Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
UWPCH, ADPL3(2), ADPL3(GC), NC, NI, NE, SCN, SIN, SEN, CZ8B, NV and NN... 47 and counting...

Monday, August 24, 2015

Nosework (1/12)

I'm having a hard time getting back in the swing of blogging regularly.  I have another nosework class tomorrow and am just now reporting on last week's class (8/18), though I did at least prepare the diagrams last week.  And I'm way behind on tracking blogs - I have two tracks to report on and then three consecutive 3-day weekend tracking seminars with Sil Sanders.  I hope you will all find them worth the wait.

This first interior search was very interesting.  The large red square with an "x" through it is a canopy and the hide was suspended in mid-air.  It was on a string so they could raise/lower it as needed for individual dogs.  The chairs with blue dots along the right side are where the students were all sitting and there were two hides on chairs.  As the dogs were searching, sometime after they found the one on the left wall,  it was moved to the location of the green-outline chair nearer the startline.  For the dogs needing help it was moved to get them working the converging odor line between it and the other chair, thus getting them in the vicinity of the suspended hide.

The idea for suspending a hide in mid-air was to give the dogs a hide which didn't have anything nearby for the odor to "stick" to as it created its scent plume.  We did this back around Christmas, though the hide was closer to nose level.  Most dogs took around 6 minutes or longer to complete this puzzle.  Gimme found all four hides in 2:45 seconds, so if it were a trial search, she would have definitely qualified.  She was so fast, she was finding the third hide as the chair was being moved. 

Gimme was positively gleeful to find a hide so high.  When we first started taking classes with Dorothy, Gimme had a very strong tendency to search high-headed.  Fortunately Dorothy knows a LOT of ways to make a hide inaccessible without having it be high up and out of reach, so Gimme's default to have her nose up in the air has changed.  She still likes it though, as was evident by how H-A-P-P-Y she was to find one so far above her head.  She was really strutting after finding it.

After we were done searching, Dorothy got out her smoke generator and we checked to see how the scent was coming off the suspended hide because the dogs didn't act as we expected during their searches.  We all assumed it would come down in some sort of cone shape (the dashed lines) and so getting the dog into the plume would take them directly to it.  Not so.  The plume stayed at the same level (for the taller dogs) and moved out 3-4 feet and then dropped almost straight down, creating a very small footprint.  The smoke generator created the cone shape we expected for hides lower than 2 feet (for short dogs). 

Our next search was to play round-robin with vehicles.  There were two large boom-trucks and one van.  As the dog was busy sourcing a hide, Dorothy would set another one (never on the front of the trucks so we didn't have to go in the weeds). 

The only other time Gimme and I have played this was only one vehicle (before we started training with Dorothy), so it created some interesting differences for Gimme.  First, she is more experienced and we saw from her demeanor she has a good sense of where she has already searched.  As I moved her around and back into areas she'd already searched, there was a definite attitude of just going along with me, then when she found a newly placed hide, she seemed really shocked.  As if to say, "I know I checked this spot and it wasn't here before!"  She was happy to keep finding hides, just not sure what to make of the magical hide appearances.

Then the last thing Dorothy had us do was to walk along the bottom nearest the van back toward the startline.  There was a hide on the front wheel well near where we walked.  Dorothy said to walk as if we were leaving the search area, but without any specific cue. I just walked purposely (normally during a search I am following or shadowing her) and telling Gimme she was a good and brilliant girl.  We walked right by the hide, so close she should have noticed it.  I was surprised she didn't show any sign whatsoever she'd noticed it.  Her nose was clearly switched to "off".  So good to know so I don't unintentionally take her out of hunting mode when I don't intend to. 

Normally we have 3 or 4 hides, and this night only two.  But they were much longer searches and despite the fact they weren't as long for Gimme, she seemed content enough.

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