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Monumental A to Z High On Liberty

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nosework (2/3)

Gimme was sure glad to be back in class tonight.  Her first session did not show off her innate talent, since she was all over the place after finding the first hide on the threshold.  Second and third sessions were much better.   Clearly two weeks off is too much time off from nosework for this girlie.

Our first session used the whole room.  We each brought in "stuff" from our cars, which was scattered all over the room.  The actual hides were pretty much on the perimeter.  The second session we moved all the stuff and barriers so it was all against the walls and the hides were against the walls too and in the stuff.  Both of these had threshold hides to start with and Gimme did a much better job finding them than she has in the past.  I hope that trend continues as that has been her weakest skill.  For the third session, all the stuff was moved to the center of the room, in one long line with 6-8 inches between the different things.  The hides were hidden in the stuff; no threshold hide for this session.

One thing that was different was that about half of the hides used a little blue plastic container instead of a tin.  It was an empty dental floss holder and even without any extra holes the dogs could still smell the odor through the cracks in the plastic around the top.

Also, though not planned for, each of the dogs was potentially tempted by food.  I'd brought in my work bag and had forgotten it had a granola bar (sealed in wrapper) inside it.  There was no sign that any of the dogs paid any special attention to it.  Gimme and one other dog snooped around a bag of treats on the desk and Gimme took time to investigate the motherload, where we all leave our containers of treats for our instructor to use while setting up our hides.

Today between my two stores, it was nice enough that Gimme and I did a little heeling session in the parking lot.  We haven't practiced outside in about two months and she did a good job.  I'd lose her attention briefly as she'd see something, but she always stayed pretty much in heel position and brought her attention back to me on her own.   She's a good girl and doesn't even mind sitting her heiney down on cold wet pavement.

Our snow is almost entirely gone.  It rained a LOT yesterday.  We'd gone to the fort's training area for a woods walk and fortunately were on the way back to the car when it started raining (from a 4mi walk).  She really needed that walk, as did I.  There was plenty of snow back in the woods for her to play in and she had a great time at it. 
When we were about a quarter mile from the car, the driving wind, sleet and freezing rain started up.  Gimme would run ahead and find a tree to stand under and behind and wait until I got close, then would run ahead again.  She's no dummy.  I pulled my hood down over my face and stayed on the road by looking down at the road and making sure I stayed in the tire "track".  My chin wasn't covered and I discovered later that it has several scratches on it from the sleet hitting so fast due to the wind.  I had to really lean into it.  When Gimme's going ahead got her to the car... she started barking at me to get my ass moving.  She dove into her crate and curled up in the very back, trying to get warm again.  Brrrrrrr...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ya Gotta Love It

I've been remiss about keeping notes since before letting Michael go and decided tonight to get a baseline on behaviors I'd been tracking in my journal.  There are other behaviors we've worked on, but this was enough for now.  So averaging 10 click/treats per behavior and 12 behaviors... that was an hour long session as it was.  I'm happy to report that even without focus on my part, the plinking around to keep Gimme from getting too bored has still produced credible progress.  Some of her behaviors are coming along very nicely.

Gimme clearly wanted more and so we did a quick shaping session of 25 click/treats to get a very nice bow (which we call "take-a", short for "take a bow - I don't use "bow" because it sounds too much like down).  I had to really fine tune my timing, because her start of the grape behavior is very much like a bow - she goes down in front and then rolls on one shoulder and its QUICK.  So I had to catch the very beginnings of the head and shoulder duck to isolate it and keep the grape from happening.  Once I got my timing right, she figured it out pretty quickly.

NOTE:  During the plinking, one day last week Gimme suddenly "got" the cue for Grape.  That has been one of the slowest cue attachments we have had.  There is something about that behavior that seemed to use all her focus.  I've tested it a couple times since then, outside training sessions, and while slow, she is doing the behavior.

So why do I say "Ya Gotta Love It".... because at the end of all that, while I was mentally wiped, Gimme didn't want to quit.  She again went into this whole glued to my side in heel, "you can't get rid of me" routine.  I had to lean down and encourage her to climb into my arms - that was the only way to get her out of heel position.  Then I carried her into the office and she knows we don't train in here, so now she is sound asleep.   I think the little booger was more tired than she realized - a bit like a kid that doesn't want to quit playing.  Granted I don't normally train that long, but its interesting that by going from one behavior to another to another, I can. 

