Working airedale terrier

Clint Stubbe (Northern Working Airedale Terrier Association correspondent)

Some months I am totally motivated to get the dogs out and work them at every opportunity I can, then there's this past month. Perhaps the heat has something to do with it. By unofficial accounts this has been the hottest driest summer in 110 years. There are currently 240 forest fires burning in this province. Pretty hard to think about getting the dogs out for much more than a swim to cool off when temperatures are up near 40 C. every day. The water buckets need constant filling when it's hot like this and I even like to spray the dogs down with a hose occasionally if for no other reason then to watch their antics after I release them. A trip down to the river brings welcome relief and the dogs really enjoy cooling off while fetching sticks and balls. I have been working the dogs a bit with a frozen bearhide on the odd cooler day. Just roping it up a tree or working it on the end of a rope. I thought I was going to lose a finger one time when I tossed the hide over the gate and the dogs tried to haul my hand, which was wrapped by a couple turns of rope through a small crack. For a small dog young Terra can sure tug especially with some help. Later in the year I will do

some drags to get the dogs ready for bear season.

Originally the idea to use dogs came from the Red Cross who wanted to use ambulance dogs on the western front, but this idea was deemed unsuccessful early on, the French in fact banned the use of ambulance dogs within a few weeks of the war beginning. Lt-Col Richardson then started training sentry and patrol dogs around about autumn 1914 and found the Airedale to be well suited for this task, he also supplied the Belgian Army with some of these animals. In the winter of 1916 he trained and supplied two Airedales (Wolf and Prince) at the request of the Royal Artillery for use as message carriers, they both served with great success with the 56th Brigade RFA, 11th Div. at Wytschaete Ridge and prompted further investigation into the use of dogs as runners.

One dog handler Reid says: "The two dogs I took out are doing well, I should say exceptionally well. I have not the least hesitation in saying there is not a brace of better dogs in this or any other country as messenger dogs. Boxer, the Airedale, is running like an engine. The lurcher bitch, Flash beats him on his week's running by twenty minutes, which is not a lot considering the breeds. The General of the -------- Division said, that the Airedale was the best dog he had seen."

Category: Airedale

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