Today was a lot of fun with 10 interesting searches. Remember the searches for element trials are different than what you'd see at a nosework trial for the same level. There is no walk through and you only find out how much time you have for the search just moments before seeing the search area. Because of this I sort of saunter to the start line and take about 10 seconds getting her ready to search - really I'm just looking and seeing what I can see. This weekend I added into my exterior search a few questions of where the boundaries are, so this gives me more time to look at the area. Also, the time is much reduced and the search areas are often unusual.
We started the morning with Containers and Gimme did a really nice job overall. I'll get to see the actual times probably tomorrow night, certainly by the next day.
Container search #1: We had a bunch of boxes in a railroad boxcar. It was a rather narrow and poorly lighted area with weird little alcoves. Gimme pretty much pushed through to the far end, I let her. As she turned to come back she caught the drift of odor to left and went straight to the box and bopped it. I could have slowed her down and we might have gotten a faster time, but would have risked frustrating her. I actually got several compliments about how I handled this search. In the afternoon I talked to a lady who was volunteering in the morning and saw our first two searches and she said there were a lot of favorable comments from the judge and certifying official about how I supported Gimme and didn't interfere with her - which was opposite to what so many others did, mostly with unfavorable results. This search tripped up many teams.
Container search #2: This search was outdoors on grass in the courtyard between the 6 boxcars. Right in front of us was a table with boxes on top, surrounded by chairs with boxes in the seats, surrounded by more boxes in the grass. I looked off to the left and saw there were two sets of stairs leading into 2 of the boxcars and on the landing for each was 1 or 2 boxes. I clarified whether those boxes were part of the search and upon learning they were, concluded there would either be odor in one of them, or it was a head game for me. I let Gimme do what she does best. She started toward the main grouping of boxes, briefly paused and her nose went up and to the left. Then she started toward the main grouping again, before turning to make a beeline toward the second set of stairs. She smelled each box and then stuck her foot in the second one. She was right - they were about 20 feet from the main grouping. This was such a neat search and she did such a great job, I really wish I had it on video.
Container search #3: Our third search was boxes in chairs and on "stuff" in an exterior courtyard. Gimme was pretty quick on this search, finding odor in a box on a chair.
Container search #4: This was the search which tripped us up. The search area was split between two "rooms" through a wide archway. There were a lot of chairs, but not a whole lot of boxes overall and we only had 1 minute. Gimme went to one box and sniffed it strongly and then sniffed another near it, but didn't commit to either. Then I heard the 30 second warning, so I encouraged her to go around the area and check the other boxes, ending up back near the first boxes she showed interest in. I knew time was about up and I cued her "show me", so she bopped one and I called "alert" about half a second after time was called. It wasn't the right one. When the judge showed us the correct one, as Gimme got closer to it, she went right in and indicated. In guiding her around the room, I never got her close enough to catch scent from source - especially given the dead air in the room. BTW I described
the search to Dorothy, my instructor, and she threatened to slap me for
saying "show me", which she has pointed out only works if Gimme is near odor - otherwise she just indicates to make me happy.
Container search #5: This was outside on a long patio with picnic tables. Boxes were on the ground, the seats and the tables. Gimme went almost straight to odor - really fast.
The end results were 11 dogs qualified out of 34. Gimme's total time was faster than four of the qualifiers, even given the full time from the 4th search. She had no faults; she did a great job and her indications were mostly moderate. I think seeing all boxes broken up by other furniture/features just isn't as exciting for her as they are when they are all in plain view. We got a score of 80, so this gives us a leg toward our L1C. This went a lot better than I expected and I was very happy with Gimme's efforts.
Exterior search #1: Our first search was in a campfire area deep in the trees behind the boxcars - no apparent air movement. Gimme dashed off the startline off to our right just along the boxcar and then about ten feet in slowed down and was clearly casting around getting no scent at all. She looked at me as if to ask if I was sure there was something here. Keep in mind, she doesn't know the search area. I encouraged her to continue, kind of following the perimeter, when we got almost to the point directly across from the startline, I saw her demeanor change, becoming a bit more lively and then she turned left. She got to a pipe thingamajig and checked it out, indicating quickly. She was right. The place where she indicated was about 6 feet from the startline, so clearly, any breeze there was was blowing from our backs at the startline. I was happy to realize I'm starting to be able to read her carriage and thus able to tell if she is getting odor or not. This will be very important before I can hope to compete at NW3.
Exterior search #2:
This was another campfire area, surround on all sides with trees and brush. Again, very little breeze and again, Gimme didn't get any scent until we got on the far side from the startline. Once she caught it, she detailed and then indicated in just a couple seconds. It was a fast search given the size of the area.
Exterior search #3:
This was a sidewalk between the building and a brick wall. It was a long narrow area, about 6 feet wide at the start end, narrowing to 4 feet at the other end. She smelled odor from the startline, went straight along the wall 8 feet, detailed and indicated immediately. Our search time was mere seconds.
Exterior search #4:
The area was partly out in the open on cement, but most was in this covered area, with brick walls on three sides. Gimme took me into the covered area pretty quickly and was surely in odor and bouncing from thing to thing, trying to figure out where it was. We had very little time for this search, especially given the complexity of all the stuff in the area - so I had to really restrain myself and let her sort it out. She did, indicated and was right again.
Exterior search #5:
Our last search was on the same long patio with picnic tables we'd had for the 5th container search. Gimme drove straight ahead, sniffing a few spots along the way and then went directly to odor under the edge of the bench seat. Another search time which will likely be mere seconds.
Here's a picture of Gimme with her new title ribbon. It was a long day and the little girl is very tired.
Next weekend is barn hunt - so keep your fingers crossed for us. It takes 5 legs to get the master title, we'll have four tries - I'd like to come home with some legs...