Sunday, September 26, 2010

Continued Nosework, Week 3

I fear it has been a busy few weeks, and I am very behind in my Nosework posts; so without much ado, here is week three of "Continuing Nosework".

Run #1

Once again, Chandler seems to be having trouble getting into the groove of things at the beginning of class, so much so that we abort the search and start over from the beginning. I think a number of factors contributed to this problem.

1. Chandler is still distracted by the different dogs in this new class.
2. A totally new search area.
3. Use of the tan boxes rather than the white ones.
4. Background barking from a dog he is unfamiliar with.
5. It was a little windy.

All of this adds up to too many distractions, and Chandler initially can't focus on his job, although he does eventually indicate the hide. If you look at his tail, especially in the first segment, it is waving all over the place. It looks frantic compared to his more usual "happy search" wag. He doesn't seem to settle until after he shakes in the second segment.

Run #2

Whew! My Nosework dog seems to have returned!

Run #3

Yes, Chandler is back on the job. His rapid tail wags may still indicate excitement, but he has more focus, and his tail isn't flailing at the air in all directions.

Run #4

This search had three hides along the building. The one in the plastic hummus container that was hidden on the picnic table was an easy find. Chandler had a little more trouble with the other two. #2 was near the clean up bucket, and the odors of dog waste may have proved distracting, although Chandler seemed to be better at ignoring them than the other students. I think the odor for #3 was flowing along the building; that would explain why Chandler did a lot of sniffing near those dents in the siding.

Run #5

This was another difficult run. The three hides were somewhere around a line of big rocks at the edge of the woods. Not only was there possible "critter" scent to deal with, but the rocks had probably been urine marked by dogs coming off the nearby agility field. I think Chandler did fairly well, despite the distractions. He did pass by one hide, but he found it on the second attempt. I do have to say that I am amused by Chandler's technique for finding the final hide: climb on all the rocks (for the fun of it?) and come down on the scent from above.

Overall this was a tough week. I think a number of factors conspired to make things more difficult for the dogs. Personally, I would prefer to back up a bit and work on Chandler's enthusiasm and focus; once those are solid, then the difficulty and distractions can be raised.

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