Most people around here think Afton Alps is for skiing and snowboarding, but we know better! It is also a great place for nose work and getting titles! Back in July 2015, I earned my NW1 Title at Afton Alps. Last weekend both Madison and Bailie competed there and Bailie finally earned her NW2 Title!
My trial was in the summer. It was almost one hundred degrees which made it really tough. Bailie had the other end of the spectrum. It had snowed, and the temperature was only around thirty degrees. Remember, at a nose work trial, you stay in your car all day unless you are searching, so for this trial, staying warm was the challenge!
Team purple was number twenty on the run order for the day. At this level, they start two groups at the same time. The second group started with seventeen, which made twenty seem more like four! Bailie wore her usual purple gear and Mom dressed in her purple sweater and vest so to match. Her motto is: It isn’t just what you do, it’s how you look doing it.
Bailie has tried to pass her NW2 five different times. Sometimes she was so close, and others, she was way off. For some reason, Bailie won’t work in heat and three of her five tries were on super hot days making it really tough for Mom to get Bailie to work. The weather last weekend was much better! As a secret weapon, Mom brought along Prime Rib for rewards. Whenever Bailie found a hide, she got a couple pieces of Prime Rib. Did I mention, Bailie loves Prime Rib, more than any other type of steak.
Mom has a fear of vehicle searches, so when she realized vehicles were going to be their first search, she thought to herself, enough! We have to get this and we can get this. It was one hide, three vehicles to search in three minutes. Bailie took off following the scent, unfortunately, it was not a nose work scent. After bypassing all the vehicles, Mom reeled her in and made her start doing nose work. Once Bailie was on task, she did well and found the hide.
From vehicles, team purple went right inside to do containers. There were eleven containers with two having hides and two having distractors. One distractor was a bagel, one a tennis ball. The location of the distractors and what they are is also not known to the handler until after the trial. Bailie did well, but watching the video, Mom doesn’t know how she was able to read Bailie correctly. Knowing your dog is so important and in the actual search, she said it was easy to read Bailie on the distractor vs. the real odor. They passed this search too.
After containers they had some down time before searching interiors in the Meadows Chalet. There were two searches for interiors, the first with one hide, and the second with three. No photo or video service is allowed in interiors as the spaces are often to crowded. Team purple had no trouble finding all four hides.
The last search was exteriors out behind the Meadows Chalet. There was grass, gravel, many objects, and water dripping down onto the teams from the melting snow on the deck above. Bailie was really into the grass at first, but then she shook herself off and got down to business to find that final hide and get her NW2 Title!
Try number six was the magic number and the Afton Alps ski hill seemed to be the right place! Mom and Bailie are thrilled to pieces! Now Bailie and I will be competing against each other for a spot in NW3 trials, but Mom says I get first dibs because I’m older! We’ll post some photos of Madison’s trial and more from Bailie’s as well when we get them from the photographer in a couple weeks.