We are in a serious school mode at our house the past few months! As you know Bailie is in Obedience School. She finished level one and is now in level two. Hopefully she will pass that and move on to get her CGC. Bailie and I are in Nose Work 2, and last weekend Bailie took an intro to tracking class. Mom is really busy driving us around and helping us with all our homework! Today I wanted to tell you about what we are doing in Nose Work and then about Bailie and tracking. One other note…I keep forgetting to say a special thank you to Jodi at Heart Like A Dog. It was because of her posts about Nose Work quite a while ago that Mom started looking into the sport for us. We learn so much from our friends in Blogville, it is a wonderful community!
Nose Work 1 was all about finding treats which was super fun, but in Nose Work 2, we have moved on to odor. The odor we are working on is birch. For humans it may seem like an easy thing to do, but we need to adjust slowly. We now have our own odor kit. Mom has to really take care when handling the odor as to not contaminate things with it. If she doesn’t wear gloves, that birch odor will be all over the place and confuse us. The odor sticks need to be kept in two containers – the fresh sticks and the ones that we have been using. The sticks should last 4-6 months. The containers used for the hides are always metal, no plastic, with a few holes punched in the top. ***Lately there has been some talk about Nose Work using odor like Birch being harmful to dogs, but we have been reassured that the amount used is so very minimal, there are no worries. We don’t eat it either, just sniff for it.***
Once I could associate the birch with the source box and treats, the container was hidden without the source box. At first it was real close to an empty source box, but then the source box was taken completely out of the picture.
The two things we need to keep in mind for both Nose Work and Tracking are:
- Always have a drink of water before starting. Water cleanses our nose and olfactory system so our noses can start out fresh with each run. It is like a wine taster cleansing his pallet between each wine sample.
- Wear different harnesses for each sport. We can feel the difference. The ones with the handle are good for Nose Work, but for Tracking we need a different one that is less restricting.
I promise to get some video of our Nose Work, but it has been difficult because our class is so small. I hope to have video in a week or two.
Now I have to turn the keyboard over to Bailie who attended the tracking class.
Well, I got to go to an intro to tracking class with Mom on Sunday. She thinks I am a perfect tracking dog. The class is at the same school as our Nose Work class, just a different location. The class was for dogs and their owners. There were four of us total, I was the youngest and only female in the class. The boys all wanted to meet me, but dog contact was not allowed, so that did not happen. The instructors talked about all that tracking entails, how much work it is, why it would be difficult to have two dogs doing it at the same time, the equipment I would need, totally boring monotonous stuff. I was so excited to go but after an hour I was thinking I would have had more fun at home.
Finally they said we could go outside and see how to set up a beginner track and work it. Now we are talking fun. We watched the teacher do a track with her dog, then two others in the class did one and finally it was my turn. Some stranger held onto me while Mom laid the track. Then it was time for me to give it a shot.
Well, guess what? Yep, Mom was right I am a natural. No one had to tell me what to do! I put my nose down and got to business. I was so busy following the track, I did not even pick up some of the treats – no time for eating when I am working! I got to the end of the track where the “article” with treats was, I ate one or two treats, left the rest, and started tracking something else.
My only complaint is the track was so short and it was over with in a jiffy! We did not have a harness or proper lead, this was just to give it a try but I loved it and I am a natural as Mom thought. If all goes well, I will start tracking class in August and hopefully be able to get my TD (Tracking Dog) Title shortly after that. Then I can move on to further classes and titles. There is a lot of practice time involved and you need a lot of space to set up tracks, so that will be the hardest part for us. Mom and I are really excited to get started with tracking. Emma and I will both continue to do Nose Work and hopefully be competing together in that sport.
Just a reminder that I have a few giveaways going on right now:
- EarthRated poop bags or Frost Fingers gloves
- Win an Excalibur Dehydrator
- Free mobiPET tag to two winners