Monday was a very exciting day for me and Mom as we were entered in our first nose work trial. Not only was it our first one, it was the first ever nose work trial to be held in Minnesota! If you have read my other nose work posts, you would know I planned on competing perhaps early next year as they say a dog needs to work with an instructor and odor for at least a year before going to a trial. Well, my nose has been really great lately, and my instructor said I could give the trial a shot if I wanted to even though I have only been working with odor for six months. Mom and I jumped at the chance.
It was two days of nose work 1 trials with a total of 61 dogs, 31 on Sunday, 30 on Monday. On Sunday, Mom volunteered which helped her get a feel for what the competition would be like. On Monday we were up. The trial was held at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena, so we had no idea what kind of search areas may be set up. This was only a nose work 1 trial meaning there were four searches: interior, exterior, containers, and vehicles. The only odor was birch, and each search had only one hide. In order to get an NW1 title a dog needs to pass all four searches.
We arrived just after 9am and checked in. They had us divided into two groups and I was the first dog in the second group. The program was divided into morning and afternoon sessions, each with two searches in succession. In the meantime, when other dogs were “up”, we had to stay in our car. Nose work is a sport for all dogs and a team sport between dog and handler. No contact with other dogs is allowed.
A nose work trial is also a very secretive sport as we are all searching for a hide. There are 30 of us searching for the same hide in the same place, one at a time. It is key that no competitor sees where the hides are located and that no one discusses the locations after their turn. For this reason, no photos or videos are allowed. I could take a couple shots like the one above from the parking lot, but that was it. When your number is called you get out and go potty. Potty in a search area is an automatic fail. After potty, most dogs make a run or two through the practice boxes to get us thinking nose work. When called again, you move to the first staging area, then you are called again and moved to a second area before being taken to the first search area. I was so excited to get to work each of my turns, I could hardly stand still. Nose work is so much fun!
We were at the nose work trial for just over six hours and I spent the majority of the time in my car, but that was fine with me. At times I got bored, but then Mom would hang out with me and we would talk and snuggle. The competition uses a lot of brain power on the part of the dog, so we need to mostly rest up between our runs. I think Mom may have been more tired out than I was as she seemed a bit nervous for some reason. Mom and I work closely paw in hand…I find the hide and let her know, and she calls alert when she believes I have signaled I found it.
So, how did I do? Mom was over the moon in the morning. I found the first two hides in the interior and exterior searches. I was so pumped up I was running and jumping all the way back to the car. In the afternoon my group was first, so I was the first dog up. Containers were first and I nailed it. All I needed was the vehicle hide and I had my NW1 title. Sadly, it was not to be. Pressure was on, I was a bit distracted, and it was real windy. I also sometime signal when I find some odor pooled in an area rather than going for the stronger scent at the actual hide. I signaled Mom twice at the tail light, so she called alert, but the hide was actually about 18 inches away on the trailer hitch. We were still totally proud to have passed three of the four searches after only doing nose work for such a short time. Of the 61 dogs on the two days of competition, 31 got their NW1 titles, so I feel pretty good about my performance as a newbie.
It was a great experience and Mom knows a lot about what we need to work on to do better next time. The only big bummer is we don’t know when the next trial will be. We figure it will be at least spring before we can try again, but we have our goals. Next week Bailie and I are back in nose work class, and we will continue to hone our skills. Mom and I had a fabulous and fun day together and that is the most important thing. A huge thank you to Active Dog Sports Training for a wonderful experience!
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M. K. Clinton says
That is really great! You’ll pass all four next time. We are very proud of you! ♥
We are still a bit sad about it, but it was a valiant effort and we did better than we had thought we might.
Reilly and Denny says
good Job Emma – 3 out 4 was pawsome and we know you will just keep getting better and better at it
Practice makes perfect, and we are determined.
Molly The Wally says
Well done Emma 3 is brilliant and next time it will be a full house we know it. Have a fabulous Friday.
Best wishes Molly
I sure hope so. The stress of the whole thing is a real killer!
