I didn't intend to take so long to report on our weekend, but wanted to wait for the final results to be posted. Gimme did very well, but one little goof and we missed the title. The show site was was a manufacturing company and it really worked out great. The weather was N-A-S-T-Y, but we lucked out to have the rain hold off when we were running outdoors. The group that held the trial did a fabulous job AND got us out of there by 4:10 p.m. A first, since I've never left show grounds before 6:30 p.m. before. They need to bottle what they are doing and sell it.
Exterior We started with this HUGE area, that contained miscellaneous junk and a large boat. It also had two areas that we were restricted from entering (for dog safety), so I was glad we'd covered that concept in a recent class with Dorothy. The wind was blowing hard all day, but the search area was in the lea of a very large/tall building so it wasn't a problem. I was quite concerned about the size of the area, but need not have been. Gimme was focused and sure, dismissing much of the search area with a casual sniff toward it. She found both hides very quickly (one on some large metal contraption and the other on the boat trailer) and came away with 2nd Place for a time of 56.53 seconds. If I were quicker to call alert we'd'a had first place, which we missed by just under 3.5 seconds. (31 out of 34 dogs qualified in the exterior)
Vehicles This contained a large truck and three forklifts. I was glad that in our various practices we had already done forklifts. Gimme dismissed all three as she went by them on the perimeter. She quickly zeroed in on the back of the truck and then scooted down the side of it and got the other. Gimme found both in 47.45 seconds, taking 1st Place. We were ahead of the second place dog by just under 3.5 seconds. Good thing Gimme didn't waste any time on the forklifts. (24 of 34 qualified in vehicles)
Gimme and I lounged around in the car for quite awhile, sharing strawberries. After lunch we did the next two elements.
Interiors These were both fairly small rooms. There was 2 hides in the first room and 1 in the second.
Room 1 -- Gimme blasted by the threshold, but I didn't feel like I could hold back since the workers and everyone were coming in right behind me. I guess I could have, making them watch through the open door. Gimme sniffed a binder clip laying on the floor, but didn't alert. I wondered if it had odor in it, especially since it was just laying there right out in the open and Gimme seemed to be checking everything around it. Finally she sniffed it again and then alerted. I really think she just didn't believe it could be there. Then she scanned around the room in various places, but wasn't settling on anything. There was one desk area she hadn't been around, so I moved toward it to draw her to it. In doing so, I drew her past the threshold hide, which she quickly sourced and alerted.
Room 2 -- Gimme went behind the desk in the room and very quickly focused on a metal thing that looked kinda like a tow bar. She detailed it and alerted in just over 11 seconds.
Her total time for interiors was 1:23.47, bringing her in at 8th place. I think we wasted far too much time on the first hide, thus I foresee some interior searches with office supplies on the floor. (18 of 34 qualified in interiors)
Containers This proved to be our undoing. Unfortunately after interiors the steward told me to have a seat and she'd come back to get me, so I thought we had time. Gimme asked me for peanut butter and I started getting it out for her when the steward showed up. So, knowing how long it takes her to finish clearing her mouth when she has a big glob, I only gave her a little lick. I should have just made them wait on us (we were the last dog for the day), because not getting what she thought she was about to get really frustrated Gimme. I knew she was frustrated by the way she left the start line and searched the area. And sure enough, after barely searching, she alerted on a big empty bag and was scratching the dickens out of it - so I called it. "So there!" she said. (5 of 34 qualified in containers)
Only one dog actually titled at this trial. Gimme's total time (including a full time assessment for the failed containers) was 5:07.45. The overall first place dog's time was 5:58.66... So had we gotten that container hide, Gimme would have been high in trial with a comfortable margin of 51 seconds.
The Certifying Official really loved Gimme. She raved about her so much, I was glad to know Gimme was safely locked in the car. Penny Scott-Fox, the CO, gave the best and most informative debrief of the trial elements and what we should be working on. Keeping in mind that at NW1, 95% of the responsibility is on the dog. For NW2, the dog's job gets harder because of intentional distractions and inaccessible hides, while the handler's job increases in difficulty a LOT and in ways that aren't apparent. At NW2 the responsibility is pretty much 50/50.
The container that 29 of us missed was an upright bag with the odor in a front pocket and facing out of the search area. Anyone who didn't check it from the "outside" wasn't likely to catch odor. She said at this level we should start every container element as a
perimeter search, going around the outside of every bag, and work with
no more than 6 foot of line.
The biggest thing we need to work on is me being more directive in the search on the container element. In the past Gimme hasn't been inclined toward being guided, but in a recent class we discovered she is more willing to accept it now. Originally we searched containers on a 25 foot line and now I'm using about half that, so getting down another half will be challenging. Still, I think its doable if I let her blast off the start line as she always does - then carefully reel her in and take more control. I'm hoping doing so gradually will keep her from getting frustrated while allowing me to take advantage of Penny's advice. I also realized I have all "flat" stuff for my container practices, thus I see a trip to Goodwill in my future.