IGP 1 check-in photo

Fall 2020 Trial

Our 2020 trial is now in the books.  Huge thanks to our judge, Randall Hoadley, and helper, Todd Dunlap, for braving air travel to make it possible.  A second huge thank you to the 4 teams from Utah that made the trek north to join us.  It’s always great to meet new friends who share our obsession with this crazy sport.

We are extremely grateful that we were even able to have a trial.  Putting on a trial takes months of preparation under normal circumstances.  This year nothing was normal.  COVID-19 added extra procedures, changed long-established routines, and prohibited us from having our usual feast and socialization.  Add in record heat, a massive wildfire (which we could see from the field), difficulty of securing tracking and we can all attest it was a trial to remember but not repeat.

We are very proud to announce that all 7 of our BH entries were successful.  This was the first title in the sport for several of our teams.  It’s always exciting to celebrate that first step.  We also had 2 successful IGP 1s and 1 IGP 2.  In many aspects, it was a typical trial – dogs made mistakes (“my dog’s never done that before”) – handlers made mistakes (“I can’t believe I just did that”) and moments of brilliance.  As many of our handlers can attest, every trial is a learning experience. 


  • Clarissa and Puck
    • High IGP 1
    • High in Trial
    • High in Tracking
    • High in Obedience
  • Dakota and Ram Kota
    • BH and IGP 1
    • High in Protection
  • Mike and Zeus
    • High IGP 2

And to our BH successes:

  • Leighanne and Cairo
  • Ann and Yetti
  • Wes and Nia
  • Clarissa and Ripley
  • Ann and Yargus
  • David and Navi

That’s a wrap.  Time to start training and looking forward to next year!

Written by Janice Bogy

September 2019 Trial

Big Sky Working Dog Club

September 14-15, 2019
Judge Hartmut Beckmann
Tracklayer Christopher Smith * Helper Todd Dunlap

Blazins Gunner Vicki Barbeau P A S S E D    
Puck du Triangle Magique Clarissa Negaard P A S S E D    
C’Nia Von Blumental Wesley Taylor No    
IGP I   T O P      
Giovanni di 16130 Anne Camper 95 80 96 a 271 SG
Gravitas Barristan Cari Bracken 88 98 97 a 283 SG
Beorn Von Blumental Clarissa Negaard 94 81 0 ng 175 M
IGP II   T O P      
Vrisco von Sontausen Janice Bogy 84 56 88 a 228 M
Tara z Cagova raje Ann Mackay 75 82 91 a 248 G
IGP III   T O P      
Gravitas Andrew Katie Finlay 95 85 92 a 272 SG
FH1   T          
Charlotte of Sapphire Mountain Clarissa Negaard 88       88 G
Heidi Errinor Ryan Waters 83       83 G
IFH-V   T          
Nika z Vodnanske doliny Donna Negaard 83       83 G

Fall 2018 breaks in our new field with a trial!!

“Our 2018 fall trial is now in the books.  After a summer of massive changes – new field, new equipment, hours of labor from club members – the trial was a great success due to the many contributions of ALL members.  It truly takes a village.

This year’s tracking was a combination of beauty and surreal, ethereal atmosphere.  After months of no moisture, it rained the night before.  There was dense valley fog, with the tracking field in the sun above the fog.  Interestingly, the plowed dirt fields were not muddy, but as the sun warmed the moist earth, a mist rose from the ground.  The IPO dogs had their issues with the conditions.  By the time Clarissa’s FH2 track was ready to run, the rising mist mixed with the fog lifting from the valley and the team disappeared from view as they headed down the track.  Anne, our very seasoned and experienced tracklayer had her work cut out for her as all of the landmarks and points of reference disappeared in the mist.  Toby and Clarissa had no trouble, however, and did an excellent FH2 track – 95 points, High in Tracking.  None of us trying to watch could see anything.  Definitely a tracking morning to remember with the most beautiful quality of light.

Conditions for the remainder of the trial were excellent – bright, sunny day in beautiful Montana with temperatures in the low 70s.  What more could any club wish for on trial day?

Club members, Ann Mackay and Tara, were the stars of the day, earning their IPO 1, High in Trial, High in Obedience and High in Protection!  Ann is a new handler and we are so excited for her success!  Other successful new titles were:  Chaz and Mr. Magoo, BH; Anne and Gio, BH; and our visitor from SD, Tracy and Yowie, BH.    Our other club member teams, Carol and Titus and Janice and Vrisco, proved their strength in protection with beautiful, powerful routines and scores of 95 and 96 but had their problems with the misty tracking fields. 

While our club has been in existence for decades, we currently have many new, young handlers and dogs.  We are looking forward to next year’s trial and a large field of participants getting their start in this fabulous, if not sometimes frustrating, sport.  We love our dogs and our members and celebrate the success of all. 

Janice Bogy

President, Big Sky Working Dogs”


Happy Monday everyone!

First – Congratulations to everyone who trialed. You represented the club with professionalism and dignity. Everyone succeeded in earning the title desired. I am proud to be a member of this club and to watch so many novice handlers achieving their goals. Way to go.

Second – Thank you everyone who contributed to making our trial a success. Mike, as usual, you were an outstanding Secretary. Cari, outstanding job on organizing the field preparation. I know you had help, but the field looked fantastic. Stephanie, the food and hospitality was outstanding. Peter, equipment was proper and easily accessed when needed. Carol, awards were great – hopefully will be a much bigger job in September – and thank you so much for housing the judge (and me!). Clarissa, thanks for the competitor goodie bags, and soliciting donations. Samie, thanks for printing certificates and videotaping the routines (perfect to see what you looked like and where you need to make adjustments). Anne, thank you for your continued ability to organize airfares, judges, and keeping us on track for training. A big thank you to everyone for contributing time, effort and food to pull it all together. You guys rock.

