Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
ADPL4(2), ADPL4(GC), ADPGCH, ADPL5(2), RATCH, CZ8S and AI... 54 and counting...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Nosework (5/20)

Dorothy wasn't there, only the co-instructor.  She'd set up an interesting set of searches.  Sadly I didn't have my camera, so no videos...  We had a set of three searches, followed later with a pair of two searches.

Search 1 - The first search was outside, about 20 pieces of footwear.  None of them had a hide and the idea was to see what the dog looked like in the face of interesting smells without odor.  I know I've mentioned that the best distractions in level 2 and above for containers aren't necessarily meaty foods, but rather novel smells.  At one NW2 trial, almost every dog fell for the Irish Spring soap.  Gimme was interested in the shoe smells, the only dog to stick her nose deep in a boot, but she was less intense than she would have been if she'd detected odor anywhere in the area.

Search 2 - Inside in the front area of the main class room (not the foyer) there was just one hide, set about 6' in the center of the big garage door.  The idea was to watch the height of the dog's nose.  I did see all the noses gradually (or in Gimme's case not so gradually) go higher, but it didn't seem like they ran around with their noses on a higher plane as the instructor suggested would be the case.  Instead, they'd move from object to object checking higher spots, but between objects their noses tended to be at their normal scanning height.

Some dogs really struggled with this, but Gimme was pretty darn fast.  She's always had a preference for high hides, so it was not a challenge for her to decide to go up.  The only dog close to her speed was JZ, a small terrier (who was High in Trial for the L2V we were at on Sunday).  We didn't time them, so its a toss up who was fastest of these two.  I think Gimme was clearer in her indication - putting her two front feet on the door and pointing her nose right up to the hide.

Search 3 - In the other part of the main class room, the hide was set in a crack in the floor.  Gimme hasn't been as fond of low hides, though she will find them without too much trouble.  I noticed she ran around with her nose at her usual height, scanning and then checking various heights on objects.  She ran around quickly, then suddenly pivoted and went right to it.  The only dog faster was JZ, who is half Gimme's height, so her nose was already closer to it.

For the second set of searches...

Search 4 - The co-instructor added two croc shoes with odor in them to the shoe search.  Here we were to watch to see how the dog's search style changed.  What I saw in all the dogs was a pretty clear demonstration of their expectations about the shoes.  They all started into the search as if they expected nothing from the shoes, just like last time.  We see expectations all the time - mostly from the dogs repeatedly checking objects over and over and over again, when the hide isn't even very close to them.  The dogs catch a drift of the scent and then run around checking objects they "see", rather than following their noses. 

In this case none of the dogs were interested in the shoes the second time around because they expected no odor.  There wasn't any breeze to carry the scent to them, so they had to get pretty close before they caught it in one of the two crocs.  After they caught it, then they got more intense looking for it again.

Search 5 - In the bigger area, the hide was now on the top edge of a ladder.  It was complicated by a table sitting right next to it on the side where the hide was, so the scent cone included the table top and all the stuff on it.  There were a lot of things on the table and if the dog showed any interest we were to get down the one they showed interest in so they could sniff it and dismiss it.  Of course Gimme thought me getting down stacks of boxes was just the neatest thing ever and had to bap each of them.  She really got back to work though, since it was clear there was no odor related to them. 

Interestingly none of the dogs searched the back half of the area, since the ladder and odor was in the front half.  Some did go into that area, but no one stayed there.  Gimme went there a couple of times, but my interpretation was she was clearing her head as she often does in a hard puzzle.  Once everything was off the table, then Gimme went up and sniffed more intently around the ladder, finally walking her feet up the ladder and pointing her nose up at the hide.  I'm pretty certain JZ beat her time on this one, but not by much.  No one else was even close.

Gimme thoroughly enjoyed these challenging searches and couldn't wait to get home and tell her toys all about it...

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