we stick to ours. That's it!!!
Now, THIS evening was even more astonishing. The hunting season is starting on Monday and so some hunters arrived to 'warm up' their hunting rifles!!!!! This meant that we could not use the larger of the rubble sites because they were popping off their toys at the far end!!!! WHAT????????
So three groups shared this space, the archery people, the hunters and us dog people. Utterly amazing.
They are not toys by the way. I asked what calibre and was told about 12mm. Oh boy did those suckers make a noise, especially in that narrow valley with the high mountains around. There was quite a booming effect and the first one that went off I nearly jumped six feet! They said that the next loudest would be a cannon. By the way, only one dog showed any reaction to the gun. All the others including Jochen kept right on searching.
Can ANYONE imagine such a situation in Australia? The authorities would have a major heart attack just at the mere thought of it. Yet it works here. What is the difference? The only mumbling was that the hunters should not have been there because the place had been booked by the REDOG people at the beginning of the year. But no-one could be bothered arguing. We all just got on with it. Sigh.....
In the morning I took Jochen to our favourite field, an easy hour's walk away. It was an opportunity to throw the kong for him and let him really stretch his legs again. When he looked happily exhausted, it was brushing time. He still has a lot of coat to loose.
We finished off with another couple of kong chases and a search for two articles. He carried his kong almost all the way home. A good sign that he is having fun.
TRAINING AT MAIERSBODEN AGAIN.
We all started at the alert pipe (amongst the noise of those hunting rifles doing their thing) and Jochen did his usual good work there. In fact, he dragged me to the starting line and started to whistle in anticipation.
All the advanced teams did a two-person search in holes where the figurant* (victims) were way down amongst the rubble. Jochen worked really well, was keen and focused, finding both figurant in short order and managing to worm his way in to one of them.
As usual, he spent quite some time trying to get close to the figurant and once he decided he could not get any closer, he started barking, doing a very good job.
This was a vast improvement on last week, quite simply because my head was in the right space. We are a team again and that feels great. YAAYYY
*Figurant - it is the German word that the Swiss use for 'victim'. We adopted the word as part of our training language for no particular reason. Some people have said that they are not 'victims' and were therefore happy with the word.