Last weekend, Madison tried her nose at three odor recognition tests (ORT). This was her first real experience with nose work in a pass/fail situation. Mom wasn’t sure how it would go, Madison wasn’t worried at all. She always listens to Bailie who is not really a good influence and had her share of nose work failures. I tried my best to steer Madison in the right direction, but I can only do so much!
Mom and Madison are a new team. Sure, they aced tracking so far, but Mom just has to follow along for that sport. In nose work, they need to work together. After practicing the last few times, Mom was not real sure about Madison’s alert, meaning it wasn’t happening a lot of the time. Oh well, they were going to try anyway.
Back in May 2014 Bailie and I took our first try at odor recognition tests. We each tried for only birch. Bailie went first and failed. Mom was devastated as it was partly her fault for being overly anxious and calling “alert” too quickly. The next day I tried and passed. It was a big learning experience for all of us, and now Madison is in those same paw prints with Mom.
Madison was excited to get started and dashed into the rows of boxes but then realized there were lots of people watching and she loves people. She kind of sniffed up one box, but then all she wanted to do was visit the people. Mom tried everything to get her to work, but she didn’t want to. Finally with eight seconds to spare, she called alert and Madison got her clove.
Unfortunately, for anise she was still too busy with people to work the boxes and in the end alerted on the totally wrong box.
With birch, she finally came in and searched. Mom was very happy with her work, but she didn’t give any real alert. It came down to two different boxes at the end. Madison stopped and sniffed up one of the two, so Mom called it and got the “no”. Madison has to pass birch or she can’t start to compete.
One of the biggest challenges is rewarding Madison since she is not particularly interested in food or treats. She is now entered in more odor recognition tests for birch and anise on October 14, which gives her two months to get it down. We have a few ideas to teach Madison the value of odor, and hopefully it will work out. Mom wasn’t really disappointed as she knew there was a good chance team pink would have trouble. It is just a shame she didn’t at least get birch as clove is useless with out the other two. Madison is young and has time. I’m sure she will do better at her next ORT.