Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
ADPL4(2) and ADPL4(GC)... 49 and counting...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

BH Trial & Nosework (1/6)

(I have added the list of stations for the four mini-courses we had at the last RallyFrEe class - they are in the post about the class, at the end.)

The Barn Hunt trial was a challenge to say the least.  I wasn't sure how Gimme would do, since she is in baby mode.  Basically she was too distracted to focus.  On Saturday she found two rats in the first ring (of 4) and one rat in the second ring (of 4).  On Sunday she found one rat in the first ring (of 5), but couldn't focus at all.  There were four tubes in the vicinity, so I called one and it was the wrong one.  For her second run on Sunday she couldn't find any and I never found out how many there were.  I thought she'd do better on Sunday, but I think we were both worried about sister Grace who was very ill and in the emergency veterinary.

When she found a rat, we partied.  When I called a wrong call and they showed us to a rat, we partied.  As unfocused as Gimme was, she was always ready to party with me.  So we did get in some training about rewarding in the ring by playing with the tube before letting it be taken away.  Hard to say how much of this she will remember, especially since our next trial isn't for five months.  Hopefully it will come back to her quickly.

It worked against us the way they ran two rings in the same sequence, with the second trial just following the first by 15-20 minutes.  This was done to help with the limited parking.  Its nice because you don't have to be there all day, since your two runs will be within about half an hour of each other.  Some people opted to go from one ring to the other to fill waiting spaces in the second ring.  I didn't, I took Gimme to the car for time with her baby, but it wasn't enough.  Ordinarily I think she would have been fine with it.

The blind area was the smallest area we've had, but we were able to make it work.  The delineated area was 10x14, but there was another 4 feet you could use, making it 10x18.  Most of the dogs in our class were very calm and the other handlers were really nice about giving us a wide berth.  For our last class of the weekend, I actually moved her in a small space inside one of the stalls, to give her a visual break.  There was no way I could work the relaxation-is-its-own-reward plan in her current mental state.  So, for the most part we spent our entire blind time with her licking the PB tube.  I hoped the comfort food would help in the ring, but it didn't (or maybe it did and things could have been much worse).

Monday night was the last of four container focus classes for nosework.  I'm doing holiday transitions at work this week and got home just 15 minutes before class starts and the drive is 15 minutes, so we were a little late.  We had four searches, the first three were blind.

The first search was just an ORT and Gimme rocked it.  She had it in less than 6 seconds.

The second search was a bunch of brick-shaped/printed boxes in the foyer.  There were probably 20 of them and it was a challenge for me to not step on them.  We only knew there were between 1 and 3 odors.  Gimme found the first one very quickly and then dithered a bit before finding the second one.  I had her check the boxes she'd missed and then called "finish" and was right.  I still don't know how to tell when she's done searching, but I did notice her paw interactions with the boxes were a different quality - less "definite" looking.

The third search was in the main room with lots of luggage, some boxes and a few other containers.  Two items were up on chairs.  We were supposed to make sure they checked every container, otherwise we only knew there were between 1 and 3 odors. Gimme did a very nice job with this.  She found two odors and then dutifully checked the other containers I asked her to.  Then I called "finish" and was right again.

Our fourth search (not blind) was the same search, with distractions (tripe treats and peanuts), plus they moved the two odor containers.  Several dogs got caught up in the tripe treats and one lingered over my peanuts.  Gimme did a great job, ignored both distractions and found her two odors quickly.  She then checked the other containers I asked her to.

She did great with this format and was focused and enthusiastic about searching, despite still being deep in baby mode.  I got her out a little early for one search and she was starting to get a little fussy by the time we went in to search, but then pulled it together and searched with enthusiasm.  So she might have done better at the barn hunt trial if there weren't all the waiting.

BTW we are finally able to use the extract I was told about (got it Monday).  I think it is helping a little bit.  She gets it in her water three times a day and I notice after ten minutes or so, she calms down a little more.  Time will tell if it works for the long term... and especially if we can start it earlier in the cycle.  There is also something else I'm going to order and try.  We really have to find something to help her with the false pregnancies.

This morning she is calmer. Its nice to see her restful.

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