The other reason to say "Ya Gotta Love It" is that I've somehow created a dog that simply loves to heel.  Given how little I know about formal obedience and not having a positive trainer in the area to rely on - I'm verrrrrry pleased with that outcome. 

Gimme is really quite happy to train a LOT and would train a lot more if I would.  By her way of thinking, its all play, she's got my undivided attention and I'm giving her treats for playing...  What better deal could a little spotted girl have?  I suspect, especially given her control issues, that she thinks she has trained me and is verrrrrry pleased with the results.

BTW Gimme is not convinced that the bathroom couldn't be a training space - especially once I'm a captive audience in the tub.  What a kid!!!

And just so you know... we are out and about now, even despite the snow.  Got out the first time on Saturday.  Between Saturday and Sunday I serviced all of my accounts.  Also did some shopping, so I never actually had to resort to drinking water.  Thank God. 

Sadly Snowy disappeared the very next day.  Gimme ran out first thing in the morning to check on her, sniffing all over where she had been.  She was disappointed to see that Snowy was gone, leaving only a snowball to remember her by.  Its probably just as well that she didn't have more time to get attached to her.  Most of my friends and family have their power, internet and TV back.  One friend and maybe my brother are still among those without power.  Hopefully they will rejoin us in the 21st century real soon.

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Addition

We have a new addition to our family.  She's a sweetie, not too much trouble and totally has the default sit down cold.  She hasn't learned anything else yet.  So far Gimme seems to like her and they are getting along well.  I was even able to feed treats with them sitting near each other. 
Here is a picture showing Gimme with her new best friend, Snowy, (named in honor of Snowmageddon 2012).

People keep asking me where her spots are.  Obviously she isn't a Dalmatian; I suspect Snowy is one of those very light colored Golden Retrievers.   I have some concerns about her conformation and don't know if she will be able to jump well enough for agility.  She doesn't seem to be very light on her feet and those feet are, quite simply, HUGE.  However, on a positive note, she seems very comfortable with the training dogwalk.  Also, she really has the coolest personality. 

Clearly being unable to get my car out for the fourth day in a row has left me with far too much time on my hands.  Fortunately I am not one of the many people in this part of the state that are without power, and even worse, without television and internet.  Also I have plenty of food in the cupboards.  Sadly I'm out of good things to drink and when the last of the wine runs out, I may be forced to drink <gasp> water. 
As hard as this experience has been, it gratifying that many people are able to enjoy my snowed-in complete lack of a life...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lightbulb Moment

Realized today that I'm going to have to change one of my cues.  I'd been using "around" for one of my cues - moving around me clockwise to arrive in heel position ("behind" is counter-clockwise to arrive in side position).  Tonight when we were practicing heeling and fronts and finishes, a couple of times Gimme went into a down, instead of moving around me.  It occurs to me that simply spoken (i.e. without an artificial voice inflection) "around" and "down" sound a lot alike.  Years ago when I did more obedience I used to call it "finish", but I started using "around" and "behind" in agility.  I think I did that because I mentally paired "finish" with "swing", both of which end up in heel position.  So I'm going to do a session or two to change the "around" cue to "finish" and see if I don't get more consistent results.

I had to laugh tonight.  I was training Gimme and she literally DEMANDED to do heeling.  When she had enough of what I was doing, she just got into heel and I couldn't peel the little minx off of me.  It seems I did something right to turn heeling into a preferred activity...  Yeehaw...

And yes, she was in control.  Laugh all you want...

Monday, January 16, 2012

How 'Wude'

I am soooo laughing at Gimme. 
She's developed this tendency to bark at me when she gets a little frustrated, which so often happens in free shaping.  I'd been turning my face away when she goes on her barking jag, but it didn't help much and finally not at all.  Then tried physically turning away - to no lasting affect. 
Twice yesterday when she started in, I told her "enough", our cue for "stop that".  When she didn't stop, I put the clicker and treats down out of reach and walked away.  Both times she just stood there with her mouth open, clearly shocked by my rude behavior.  He he he...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nosework (1/3)

Class tonight was too too fun.  We started off with two rounds on containers.  There were 25 boxes laid out in three parallel rows.  There would be one hide, then we'd go back outside and wait for it to be reset.  Gimme did well on this and was having a blast.  She likes to "ski" on nosework boxes just like she does with her melon cube.  There's definitely no doubt when she has the scent.

