Lots of nose work lessons were learned last weekend on the farm in Iowa! Bailie, Mom, and I went to Olin, Iowa to the Double Shoe Ranch for some fun nose work trials, but what we left with was just one title, and a car full of lessons learned!
We traveled down with a couple of our nose work friends which was a lot of fun. Trials are always fun, but even more fun with friends! The Microtel was the dog friendly hotel we all booked, but after checking in, we understood the nature of the name! The hotel was simple, clean, and super comfy beds, but it was “micro”! Once Mom put up the kennels, the room was full. Her luggage was in the small hall to the bathroom. Lesson learned…only book a room at this chain if you won’t be spending much time in your room. It didn’t even have a chair or a desk, so Mom had to use her laptop on the bed.
Saturday morning it was off to the farm where carloads of unsuspecting participants were about to be thrust into nose work lessons and challenges they had never dreamed of! Looking back we have renamed the event an “Extreme Nose Work Trial”. It was not only cold, there were sustained winds of around 50 mph the entire day. The car was rocking as we sat in it waiting for our turns. So what nose work lessons did we learn?
- If the trial is being held on a farm, never assume it is NOT a working farm! Heavens, we had horses on the side of the parking lot! Take your dog to a farm before you sign up for such a trial. Take them to a farm several times!
- Practice in wind! If you see those TV weather people almost falling over while reporting in a hurricane, look for those conditions in your area and practice some exterior searches. Yes, you may actually have to search in those conditions…Bailie did!
- Find large machinery. Find dirty large machinery. Search it. Search it so your dog ignores the fun smells and finds the odor! Remember we visited the John Deere store a couple times? Many dogs were afraid of the large daunting tractors or were distracted by the nice smelling dirt and mud. Bailie and I both had no issues with the large, dirty vehicles because we have practiced on them a lot.
- Search on different surfaces, dirt, mud, gravel, pavement. Teach your dog not to pee on these surfaces while searching.
- Take your containers to all kinds of different indoor spaces to practice searches. Make sure no matter where the containers are, they are the most important thing for your dog to search.
- If you travel, try to keep your dog on their schedule. Make sure they get some good rest as sitting in the car all day is taxing for us.
- Work on stamina with your dog. One day of trialing is hard on a person and a dog. Sniffing is hard work for dogs! If you want to travel and trial for two whole days, make sure your dogs are up to the challenge.
How did we go wrong?
- Our schedule was off. We got in late, had dinner super late. Went to bed late.
- We didn’t sleep well, so we started the day tired.
- Mom didn’t realize the toll traveling takes on her and on us dogs. We have done two days of trials near home with no problem, but on the road it is a whole different can of worms. Bailie and I were spent from sitting in the car day in and day out, not to mention adding the stress of the searches in a complicated environment.
What were the positives?
- On the second day, Bailie did get her level one vehicle title L1V! She searched like a trooper through the horse dirt, machinery, and wind in all four of her searches. We are so proud of her! It is her first nose work title. Coincidentally, my first nose work title was also the L1V last May! She is following in my paw prints.
- Mom and Bailie have finally reached a point where they work well together. Mom has learned how Bailie likes to work and how to make it fun.
- All our training in odd and weird places and environments allowed Bailie to really work through all the tough obstacles of the farm.
- We learned Bailie is a trooper and when the element appeared to be impossible to Mom, Bailie was there to sniff out the odor. Sadly, she ran out of steam in her last search and didn’t get her NW1 title. She got the three searches most of the dogs failed, but couldn’t muster up the drive for the last, easy container search. Only 33% of entrants actually titled. The exterior search was the most difficult with a 49% pass rate, which Bailie was proudly part of!
Overall, despite missing out on the NW1 Title, and me pretty much blowing three of my four searches because I had had it with sitting in the car for two days, we had an awesome weekend! Our friends did great and got their NW1 titles and their L1V Titles. The tractor in the photo was the last vehicle Bailie had to search for her L1V Title. Even though there were failures, the nose work lessons learned far outweigh any missing titles! We had a great time, but not sure we would do it again…well maybe??? Failure usually motivates us to sit back, rethink, and go at it again with even more determination! We don’t like to be defeated!
We will be getting videos and photos of Bailie’s searches and will post some of those in another week or two.
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
Thank you for sharing your weekend and the important lessons learned. Congrats Bailie on the L1V title. You will get it!
It was a very interesting weekend, but a good one overall.
