Martha has had a busy few weeks since we introduced her to you. She has been to see the team a number of times and it has to be said she brings out the soft side in all that meet her with team members offering cuddles to her on the recent team fundraiser, the Grin n Bear it fell race’.
In early January Martha visited the children of Scholes School with Lisa and team member John. The children were told about Mountain Rescue, shown the equipment we use and the role of a search dog. All the children were able to say hello to Martha which helps with her socialisation. The children are now planning to follow Martha’s progress through all her training and are going to write to her. Martha will visit the school regularly to show the children how she is getting on and the progress she is making.
Last weekend Lisa, Martha’s handler, took Martha to her first ever SARDA (Search and Rescue Dog Association) training weekend in the cold and snowy Lake District. She has been learning more obedience such as heel work, sit command, down command and how to play in order to build her confidence. Martha is a quick learner and enjoyed any new challenge given to her.
A key requirement for search and rescue dogs is to ignore farm animals when out searching for people. During the training weekend Martha met a sheep for the first time. Frightened of a strange new creature bigger then her she was told to leave it whenever she looked at it and when she looked away from the sheep she was praised and treated with games. The aim is to distract Martha from sheep with things that are much more fun. Martha will have to see a lot of sheep from now on so that she becomes used to them and is not bothered by them
There was also agility learning, with a tunnel and obstacles. This was all a big game for Martha and she loved it, but it also helped her to learn some skills she will need to have confidence in when searching an area. Martha will need to jump over walls and go through some tight spaces.
Martha also met all the other handlers and search dogs. This was a very big weekend for her but she seemed to love every minute of it and grew in confidence in many areas.
This weekend Martha attended her first helicopter training. The new larger helicopter is replacing the Sea King was being briefed to team members as Martha explored around the outside. While the helicopter was flying and winching team members Martha and Lisa were nearby playing with her ball. Martha watched as the helicopter took off but soon became more interested in her ball. She then did obedience training again whilst the helicopter was flying overhead. Martha took it all in her stride and showed no fear or worry about this new noise that came from the huge red and white helicopter flying above her. This was excellent for a small puppy and shows the trust she has in her hander Lisa to keep her safe and will only help her with other unexpected new things she will experience throughout her life.
Martha continues to learn and moving forward in a positive way.