Saturday, July 24, 2010

Intermediate K9 Nosework, Week 2

Chandler really likes his Nosework class. Really. Likes.

All I did was innocently pick up my camera in preparation for class Thursday morning. Chandler perked up, and headed out the door of my bedroom, pausing to see if I was coming.

This interest switched to joy and a gallop down the hall followed by another pause to check on me as soon as he verified that both the camera and I were headed down the hall.

Chandler's enthusiasm grew as I loaded the camera, a mat, his harness, and his chopped up bits of meatball into a bag and then headed for the car. He didn't even wait for me to step away from the car door that I had opened for him. Before I could move, he launched himself from a standing start through the small triangular space between my left side and the rear edge of the car seat.

This enthusiasm stayed with Chandler for the entire class. During his runs, I noticed he had a tendency to excitedly shoot out into the middle of the search area when released to search, even if this meant he bypassed several boxes as he ran past them. However, once he settled into search mode, he always made sure to circle back and check the boxes he had passed.

Run 1

See how he zooms out and then has to circle back? Of course, Mr. Hooligan also has to stuff his nose into my treat container uninvited. Maybe he thought I was offering the entire thing?

I discovered that practicing pairing the birch scent with food over the weekend had been a good idea. Rather daringly, our trainers had decided to push the envelope a bit this week. All searches after the first one were scent only. No food was hidden in the boxes with the birch scent.

Run 2

But that didn't slow down my talented boy, and he quickly found the birch scent...

Run #3

...and then did it again...

Run #4

...and again...

Run #5

...and again.

Run #6

We didn't hit any challenges until the last run, where it took a little sniffing for Chandler to find the first tiny scent box, stuck to a fan with a magnet. The second hide was much tougher, as it was attached to the wall much higher than anything he had found before. I finally pointed it out to him, as we were running out of class time and Volley still had to do her run.

After class, we stayed for a few minutes to play with the Whippets. I think Chan has a more mature, forceful personality than the two year old siblings, because he was consistently first at getting to a thrown toy. I find it doubtful that he can out-accelerate a Whippet, so they must not want to argue with him about it...although Volley did spend some time trying to steal toys out of his mouth, so she must be getting more comfortable with him. Skylar seemed to decide that solid, fuzzy, and tolerant English Shepherds were safe to bump into, as they are nicely padded for angular Whippets. Unfortunately for Chandler, I removed him when he "wowrrrrrrred" and mouthed at the back of Volley's neck while they were running. Perhaps I'm overreacting, but I tend to watch out for out of control bossy tendencies. I'll have to ask Skylar and Volley's owners what they are comfortable with.

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