Sunday, June 20, 2010

Introduction to K-9 Nosework, Week 4

We moved into the larger room of the training center for our third week of Introduction to Nosework. Sean returned as half of our training team after being away for a week, but due to a massive traffic problem on the highway, only three of us made it to class. We got in a lot of runs since it was only Chandler, the lab, and one of the whippets. We also started doing all of our searches blind; we were instructed to wait in the other room as the courses were set up. I asked if I could try letting Chandler search off-leash, as I didn't want him to get into the bad habit of pulling while wearing his harness, which had been a problem in previous classes.

Run 1

This search wasn't very difficult. The treats were under a flap in an open box. Chandler ran right to it.

Edit: Oops. It seems the right side of the video is being cut off by my blog format. Until I can figure out how to fix that, I suggest following the link to watch directly on Youtube.

Run 2

Our second search was similarly rapid. Chandler ran onto the field, skimmed a few items with his nose, and quickly found the treats hidden inside the traffic cone. Being off-leash seems to be working well, and Chandler even quickly recalls off checking an extra box at the end of the segment, despite the noise from the doggie daycare that is located beyond the far wall.

Run 3

During this run Chandler almost immediately checked all the places that food had previously been hidden. I find that very amusing, but we ran into a new problem during this search. The food is under the little green cone on the right of the screen. The table that holds everyone's treat supplies is off camera to the right. I suspect the scent from the table was wafting toward the cone and confusing things. Chandler repeatedly tried to head for the table and had to be directed back on course. This seems to be a problem with the physical layout of the training center, and I'm hoping a way can be found to solve it. Chandler had been working so well off-leash, that I think it would be a shame to have to keep leashing him for the exercises.

Run 4

No pile of boxes will deter Chandler! He was quite ready to slam all those boxes around to get to his hotdog pieces. Of course, then he had to check the rest of the boxes in the pile to be sure he hadn't missed anything...

Run 5

Chandler keeps up his practice of checking the places things were hidden before by physically plowing through the box pile while verifying that nothing is there. After his impression of Godzilla stomping through Tokyo is done, Chan quickly checks the traffic cone (after all, it was there once before), and then homes in on the treats, hidden under some planks and a box.

Run 6

Oh dear; my hooligan is back. After spending a brief time on the course, Chandler runs back to his crate, grabs the stuffed Kong inside, and runs back to the middle of the course to bounce it on the floor. Of course, canned dog food is scattered ALL OVER. *sigh* At least he listens when I tell him to go clean up his mess, and starts rapidly eating gobs of food off the floor. Lesson learned. If I have something in the crate to occupy Chan between runs, I will be sure that it is inaccessible when he is doing his search. I swear he is such a goofball. When he was once again back on task, Chandler quickly found his treats in the cone on the pause table.

Run 7

Once again, we seem to be having difficulties with scent from the treats on the table. Chandler heads for the right side of the screen several times with his head held high and has to be redirected. I suspect he's airscenting. When he is finally back on course, Chandler quickly homes in on a box resting on a chair, and bats it to the ground.

Run 8

Once again, Chandler is carefully checking the places where treats had previously been hidden. Unfortunately we were asked to do this run on leash, probably because of Chandler's attempts to get to the main treat supply on the table in the previous run. Also, the search area was defined as only part of the room. When he finally does find the hotdog, it is interesting to see that he first sniffs vertically along the rear wall nearby.

Overall, barring the Kong disaster, this was another good week. I hope some solution to the treats on the table problem presents itself. Technically, Chandler is correct when he alerts to their presence. Unfortunately, they aren't the treats he is supposed to be searching for.


  1. That looks like a LOT of fun! Chan's very clearly a natural: good farmcollie. :D

    I actually liked watching him search all of the previous locations as much as watching him find the treats, I thought that was neat.

    Curious: I'm planning on starting this at home with Jin and, for the most part, have the basic ideas worked out and all, but I was wondering how you set up the much do you put down? Do you cut them up into small pieces?

  2. I've been using chopped up pieces of hotdog and cheddar, which are two of Chan's favorites. When practicing at home, I have found my biggest problem is avoiding contaminating the boxes with scent. If I've handled the food, I don't want to touch a box, and I don't want to put the food directly in a box. To solve these problems I've been carefully shaking the food from its storage container into a bowl in the box.

  3. Good ideas, and thanks :)

    All I need is boxes (which I have an idea of where to get some). I think my folks have the perfect bowls to put the bait in, I'll just have to ready the food beforehand. I bought some braunschweiger today for it (and for me to try, not gonna lie) and also have some thawed chicken livers I can cook up for it as well.

    I can't wait to see how she does! :D