What an awesome For sure you will get them all next time…we just know it!! Happy Friday!!
Mom and I are proud we did so well our first time out and so early on, hopefully next time we will get the title.
Diane Silver (@ToDogWithLove) says
Wow Emma, you did great! That wind can be really pesky… blowing scents all over the place. Well done!
Diane and Rocco
I was hoping to be drowning in ribbons like Rocco, but then again I would have only gotten one ribbon. Next time we will get them all.
Well done you, such a brilliant start!
Thank you. I did real well for how long I have been practicing odor.
Hawk aka BrownDog says
That’s impressive! You go Emma!
Are y’all gettin’ or gonna get snow there today? My Human saw pics of snow in one of the Dakotas, and we wondered if y’all would get it too.
Y’all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog
It is pretty cold for this time of year and tonight we have frost warnings. We may have to turn on the heat as it is only 64 in the house. Brrr…as much as we love snow, we don’t really want any for another two months or so.
Sparkle the PBGV says
Way to go, Emma! You were so very close on your final find. That was a BIG yawn in your 1st picture, and I bet you slept well. XOXO Sparkle the PBGV
Mom and I were exhausted, and Bailie was worn out from spending over 8 hours at daycare. We were in bed at 9!
Sheila Morris says
You are a beacon of light and due diligence to the rest of us who wander aimlessly in the darkness of lethargy and laziness, and we love you for it. 🙂
The Red Man
I couldn’t be lazy even if I wanted to with my mom. She is always doing stuff with us, a highly motivated individual I guess.
SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy) says
Way to go Emma – I think three out of four on your first try is great. If it wasn’t food, I’m not sure Jack could get any. Well done, and I bet you’ll pass next time!
You spend the entire first nose work course searching for food and learn that if you find the food, you get more food, then you add odor with a treat and you get more treats if you find that. Finally, we search for just the odor and get treats, so it is a natural progression of food 😉 Pay for the work you know.
Will and Eko says
Awesome job! You guys have come far in a short amount of time. Keep up the great work.
We are taking a few days off but then back to searching and class starts again next week. We love it, so we will continue for sure.
Maria Sadowski says
You’ve come so far in such a short time, you’ll be a star! Great job!
I was so close to the title, but we are continuing our quest and I know I will get it next time!
Frankie and Ernie says
EXCELLENT EMMA… We are VERY MUCH PROUD of the job you did.
Thank you guys! I had a great time, bummer I messed up the last one, but I’m a newbie and will try again.
Bravo Emma I think that was amazingly good!
I know I impressed Mom, she told me so many times. Next time we will get all four.
How awesome!! it sounds like you did very well for your first try.
I was pretty impressive, but still sad about not getting my title. Mom and I are working through learning to deal with failure, but together we will pass next time.
WOW! you did a great job. WOW. I wish they let you video. I bet it was fun to watch. Good Job Emma. And it sounds like it wasn’t mom’s fault. Thank heavens. We were worried about her. Great teamwork. Have a great Friday, sleep off your birthday hangover!! Your doodle friend, Dash
Thank you, I was proud of my work and Mom did a pawsome job of reading me. We both accept half of the blame for missing the fourth element. I signaled too early, but she didn’t challenge me enough to keep moving. Next time we will nail it. The NACSW tapes and takes photos, so if we find them online, we will share. Being a secret where the hides are, it is clear why we can’t take photos or videos.
Congratulations! Even though you didn’t get your title, it sounds like you did a great job! I bet your mom is very proud of you!
Mom is real proud, but sad for me because I did so well and got nothing. We will be trying again for sure.
Congratulations, Emma! I’m sure the next trail brings you 4out 4! I’m a little proud now that a french breed did such a great job!
I aim to get all four next time. It will most likely be a while, so I have lots of time to practice my skills and learn from my mistake.
It's Dog or Nothing says
Wow! Congrats on such an excellent job, Emma! That’s quite an accomplishment for being so new to the sport. Keep practicing and you’ll get them all next time!