Ellen Shedlarz says
We are all very proud of you and your determination. I say enough. You are a winner in our eyes.
Bailie did an awesome job. We were pleasantly surprised.
Sparkle the PBGV says
Oh my goodness…the challenge was the challenge! Proud of the 3 of you, and congrats to Bailie. XOXO Sparkle
Bailie did amazing. We really had big doubts when we saw the conditions and locations of searches, but she applied herself.
SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy) says
Job well done – sounds like you learned many valuable lessons whether you titled or not.
Thankfully, we squeaked out one title, but the valuable lessons are worth a lot too.
Will (MarkingOurTerritory.com) says
What an awesome trip! You guys did great. And that shot of Bailie with her ribbon is priceless.
Mom already had it printed and hung it on the wall. It’s not often you can get a ribbon/title photo on a farm with horses behind you. It was really hard to get her to look at the camera because she was worried the horses might sneak up and grab her little furry self!
Congrats Bailie… and the best is that you and your mom are a super nose-team now… I agree the travel-thing can be sneaky… I always wanted to travel earlier so we have one day to recover and to relax… but the man on my side said pfffff…. and we ended eggs-hausted and tired…
We hate to waste time in a hotel, but we know better for next time. Bailie will hopefully get her title in May. We shall see.
Jan K says
Congratulations to Bailie and your Mom on Bailie’s first nosework title! I’d say considering all the things you had to learn this time, and the overall success rate, that you had a very good weekend.
Traveling and being off normal schedules really can be very exhausting, so to have some success in spite of all that, you should all be proud!
We are very proud of Bailie. With all the farm stuff like searching cars on a dirt horse arena floor, we didn’t think Bailie would do any searching, but she applied herself and proved she can do it.
Two French Bulldogs says
Awesome opportunity to travel around and win some medals
Lily & Edward
We’re hoping to get into some more local trials this season so we don’t have the expense of travel, but we will see.
M. K. Clinton says
We are so proud of y’all! Learning lessons the hard way is the best way to learn them. We would have been smelling the cows and horses because we have never seen either before. #DeprivedDogs LOL!
Bailie was born in the country, so she may have been exposed to such smells as a tiny pup, and I had puppy school on a farm, but it has been a while. Bailie did awesome working in the tough environment.
karen Meldrum says
Go Bailey!!! Emma, you are still ahead of the game and look at all you learned! Now you are better prepared for the next run/trial!!
I was in one of my moods because I didn’t get to search enough, so I refused to do the work I needed to do. Bailie, on the other paw, did amazing. We are super proud of her!
2 Brown Dawgs says
It is hard when you travel for tests. We have had our share of hard times at tests away from home. Eventually you figure out what works best. Congrats to Bailey on her title!
I think Mom is starting to figure it out. This weekend was super fun, but also super hard. The main thing is we all learned a lot!
Hey, it’s all about learning! Way to go Bailie, you sure did good sweetie girl!
It is constant learning which keeps us on our toes all the time.
We are with Brian…you went, you learned the positives and the challenge. Now you can adjust accordingly!
Congrats to Bailie!!
Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo
At first it was tough not getting the big title, but then with a bit of time, we were thrilled at the job Bailie did, and the title she did earn. It was a great weekend, even if it was very difficult.
My Golden Life says
Considering all the obstacles, I’d say you all did a great job! And congrats to Bailie on her first title! That’s awesome!
It was a tough weekend, but a wonderful one too. We’re proud of Bailie.
Dolly the Doxie says
Well this pretty much puts the kabash on us doing any more nose work training! Sorry it was such as challenge but hopefully it will be worth it with all that you learned. Love Dolly
You should keep working on it. If anything it motivates us to get it right next time. Nose work isn’t a simple sport, but it is a ton of fun. We will be doing trials in the cities here the rest of the season, so more normal places, but it is good to get out and try new things.
Tails Around the Ranch says
Congrats to all for persevering despite tiny accommodations and long drives. Well done. 🙂
One title and a car load of experience!
Groovy Goldendoodles says
Nothing is ever in vain, I’m sure you learned lots and looks like you had a good time. Love those travel beds, I might have to ask your Mom where she got them from.
We ordered them from Chewy.com, of course. The come in all different sizes and are so awesome to travel with. We take them to class with us, when we visit friends, just wonderful and so lightweight for carrying around. You can collapse them or set them up in just seconds.