K9NoseWork (27)

Odor Recognition Testing

Six of my students did their odor recognition test on Birch today. Five of them passed, and the one that did not knows why she didn’t. In the heat of the moment of a test, it’s really hard not to call it too early and that’s what happened. This team is my least experienced team that tested, so they have a long time to get more proficient.

As I always realize myself, and tell my students, “you get way more bang for your buck when you miss”. There is so much to learn in this sport in order to become a great team. And when you have a miss there is so much learned.

One of my students who has missed 3 times did get her ORT today and I’m so proud of her. She has a dog with a lot of drive, and not a lot of focus. I’ve been there so I know it isn’t easy. This dog tried to alert on many boxes, and they had to replace five of them! That is unheard of. Her handler waited till she was at a box that she would not come off of when her handler kept moving, and she called it and was right. Way to go C and G.

I’m so proud of all of you.

Sunny makes her Mom Proud

I’d like to share Martha’s report on her NW1 titling run with her Giant Schnauzer Sunny, Delight, who can be dog reactive, a shadow chaser, and is a dog who referred to as “a handful”!

Martha’s report is another great example of how K9 Nose Work® can help a dog and owner have a good live together…

Sunny was a very good Girl! She placed 3rd overall with a time of 1 minute, 24 seconds and placed 3rd in the exterior with 24 seconds! The vehicle search was the longest search with 27 seconds and only 8 seconds for the containers. She was focused and really reasonably well-behaved–a bit talkative but still good. There was a brief moment during one of our walks when she started to bolt for a shadow but I was able to use the “break” and get her back to me. She only did this once.

Anyway, I was really proud of her. She has come a long, long way. Thank you for all your help with her.

Dash passes his ORT

Below Amy share’s her story about Dash’s ORT…

I wanted to let you know that Dash passed his ORT today. I’m so happy with how he did. I realized on the drive down to Portland that this would be his first time working in a strange location. He walked into the room and was a little uneasy at first. We took our time at the start line, probably 15 seconds or so (I counted to 10 then took a deep breath!) and he settled in, focused right in on the boxes and when I said “search” he went right to work. He went down the first row of boxes, then doubled back up the same line and stuck to one of the boxes. I called alert and he was right. He found it in 16:97 seconds. More importantly, he really knew his job and despite being in an unfamiliar area with new people and smells he focused right away and knew exactly why we were there. I’m so happy with how K9 Nose Work is helping Dash become a more settled and “comfortable in his own skin” dog 🙂


Martha & Milo’s report from Elmira

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!!

Happy Sniffing,
Martha Schostal and Milo

More Elmira Trial News

This post shares two stories from students who were at the Elmira trial last week. The first is a report from one of my students who had some great hunts and shared a very astute analysis of the two afternoon elements that she missed. I’m totally impressed with her ability to recall so clearly what was happening. Many of us [for instance… ME!] struggle to remember all that went on during an element search let alone recalling the whole thing a day or so later LOL. Most identifying info has been changed although this handler did give me permission to post her report. The second report shares the wins from Pat and Winsome Will.

First up -exterior. My dog smoked this. 3rd fastest time – 26 seconds. She never even thought about peeing in the grass. Then to the vehicles. She was a bit distracted by the birds (she wanted to chase them), but quickly got into search mode. She found the tire pretty quickly that had the hide and initially alerted to the top of the tire. I hesitated and she hit on the bottom of the tire – sticking her nose in the hub-cap. Good thing I hesitated, as the hide was on the bottom not the top. The judge even said she thought I was going to call it on the top of the tire as my dog gave a pretty good alert.

In the afternoon though, things didn’t go as well. In the container search my dog stopped on a box, pushed it with her nose, put her paw on it and looked at me. Sounds like an alert right? I called it but we were off by one box – she fringed on that, so no title for us. I was pretty bummed but tried to look upon the interior element as a good training opportunity. It was in a classroom and she pretty quickly figured out which side of the room the hide was on. She narrowed it down to a desk. She alerted on the corner of the desk and again I hesitated. She then tried to stick her head further under the desk and couldn’t figure out how to get under the desk further so pulled her head back out, hit the corner with her nose again and looked at me. I called it – another miss. The hide was under the desk chair that was under the desk. I guess the scent pooled up from the chair and collected under the desk. Since she had given me two solid looks and an attempt to crawl under the desk more, I was sure she had nailed it. The judge said she would have believed those alerts as well and was pretty sure that my dog thought she had found the source as well.

