Not to be outdone by her littermates, Peaches Sula had a very successful weekend recently also using her excellent Kaibab nose. Peaches and her mom, Terri, are involved in a new dog sport that I asked Terri to describe for the Blog -- here is what she shares:
K9 Nose Work as a "sport" was developed by three very experienced detection dog trainers to take something they saw their dogs having fun at while they were working to the wider public and to any dog regardless of breed, age or ability. It's all based on a positive training style and is very self rewarding for the dog. Even if the handler calls an incorrect alert in a trial, while they may not pass the test, the dog is allowed to continue until they find the hide and are rewarded. And yes, you get to feed/reward your dog right on the spot at the find. The dog gets to use one of their best innate skills and develop scent searching as a fun thing to do, as the dog is always the lead and the handler secondary. There is a lot of finesse in learning to read your dog, and the dog learns searching skills specific to the sport. The main skill the handler develops is reading their dog, so handlers can be of most any physical ability or age.
The dog is looking for one of three scents depending on the level of competition. Birch, anise or clove essential oil soaked Q-tips (1-3 heads) are placed either in a small 1" or so tin with holes and a magnet to hold it to metal or in some other type of container, like a pen cap. That is then hidden by the judge and the degree of difficulty of the hide based on the level of the competition. In Nose Work 1 the dog has to be able to get their nose very close to source and alert the handler they have found it, only birch is used. In the higher levels there may be multiple hides, multiple scents, and the hides are more difficult to find or reach and in larger areas and an unknown quantity of hides or no hides in which you would call a room "clear". In addition to finding the hide time is a factor as well as handling scores. You can get a title by passing all four elements, Container Search, Interior Search, Exterior Search and Vehicle Search. You can get various top 3 placements by having the fastest time(s) and highest handling score(s) in one or multiple elements and/or as teams.
It is meant to be FUN for the dog, and because of that it is FUN for the handler. And you can do it regardless of whether you want to compete or not. Heck we go to Home Depot once a week and hide things around the store and then take our dogs in to find them. How fun is that on a day when it's freezing cold and pouring rain and you still need to get your dog out for some exercise and mental activity!
(end of Terri's description -- thanks, Terri!)
Terri goes on to share the following about their weekend, "...we put on a "mock" K9 Nose Work Trial in Portland in preparation for putting on a sanctioned NACSW K9 Nose Work Trial in the spring. It was run exactly like a real trial with a certified judge (in fact he was one of the founders) and in all other aspects as well.
Well, my miss Peaches rocked! She beat out a bunch of GSD's, Golden's, Terv's, Belgian's and a few other breeds that are known for their scenting/nose work abilities, including a nationally ranked Earthdog!
• 1st Overall (cumulative of 4 individual events)
• 1st in the Team event (cumulative of 3 events on an assigned 3 dog team)
• 1st in the Vehicle Search
• 2nd in the Interior Search
• 3rd in the Exterior Search (during a crazy snow and sleet storm!)
• 6th in the Container Search (where the time difference between 1st and 6th was less than 3 seconds)
• She also got her "mock" version of the NW1 Title."
Strong work Peaches and Terri!!!!!!!!! Congratulations :)
P.S. No biopsy for the Mrs. -- she feels fine and so we will just wait, continue the antibiotics, and see what unfolds -- hopefully nothing :)