Thank you. We are going to keep practicing and attending classes, so we can pass next time.
Congratulations Emma! Hi paw I say that was a very successful first outing! I hope your mom is very proud of you and herself! Love Dolly
Mom is super proud of the work I did. I tried to fool her a couple times but she didn’t fall for it, unfortunately we missed the last one, but we will get all four next time.
Talent Hounds says
Emma you did awesome! Love the “giveaway” photo too 🙂
Thank you! I’m kind of the diva type, you know. I think it is the British in my genes.
karen Meldrum says
Emma, that was awesome!!! You are a star in our book! I appreciated all the arrows on the photos and the descriptions. This is a lot like a barn hunt that I did this spring – as far a blinds and one dog at a time and all those other rules that Mom had a lot of trouble with and we weren’t prepared for. I spent a lot of time in the car or in my crate – boring! But we flunked ( actually we got DQ’d ( NOT DAIRY QUEEN’ed _ that would have been more fun) because I beat mom to the rat and hiked my leg on it – nobody told us that was a no-no. Sounds like you had a lot more fun than we did.
Oh you boys and leg lifting! It is a huge no no in nose work. Just an fyi, if you ever plan to do nose work, don’t do barn hunts. We had class with a woman that was trying to do both and her dog could no longer do nose work. Nose work trains us to search only for 1-3 of the odors, and we need to ignore the critter smells. She quit barn hunts and spent three months getting him back on track. Good you clarified DQ’ed or I might start trying to get DQ’ed myself if it was the yummy meaning! I had an absolute blast and can’t wait to try again. It really bolstered my confidence and Mom and I bonded a lot too.
Jan K says
It sounds like it was an enjoyable and interesting experience. I’m glad that you did so well, Emma, great job by both you and your Mom! I’m sure you would have loved to get all 4, but I think you should be proud of how you did, especially since you are starting with the trials earlier than others do. I hope you don’t have to wait too long for your next chance.
We started practicing again this morning and Mom says I have newfound confidence, whatever that means. We will work hard until we get another shot at it.
Great work Emma, you and your mom did such a good job. I would’ve been soo nervous, just like your mom. I was surprised the dogs aren’t allowed to go potty while they are searching. Do some dogs have trouble with that? I feel like Ace would want to pee on things if the search area were out in the grass or near bushes! Although, maybe he wouldn’t because he’d be so focused on the work.
Male dogs have lots of issues with that. Peeing in the search area is bad because it causes a huge distraction for the other dogs. You always potty before and after a search, so there is no need to go “in” the search area. Males just have to learn to suppress that marking instinct for a few minutes while they look for the hide. Some boys have peed on actual containers and stuff, that is really bad as they cannot be used further and must be replaced. Lots of stuff to train for.
Tenacious Little Terrier says
Sounds like you did a great job for your first time. Next time, you’ll nail it! Are nosework trials rare there? We seem to have them pretty often.
The sport started on the east and west coasts and worked their way to the middle of the country. It has only been offered in MN for a couple years, so trials and stuff are still rare but it is growing. Maybe I need to come visit you and take my NW1 trial next time!
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
So pawroud!!!! Great job!!!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
Thank you, I did pretty well considering I’m a newbie.
What an awesome job you did, Emma! You got 3/4 of the work done, with only 1/2 the training. I’m sure you’ll get your title next time! I had no idea so much waiting would be involved, but it makes sense that they wouldn’t want the dogs or humans interacting and giving things away. Did they have anywhere to get food or drinks during all that waiting?
No food or drinks are provided for competitors, just staff and volunteers, but we knew ahead of time so we brought our own or you could leave at lunch and go get something.
Jen Jelly says
Such an awesome job, 3 is great 🙂 For your fist time that’s amazing. You guys should both be very proud.
Mom is super proud of me and I think she did pretty well too.
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
That is a awesome job for your first time! You gals rocked. You will get it next time. Now will you need to do all four searches at once again for the title?