Her slowest find was the box that was near the threshold - since, as usual, she blasted past it.  Joyce works a lot of threshold hides, so I know at some point Gimme will realize that she ought to look there too.  Joyce doesn't want us guiding them, rather we let them think it through.

Our third round was a interior area search.  The boxes were all taken up and piled in the corner.  The first hide was right inside the door and we were to wait just outside the door with the door open until we knew they had the scent.  I knew when Gimme had the scent, since she dragged me through the opening and already had her head cranked toward the hide before I was even ready.  While she was getting her treats there, Joyce set another hide high on the wall across the room.  I think Gimme was the fastest to find that.

Naturally I have to brag that Gimme is very likely to have her picture (maybe more than one) in the April/May issue of Animal Wellness. The article will be about nosework and I've been working with the author over the last few weeks.  She's been reading our blog and loved the video's and pictures.  So, I did a special field trip to get more pictures and sent them to her.  The editor decides which pictures to use, so there is no guarantee.  We'll know when it comes out.

I'm including some pictures here.  The first one is a picture of the tin.  That little silver disk inside it is the magnet that I've mentioned.

This first grouping is Gimme doing a search in the Nails and Ladder aisle.

"Hey Mom, its right here..."

This second grouping is from the end of a search in the Lumber aisle.  I've since talked to Joyce, our instructor, and decided we'll be avoiding that aisle for awhile.  As most of you have no doubt noticed, the smell of cut lumber is pretty strong for us humans, so its really going to be a challenge for the dogs.  Plus, if you think about it - what are we searching for?  Birch oil.  What is Birch?  A tree.  What is lumber made of?  Uhhhh trees...  Naturally that is a pretty difficult distinction for any of the dogs to make, much less one as young and inexperienced as Gimme.  To her credit - she does find it.  Whatta girl...

"Got it!"

Monday, January 9, 2012

Busy Girl

I've come to the realization that I'm just going to have to keep a separate calendar for Gimme's schedule.  I keep running into conflicts between what I have planned and what I want to do.  I feel like a soccer mom who is desperately trying to keep up.  All Gimme wants to know is whether her new purple leash is in the car and do I have enough cheese.

We've been keeping busy lately with a little bit of plinking here and there on different training things.  A lot of focus is going into nosework... which is how I discovered the calendar double booking.  The trial I planned to go to in April is on the same weekend as the Sdao/Pouliot seminar we are signed up for.  So now am looking at a couple others - March or June, both in Oregon.

We are playing with the Project behaviors again - which we haven't done since October.  I have been working off and on with the target stick "wait for the cue" and its coming along.   I still haven't fixed the "apple" box, so that will have to wait. 

Grape - dead bug (on back, feet in the air)
I wanted to do this since I now have interlocking floor matting to cushion Gimme from the hard floor (and provide better traction for other things). Since we haven’t trained this for three months and since it wasn’t on cue when we left off, it took awhile to get Gimme back to offering it. Even though she has been doing the Grape in my lap when she wants attention (which started 4 days after we let Michael go). She offered me a lot of "pretty" instead (we’ve been free shaping this), got frustrated and barked some. I kept clicking a "down" and when she was solid on that, I started clicking for movement while she was down. Finally in frustration she did a movement that was almost a grape and she got two treats. Next thing I knew she was throwing a LOT of  grape behaviors at me. I started putting it on cue and will continue in the next session. She sure is cute.

Melon - push cube with nose
Again a project behavior we haven’t done in three months. Gimme knew what to do the moment she saw her cube. There was a short bit of skiing on the cube and batting it, but she settled down to using her nose very quickly.  I started putting it on cue and following our earlier Grape session, she seemed to understand what I meant. She was even pushing it with her paw or using her mouth to get it out of corners and away from the walls so she could then push it with her nose AFTER I’d cued "melon". Smart cookie.

My friend loves to alter pictures and such and add sayings and stuff... so I usually get things from her that have pictures of Gimme that she's taken before.  Just got this one...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Field Trip: Pics & Videos

This picture shows where I had tucked the q-tips into the steel supports.  Its not in good focus, but the cream blob is a piece of cheese. 

The video that follows is Gimme finding the first hide in roughly 50 seconds.  I found it very hard to keep her in the field of view and handle the line at the same time (I'll try to get a classmate to do a better video for us this week).  Watch and you'll see an impressive "snap back" at around 44 seconds into the video.  Its very clear that she'd smelled the scent at that instant and was all over it.

