Dog Stuff

Since 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!

Vivant et Lisse Infinite Blessings CGCA, RATM “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 black 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 2 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 currently has 5 points towards his championship. He also won the Puppy Sweeps at last year’s Belgian Tervuren Club of Southern California specialty dog show. His sister, River, who also lives in Phoenix, took 2nd in the Sweeps. What Finn and River didn’t win in that show, Victor, a brother who lives in Nevada, won! Victor, whose family does a lot more dog shows, is just about to his championship already. Another sibling, Harper, from the same parents but a previous breeding, also owned by Victor’s family, has her championship as well and regularly wins in the Best Owner-Handler classes!

Since Finn is still young, we started competition work with 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’s now working on his RATCH title, needs just 7 more qualifying masters runs to do that. 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. He also has his Crazy8’s bronze title which is 500 points in Crazy 8s runs. 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 is the 2nd Tervuren in the nation to get a Crazy8’s Bronze, the first on the west side of the Mississippi! We’ll be starting competitive obedience pretty soon (he’s already got the basics down!) but will keep doing Barn Hunts as long as he continues to enjoy it so much.