Last Saturday, Mom and I spent the day at Camp Abe Lincoln in Blue Grass, Iowa. It was the second day of our two day, mommy and me nose work road trip, and the second time we attended a trial at the camp.
Last year didn’t do so well as our team was still in a funk, and we placed 28 out of 30 teams. I only found about half the hides. If you think placing 28 is bad, in March we headed down to Moline, right across the river from Blue Grass for another NW3 and I placed dead last. 30 out of 30 and did not even pass one element. Our team was really at rock bottom. Nose work is a dog driven sport, meaning if I don’t find and tell Mom where the hides are, she is helpless. I spent about a year keeping the hide locations to myself which really messed us up.
My mom is very competitive and refused to give up, so we took some private lessons and really worked hard to try to put our team back together. Getting a spot in an NW3 Trial is hard. The waitlists are always long, but I did manage to get a spot back in July. For the first time in over a year, Mom and I worked well together. We had some fun and I only missed two hides which was the best I had ever done at an NW3 trial. I have tried quite a few NW3 trials with this last one being my seventh try.
Another problem we have is Mom’s nerves. With our team in a shambles and Bailie not passing her NW2 until the sixth try in October, she was a bundle of nerves at trials. Sometimes she almost got sick to her stomach from nerves. Once Madison passed her ORT tests in October, and Bailie passed her NW2 and L1E Trials, the confidence started coming back for Mom.
Our trip to Blue Grass was planned to be totally different. We left home in the morning when we were ready, no rushing around. The walk at Buffalo Shores Beach was planned, as was a night in our hotel room together just hanging out and having some fun – just mommy and me. The morning of the trial, we stopped at the beach again for a short walk and didn’t show up at the trial site when it opened, but still arrived with plenty of time. Mom decided to just go with whatever. She had watched videos of searches, taken tips from instructors and she was ready to let me work, help me if I needed it, and see what happened. For the first time in ages, she didn’t feel sick to her stomach.
This is a map of the hides in the trial. I’m so proud to tell you I found all ten hides and I earned my title, but Mom had thirty seconds of insanity on the last hide and just decided not to call it, so I did not get my title. It is a team sport, I have to find them all, and Mom has to correctly call them all. Despite that “little issue”, we had a wonderful day, the best trial ever probably, and we are ready to get it next time. There was no photographer, so I’m posting videos of three of the searches I did. Interiors, where I by the way, was one of only 13 dogs to find all the hides, does not allow videos.
FYI: the videos are not in slow motion…I just like to take my time and search the areas slowly and carefully. I’ll never win any speed awards, but it doesn’t matter to us as long as we find all the hides.
My first search was exteriors. Mom tried taking our time at the start and seeing if I caught odor which as you can see I did. I went right to the hide! The search should have ended earlier, but in NW3, you don’t know ahead of time how many hides there are and Mom wanted to make real sure I didn’t miss anything. You can see I tried to leave twice, but she kept sending me back!
Next I searched interiors, and then vehicles. As I was about to start vehicles they called a lunch break which was bad for us. I get mad when I can’t search and have to wait. I fell asleep really deep in the car and didn’t want to get up to search when the trial resumed. If you watch the video, you will see I don’t even search the first minute of the search time, but then I came around and got the job done. Mom knows me and knows she can’t push me too much or I will quit working.
Containers was the last and easiest search of the day, but my mom failed our team. It is obvious in the video that I wanted to tell her the second hide is here, but she was busy figuring out how to go back. At the end before she said finish she paused for a second because she thought about going back to check that container but the devil possessed her and she said finish instead. Poof, there went my title. It’s alright, we are a team again and we now know I can find all the hides. Hopefully we will get it on our next try.
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