So what started out so well (both exterior and vehicle were 20 something second finds) ended with 2 false alerts on container and interior. I would have guessed those to have been our strongest elements……..

Report from Pat & Will…

My biggest concern for the trial elements was the exterior since this is where we have had trouble in the past so when we did the walk through I was glad to see that the exterior search area was very much like the exterior of a building where we have been practicing.

Our first element was the exterior: There was a covered walkway leading to the exterior search area with the start line at the end of the walkway. The area perimeter encompassed a wall to the right then a turn along that wall to an outside corner and another wall. There was also concrete, dirt and grass in the area. Will walked to the right along the wall and checked out a pipe, made a turn to the left and checked out a grassy clump, made another turn to the right and walked directly to the corner of the two walls and alerted…YEA

Second was the container search in the gym. I was hoping Will was not going to start playing with the boxes like he did on Wednesday practice, ask Cindy:o). Anyway the set up was a big oval/circular pattern and two rows of boxes in the middle. Will chose to go right so I kept him on my left as he sniffed his way to the top of the oval/circle and stopped to put his paw on a box, I thought, oh, now here we go, he’s going to play, but he corrected himself and turned to the box next to him and alerted…Whew..

During the lunch break we went down the road to a big closed campground where he stretched out, pottied and found many sticks.

The interior search was first in the afternoon with the class room door being the start line. The room was packed with “stuff”. Will went to his right and checked out a couple of chairs at the computer desks but quickly moved on as he got on the odor, he checked a couple of bookcases then went to some wall cubbies, started to turn away then quickly stuck his head in a cubbie and looked at me..Alert..YEA

On to the vehicles, a pick-up backed up to a trailer and a van pulled up to the trailer on the other end. He skirted the end of the van and went to the trailer tire and worked his way back of the trailer, placed his nose on the chain and worked his way along to the bottom of the hitch..Alert..

What a guy…First in exterior, First in interior and First Place overall with a combined time
of 1.22.59 !!.

Happy and Tired…Pat & WinSome Will

Congratulations to Martha and Milo

Martha and Milo were overall 2nd at the trial in Elma today. And also 2nd in the Vehicle search.

Milo is a great demonstration of the fact that the dog that doesn’t swirl the odor all over the place can be fast, even when they are moving not so fast!

What a great team, I’m very thrilled for them.

I haven’t heard from others yet, but I know that everyone put there best paw and foot forward to have a successful day whether or not they found the odor in time. Some days you’re on, and some days you’re off, and that’s true of the dogs too.

I personally have ‘missed’ in 4 out of 7 trials with my dogs in NW 1 and NW 2 and I can tell you from personal experience, that I learned way more when we missed than when we found the odor.

It’s worth the increased wrinkles I’m getting in my face from prolonged smiling as I watch your dogs hunt for odor in classes.

I love this sport! Joyce

Tale of an Elusive Odor Box

I have a funny funny K9 Nose Work story from one of my classes this week. I was introducing dogs to odor for the first time. I had 3 tins available in my pocket and was putting a new one out while the handler was feeding at another box.

I was having the handler pick up the box with the odor that they were re-enforcing if I didn’t get there in time to get it myself. Somewhere I realized that i was missing an odor box. I kept checking my pockets, and started worrying about the possibility that a dog maybe swallowed it. Hard to imagine but possible. One of the dogs in class is a Cavalier. So, close to the ground. And the odor was in an open box.

Well, you might be guessing where I’m headed with this story now. On the third search, a box ended up with two odor boxes in it. Low and behold, the odor box magnet had attached itself to the Cavalier’s collar tags because it wasn’t attached to anything else, being in a cardboard box.

We all had a good laugh.