If you look carefully, you can see the edge of the tin sticking out from under the steel lumber support with a small piece of cheese on it.  The tins have little magnets in them and the lid is perforated to let the scent out.  So we stick them all kinds of places, such as on the sides of metal things and under the chairs, etc.

BTW after all our worries, Gimme has never once tried to retrieve the tin.  Once I thought it through and realized all the different clues, I was certain she would figure it out. 

Here's a video of her working this aisle.  She did run over time by thirty seconds, but as I said, cut lumber is a strong smell for her to work through (especially given her limited experience).  At one point she let me know that she didn't think it was there, so I encouraged her to try again and she then found it.  I think that is a good experience in the overall scheme of things. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Home Depot Field Trip

We did our first field trip today - I was so eager to do it that I did it before going to work.  Gimme was eager too when she saw it was the Home Depot parking lot.  She loves it there because the staff all pet her and some of them give her cookies.  A couple are dog people and actually make her sit before giving up their cookies - which she humors them and promptly sits while dusting the floor with her tail.

The nosework went very well.  I took a couple pictures and two videos.  Sadly my computer is being uncooperative and is now insisting that it can't recognize my little removable drive.  I've never had a problem before.  I'm waiting for my computer guru to call and walk me through a solution.

Our first hide was in the lighting department, tucked into one of the steel rack supports and she found that one very quickly.  The video was only 56 seconds and shows a great "snap back" at the end.  That's where she goes quickly past the hide and then suddenly gets the drift of the scent and turns sharply back to it.  I'd forgotten to take the painter's tape, so even though I'd put the q-tips in a spot I thought was inaccessible, she still got to them and ate two of the three along with her piece of cheese. 

Our second hide was in the lumber aisle, underneath one of the steel supports.  This video was 3:50, but there is extra at the beginning and end.  I'd set a perimeter in my mind that actually covered a fairly large area.  I need to check the rules and see what the test dimensions are.  If she was over time it wasn't by much.  I know cut wood can have a strong odor, so that may explain why it took her so long.  Then again, it may be that eating odor q-tips interferes with her scenting ability. 

After that Gimme went back to the car while I moved the hides and did some shopping.  Ended up talking to some employees who were interested in what we were doing.  I told them it was "search training", letting them make their own assumptions.  They love her in that store, so I doubt it would matter - she has a sizable chapter of fans there, since they've watched her grow up from her first orange chariot ride until now. 

We actually had an audience for her third and fourth hides.  Everyone was naturally impressed with her abilities.  One guy talked to me quite a bit after we were done and he thinks she is just beautiful - obviously an astute grasp of the obvious.  I was telling him how everyone is always so attracted to her and he said its because of her eyes, describing them as "alluring".  I wouldn't have come up with that word, but he's right, she does have beautiful eyes.  Naturally Gimme and me think he's brilliant.

Our third hide was in the tool rental section - stuck to the side of a metal cabinet.  Its not a very big area, but has a lot of tough smells - oils, fuels, solvents and general tool/machine smells.  It took her a little while, but she did find the hide.  Again she blasted by it and then there was the snap back...

The last hide was unpaired and in an appliance and cabinet sale area.  I took her in from the opposite end and she missed the spot I'd stuck the scent during the first and second passes.  When I gave her a little guidance coming back at it from a different direction she went right to it.  I think that its possible during a test/ORT that if she hasn't found the scent during her first pass, that it might be a good idea to take her around the perimeter in a different direction (i.e. clockwise v.s. counter-clockwise).  We can just never know which way the scent is flowing and how it eddies and pools here and there. 

I've noticed that Gimme is slower to find scent that is close to the ground, so I did put all four of these close to the ground - the highest one was no more than 12" from the floor.  I'll keep working on the video and see if I can get my computer to recognize the drive again.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nosework (6/2) & Scent Discrim.

Gimme has really been pestering me because she doesn't think she's getting enough training.  Seriously, 4 training days a week and three 3 mile walks a week is not enough for her.  She'd train every day, several times a day if I didn't have this ridiculous need to sleep and work and other foolish habits.

Tonight we did the scent discrimination with the Altoid tins.  She did better at it.  Still brings me some wrong tins, but less than last time.  I've noticed the first time she always brings me the wrong tins first and then the right one.  I think next time I'm going to start the session with just one simple retrieve of the hand-scented tin and see if that makes a difference.  I do find it helps a LOT if I make her sit beside me and settle for a moment before letting her go get it.