Third and last – A few of us met on Sunday morning for a judge’s seminar with Cynthia. Here is a brief blurb on what she covered. Basically, we are doing a good job. Need to work on cleaning up about turns and body language/hands. Overall, about turns were not correct. Handler needs to stay on the same plane and pivot in place with dog making the adjustment. The military (left flip) about turn looks stunning when executed correctly, but is very difficult to perfect and very few dogs have the ability to consistently execute it with the precision necessary. Hands and arms need to be more natural in movement during heeling. Need to be sure your paces for build up and leaving your dog are correct. Practice throwing the dumbbell until you can consistently throw it and have it land exactly where you want it. You get 3 tries to throw the dumbbell before the exercise will be considered finished and you lose all the points. Also, she wanted to let everyone know that a club trial is like your local baseball team. The event follows rules and represents the sport, but the level of competition is at the basic level. Regionals would be equivalent to semi-pro level. Nationals would be like pros and worlds would be like the World Series or the Olympics. Once you get beyond the club level, the competition is much stiffer, scored much tighter and competitors much more cutthroat. Doing well at a club trial is no indication of ability to do well at a regional level. That said, you should always strive to grow, stretch and challenge yourself. If you have the desire to compete at the regional level and above, you should trial as much as possible at club trials under different judges, perfect your trialing ability and then go for it. Anyone else who was there on Sunday, feel free to add to this.

So, let’s get ready to rock it again in September. We should have another outstanding trial!

Janice G. Bogy

BH Trial Results

Big Sky Working Dogs * June 17, 2017 * Judge AWMA Cynthia LaPointe

G-Lexa vom Haus Vianden Stephanie Carns PASSED
Tuffy vom Donau-Ries “Pistol” Ann Mackay PASSED
Nika z Vodňanské doliny Donna Negaard PASSED
Ayla vom Blumental Stephanie Carns PASSED
Gravitas Barristan “Barris” Cari Bracken PASSED
Nala Claire Silvey   70   70 S
I’m All Ears “Teaka” Cari Bracken   90   90 SG


So proud of our club members who earned their BH (Stephanie and Ayla, Stephanie and Lexa, Cari and Barris, Ann and Pistol, Donna and Nika) and our two OB competitors (Cari and Teaka OB3 and Claire and Nala OB1). We are small but mighty. Cynthia, thank you for making the journey and being so supportive of our competitors!

2017 Training Dates

April 8-10: Todd Dunlap
May 6-7: Julia Priest tracking seminar
May 27-29: Todd Dunlap
June 17-18: Trial with Cynthia LaPointe – all approvals have been obtained and the trial has been posted on the AWMA website
June 10-12: Todd Dunlap
July 8-9: Christopher Smith
July 22-24: Todd Dunlap
August 19-21: Todd Dunlap
September 15-18: IPO Trial with Hartmut Beckmann DVG Judge, Todd Dunlap helper

Todd Dunlap is from Pennsylvania and is the primary trainer behind Dunlap Training Solutions. Training dogs to Todd is not about making a dog “sit, down or come” those are just the mechanical components, it’s about communicating with a dog. The clearer the communication lines are between dog and handler, the stronger the relationship. Todd firmly is an advocate of science-based dog training principles. He has taught pet obedience classes for the last 10 years along with training his own dogs in multiple protection-based dog sports, and is consistently coaching handler/dog teams that go on to win at the national and international level.

August Trial Results

August 9-10, 2016 * Big Sky Working Dogs * Judge: AWMA Waine Singleton

 Clarissa Negaard  Charlotte of Sapphire Mountain  GSD PASSED
 Donna Negaard  Nika z Vodnanske doliny  GSD did not pass
 Ryan Waters  Heidi Errinor  GSD PASSED
 Claire Silvey  Nala  Mal PASSED
 Carol Steadman  Titus vom Patiala  GSD PASSED
 Stephanie Carns  G-Lexa vom Haus Vianden  GSD did not pass
 Samie Jones  Izzy du Loups du Soleil  Mal PASSED
 Clarissa Negaard  Ioshi Aritar Bastet  GSD PASSED
 Janice Bogy  Vrisco von Sonthauson  GSD  89  60  82 a  231
 Clarissa Negaard  Ulysses of Sapphire Mountain  GSD  77      77
 Clarissa Negaard  Charlotte of Sapphire Mountain  GSD  80      80
 Ryan Waters  Heidi Errinor  GSD  75      75
 Carol Steadman  Titus vom Patiala  GSD  70      70
 Janice Bogy  Edel vom Haus Rentz  GSD  89      89
 Cari Bracken  I’m All Ears “Teaka”  Mix  90      90



Weekend immersion in dog training! If you’re from out of the area, we train all day Saturday and Sunday with a potluck Saturday night where we drink beer and talk dogs. Come join us!

Jay Belcher, Sublime Canine, is from Tucson Arizona and has experience with IPO, ringsport, AKC obedience, flyball, nosework, dock diving, etc. He’s an excellent, safe decoy; a motivational trainer in obedience and loves and excels in tracking!

Christopher Smith, All Canine Working Dog Club, is from Los Angeles and is an experienced helper for IPO/Schutzhund working a variety of breeds, and is an excellent coach for handlers. His club members have achieved excellent scores in all phases in trials.

The dates are:

  • JJ – April 16-17
  • JJ – May 7-8
    Christopher – May 28-29
  • JJ – June 18-19
  • JJ – July 9-10
    Christopher – July 23-24
  • JJ – August 13-14
  • IPO TRIAL – Sept. 10-11 with AWMA judge Waine Singleton