Quickly about agility class... We worked some more on getting the connection before heading off down the course. Gimme did well, but was slow as mud (at least for her) and not as focused as she'd been the last couple of times we did this. Partway through the first session, Blynn stopped me and asked me if I was hurting or something. When I said "no, I'm fine," then she wanted to know why *I* was moving so slowly. Really I was just tired because of things going on. So then when I moved out, magically Gimme did too and was suddenly very engaged.
So now Blynn has two things to remind me when needed. She already says, "Get your leadership on." Now she's adding "Run like you stole it." ☺☺☺
For nosework, tonight we had another class on containers. This afternoon I heard the front door banging in the high winds we are having and thought to myself, "I'll bet we do a container search outdoors in the wind." You know how much I love to be right... and I was.
We had about 20 containers laid out in a large blacktop area. The wind was blowing about 7mph and gusting to 10mph. I knew Gimme wouldn't have any problem with the search because her very first match was in much stronger winds and she aced it then. We started at a position where the wind was blowing at our backs. She did as I expected, racing around and quickly finding odor. One would think with the strong winds and gusts the dogs would be challenged - it seemed just the opposite from watching them. Several of the dogs found the windy search more exciting.
On our second search of the same setup, we started from the other end of the search area with the wind blowing in our faces. Gimme was eager to go and just as I was about to release her, an even stronger gust whipped across the blacktop picking up half the boxes and tumbling them right at us. Another dog might have been frightened, but Gimme seemed to like the additional challenge of trying to find odor among moving containers. I'm sure she thought Dorothy had arranged this especially fun aspect just for her. My challenge was rewarding at source, since the boxes were trying to skitter away the whole time. Sadly I didn't bring the camera - this would'a been a helluva video to show the world.
The third search was 25 containers indoors, with three distractions. The distractions were catfood (the most favorite), a biscuit with peanut butter (mine), and some dog treats. We had an artificial wind created by a fan. The three hides were in the two closest corners and the furthest right corner (from the startline). Gimme did a great job and found all her odors very quickly. I think she was the fastest to find the odor on the tall bag, which was right in front of the fan and odor on the side nearest the fan.
Interestingly Gimme was not very interested in my biscuit and peanut butter - perhaps because I told her before the search she was going to get to eat it on the way home. ☺ What she was most intrigued by was the new tool bag I brought, which I won in a raffle this weekend. I just tossed a few tools in it, so it smelled of a combination of new and Mom's tools. She was just fascinated by it (and the catfood container). One of the things we often hear at trials is how dogs are sucked in the most by novel smells - its not just about food for them.
From the way the dogs worked it, we think scent was skipping over the top of the tall luggage and then coming down about four feet away. The black box with the blue squiggly is the fan, the 3D black box is the tall bag, the red arrow points to where odor was on the side nearest the fan and the green lines represent what we think was happening with scent. The dog which had the most difficulty was also the shortest and we think he was actually moving under the arch of scent - he didn't find it until he got between the fan and the bag.
Our last task was to search the same area again and let the dogs direct the search and once they have found all three odors, then we were to take control of the search and direct the dog through the area having them check each bag as we indicated it. Even though they might know where the odor was as they got close to it, we were not to let them rush ahead to it and instead, supposed to get them to check each container as we presented them.
I thought Gimme might have some trouble with this - less than a year ago it would have been a big deal, but though she's improved a lot, I still thought she would find this exercise frustrating. Instead she aced it and completely accepted my direction as if it was the way we always did it. I realized halfway through, I was using the same informal wording I use in barn hunt when I need her to check an area. I've only been using this a short time since we got to senior and masters, but apparently she understands the cue. I say "check" this or "check" it and in barn hunt she gets into the area and sniffs wherever I'm pointing. Without thinking I said the same thing in this search and she was perfect, putting her nose down to search everthing I pointed at and told her to "check".
I absolutely love how smart this girl is. The way she takes something from one sport and so readily applies it to another sport is just amazing.
What's not to love, eh.