I never thought we would be running two dogs at scent work, but here we are! Moby is totally enjoying class since it involves loads of food. He may be slow, but he’s pretty sure at what he wants. The above video was taken during one of the winter classes. At that time, I was running both in back to back classes. That’s proven to be a horrible idea since they feed off each others reactive dog responses. It also doesn’t work when I have to wrangle both dogs in and out of the building. Hazel now attends the advanced group, Moby the intermediates.
As of last week, he became an official member of the scent work world. His first odor trials are in mid May. We will be making a trip up to Washington, along the gorge, for the event. Once he passes, we will start thinking about entering his first NW1 trial. He actually stands a better chance, at this time, for successfully passing through all 4 courses. Hazel is having issues with locations and people. Much more exposure is needed for that girl!
Odor Recognition Trials are set for Saturday, December 3 in Oregon City and Hazel is registered for Birch, Clove and Anise. We’re still working on scent responses. Let’s fill in the background. Hazel and I have been working on scent training,which is a rapidly growing sport in the USA. The ORT’s are required to actually compete in trials. One doesn’t have to get serious about the game, just taking classes helps stimulate your dogs brain.
To practice for the odor trials, I place 6 unmarked boxes out on the floor (or 5 as in the below photo). At the event, there will be 12 boxes (2 rows of 6 or one straight row of 12).
One box has a small tin of scent inside (cotton tipped ear swabs that have resided in a glass lidded jar with one of the 3 scents).
Hazels job is to investigate each box and let me know which one contains the scent. She alerts me by smelling, sitting down (at the box),and looking up at me before receiving a food reward. I’m always surprised at her enthusiasm change when the treats are extra good! She plops her little butt down and looks right at me so fast! Bacon and turkey are wonderful motivators.
This is a timed event. The dogs have 10 seconds to start across the starting line and 3min total on the course.
We will be pushing the box searches all week. Normally I hide the scent tins in bookshelves, under chairs, on chairs, taped to the walls, and even some closed drawers. Her skills and focus continues to increase and I’m trying to keep up with her. The next round of classes start on December 6th! Below is a video of her searching boxes outside during a rain break.
Hazel has been progressing quite well through her classes. So well, the vet was totally surprised by her change in personality. Such a different dog from 6 months ago! No more massive barking and distrust of everything! She’s gone through 2 nosework courses and one reactive dog class. We still have a long ways to go…
Below are two YouTube videos of Hazel and I working through a course. The first is from last week, second from this week. We’re getting trained in all three scents (clove, anise, birch) and she is now recognizing scents not paired with food! I’m learning to get out of her way and keep her moving forward to new scents.
Nosework has been great for teaching her to connect with me, plus trust new environments. We’re signed up for our third class. More videos to come….
Sharon Gakstatter is the instructor and narrator of the video. Wonderdogs is the training facility.