Gimme and I are keeping busy. We've been doing a lot of training each day to make up for the long hours I've worked over the last two weeks. This week things are finally getting back to normal. We are getting in more walking time, which makes Gimme very happy, though she'd like more of it to be off leash. Unfortunately Fort Lewis hasn't made our favorite ranges available in a very long time. I'm going to stop by Range Control on Thursday and find out what the deal is.
Tonight was nosework class. It was a lot like last week. We did a search of the interior where there were four hides and one of the instructors went around putting blue painter tape on the floor wherever there was a Change of Behavior (COB), though this week they were calling it something else and I can't remember what the new term was. Our first search was off leash and Gimme was really fast and accurate. Two hides were under chairs, one under a stool and one on the lower leg of a table. The table hide seemed to be the hardest for all the dogs. Gimme had a little difficulty getting down to where it was, but she was still faster than the other dogs. Partly the difficulty may have been because the hide was fairly close to the door, so was getting a lot of air disturbance as each team entered and left the building, plus there was a lot of stuff nearby to catch the swirls of scent.
For our second search, they removed the table hide and we worked it on lead. Our task was to watch for the COB and then use the lead to hold the dog in the area. The term they were using had to do with boundary between two areas. One question I had - which couldn't be answered in black and white was - if you don't know where the hide is (like for trials), how would you know which side of the dividing line to hold the dog in. In particular, Gimme sometimes goes right into an area and sometimes veers around it. Usually, but not always, her veering around an area happens when the hide is in an enclosed area. She doesn't do it as much as she used to, especially now since she gets peanut butter for a reward, but I do still see it happen.
Clearly in this class, since we knew where the hide was, we knew which side of the divide to go on. I did find when doing this, Gimme was even faster and more direct in her searching. As we were searching and I'd already asked the question, I asked again on one part, which side would you have gone to. Dorothy said she might not be sure, you kind of go with what your gut tells you about the dog's behavior at the divide and even then she might go visit the other side with the dog. So I did this, taking Gimme to the other side of the divide and giving her a chance to check it out. She dismissed it very quickly and most decidedly.
Our last search one just one hide set on a table leg support. They set up a fan to blow across it and the intent was to cause odor to pool on some sheets draped across an expen. Interestingly all the dogs came in the room and pretty quickly dismissed the front half, then they all went to the fan to check it out and from there they went downwind. I expected them to have more difficulty narrowing down source, but all the dogs did well. Gimme was one of the fastest, certainly the prettiest.
It was an interesting class. I'm not sure how I'd use the information in a blind search. I think we'll get more chances to try it. I suggested a variation from the hide with the fan, where there would be two hides, one upwind and one downwind from the fan. All the dogs went immediately downwind, even though they hadn't gotten into odor yet, so as a curiosity, I'd like to see how they handle it when the fan is situated between two hides, blowing away from one and toward the other.
Gimme wants to make a proclamation from her exalted position as Empress of the Cosmos. She thinks we should have Christmas once a month from now on. She liked getting a present every day for seven days. She realizes this may be too much for most families, but thinks she and me should do it. There are no bad toys - just sayin...