Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
UWPCH, ADPL3(2), ADPL3(GC), NC, NI, and NE... 41 and counting...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Our First NW3 Trial

I was half awake with a migraine all night.  Not really awake, but not sleeping restfully either.  So, I started the day really tired and muzzy headed.  I definitely think it affected my handling.  Gimme wasn't doing her best either.  Partly she may have been affected by the heat and partly responding to my head.  She spends so much time rummaging around in my brain, so perhaps she "caught" my migraine.  She's very sensitive to what is going on with me, so I wouldn't be surprised.  Not our best day by any means.

I wrote most of this on my laptop, while at the trial.  I have more information after the judge's briefing and looking at my score sheets.  To make it clear, I'll put the newer information in blue type.

Vehicle - (3 minutes allowed)

There were 3 vehicles, blue compact, silver minivan and silver truck, sitting on grass. Gimme started out going between the blue compact and the minivan, then turned behind the car to come back toward the startline, finding odor on the front bumper.  From there she went across the front to find odor in the left front wheel well of the truck.  I walked her around  the back and around the minivan, but she seemed to be humoring me, so I called "finish". 

The judge's comment was: "Dog was fun to watch.  She didn't waste her time if there was no odor."  Dorothy also told me this was the only one of our searches she got to watch and she said we did a beautiful job and my handling was flawless.  Our time was just a few seconds more than the third place dog.  I was really pleased with this search and happy to learn I'd called it correctly.  

BTW this gives us our first leg (need 3) for an NW3 element title.  There are two different types of element titles at this level.  One is done at an Element Specialty Trial (like the ones we've already gotten) and one is to accumulate legs during regular NW3 trials. 

Room 1 (2.5 minutes allowed) – Gimme found a hide on the chair very quickly, then she kept getting stuck near the door, but never really settled on where it was, she just kept coming back to it.  The sun shape is where she was hunting around.  I let her work a bit beyond the 30 second warning and then even though she hadn't indicated, I called "alert" and was wrong.  She was at the table when I called it (the "x"), but I suspect it was on the door or the little window next to it.  In any case, this ended the chance for us to title today.

There was only the one hide.  I think its possible the opening and closing of the door had drawn some scent over there (fringe) and it was sticking to the fabric on the window beside the door.

Room 2 (2 minutes allowed)  Gimme found one hide very quickly and then kept showing a lot of interest in the area between the table and the wall (sun shape).  I asked to pull a chair out, but then she showed no more interest, so I called "finished".  I think scent from the hide was collecting on the upholstered chairs pushed in around the table.

Again, only the one hide.  Despite how small and tight this room was, my not moving didn't present a problem.  Once I opened up the space by pulling the chair out, Gimme was able to clearly dismiss it, leading to my correct call. 

Room 3 (3.0 minutes allowed)  Gimme found two hides very quickly and then kept showing a lot of interest in an area around a stack of children's play cooking appliances (sun shape).  She kept coming back to it, so when we were well into to the 30 second warning I called when she was on one side of it, but it was a false alert.  Possibly converging odor was collecting there.

There were just the two hides which Gimme found.  

The judge's comment was: "Social Pressure :-("  In the debrief, she talked about how handlers unintentionally use their body to draw and keep a dog in an area where there was no odor.  But, I don't think this is really what was happening for us.  

For the first room, Gimme went to the area by the door and sniffed around as if there was a threshold hide.  Its been my experience if I return to the area by the entrance, Gimme will work the threshold - which was what I thought was happening.  She spent quite a bit of time there and I was supporting her.  When she left it, I started to go with her, but she came back very quickly.  For the second room, she found the hide and then spent a bit of time in the area indicated.  When I moved the chair out, then she dismissed the area.  In the third room, Gimme found both sources of odor and then spent a lot of time in the area indicated.  I wasn't selling her, rather supporting what she was doing.  I suspect the opening and closing of the entry door (behind the sun shape) and the exit door (on left side of diagram) was encouraging the odor to converge in this area and Gimme was trying to find the source.  

There is a definite pattern to these three searches - find odor and then dither around somewhere else.  In hindsight, I'm thinking of something Dorothy said recently about the big difference for the dogs between NW2 and NW3 isn't about finding odor, its about how often the searches don't end on odor.  I suspect what I saw here was Gimme trying to find odor because Mom is still in the area.  In class I almost always know how many hides there are and after we reward the last one, then we leave the search area.  From this pattern, I think Gimme deduced, if we are staying in the search area, then there must be another hide and she was just doing her best to find one in the most likely spot in the room, some place where scent was collecting.  

So the problem I need to address is twofold: (1) learning to read the subtle difference in her energy so I know when she thinks there are no more, and (2) replicating staying-in-the-area during classes.  Gimme needs to understand, her job is to find what is there - no more.

Exterior - (3 minutes allowed)

The gray circles with the tan circles are raised planters, green circle is a tree, the +++ line is a fence and the odd shaped tan thing with the green splotches is a landscaped area (not part of the search area).  Gimme turned left off the startline and worked the perimeter of the planting area, then worked along the bottom edge and up along the inside edge of the cement planters, showing interest here and there.  She hopped up on the fourth planter and sniffed around a bit before scratching in the dirt, which I interpreted as an indication, calling it.  It was a false alert.  There may just have been some interesting smell she scratched at.  I should have kept moving around her more and not been so quick to call alert. 

There was only one hide, under the grate at the base of the tree and dogs who turned right from the startline mostly got it, while those who turned left mostly didn't.  Since Gimme was checking the side/edge of the planters closest to the only hide, I wonder if there wasn't a slight breeze blowing scent over to catch on those planters.  Also, this area is an open courtyard at the front of the school, so its possible/likely dogs running free had urinated there.  Beyond this, my original comments stand - I should have kept moving and not been so quick to accept her scratch as an indication.  The judge commented: "Good try."

Containers - (2.5 minutes allowed)

Twelve containers, black squares were bags, white squares were plastic totes/tubs, and white circles were paint cans.  Gimme started out well and then settled on the black bag (white "x"), giving me all four parts of her indication.  I called it and it was a false alert.  I probably should have kept moving around it – kinda the same thing I think I should have done for the exterior. 

There were two hides on opposing corners and no distractions. The judge commented: "Good try.  I would have called that one too."  I don't really know why Gimme false alerted on the bag indicated, but she did.  Possibly she was frustrated by not getting a reward in the prior search and/or was tired.  In any case, I should have kept moving and she might have left it.  

Lesson learned - trialing with a migraine - nothing good will come of it.  ☺ 

Oh well, I still get to go home with the prettiest and smartest girl in this cosmos, doncha know…  (who is sleeping soundly, as we speak)

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