After that we worked on her "foos" behavior, that's the paw whack on her yellow mousepad - the basis for her agility running contacts.  It's just amazing how much she loves this.  It doesn't matter where I put it, she still gets to it and paws at it.  Sometimes she hits it with both feet and skis a bit on it - so I have to be careful not to set it too near the couch or loveseat, unless I have a burning desire to move furniture.

Nosework class was great as always.  Gimme is very good and so fast at finding her hides.  When the hides started getting harder, she initially spent extra time finding them, but has since gotten back to pretty close to her original speed.  She does continue to have trouble with hides that are near the threshold, though she did a little better tonight - getting one of the two really quickly. 

All the dogs continue to progress pretty steadily.  Our friend Grafton is in the later class, but sometimes they come early and do a run in our class, so it was great to see him tonight.  Gimme is easily the best and fastest of those in her class.  As much as I hate a braggart - I am one (especially when it comes to the Empress of the Cosmos); it just can't be helped. 

I have everything ready for our Home Depot field trip, which I plan to do on Friday.  I'm really looking forward to it.  On Sunday I'm going to try to find some place suitable to do an exterior field trip. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gimme Splits a Seam

I was getting the q-tips ready for our upcoming field trips with the level one scent, Birch oil.  Naturally, just as I was swirling the few drops of odor oil around on the inside of the jar, Gimme came in from outside.  She had her paws up on the table beside me in a heartbeat... letting me know she'd found odor and I needed to get busy and pay her.  Her eyes were so big, huge, like saucers.  You'd'a thought I was hiding a big grilled steak up there...  There's no doubt that she knows what that smell is all about, eh...
Later when I was nowhere near it and I could still smell it.  Probably got oil on my hands, so I washed up really good.  In the future I'll wear gloves to handle the oil.  For the most part the q-tips don't actually get oil on them, they just absorb the scent from being in the jar with it.
I'm planning some nosework field trips to Home Depot.  I can go in and set two hides in different parts of the store.  Then I'll go get Gimme and after she finds them and goes back to the car I'll relocate them.  We'll wait awhile and then do another search. 
I talked to Joyce, our instructor and told her what I wanted to do and am happy to say I was pretty much thinking the same thing she suggested.  I also hoped to do some nosework field trips to Petsmart and she said that was a good idea, but suggested I should take Gimme there a couple times beforehand unrelated to nosework. 
Sooooo we are busily gearing up for the ORT next month and trialing in April.  I want her to be over-prepared so everyone can see her as the star I already know she is.  I also need to get in gear and study the NACSW rule book so I'm not interfering with the acclaim she should get for her brilliance.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Nosework (5/2) & Match

Gimme continues to do superbly in class - she really is good at this and totally loves doing it.  When I was getting so excited about us doing one of our hides with just just the odor, i.e. not paired with food, our instructor asked why I was so excited about it since Gimme had already done one last week.  Here we had a milestone moment and I missed it entirely.  So, we did our first unpaired hide a week ahead of our classmates - not that I'm competitive or anything.

Today we drove 2:10 to Gresham, Oregon, for a nosework match that would simulate a Nosework Test.  I wanted to do this to get Gimme ready for the upcoming ORT.  The dogs have to pass an ORT for each level before they can enter a trial - much like they do in tracking.  I started the day off exhausted, even though I went to bed early.  Meaggi got up and very restless about 3:00 a.m. and I just never got any restful sleep after that.  So now am very tired and running solely on excitement.

First I have to tell you it was very cold... mostly because the wind was unbelievable.  I checked on line and it reached 29mph today.  So while the temps were actually at 43/44 degrees, with wind chill it was more like 32-34 degrees.  Half our our elements were outside and I worked a lot of classes so I could really watch what was going on and learn from the experience.  I'm still cold.

Joyce told me during class to make sure I knew where all her hides were during the match and to ask the judge to pair them with food before we started.  During the walk through when I asked how to work getting the judge to pair the food so that Gimme wouldn't see it happen, she said "awww don't worry about it, Gimme doesn't need it.  And indeed, that proved to be true.

Our first hide was the interior element.  The building is a training building, has a groomer's area and bath stations where people can come wash their dogs.  Plus they had a lot of food, treats, toys and training stuff everywhere for sale.  Gimme found all that stuff very distracting and so she ran out of time before she found her odor.  However, when we got away from all the distracting stuff, she did find it and very quickly.  I'll be buying her a bag of kibl and breaking it out into paper bags to set out when we are practicing.  I'll have to do the same thing with other distractions between now and her test.   Later on when I worked the class and watched the level II dogs work in this same area - they had similar problems and had it been an actual trial only two of them would have passed.

