Our nose work weekend is over. There was an NW2 and NW3 Trial in Hudson, WI at North Hudson Elementary School, about an hour from our house on Saturday and Sunday. If you follow me on social media you may have heard about it as it happened. Bailie was the dog in white for the NW2 Trial on Saturday. She misunderstood the meaning of her job and came downstairs all dressed up in white Saturday morning!
Actually, the dog in white is the dog who is competing at the trial level for that day, but doesn’t have a spot in the trial. Bailie got to run all the element searches before the competitors to see how the hide placement worked. Depending on what the dog in white does, the CO (certifying official) may change the hide placement or make other adjustments. It was a fun little practice opportunity for Bailie who is looking forward to her NW2 Trial next month. Mom volunteered all day which gave her the opportunity to watch lots of searches.
I was lucky and got a last minute spot in the NW3 Trial on Sunday. The day started off with huge rain storms, then turned to hot and humid. I assumed my usual “nose work position” in the back of the SUV with my Kool Kollar, sun shade, and fan. My day was not the day we had hoped for, no title, but overall it was a good day and we learned a lot of things which will help us in our next attempt.
For anyone interested in knowing a bit more about my NW3 trial searches, the search map with all the details is above. The CO posts this at the end of the trial day. Note, only larger objects are drawn on the map. Interior #1, for example, was a library with shelves of books, stands of magazines, and more, all of which can have hides. For more information on why an NW3 trial is so difficult, you can check my post from May. I aced the container search, interior #1 and interior #3. I missed one of the hides in each of the other searches.
Wrapping up our nose work weekend:
- Mom learned I love cheese! Cheese may be the best reward for me and it doesn’t fall apart or anything so it is good for searches.
- Bailie and I are currently rocking container searches. Both of us knocked out the container searches with distractors with no problems at all. Containers have the lowest pass rate, so it is a good thing to do well there.
- Mental management has started to work. My mom managed to remain calm and keep her wits about her all day through it all. She even dozed off with me while we were waiting to search, and for the first time ever, she was able to eat her lunch. Usually she is too worked up to eat.
- With the exception of one slip up, Mom stuck to our goal. Our goal was to let me work, stay out of my way, don’t try to sell me on any hides, give me time, if I struggle, attempt to help me out as needed, and don’t let any mistakes throw us off course.
- We did not time out and Mom felt comfortable calling finished when there was still time left. In two of my three searches I failed, she knew in her gut we were leaving one hide behind, but I was no longer searching so she called it. In containers, we did one fast lap around the sixteen boxes and luggage pieces, I alerted once and she called it. She totally trusted me and we both felt good about it. I was the ninth fastest dog in that search which is huge for me.
- Our team work improved, and we know what we need to work on now.
- I may not be the fastest dog in the sport of nose work but we know there is plenty of time for me to find all the hides, I just need to work a bit harder and alert to all the hides so Mom can call them.
- The biggest lesson we learned was for Mom to be confident. She is understanding her feelings, how to handle them, that they are valid, what a good search feels like, what it feels like to know you left something uncalled. This is so good to know for our next trials!
- No title, but we did improve a lot with our score over my first NW3 Trial in May.
- I obviously knew about the second hide in two of the searches but decided not to find it. That has to change. In some ways, this trial I was the weak link, not Mom, but we will get it together the third time.
- The heat and humidity are not my strong suit, so when we got to vehicles I no longer wanted to search. I should have easily searched all four vehicles, but I found one hide and wanted to go back to our car.
- The mental management went out the window once on vehicles. Mom couldn’t let it go and had to talk me into a second hide because her gut said we needed to find one more. There was a second hide, but she pretty much told me to alert on the wrong car and we got a “no”. On the positive side, she did stay on her game and was cool as a cucumber in the next search.
- Bailie has an NW2 Trial in Toledo, OH in August. It will be a three day road trip, but we are putting our confidence in her abilities. Paws crossed she does well. We get to add a few states to our list on that trip.
- There are a couple NW3 trials, and an Exterior Element Trial coming up in our area in September and October. I’m hoping to get a spot in at least one of those events. I know I will get my NW3 Title, I just need another chance.
- We may also enter a trial in IA in November which is pretty much the end of the season until April or so in our area.