Distractions and distractors are a big part of nose work. You may remember I received my NW1 Title in nose work back in July which means I’m now working towards my NW2 Title. There are several differences with NW2, but a few on them which I have been really working on have to do with container searches. In NW1, containers are boxes with one containing a birch odor. In NW2, containers can be boxes, luggage, cans, bins, any container which holds odor, there can be more than one container with odor (they will tell you how many hides there are, though), the odor can be birch, anise, or a combination of the two, and there can be distractors in some containers.
Distractions and distractors are two separate things. Distractions are always present in any search, sometimes more prevalent than others. We do a lot of searching in new areas with all kinds of things to get us familiar with many different distractions. The area above was a search area we recently worked.
I worked the area with the wooden crate pretty quickly and found the hide. Some of the distractions here are the busy road just to the one side, which you can’t really see on the photo, all the smells from the dirt and supplies, and wind since it is an open area.
I search and find hides in wheels quite often, but this was a bit more tricky with all the articles under and around the trailer, as well as having to go between the two trailers into more tight space. All the stuff and odd spaces are distractions, but I managed to stay pretty focused.
My final search at the construction site was the machinery. Imagine all the smells from the earth, critters, humans, etc, on these machines! Aside from the busy road, it was a pretty quiet area, but we also practice in areas with heavy airplane traffic overhead, or near train tracks with trains going by. A dog needs to adapt to any environment, and search.
On a side note, this area was a dirty mess with all the construction and rainfall. We love our 4Knines seat protector (this is an affiliate link. I may receive a small commission if you purchase a product using this link.) as it kept the entire dirty mess contained. When we got home, Mom just shook out the cover, wiped it off with a damp cloth and it was good as new! If you have active outdoor dogs, this is a great investment!
Now for distractors. A distractor is placed in a container and can be food, toys, anything which may interest a dog. The trick is for the dog to ignore it and alert on the hide(s) only, and for the human to tell the difference between a dog trying to alert on a distractor vs. the real hide. My search in the video has one hide in the purple backpack, and two distractors, my favorite stuffie, Bunny, and some wet dog food. Sorry it is a long video, but it was hot and sunny and I was getting tired. Note how I play around more when it is a distractor than I do when it is the actual hide. I’ve been working with distractors for over a year now, it is something best worked on with an instructor in the beginning. My search also had distractions including some flying bugs, the neighbor kids out playing and making noise, and dogs outside two houses down.
In conclusion, if you are going to compete in nose work, distractions and distractors will be something to work on. Try to have as many distractions as you can find when you practice nose work no matter what level. Always remember safety first when choosing interesting locations, and always, always, have 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!