Sunday, September 5, 2010

Continued Nosework, Week 2

An additional student showed up for Nosework class this week. The new dog was a gorgeous female German Shepherd that turned out to be a Fidelco dog. Unfortunately, she did not make the cut to be a guide dog because of some hip structure issues, but she was lucky enough to stay with the lady who had been her puppy raiser.

We were outside again this week, as the weather was decent. It was slightly humid, but not horribly hot at the time our class was held. Shade from the training center's trees was enough to keep us comfortable between runs.

Run 1

I think Chandler got distracted by the sound of squealing brakes that was coming from a nearby warehouse. During his fear periods he spent a sizable amount of time being afraid of trucks, forklifts, motorcycles, and things that go "beep" when they back up. After a lot of work and time he is much better, but sometimes my frightened and unsure dog emerges again. That didn't happen here; Chandler's tail remained up and waving, but the noise was enough to make him want to get a good look to determine it wasn't an immediate threat, I think.

Run #2

Chandler says he wants to search the trainer's car. It is just off camera, and he is absolutely certain there is food hidden in it; after all, he can smell the food. Cars are fun to search anyway because interiors sometimes contain squeaky toys. Unfortunately for him, all Nosework searches are done on the exterior of the car, so he never gets to check out the interior. For this particular run, once he is notified that the search area does not include the car, Chan gets to work and finds the scent in the correct box.

Run #3

Yes, that car is still fascinating, but Chandler can be redirected away from it. I can't say quite the same for the grass. I was under the impression that I had a sheep dog, not a sheep, but Chandler seems to be a bit confused on that point. This was a run that had four separate hides along a building. Because of the (apparently succulent) grass, it turned out to be a bit of a struggle. Chandler has always enjoyed a bit of grazing where possible, but I must admit his timing surprised me in this case. Maybe he figured he could eat his grass and get his meatballs too? Given his talents at multitasking, I would not put it past him.

Run #4

While Chandler did very well searching the end of the building despite loud industrial noises (and I am very proud of him for that), the grass turned out to be my new outdoor nemesis. So I took a tip from farmdog training 101 and simply stopped. In farm dog training this usually means that a dog that is not focused on farm chores is tied to a fence where he can watch everything, but is not allowed to participate. Job motivated dogs do not like this. In this case I quietly walked back to the shade, sat at the picnic table, and let Chan watch all the other dogs work. Chandler was less than thrilled. However, when we resumed our search AFTER the other dogs had taken their turns, Chandler ignored the grass and successfully found the hidden scents. Unfortunately, I have no footage of this final search, because my trainer was not prepared to be a cameraman again on short notice.

Overall, this was a mixed week. Chandler is still getting distracted, but in many ways that is typical for him. We also did not get to practice at all during the week, as my job had suddenly become very busy, and I was putting in extra hours.

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