I’m happy to report that Mom and I, Team Emma/Team Red, reached our three nose work goals over the weekend. We have been in a nose work slump of sorts for about a year now. After having our worst trial results ever in March, we have worked hard to fix our team with private lessons and motivational training. Saturday was our first test and we passed with flying furs!
The weather on Saturday was a temperature in the low 90’s with high humidity. I was pretty comfy in my car set up with my cooling supplies but it didn’t take long after leaving the car for me to feel too warm! Luckily there was a lot of shade for us to wait our turn in. Our number one goal for the day was for me to find more than one hide in search areas with multiple hides. For some reason, the past year, I’ve only been showing Mom one hide no matter how many there are. I let her know there are more, but I keep their location secret. Our second and third goals were to get my NW3 Exterior and Container Titles. To get those, one has to pass that element in three separate trials. I had passed each one twice in the past.
An NW3 is not necessarily harder for us dogs, but is it a real mental test for our handlers as the number of hides in each search area is unknown, but between one and three, except for interiors which can have one room with zero. Humans need to know when we have found all the hides in a search area and this can be taxing for human minds. It really brings home the know and trust your dog thing! There are six searches and usually around ten hides plus or minus a couple. We are not told how many hides are in the search areas until the end of the day when the certifying official posts the elements summary. You are not allowed to discuss the searches or number of hides with other competitors until the end of the day either.
I was dog 24 out of 30 on Saturday and started my day with vehicles. We had four vehicles to search in 2:30. I’m not a fast dog, so this was a time crunch for me. I was interested in the trailer but moved on and found the hide in the wheel on the far car. I then worked my way back to the trailer, but time was running out. Right as Mom was about ready to call alert, we timed out. Mom and I say we found both hides, but technically, we missed one because it was too late.
Next up was my exterior search. The search was mostly on grass which is tough for many dogs who want to go to the bathroom on the grass/trees which would mean being disqualified. Flags marked the boundaries of the area. Hides don’t always have to be on things, there can be ground hides, although they are rare at this level. As you can see in my video I started off motivated, but the heat got to me pretty fast. I alerted beautifully on the fire hydrant, but Mom would not believe me. She said, “who would put a hide in the bright sun on an object dogs pee on”. Well, she was wrong and we ended up going back and I was right the first time! Yay, pass!
Two notes on the video, that funny noise is the camera rotating on the tripod, and did you notice Mom wears two treat pouches? The one on the right is my rewards for finding hides, the one on the left is different treats to “party” on our way back to the car. It’s all about fun and sometimes food adds to the fun of it all! I had chicken for finding hides and my meatballs for the walk back to the car.
Interiors was my third search element. Remember these rooms can have zero to three hides. I did some real good searching in the first room, the one with the computers, but never found the hide. In the weight room, I found both hides. It was a tough room being large and fairly stinky actually! The third room was also full of stuff, but I managed to find both of those hides too. Mom was so happy! One lesson I learned is that when she is happy I sure get a lot of love, chicken, and meatball treats! That is my kind of motivation. She has learned to get all wild and not worry about looking silly because it motivates me.
Last but not least, I got to search containers. This time it was a mix of boxes and luggage. I’m pretty good at containers, usually. I did a nice, but very slow job, and found both hides. It was the end of the day and with all the heat and searching I was tired. Containers can also have food or toy distractors, which Mom has to be careful not to be fooled on. I don’t usually try to fool her, but one never knows. I know her mind was still stuck on believing the hide in exteriors was on a fire hydrant, so I had to go a bit easy on her.
At the end of the day, I was exhausted, but happy! We met our nose work goals, first and foremost, the goal of me finding multiple hides. Really I found all but one hide which is my best NW3 trial ever! I even placed 11th out of 30 dogs which is amazing! I earned my NW3 Exterior and Container Titles – first GBGV to do so! Mom and I are over the moon happy with how our day went. Getting an NW3 Title would have been great, but we are so happy with what we achieved it didn’t even matter! Hopefully I will get another shot at an NW3 Title in the fall. Trials are very hard to get in to and are not held around here very often.