That is the biggest bummer. It is all or nothing, so every time we try we have to pass all four again and they will always be different, but we have time now to work on it so hopefully next time we will make it.
Gracie Lu Shih Tzu says
That sounds super fun Emma. Good luck next time. I am so impressed that you are such a well trained doggie! Hugs.
Thank you! Haven’t heard from you or your blog in a long time. Hope you are doing well!
You did great Emma! We’re sure you will nail your tests next time.
Millie & Walter
Mom was a bit bummed because I was so happy and did so well, but got nothing, but we are ready to work harder and try again.
Good job Emma. With a little more experience, you’ll nail your nw1.
I sure hope so, since I was so very close!
Ann "Paws" Staub says
That is pawsome Emma! Congrats to you! It’s too bad that you can’t watch the other dogs while they do their searches, but it does make sense.
Hopefully next time with more practice I will get my title, but I am proud of the job I did.
Nature by Dawn says
3 out of 4 is fantastic, especially for a newbie!!! I bet your mamma is so proud 🙂
We are both really proud. After the morning round I was running around with my head and tail up, prancing about because I knew I did so well. It was pawsome!
2 Brown Dawgs says
Congrats on doing so well at your first test. I am sure you will do it next time.
I think the thing I would not like about nose work is that you have to wait so long in the car and not be able to talk about the test. I kind of like the camaraderie of the show/hunt test experiences where you can laugh at how your dog does or discuss the test set-up and watch how other dogs do.
Thank you. You can talk about it a little bit, but not much. Even if you are chatting with someone else that has finished, you can’t talk about specifics because you never know if someone will overhear you. It is like playing hide and seek, if you spill the beans, it ruins it for the others. It isn’t that bad once you get used to it and the day went pretty fast really.
Groovy Goldendoodles says
I love that sign, “have fun and remember to breathe.” Emma I believe you are a true champion already. Three scents after only 6 months, come on, that’s Doodle*tastic if you ask me. Congratulations girlfriend – nose job well done 🙂
Thank you. Mom and I are really proud of my performance and hope to get my title on my next try. It was a wonderful experience and I enjoyed myself so much!
Alfie Entlebucher (@AlfieEntle) says
Roooo Emma – that sounds like such a pawsome experience. Bummer you missed that last vehicle hide – but I think you were doing just totally pawsome.
I actually have a question for you. When in your training did you introduce odor as opposed to just hunting for treats? My instructor says we should wait until after a year (!) but some of my Entle pals who are also doing nosework say odor should be introduced much sooner than that. Whatcha think? Should I tell the instructor to hurry up already, or should I be patient? *waggy tail*
Originally the method of introducing odor after a year was standard, but my instructors say it has been modified and we actually got our first sniff of birch at the end of our Nose Work 1 class, so after 6 weeks. Nose work 2 was birch with treats then only birch and at the end Anise was mixed in. By the end of Nose Work 3, we also had Clove introduced. The transition was easy for all the dogs in class. Once we learn an odor, the next odor is just mixed with the first one and we pick up on it fast. I first “met” birch the beginning of March and passed my birch ORT May 19, Anise July 2. I will do clove the next time there is an ORT in the area which won’t be most likely until spring. I would get on odor at this point if I were you. I mean I only started nose work in January, birch in March and almost got my first title in September. There is no reason to wait. I will have some trial photos from the trial photographer on the blog this Thursday if you want to see me “in action” on exteriors.
Alfie Entlebucher (@AlfieEntle) says
Roooo thank you Emma – I knew I should start sniffing for odors sooner rather than later *waggy tail*. I will woof at my instructor and let her know!
Can’t wait to see your photos! I bet they will be totally pawsome, then again you always look super cute.
Thanks Alfie. I’m sure different schools and teachers do nose work differently, but having started odor early and having no problems, I don’t see any reason to wait a whole year!
I’m sure you can only get better at it! If it’s in a grassy area, I’m quite sure Donna will fail.. she is sure to sniff and mark on grass… – – heehee
Uh oh, no marking, that is a boy problem mostly!