We've been very busy. My bathroom is being remodeled, so its taking up a lot of time. Plus I bought an iPod and so have the uphill learning curve to get it working for me. Haven't been walking much, fortunately we were a bit ahead. Car is in the shop today, getting some maintenance out of the way before my trip this weekend.
Dorothy set up some very interesting searches for us on Monday; all vehicle searches. They drove a van into the training building and left it right by the door, so there was only 3 feet around it.
The first search was playing "Running Bunny", a game where the handler and dog start searching and as they find hides, the instructor is moving behind them, taking up odor and putting it down in a new spot. This way the dog keeps getting new searches, one after another. It tends to encourage the dogs to closely work the vehicle, instead of chasing odor bouncing off walls, curbs, etc. Gimme enjoyed it.
The second search was the same vehicle with just one hide, under the running board. A fan was set to blow directly across odor to the other side. Our task was to start the search on the other side and let the dog puzzle through how to get to source. When we started Gimme was going so fast she didn't catch the scent drifting from under the near side of the van... and she went right by it. When its hot Gimme likes to lay right in front of the fan, so having it so close didn't bother her at all, though two other dogs were intimidated by it. On her second trip around the van, she caught scent from the far side, chased it under the van (just her head), then dragged me around to the other side, going straight to source.
Our third search was four vans side by side outdoors. It was actually four back-to-back searches of 1, 2, 3 and then 4 hides. The picture below shows the layout and hide locations, including three big wood spools and a stack of pallets. The green line is the start line. The first hide never moved and another was added for each subsequent search. As the dog completed its search, we swung around toward the start line, while the instructor added another hide and then we immediately started again. We were not to let the dog go any further back than the front seats.
Gimme started out well and checked out the spools and pallet the first time, but not again. All the dogs checked them out, because the breeze was almost always blowing from the left side and scent was pooling against them. Gimme found the first hide pretty easily. On subsequent searches she didn't do as well. She did find them all, but seemed to be struggling a bit. She reverse-sneezed once and I thought maybe pollen was interfering with her abilities. I've seen her reverse-sneeze about once a day for the last several weeks - which I assume has to do with the same pollen causing my itchy/puffy eyes.
I mentioned the pollen idea to Dorothy after the search and she said while it was a possibility, it was probably more the fact of the person to search after us having come up within 50 feet with her dog. Dorothy said Gimme noticed him after finding the first hide. She noticed Gimme didn't look at him much, but she seemed very aware of his presence. So while he was a distraction, she did still prefer to search rather than spend time looking. Gimme searched twice before with a dog barking nearby, but never with a dog actually visible. So even though it slowed her down, I'm proud of her for choosing to search and being successful despite the distraction. Yeah Gimme!!!
We have four barn hunt trials in Bellingham this weekend. I'm going to drive up Friday and stay in a hotel nearby. Cross your fingers for us. We need two more legs to get Gimme's RATS (Rat Senior) title.