The Elmira Trial was the first trial for Milo and I. I was uneasy because recently in class Milo has been less demonstrative about cueing me to odor source on all but the containers.
I had the whole drive from Longview to Eugene to ponder our issues, and my past experience. in Clackamas with my Giant Schnauzer Sunny I was cautious and did not trust her enough to call the alert without searching the entire element area. I put my plan ahead of the dog’s.
This trial location was an elementary school & my heart sank at the walk-thru. The interior hide was a nightmare! Lots of clutter and endless possibilities for hides! Milo’s typical detailed style along with being somewhat of a social gadfly would make 3 minutes go very fast! This was my last element, so I had the whole day to fret over it.
Our first element was the exterior. The area was bordered by exterior walls on 3 sides, with a sidewalk and grass as well. Windows, downspouts, drains and gravel were also present. My plan was to search the perimeter.
As Milo crossed the threshold, he wanted to visit the judge and all the people in the area. I encouraged him to got to left around the walled side of the site and Milo immediately stuck on the downspout at the base of the foundation. I called it immediately and was thrilled how he stuck to the source–not like his class work.
Without time to absorb, we were immediately whisked off to the vehicles which were at an angle to the start line in a covered parking area on asphalt. A small truck, car and van. The start line was facing the middle of the car. Milo and I went to the right and I had hoped that we could weave in and out of the vehicles unless Milo had other thoughts. He started searching the front of the first car and after he searched the license plate, went to the 2nd vehicle wheel well and stuck to the upper part of the well and I called the alert. These two searches were the best work that we have done together as a team. I was thrilled. And worried about the afternoons interior search.
The arrangement of the boxes in the container element was a straight line and then a “U” shaped on top of the straight line. Sort of like a hat. Milo and I started at the end of the line and then progressed up the “U” where Milo found the hide and indicated strongly. He was right and now I had to wait for the interior search.
I really thought about this search and decided that this would be a good candidate for a threshold hide. The cluttered was everywhere. Everything went as planned at the door as far as slowly letting him enter the room. He than trotted off to visit everyone. Fortunately, he sort of toured the room while visiting and ended up toward the front. He went to the front desk and immediately became interested in the hardware at the back of the chair. He stuck on the backrest adjustment and I called the alert. He lingered just long enough for me to feel confidently to call it and thankfully, it was correct and WE PASSED THE TRIAL. I was so relieved! My beautiful Golden Boy performed brilliantly and I was so proud of him.
At the award ceremony we found out just how well my gentle Milo had performed. Not only did he pass the trial but he had the fastest time for the vehicle search–13 seconds and the 2nd fastest time overall for the trial at 1 minute and 54 seconds. Needless to say, I was in complete shock. Milo has never been really that fast in class and is usually very slow and meticulous in his work. During the trial, you just do not have a sense of time and it never occurred to me that these times were a possibility for Milo and I.
It was a wonderful culmination to a 1 1/2 years of work with Joyce. She has been very patient with both me & my dogs. They love this game and it has been a tool for me to become closer to them and participate in something that they love to do. And Now, onto Level 2!!
Martha Schostal and Milo