Class tonight was great - as always. We did some new things that really showed the dogs' skills emerging. On the very first hide of the first session the odor and food were placed on the desk, just 6 inches from two open bags of dog treats. About five feet away the instructor's jacket, with treats in the pockets, was hanging on a doorknob. All the hides were harder to find, obscured from view and more difficult to get to.
All of the dogs found the correct source, bypassing the food distractions. Given that they don't get tested on finding the odor while ignoring food distraction until level two - Joyce said this shows they already understand that finding the odor (not just any food) is the bigger payoff.
Because it was harder, all the dogs (except Gimme) were taking a very long time to find their hides. Class is 90 minutes with six teams and we usually get 3 hide sessions and tonight we only got 2 sessions each because we were running over time. Even though it took them longer, they were all enthusiastic and happily searching.
Gimme sailed through hers in the same time as usual - it really seemed almost faster to me. Of course there was some delay during the second session when Joyce and I ended up at one end of the room and Gimme suddenly dashed to the other end and stuck her nose into her baggie, polishing off all her garlic toast. She hasn't even tried to get to the motherload since the first night of class, but for some reason tonight decided to. So much for her outstanding work ethic and so much for baggies.
Anyway, we had a short discussion with the class about why Gimme is so much faster. Partly its because she learned to use her nose so young, having had her first baby tracking lesson when she was about three months old. So, she's had more practice using her nose before starting nosework class, understands the concept of finding things with her nose and getting paid for it and thus, has a lot more confidence. Plus I bragged on her relatives and all their tracking titles. It stands to reason that she has inherited excellent scenting ability.
I also discovered she knows how to count. She let me know in no uncertain terms AND all the way home -- that she was due one more hide session. She was quite emphatic!