We only did three searches for class and Gimme did great at all of them.
The first search was an interior. They had set up a bunch of ex pens and other barriers to form a maze of the search area. The area included a few chairs, a mop bucket, a hanging clothes rack, a table on its side and along the walls was the usual shelves and stuff. The bathroom was part of the search area. The search was on leash, which made it particularly challenging.
Gimme went right in the bathroom and snooped around, but didn't stick anywhere. I was being careful to not crowd her, but perhaps I overdid it, since there was odor in there and she left it, maybe thinking I wasn't interested. From there she wandered through the maze and found odor on a chair. Then she went to the other end and weaved through the maze and found odor on the mop bucket handle. I took her around some more, but I never really took her back to the bathroom and she stopped acting like she was searching, so I called it. Wrong, Carla. When I got her close to the bathroom, she went right to odor this time. One of the nice things was her lack of concern about the close confines of the maze channels - it probably helped I was so careful to not crowd her or block her access.
Our second search started with a handling exercise. There was a long construction dumpster. They set three odors on it in an "L" and then we did an old George Alston leash handling drill (from conformation) without the dogs. Our "dog" was a light leash with keys on the end. We practiced holding the leash in one hand, switching hands and not jiggling the keys (or jerking the "dog"). I did pretty good at this - probably because of my old conformation days and just a whole lot of leash handling in years of different sports. We also did a drill about letting out and taking up leash length and I was expert at this - having spent a week learning to do the same thing at the BAT Instructor's course. The people after me in line copied my style and did better than those before.
Then we did the search with the dogs and Gimme thought it was a blast since all the hides were so easy. It was slightly harder to do the good leash handling with speedy Gimme, but not too bad. The way I handle my leash has always been a conscious combination of tracking and BAT leash work, I just didn't realize I was using conformation too.
Our last search was to do the first search off leash. The instant I let Gimme go from the start, she raced down to the bathroom. Needless to say she was much faster negotiating the maze than I was, so by the time I got there she was coming out to look for me. Seeing slow poke me show up, she turned around and went right to odor for her peanut butter paycheck. From there she went straight to the chair. Then she sniffed around a little before heading down to the bucket. She was the fastest of the group in this off leash search - I think because she's naturally very nose-talented and totally uninhibited about the unusual search area and the close confines of the maze channels. Ya gotta love her boldness.
I emailed a trial chair about another element trial in early October. I haven't heard from her, so I just went online and entered. I know they've already done the draw and probably have a waiting list. But they are doing containers and a lot of people who titled at the trial I just came from might be entered here as well and will withdraw. You don't have to pay until you are accepted, so I thought this was a sure way to see if there was any chance we could go to it. The other part of the day is interior, which we already have. Cross your fingers we get in - otherwise there is another trial a month or so later.