I didn't blog about the April 28th class (Tuesday before our three EST weekend), and then it seemed overcome by the more important details of the weekend. Gimme and I are still basking in the glow, though she thinks basking is overrated. So perhaps it is I who is doing all the basking and she is poised and ready, waiting for me to start something interesting. Our instructor knew many of us were entered in the element trials, so she set up searches which might be similar. Remember, in element trials the searches are often a bit unconventional. I find the container searches get the most variety. In class we had two outdoor container searches.
The first search was 8 boxes laid along the front of the building and tucked in at the commercial size garage doors - it had two hides. Gimme stepped on the first one as she went by it. She often does this when she is looking to see if there are any more, so I was pretty certain the box she stepped on had odor. She went down to the end and got the second to last box and then came back to get the one she'd stepped on.
The second search was 18 orange plastic containers, set in three lines, one hide. Gimme found this one pretty quickly, though she went by it the first time with just a little nose tip in its direction. Once she was sure there were no more, then she got back to it.
The third search was three vehicles with two odors set for a converging odor challenge. Gimme didn't have any difficulty with the converging odor, though she did take her time determining source for the second hide. Our fourth search was a simple box search indoors, with two hides - there was nothing unusual about this search.
Our class on May 5th incorporated some of the search styles from the element trials. There were four searches and after our success of the weekend, they weren't particularly challenging.
Search one - several boxes all around the small entry room where the store is set up. We've done several searches in here before, so it wasn't hard, it was just the boxes which made it different. Gimme was inclined to treat this as an interior search - which some of the element container searches get to be very interior-like.
Search two - the front half of the training room was separated from the back half with expens. There were two hides in here and Gimme found them pretty quickly.
Search three - the bathroom with one hide on the hinge of the door. Since the door was open, the hide was actually between the door and the wall. For some reason, scent was drifting from there across the open doorway to the heater grill (turned off). Gimme went back and forth between them before deciding to push her head behind the door, which I then moved to give her better access.
Search four - the back half of the training room, with boxes scattered around the floor and 3 of them were on chairs lined up to the wall. There was a hide in one of the boxes on a chair and the other was in a box next to the wall between a couple chairs. Gimme didn't find this difficult.
Search five - the same part of the room. The box on the chair was moved down several chairs (about 10 feet) and the other box removed, though a hide was placed on a grooming table leg. The table is against the wall between where the instructor was sitting and where we who were spectating were sitting. So the dogs were inhibited about searching there. Gimme found the hide in a box on the chair very quickly, but then took her time to find the other one. The table is in a part of the room which is almost never a productive part of the search area, so I'm sure she didn't bother with it right away. Had this been an interior search of a trial, I would have directed her along the wall when she didn't find it elsewhere in the room. Since it was training, I left it to her to sort it out on her own.
As dogs get farther along in this sport, they really get most of their learning from new experiences. Scent is scent and using their noses comes natural to all dogs. Its just a matter of them having enough different experiences so they learn to do it more quickly.
What did you do for Mother's Day? I worked a couple of peak service calls in the morning and then went to my Mom's. Most of the family showed up for a cook-out. The boys worked the grill and did most of the work. I played a weird game with my brother and his kids after we ate. Once
we got home, I pooped out on the couch. In the space
of an hour - Gimme brought me toy after toy after toy. She'd lay across
my lap and play with it, I think to show me how it worked. Then she'd
go and get another one. By the time she was done, I had twenty of her
toys on my lap or on the couch beside me. I think she was sharing, in
honor of Mother's day doncha know...