Saturday, June 20, 2009

Only the Nose Knows for Sure

Today was a really fun day.

I went to a nose work seminar. Two gals from southern California came up and taught us to teach our dogs to find things.

I agonized over who I should take to the seminar. Should I bring Tazz? He is a pain in the patutie around other dogs, but I know that he would really enjoy the stimulation. Should I bring Fin? She would love something different and is easy. Rocks is still recovering from dental stuff. Maddie is getting hard of smelling.

In the end. I took Fin. Tazzie hid under the table and didn't want to go and I walked out with Fin at my heels so she got to be in the seminar.

It turns out that in nose work, dogs are worked individually with non-working dogs in crates in the back (in our case a totally different room). Tazz would have done fine. He gets to go to the next one.

The seminar was broken up into some lecture and then rounds where each dog worked for 1-5 minutes. Empty boxes were used with a different colored one that would contain the search article. In our case, the dogs searched for a toy, a tug N treat, or a Kong with food.

First round started with a row of empty boxes. We held our dog and the seminar leader teased our dog with the toy and placed it in one of the boxes (I used tug and treat filled with b-b-q chicken). On leash, we walked the line of boxes and rewarded our dogs for finding the box with the toy in it. All of the dogs caught on to the game in no time.

Second round the seminar leader held our dogs and we did the teasing with the boxes. No problems, all of the dogs did great! Fin totally surpassed all of my expectations by being excited and talented at finding her toy.

Third round we added stuff to the environment (more interesting stuff). Fin did great on the first search, but on the third couldn't find the box containing her toy. In her frustration, she started offering behaviors (putting feet in boxes - fronts, backs, all four feet and targeting off plastic containers) it was hysterical. I just walked toward the wall, and Fin finally found her box. She really enjoyed the cookies.

Lunch was a lovely walk along Monterey bay, then back for more scent work.

For this workshop, we had a sorta accelerated plan and did things we would not normally do (like begin to trade our toy for a particular scent). The day flew by and I was not bored. There was lots to do and each dog taught us something.

I HIGHLY recommend this seminar if you get a chance. Lots of ideas of stuff to do with our dogs.

These people are starting a new organization:

Just like other organizations, this one is working to promote the sport of nose work. There are levels for titling and competitions.

1 comment:

Trish said...

hey! Lots of things to sniff here in minn!

200 acres of crawly things!