Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Legend Continues

Words cannot describe Legend's performance in her very first NW3 trial this weekend.  On the heels of a difficult week she certainly did her best to put in a bright spot.  Friday we took our time getting ready and making the 7 hour drive to Moline, IL (just on the Iowa border) and arrived at the hotel in the early evening and enjoyed a nice meal at the steak house next door.  Then saturday off to the trial site just 2 miles away.  Nadin and Jerry headed off for their volunteer orientation and assignments and I settled in for my day in the parking lot.  I didn't really know what to expect for our first time out but I figured getting no false alerts and not timing out would be reasonable goals.  I also wanted to be able to learn from the experience to be prepared for the next time.

As a reward for often being one of the last dogs to go, this time we drew the #1 slot!  So it was nice to get our three interior searches done right off the bat-half way done!  The times were pretty short, 2:30 per room and they were all classrooms with lots of desks and bookshelves, etc.  She fairly quickly found one hide in each of the first two rooms and I used the rest of my time up the 30 second warning to be very sure I covered the whole search area.  In the third room she found 2 hides and I felt I had finished adequately clearing the area before the 30 second warning and called my finish.  It was really hard to not know if we missed anything!  But I felt like we were thorough.

Then back to the car until exteriors.  It was a good sized area with lots of places that could have a hide.  We make a lap around only to come back and work a threshold hide.  After she found that we took one more check around the area before we heard the 30 second warning and I called finish since she showed no interest in anything else.  Again-no obvious fail so just keep on waiting!

Next up was containers-all luggage/bags.  The time here was only 2:00 minutes and there were 11 bags in an X shape.  She found two hides.  I tried to check everything going in both directions and didn't get any more interest so called finish before the 30 second warning.

Finally vehicles.  There were 3 to search and we had the most time here with 3:00.  She found 1 hide on each of the two vehicles closest to the start line. It was cool to watch her work because on one she picked up the odor on the far side of the car, tried to crawl under, realized that was not the best plan, came out, went around to the other side and found it. We searched the other vehicle a few times going in both directions and also checked the remainder of the first two.  She showed a little interest in the van but didn't stick anything so I called it when they gave me the 30 second warning.

So we completed all our searches with no false alerts and found something in every area.  That meant as long as we didn't miss any hides we could pass!  But I tried not to be too optimistic.  I didn't want to be hopeful and then disappointed. I just focused on the fact that we had done so well and had a good experience.  I felt like at this level there would be more hides to find, or at least one area with three hides.  But when they posted the results-the hides in each area matched what I had found.  I checked the list over and over, unable to believe that we had gotten our NW3 title our first time out!  And that we continued our streak of 100% success rate!

As a bonus we placed 2nd overall!  There were only 4 of the 28 dogs that passed that day.  I was so amazed and so proud.  We had a total search time of over 11:00 minutes but I hadn't tried to hurry, just be thorough.  But I did learn that if she shows no interest in area I probably don't need to go back and check a 2nd or 3rd time!  So maybe next time we can be more efficient since she has very much proven she knows what to do and can be trusted.

We enjoyed visiting with some of the Nosework friends we have made over the last year of trialing as well.  We then celebrated with dinner and a little riverboat gambling before heading back today.  Now we get to stat planning our journey to our NW3 Elite title!

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