Saturday, June 26, 2010

Introduction to K-9 Nosework, Week 5

We were back in the small room this week, and the main difference was that a few new objects were added. Unfortunately, Chandler had to be back on leash because he was still showing interest in the pile of treats on the table. I was told this would be less of a problem when we move to actual scents.

Run 1

This was a fairly rapid search. Chandler wasn't bothered by having a few more odd objects to sniff. (Once again, the blog is a bit narrow, and I haven't figured out yet how to fix the Youtube width, so I suggest clicking on the Youtube links to see the videos.)

Run 2

I find two things interesting in this run. First of all is Chandler's sheer enthusiasm for the task. Since I didn't want Chandler pulling me with his harness, I was told to hold onto his collar as we entered the room. I suppose the idea was that he would be less likely to yank. Well, this wasn't too effective with Mr. IWANTTOWORK! Chan entered the room on his hind legs because his sheer forward momentum combined with my hold on his collar propelled his forequarters straight off the ground. This is probably fixable, as he does retain enough presence of mind once within the room to sit upon command. The beginning of the segment shows me getting him to settle.

The second item of interest is that Chandler seems to detect the hide from a spot about 10 feet away after having previously walked through that same area. I wonder if the scent hadn't drifted far enough the first time he passed through that spot, or whether he needed to walk around a bit to get more information before being sure of the location.

Run 3

Here we have a better view of Mr. IWANTTOWORK!'s entrance. He actually seems to need to shake off some of his excitement before settling into the job. I'm not totally pleased with this entrance style, but I also feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place here. I certainly don't want to dampen his enthusiasm. Perhaps I should be quietly insisting that he behave, but if I spend my time correcting him by "being a tree" or backing him up when he pulls, I'll take extra time that will cut into the run time for the other dogs. Maybe I can stick a treat in front of his nose when we enter and just manage it for now.

Also of note here is that Chandler is once again alerting to the pile of treats resting on the table behind the camera.

This video also points out a contrast between Chandler's style and that of the whippets in class. They both walked up to the cone and politely indicated it, requesting that their people move it so they could get to the food. Chandler simply pushes it straight over and helps himself.

Run 4

Another thing about Chandler's search style is that it is systematic. He rules things out and moves on. I'm told that several German Shepherds in another class search in a similar manner.

Run 5

This was another quick systematic search. I wish I could see Chandler better when he is at the far end of the room and homing in on his hotdog pieces. Unfortunately, he blends in to the dark pile of chairs, and I cannot easily see when he truly catches the scent in the video. He also carefully checks the previous hiding spot, which I think is amusing.

Run 6

The entire room except for the crates behind the ring gates was part of the search area for this run, and there were two hides. The treat supply was moved to a low box in the crate area. I'm not posting the video because we were off camera most of the time while Chandler repeatedly tried to break through the sheet covered ring gates and get to the main supply. He's stubborn, and I truly cannot say he was incorrect to alert to the pile of plastic containers. I will find it a great relief when they are no longer an issue. The first hide was in a box next to the entrance to the gated area, so I imagine the scents were very confusing. The second hide was a single piece of hotdog in a box.

Chandler still seems to be having a great time, and I'm glad to be able to let him exercise some of his working drives during class. The only thing that I've ever seen him more enthusiastic over is sheep. Hopefully the weather will be good for our next class, because we may start trying outdoor searches. I don't think this will be a problem for Chandler, as I've already used the backyard for practice.

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