Our second hide was the vehicle element.  When we searched a vehicle in class, it was only one vehicle and indoors with no real distractions.  For this element, Gimme had to find the odor on one of three vehicles with those 29mph winds.  She was distracted a lot, but did find it and within the allotted time (3 minutes).  Woohoo!

Our third hide was an exterior area element - again with the 29mph winds.  Gimme eliminated herself by peeing on the grass, but Joyce let us continue searching for the experience.  She was able to find the odor in a real tough spot.  Later on I saw a lot of the level II dogs have real difficulty with that same hide location (they have two odors to find).  I'd had Gimme out twice to pee before that, but I think she was too distracted by the presence of other dogs.  So lesson learned that if need be I'll have to walk out of the property and down the street so she can take care of business.

Our fourth and final hide was an interior container element.  Gimme sniffed one box and then drove off to the side toward something that caught her attention.  I thought we weren't going to do well.  On her way to the "thing" she caught a whiff of the odor and turned on a thin dime.  She sniffed two boxes quickly and the third one was it - she was all around that box and very persistent.  I called "alert" and we had it. 

Gimme got that hide in 9 seconds!  The fastest container find of the day - both levels!!!  Of course I can't help but point out (Joyce bragged on her first) that Gimme was the youngest dog there and with the least training, having only been on odor for four classes.  Everyone was suitably impressed, as they should be.

I learned a lot.  First I LOOOOOOVVVE my new Biothane line.  I bought myself three of them for Christmas (6, 25 and 40 foot lengths).  I used the 25 foot one for the match.  Its a bit long for what we need, but its so easy to handle and so comfortable to grip that it wasn't a problem, once I worked out how to coil it so I could let it out and take it up readily.  It was well worth the cost and I'm sure Gimme and me deserve it.  One of the judges even complimented me on my line handling and handling in general, going on to say that she sees a lot of level II and level III people that don't handle their dogs and/or their lines as well as I was doing.  So that was very nice.

As I said, we'll have to work with more distractions so that Gimme learns that "shopping" doesn't pay.  I can't pull her off the stuff, because its conceivable that the odor could be tucked in among the distracting things or attached to the shelving.  She just needs to experience more distractions so she can be successful at ignoring the enticement and finding the source.

I saw a lot of people pulling their dogs off the odor.  The level I people did it a lot and I was just sure the level II people wouldn't have that problem.  Not so.  This seemed to happen for three reasons: 
  • Often the handler wasn't reading their dog and didn't know when the dog was truly working the odor, so they'd move away too soon and the dog would go with them.  The opposite problem of crowding the dog when they are working has the same effect, since the dog is pushed off the odor.
  • Sometimes the dog would give a very quick indication and when the handler didnt' recognize and support it, then the dog would move on.
  • There were also instances of sloppy line handling.  Some handlers had very long lines and didn't use the available length, so the dogs were getting unintended corrections.  Others had just 6 foot leashes and that's just not enough when a dog is moving fast.
I plan to do a lot more on line searches in class.  Today I did them all on line, though I could have done one off, and the other three were required to be on line.  So it makes sense to practice my line handling.

We can pause for up to ten seconds before crossing the start line so the dog has a chance to catch the scent, so Joyce encourages us to do that.  Gimme wants to go, but has learned to not pull too hard there.  But, when I give her the "where-zit" cue, she just flies.  That's great if she has caught the scent and certainly I can't help but love her enthusiasm.  However, it will create problems if she didn't catch the scent and the hide is near the threshold - since we could easily be past it and she might not get back there on her own.  I'll have to remember if she doesn't find the odor elsewhere to encourage her back near the threshold in case she missed it.  They give us a thirty second warning - so that'll be my cue to get her back near the threshold if she isn't actively working a spot. 

The other thing we'll need to work on is her indications.  Right now she just acts persistent.  Before she gets to higher levels she will need a more formal indication.  So I'll be asking Joyce more about that.

Overall it was a great learning experience for both of us.  I was very pleased with how Gimme did in her first strange location.  I'll have to take her on some nosework field trips.  I'm happy to have this sport for her to work in while she continues growing up and getting through her reactivity issues  - it'll help me to have this to do so I don't push her too much.  And naturally, she'll certainly enjoy herself - she loves to use her nose.