Bailie and I have been attending an advanced nose work class for a couple months now. Some of our classmates already have their nose work 1 title, some are just doing nose work for fun. I thought I would bark a bit about nose work in general and let you know what we do to practice and really polish up our skills. Since we are in an advanced nose work class, we work with birch, anise, and clove. They are in our hides either by themselves or in combinations.
The odors we use are all on Q-Tips and we keep them in jars. For our nose work 1 title, we only need to find birch, but we continue to work with all three as we need to recognize them all eventually. The Q-Tips are placed often in metal containers with 2 per container. These containers can sit on things, be stuck to things or used with magnets to hang in places.
We also use a straw type thing to hide the odors. This tubing comes in a long piece which Mom cuts into smaller pieces and hides the Q-Tips inside. These “straws” are then fixed with a sticky substance wherever the hide is.
Our supplies are really pretty simple, odor, containers and straws. Remember there are 4 types of searches, interior, exterior, container, and vehicle. Yes, we do search outside in the winter as well. The odor travels differently in the cold, so we need to work on that as well. In our advance class we have been working really hard on hard to access or inaccessible hides. Every dog has issues with something. I have trouble making myself go under things. Bailie doesn’t like to work too hard and often gives up too early. Each class is challenging and we are totally worn out after class.
In the above video, the first part is my search. There were four hides and the entire search took 3 1/2 minutes. I edited it down a bit to show you how hard I was working to find the one hide that is under the middle chair in the middle of the seat. This is where I have trouble figuring out how to get myself under there by the hide. Even though I didn’t find it exactly, I really worked hard to get pretty close to it. Interior searches can also be done off leash. Off leash is challenging because it is harder to control us for the handler. Bailie demonstrates a quick off leash interior search and she does find the hide. In both videos you can see how we alert Mom when we find the odor. Note we always get rewarded at the actual hide so we associate the pay with the job done. We also get high value soft rewards as it is not allowed to leave crumbs or pieces behind as they “contaminate” the search area and would cause you to get a fault in competitions.
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