In the world of Nose Work (the NACSW world):
The judges may ‘Pronounce’ handler/dog teams demonstrating exceptional technique and/or teamwork at each NW1, NW2, NW3, Elite, and Summit League trials. This is not part of the title, but rather an acknowledgement of exceptional teamwork on that particular trial day.
We earned our NW2 Title in October, guess what else we got?
The designation of Pronounced is hard to earn at a trial, each of the four element searches have to designated as Pronounced independently. In addition, at this NW2 Trial only 8 of 38 dogs earned their Titles.
I’m so proud of how far Elly and I have come- Elly gaining confidence and amazing NW skills, me… just keeping up with her!
When we go to class or compete at Trials she is so confident and focused, she really loves playing ‘the game’. Look at her body language in the photo below- she can’t wait to get going!
Here are two photos from the Exterior search we did. There were two hides to find in this element.
Here are two photos from the Vehicle search, there were 4 vehicles and only one hide.
I like the last picture because of her reflection in the car… my truck is rarely clean enough to see a reflection!
We didn’t get any pictures from the Interior searches or from the Containers search.
We did get video from Exteriors, Vehicles, Containers and one of the two Interior searches. It’s rare to get Interior search videos- the spaces used are often not big enough for a person to shoot videos. The one we got was done with a remote GoPro set up.
I buy the videos whenever they are available. They are one of the best learning tools available. It’s not always pretty watching the searches, but I learn so much about how Elly acts and reacts to the environment and to what I am doing.
There are good things in each video, and definitely things in each for us to work to improve our skills.
VEHICLES: 4 cars, 1 hide. The hide was behind the tire she focuses on, considered inaccessible- she can’t get right to it. I could have called ‘alert’ much sooner since she was close enough, but I LOVE watching her work and try to get right to the source.
INTERIORS: there were two rooms with one hide each, we only got video of one room. As you can see when she finds the hide, we went past it a couple times. This would be considered a ‘threshold’ hide- that is near the doorway. We train so that she should find a threshold hide on the way into the room, so we need more work there.
EXTERIORS: two hides in an outdoor courtyard. She found the first one right off- I would consider that a threshold hide, so that was a good find for her. She wandered a bit after she found the first one, but that is sometimes how she picks up the odors. Near the end but before she finds the second hide you will see that she changes direction because I step into her path. That’s bad on my part and something I have been working on. As it turns out she went toward the hide, but in a past trial I redirected her like that and pushed her away from a hide.
CONTAINERS: 3 hides in 18 containers with 3 distractions. At level 2 and up distractors can be used in containers- it can be food, toys or other things placed in the containers. This is to demonstrate that your dog can disregard ‘distractions’ and find and alert on the correct odor. The first white box closest to the door had a toy in it, Elly never looked at that box. In the second orange box (from the door) there were corn chips. She never really went to that box, but sniffed around that end of the search area. The row of plastic boxes closest to the camera had a bagel- you can tell the box when Elly get to it. She sniffs, but doesn’t alert me. I knew she was interested in the smell, but I knew she was not on odor. Ideally in a container search you would go up one row and down the next, checking each container. Elly tends to be quite random, I’m not sure if she is chasing odor or just wandering around. We get to the right conclusion but we could be much more efficient. This is something we are working on quite a bit right now.
We are doing really well especially considering Elly was afraid of boxes less than 2 years ago and would not enter a room with strangers inside. But there is so much more to learn! As long as Elly still likes it and keeps making progress with her issues we will keep playing the game.