Last weekend was the first NW3 Trial (Nose Work 3) for me and Mom. It didn’t really go as planned for many reasons, but it was a fun time and a great learning experience. We are ready to give it another shot when we can get a spot in another trial! A big congratulations to Bailie and her Purple Team who got their NW1 Title on Saturday. She will be posting about that in a week or two. I’ve got my NW1 & 2 Titles and a couple Element Titles, so what makes the NW3 Trial so special?
For those who are not involved in nose work, I’ll give you a quick run down of the four trial levels, in a very general format. You can read more about each level by clicking on the links.
- NW1 – entry level, searching for only the birch odor, four searches (one in each element), one hide in each search, each search has a time limit. Find all four hides correctly in the allotted time, and you have earned an NW1 Title. In all searches, if you incorrectly alert on a hide, or hear a no, you are done with that search.
- NW2 – second level, now searching for birch and anise, either on their own or combined, five searches, the four elements with a second search in an interior element, the container search can be things other than boxes and can have distractors hidden in a container or two, one to two hides in each search, each search has a time limit, and you are supposed to say “finish” when you have found the hides. Find all the hides correctly in the allotted time, and you have earned an NW2 Title.
- NW3 – third level, now searching for birch, anise, and clove, either on their own or in a combination, six searches, the interior element is made up of three searches, containers can have distractors, the exterior, vehicle, and container searches can have 1-3 hides, the interior searches can have 0-3, but only one of the three can have 0, you do not know how many hides are in each search, meaning you have to find them and know when you are done in that search, the searches are timed and you do need to state “finish” before the time is up.
- Elite – we don’t know much about this level, but it is the top level. In order to reach Elite, you need to earn three NW3 Titles.
I was chilled as always. I don’t get my furs tied in a knot because I have the nose that knows. I’ve got a comfy place to nap, my fan, water, and treats if needed. Mom is the one with the issues on Team Red!
What makes NW3 so hard is the unknown. It is one thing to search a few vehicles being told you are looking for one or two hides, but supposing you have four vehicles, 1-3 hides and 3:30 to find what you can find, and don’t forget to call finish. That was exactly what Mom and I were up for in our first NW3 search on Sunday. I’m also not a fast dog, did you see how she was racing around, practically dragging me along? At one point I actually jog a bit. I prefer to take my time and make sure I have covered everything, which means Mom really has to keep the time limit in her mind. Take a look at my vehicle search video. See if you notice anything missing. The missing actions are what caused Mom’s tailspin after my search.
A few other notes about the search video. The judge was a K9 detection dog handler for 17 years so he knows about dogs and searching. The wind creates lots of challenges causing the odor to blow around which is why I sometimes am looking on the other side of a vehicle from where a hide actually is. The second car Mom brought me back to at the very end had some odor from the hide on the third car, and I had picked it up. I had shown interest earlier, which makes it a good idea to revisit the area one more time to be sure there is no actual hide there. Sometimes a dog will find the hide right away, sometimes we “bracket” the area sniffing out the boundaries and following our noses to the actual source.
The first search was awesome. Mom was confident, I worked hard to find hides, we found two and when the thirty second warning came, we confidently called “finish” because I didn’t seem to find any other hides. What was missing? Treats! Every time a dog finds a hide, they get a reward. Mom had a big pocketful of chicken, but with all the things going on, she just forgot to feed me, and didn’t realize it until the search was over! Really??? Do I look like a dog who would work for free? Lucky for Team Red, I kept working even without being rewarded. All was good until we finished and Mom realized she had forgotten to reward me. It sent her into a nervous downward spiral from which she was unable to recover.
The next search was bad, we got nothing because even though I showed her the hide once, she didn’t call it, and the rest of the day only got more confusing. Mom was calling alert where I didn’t find odor, she didn’t call alert when I did find odor, she forgot to reward me again too. Let’s say, at the last search, I was so confused, I really didn’t know what to do because our team was no longer working as it should.
Doing an entire NW3 Trial was amazing, super fun, and such a great learning experience! Having done it once, the next time should go a bit better. We are proud to at least have nailed the vehicles! I’m sending my mom to a mental management seminar this weekend. Trust me, she really needs it. She tries to just rely on me and follow my lead, but if her head gets off track, we are in trouble. Hopefully, this seminar will help us in future trials. No matter what, Mom and I had a great day with each other, friends, and beautiful weather. Titles are big for us because we are both really competitive, but they are not everything!
***Just a quick side note. Nose work isn’t a spectator sport. The best way to learn about the sport and see how it really works is to volunteer to help out at a trial. You can volunteer for a half or full day. We have a trial coming up on June 4 & 5 here in the Twin Cities. If you are interested in learning more about nose work, sign up to volunteer! An added bonus, I will be competing the afternoon of the 4th and the morning of the 5th. You could have a chance to see me in the furs working my searches!
Congrats on your fabulous NW3 vehicle search Emma!
Thanks. Slow and methodical, but that is my game. Love the video, and crack up when I hear the camera moving 😉
that was interesting to watch… I had my 2 cents on the beetle… beetles can sure have a bug, right? I bet the next event will end with a super happy Emma and a superhappy mom (and treats!) Congrats to Basilie for her NW1 title!!! was that a berd who made this rattling noises in your video?
