One year ago this week, Bailie and I started our nose work adventure. Hard to believe how far we’ve come in one year! This photo was taken at our very first class. We were both clueless as to what we would be learning to do, and so was Mom. With a good year under our furs, we have the goal of getting some titles this year. Bailie and I are both on the first level of competition and hope to have our NW1 titles at some point this year. There are also element specialty trials we can title in and we will be working on those as well. Each of the four elements has their own title. The element competition is a bit different from the complete NW1 title as you can try for just one, two, three or all four elements and title in each one individually. I also hope to complete my ORT for clove, and Bailie wants to get her anise and clove done. It looks like we will be getting started with competition sometime between March and May if we can get spots. There are almost always more dogs than spots, but we will try until we get in.
Homework is a big part of nose work. We work on our homework 2-3 days a week plus one class a week. Nose work is an indoor/outdoor sport and is also done outside in the winter. It is important to practice outside as odor behaves differently in below freezing temperatures and snow. The photo above is a search I did the other day of a bike rack. The metal container with odor was in the middle by the arrow, with the scent openings pointing to the ground. Odor doesn’t travel much at all in the cold, so it took me a little bit to find it. The top row, left to right, is my search, the big photo is my alert signal to Mom.
Bailie did a search of an entry way at the school we were practicing at. It is a good place to go on the weekends as there are tons of places to search and no one is around to bother us. The hide is up high, but she did pick up the odor on the ground and in some of the crevices it traveled through. Odor seems to travel along metal pretty well in the cold.
This next search is a real hard one for dogs because trash cans are full of smells. This particular one was half full with food wrappers. We have to learn to distinguish between the odor we “get paid for” and odors we happen to like. Sometimes we use distractions like open cans of cat food, fast food, and other tasty things. We are pretty good about sniffing and moving on, but it is tough. Mom left the hide out on the trash can for about fifteen minutes before I started my search, so the odor did travel some. The arrow shows the hide location. I’m off on my search.
Bailie and I each did four searches that day with a total of nine hides. When we finish, we always need a good nap as all the mental work tires us out, but we love it. Nose work is such a fun sport! I’m so happy Mom got me into it! I recommend it for all my friends, but I really suggest you take a class on it if you can. We will continue to take classes as long as we do nose work as there is always something new to learn, it is not as simple as it looks, and classes are fun. A class will get you and your dog off on the right paw with a lot of important things you should know even if you are only going to search “just for fun”.
I’m co hosting the FitDog Friday Blog Hop with SlimDoggy, and To Dog With Love! Please join us on Fridays to share your fitness stories with others, find new ways to have fun, and new fitness ideas too! Tell your friends to stop by as well – fit dogs are healthier, happier dogs!