Just a quick note about recent nosework classes.
Last week we arrived and Dorothy had set up a ten large tables with chairs. They hosted a seminar over the weekend and these had not yet been returned to the rental company. Two tables were flat on the ground, one on its side in the corner and one on its side near the threshold. Plus all the students were sitting in among the tables. It made for a very busy search area. We did three searches.
Twice we had one hide very near the threshold under the edge of a floor mat, with a fan blowing directly across it. There was a table aligned with the fan about ten feet away. This set up was used for two of the three hides. With the table in the corner, odor was placed on legs for the first search and then behind in the tight corner space on a cart. Other hides were moved around to various places in the room. Gimme did great with all these searches. She blasted by the threshold the first time and then came back to find it. The second time I remembered to just stand there for ten seconds and she came right back to find it. The table in the corner didn't present her with any difficulty - she's never been concerned about tight spaces.
Our task was to remain quiet until after/as we rewarded to get rid of any unintended marker words. NACSW is marker phobic when it comes to their training - I've never gotten a satisfactory explanation for their concern. The concern here was not about markers per se, but rather from unintended marker behaviors from the handler when they know where the hide is (such as reaching for treats) or from the observers. These can be a problem if the dog learns to rely on them and then doesn't get them at a trial.
This week the search was along the front of the building in the shade. Dorothy had set up five full water bowls and odor was submerged in one of them. Other hides were in various places, including a good channel hide. We did two searches along there, including one very high inaccessible hide.
Gimme did a double-take at the odor in water, but then left it to search elsewhere. She later came back, checked again and then gave me a puzzled look which said, "I know what I smell, but it just can't be". The second time she was quicker to indicate it. All of the dogs seemed to mistrust their noses when it came to the submerged hide. They all came back to find it, but Gimme was the only one who didn't need the help of being rewarded for getting close. She really seems to prefer to figure out things on her own and certainly has the confidence to do so without getting deflated.
For the last search, we each defined a small search area and set a hide. The most challenging hide turned out to be mine, buried under a pile of leaves next to a curb. The breeze kind of skips up the curb and takes the odor onto the grass. Gimme has done this type hide many times in practice, so it wasn't hard for her. The other dogs struggled.
Gimme and I are leaving for a Barn Hunt weekend, as soon as I get the car packed. Because of what happened last time with her head smacking in the straw bale tunnel, I got her treated earlier this week. Tonya said Gimme's neck was very badly stuck - it took her a lot
of effort to get it moving again and it was rather painful, so Gimme was not what you would call "cooperative".
I'm so glad I thought to do this. I learned a long
time ago Gimme does not show pain until after it becomes a deep seated issue,
which was what happened with the loin issue, caused by her jumping off a 12'
cement pylon. She didn't show anything from her escapade until almost 9 months
later, by which time it took 4 treatments to get it corrected and its still
likely to need attention now and then.
So we are heading down tonight and I've made arrangements to have a private training session at the trial site. I want to work through some simple tunnels and gradually transition to more challenging ones. Gimme needs to know to go slower with these advanced tunnels and their multiple turns; which also make it darker inside. Plus I want to restore her confidence in tunnels, so she doesn't think they are all broken.
Cross your fingers for us. I'd like to come home with a new title.