I think it was the video person rotating the camera on the tripod. It’s pretty funny!
Reilly-Denny Cowspotdogs says
you will get there soon enough – and then you will have a super sleuth nose 🙂
I know we will. For mom and I, a failure only gives us more drive to do it next time. We are both optimists, so bring it on again!
Genevieve Petrillo says
Congratulations on giving it your best, most skilled shot. I think ALL moms should be required to have mental management – and not just for Nose Work. Just sayin’.
Love and licks,
You’ve got a real good point there. They do go off into the deep end now and then just in daily life!
We think the most important thing is that you and your Mama got to spend some quality time learning together!!
Dory, Bilbo, Jakey & Arty
It was a great experience, next time maybe we can title. We both love the sport and like to “win”.
SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy) says
Sounds like your mom needs some training.
She does need to get a grip on those nerves! Hopefully this weekend she will learn a lot in her seminar I’m sending her to.
Ellen Shedlarz says
This was incredibly interesting. Thanks for taking the time to post it all. I am confident that Mom will learn and you will pass next time.
Glad you enjoyed it. On the surface people who are not in the sport can’t really understand why it is difficult. It is a lot of training and learning to work as a dog/human team, but it is also so much fun!
Jan K says
That definitely sounds so challenging to not know how many finds there are. I watched the video before I read the text below, and I did notice that you weren’t getting treats! I had wondered if I was mistaken as to when you alerted.
I know I will be the weak link if Luke and I ever do this. I would be SO nervous….you dogs are lucky to not have to worry about that, and to just do your thing!
You and your Mom always learn a lot your first time and I’m sure you will get it next time.
We are ready to try again, we just have to get into a trial. I still can’t believe she had a pocket full of chicken and didn’t remember to give it to me! Remember too, if you and Luke start nose work, you don’t have to compete. A lot of people do it just for fun, but we like the competition part.
I think you’re amazing and you will be Elite before you know it!
Thank you, but getting to elite is pretty tough. We will keep trying to get our first NW3 under our furs first!
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
awe sorry about the forgotten treats. You two will get there.
I was rather baffled as she has never ever not treated me in nose work, but what’s a dog to do? I guess I could have jumped at her pocket, but I’m too polite to do that.
It looked like you were doing a good job Emma. Not knowing how many finds there are seems like it would be more difficult. I’m sure you will do much better for the next one.
The unknown is really the killer in this level, plus my being a slower dog, liking to take my time to check everything makes it a bit tougher too.
Hawk aka BrownDog says
Do you have a Union rep, Emma? You need one if you aren’t getting paid for work done. Isn’t that against the law? Not gettin’ paid.
Y’all come on by,
Hawk aka BrownDog
It was pretty bad. I was so shocked and in disbelief, I just kept on working. I will see that it never happens again.
My Golden Life says
I know you and Mom will get there on your next try, Emma! Congrats to Bailie on her NW1 title!!
We are pretty hopeful we will get it next time. Now we just need to get a spot in a trial so we can give it another try. They are hard to get into.
Karen Meldrum says
keep plugging away!
Oh, we are ready for another challenge!
Dolly the Doxie says
I think you guys need to pat each other on the back! It was a huge accomplishment to get this far and you should be very proud. Now it’s time to regroup, list your lessons learned and back to practice! Good luck! Love Dolly PeeS: Mom could never do this she thought it would be so fun for us!
You guys could do it, bummer you aren’t going to give it a shot. It’s so fun.
Tails Around the Ranch says
Keep sniffing away at it and building up the experience. ღ
We will. We are more determined than ever!
BJ Pup says
mom didn’t seem tp be anxious and the management will still help.
She was a mess after the vehicle search, but we learned a lot and are ready to give it another try when we get a trial spot.
M. K. Clinton says
It is a learning experience for both of you. Y’all make a great team so I know it will all work out. ♥ P.S. We are being held captive at a pet resort until tomorrow. Mom and Dad went to a wedding out of state. HELP! LOL!LOL!
Oh no! That is awful! I’ve never been stuck in a pet resort, thankfully. Hope they are back soon. How rude of them!
Groovy Goldendoodles says
Congratulations! So far the only nose work Jaxson seems to enjoy is when he’s clam digging at the beach! #sillydoodle
I bet if he took some classes he would be real good at my kind of nose work.
2 Brown Dawgs says
It did not take long for the brown dawgs to figure out that the humans are usually the weak links at tests. lol But seriously, there is so much to remember and if your trials are anything like our hunt tests, there is a learning curve and you really have to test to learn.
I think our tests are a bit less for the human as it is completely up to the dog to find the odor or article in tracking. Humans can help guide us or support us, but we have to do all the work with our noses.
Jodi Stone says
It always come down to handler error, doesn’t it. I hope Mom will be able to regroup and be prepared for the next one. Maybe it’s good to get this one and it’s first time nerves out of the way.
Sending her to mental management class was a good thing. I’ll have more on that tomorrow, but she learned a lot. Now we need a new trial spot. There are usually 100+ on the wait list, so it’s tough to get in.