Dog Stuff

Khal has his own Horse Stuff page, Finn will get his. Don’t tell the cats, they’ll want one of their own too and they won’t want to share a page for the two of them!

CH Vivant et Lisse Infinite Blessings RI RATCHX CGCA TKI FDC “Finn” is a Belgian Tervuren, one of the four types of Belgian Sheepdogs which have now split into four recognized breeds – the long-haired, black Belgian Sheepdog (also called a Groenendael), the short coated Malinois, the wire coated Laekenois and the long-haired, mahogany Tervuren. The dogs were primarily developed as herding dogs, but nowadays do just about everything from police work to search and rescue, agility, obedience, IPO and bite work, service dogs, nose work, tracking, and Finn’s personal current favorite – Barn Hunt!

I saw my first Tervuren somewhere in the 90’s at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. A man walked into the Schneider’s tent with a pair of the most beautiful red and tan dogs I’d ever seen and I was a goner. I knew they weren’t German Shepherd Dogs but I’d never seen the breed before and had to ask. Since then, there’s never been another breed that I was so determined to own sometime.

After remodeling the house, I fostered dogs for Soldiers Best Friend for about a year before I finally decided it was now or never to get my own dog. I found Vivant et Lisse breeder, Jo Fain, through the Internet and met Finn, his brother Bounty, and mama Sprite not long after that. Finn came home with me in January 2016, a 12 week old fluffy ball of a puppy. The cats were not impressed. They have since come around – sort of. The kitten, Aithne, now at 3 years old, is the one who accepts him the most. Ringo tolerates Finn but has no patience (or sense of humor) if Finn tries to play.

Finn is a show dog and recently achieved his championship. He has his Rally Obedience Intermediate title, a Trick Dog Novice title, and his CGCA and Farm Dog certifications. We are starting on some herding lessons and eventually plan on doing agility too.  But what Finn really loves is Barn Hunt! This is a scenting type sport where live rats are placed in ventilated tubes and hidden in stacks of straw. The dogs have to search out the rat tubes and alert the handler. There are decoy and empty tubes that the dog has to ignore. This is really an over simplification of the sport as there are a lot of guidelines and regulations to follow to keep the rats and dogs safe. Finn had his first introduction to a rat in September 2016 on our way back from a trip to Michigan. We started competing in late October 2016 and he moved up from Novice to Open to Senior to Master in just 7 months! He earned his RATCH title one year to the date from getting his Novice title! Each of the Novice, Open and Senior runs have a different number of rats to find in a certain amount of time and require 3 qualifying runs to earn the title. Masters could have a random number of rats (determined by the judge) and requires 5 qualifying runs to earn the RATM title. After that, titles are earned for every 10 qualifying master runs.  As of 01/2019 he has his RATCHX title (10 additional qualifying runs after obtaining the RATCH) and is only 4 more runs from getting his RATCHX2.  He also has his Crazy8’s Platinum Bronze title which is 2500 points in Crazy 8s runs and is just 350 points away from his Platinum Silver title. In Crazy 8’s, there are 8 rats in the ring and points are earned per rat found plus going through the tunnel and doing a climb, all in just 2 minutes. Points are deducted if the dog does not tunnel or climb or hits on a decoy tube. The maximum number of points per round is 100. Titles in Crazy 8’s are earned at each accumulation of 500 points. Finn truly loves this sport, becoming a whirlwind of tan and mahogany fur flying around the ring and digging in the straw to find his rats. He’s so much fun to watch, and really gives me a work out keeping up with him in the ring!

Finn was the first Tervuren to get the Crazy 8’s Gold level and we are working hard to keep up with several other excellent Terv ratters on the east coast for our next levels of Platinum Silver and Gold.

Quite by surprise, I found out that a photo of Finn taken during one of our runs with the Ratters of Arizona in New River, AZ by was selected to be the cover photo on a comprehensive book about Barn Hunt. We were thrilled! Check out the book here… barn_hunt_a_game_of_hide_seek_for_dogs

All those letters before and after Finn’s name…
CH – Champion title for achieving 15 points and majors at conformation dog shows
RI – Rally (Obedience) Intermediate
RATCHX – Barn Hunt Champion +10
CGCA – Canine Good Citizen Advanced
TKI – Trick Dog Intermediate
FDC – Farm Dog Certification (essentially a CGC in a farm setting)

For you dog lovers, check the Snuffle Mat page for my latest addition to the things I sell.  These are durable rubber mats with fleece strips tied on. You sprinkle dry treats or kibble on it, shake it down a little so the treats are hidden and let your dog forage away for the treats. It is a nice brain activity for your dog to earn his treats. Trainers also recommend using a snuffle mat to calm and focus your dog in stressful situations or at competitions. Finn loves his but usually only take a few minutes to dig out all the treats!