Today was our turn. The first search for our group was vehicles. We haven't done a lot of vehicle searches but I felt ok about it since there are really only so many places it can be. My plan was to walk all the way around each vehicle-there were three-then go back to any place she paid attention to. So the only place she stopped was at the back of the truck (the first vehicle we looked at). After we went around the others I went back to the back of the truck and let her work that again. She seemed interested, but didn't really give a strong alert or zero in on any particular location. The longer we stayed the less she wanted to work. Like an idiot I thought she was overwhelmed, stressed or not confident. What she was really saying was its not here, move on! But I called it at the truck and obviously was wrong. So no chance at a title, but a good learning experience.
Next up was containers. My plan was to walk her around a specific path to make sure she checked all the boxes and so I could make a note of any she showed interest in. About 1/3 of the way through she pulled me off my path, over to the odor box, gave it a big nudge and looked at me like "see mom, I know what to do!" Lesson learned. Trust my dog!!
Next we did exteriors which was the one I would have been most worried about because there is so much to look at and get distracted by and there is a 3 minute time limit. But she worked well and tracked down the odor in 43 seconds and gave me that very confident where's my cookie look. Interiors was super fun because here she got to be off lead as it was confined to a large classroom. She blasted across the start line, gave the room a running search and then zeroed in on the odor under the seat of a chair in 35 seconds. FYI containers only took her 16 seconds. She was not one of the 3 fastest dogs in any division but I think her times were still pretty good given her experience level. Our instructor was proud of her and so was I.
I wasn't sure if she was really ready to trial but she showed me that she was. We had a lot of fun and are really looking forward to another trial. But, NW is not a hugely popular sport yet so, bummer, there are no trials nearby anytime soon. In fact even the "close" trials will require a bit of travel so looks like it might be spring before we have another chance. But we will keep practicing and get back to tracking.
Tomorrow we are having a NW seminar so I will get a chance to learn more and have even more fun!