Update from K9 Nose Work Trials in CA

Dec 10th, 2011 Joyce Reports from Livermore, CA

Itʼs trial day for us folks going for our NW2 tittle! Iʼm in Livermore CA and seeing folks I met last May is part of the fun of going to K9 Nose Work Trials.

It was an easy drive down with blue skies the whole way. Picked up Pritamo at the airport and went to see some of the NW3 trial. The first half was at a winery. The vehicle search was apparently near a heap of brush and lumber that houses wild bunnies. I didnʼt see the vehicle searches, but apparently a lot of dogs were distracted by that pile and had a tough time sticking with the cars. Something to put on the training list for advanced students.

The exterior area was fenced so I got to see one dog work off leash. Only two even tried it. The one I saw did excellent. I think she won the element 1st place. Dogs love to work off leash. But there are many reasons for many dogs not to do it – critter lovers, urine markers, etc.

Pritamo is the first in her group C and I am the last in my group D so we canʼt talk to each other ALL DAY! about the searches. That will take some discipline and thought not to make any mistakes. P. & Nick aced her first 5 hides in Exterior and Interior. She is very happy with how he worked. Iʼm hoping he has had a little conversation with Mick about where the hides are LOL. The first dog ran about 10am.

Itʼs now noon as I write and there are still about 8 dogs ahead of Mick and I. The A-B group is about done. One hide each in containers and vehicles. The sun is out and Iʼm no longer wishing Iʼd brought long-johns. Itʼs beautiful. Light breeze which Iʼm glad to have. I believe that wind and wet are your friends in Nose Work. Not a ton of one, and none of the other here right now. Oh Well. Mick is restless. Mr. sound sleeper at home is wanting to work. No surprise there. Phew! 5 hides in the first two elements and Mick is on! Worked very well on all three hunts, and I must say, I was patient, waited, moved, and made sure he was sure before I called it. Three thirtyish and finally we get escorted to the container and the Vehicle. I am nervous. I let him work on his own in the container drill, but also track where he has been and where he hasnʼt. He goes to the tall suitcase on a far edge, or is it one container in, I donʼt remember. He is sniffing pretty strongly, pushing on it, looking pretty adamant. I call it and we get a positive response from the judge.

Yippee, one hide to go. Out to the vehicles. There are three and they are configured like a pinwheel, front bumpers forming a small triangle space. Mick sniffs down one side of the closest car, and starts on the BMW front end. Goes to the far [right] front corner. Intensity increases, sniffing all over that corner. Telling me. I finally call it and Ron says yes. I feed him on the lower part of the bumper behind the light. Iʼm grateful I wasnʼt asked where because Iʼm not sure I would have called it right. I realize as I am typing this that I had no thoughts of how the wind was blowing when I was doing the vehicle. Gota work on that!

Mick has his NW2 tittle. Not bad for a dog that is closer to 15 than 14 years of age. Iʼm thrilled and proud of Mick and of my handling. I canʼt wait for NW3 trialing. Long live Mick, I so want him to keep having fun at this. The only sadness is that my plan was to start to focus on Rider getting ready for his NW2 trials. Who would have guessed that Mick had more time than Rider. And Rider really brought me to this sport, something he could do without having to worry about other dogs. Nose Work 3 really separates the ʻmen from the boysʼ so to speak. A room without odor needs to be identified, and the handler doesnʼt know the number of hides. 1-3 per element. Call finish when you think your dog has them all. This is a huge jump from knowing the number of the hides. I hope Mick stays strong enough to at least have the fun of trying a few times.

K9 Nose Work, truly the most fun a dog can have!