Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Speaking of nosework

Guess what we did last weekend? Yep, trialing again. This time on the road to Joliet, IL. We were able to get there early enough to get in a little walk. But it was chilly and windy so we didn't stay out long. 



The trial was held at Chicagoland speedway. Which was different than a school or a camp. The search areas were not groundbreaking though. Just parking lots and empty garages, public bathrooms. We didn't get to search race cars or anything. 

Legend started off strong in interiors. I felt really confident and it was a good start. Next was containers, directly to vehicles. We went into containers with a plan. And then promptly has a false alert on a bag. Very unusual for her given that it wasn't a box. Other dogs did the same thing. Not sure why.  We tried to keep our chin up and head out to vehicles. 

Legend went straight to a trailer and worked it for awhile. I could tell the way she worked it the odor wasn't even there but blowing over. But we checked the back side. She did a very questionable alert which I called since we had nothing to lose but of course it was wrong. Once again, if it doesn't feel right-keep your mouth shut!

Exteriors was last and we were strong in that. No worries there. 

I was hoping to get a ribbon tonwe could take a picture at the Gatorade Victory Lane but we had to settle for this P in interiors. The P is for pronounced and the judge awards that to teams that do exceptional work in an area.  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

About Nosework

For those of you who wonder what all this stuff I've been talking about means, here is a somewhat brief rundown....

There is more than one organization that has a Nosework or scentwork program.  But the NACSW is the first organization and widely considered the gold standard, as well as the one we have the most experience with so I will focus on it.

Nosework is essentially scent detection for companion dogs-the concept is similar to a drug dog or bomb dog, but we use essential oils as the "target." The three used by NACSW are birch, anise, and clove.

There are four search areas that make up a trial-containers (boxes to start but at higher levels can be luggage or other containers), interiors, exteriors, and vehicles. You must pass each area on the same day to earn your title for that level.

At Nosework 1 there will be one "hide" in each area,  It will be birch.  At Nosework 2 there will be one or two hides in each area.  You will be told how many there are and they may be birch or anise. There will be two interior rooms and each may have up to two hides.  They are timed separately.  In Nosework 3 there are 1-3 hides in each search area. You are not told how many.  It's up to you and your dog to figure that out.  There are three interior search areas and one may be blank-no hides.They are all timed separately.

To pass you must find all the hides in an area in the allotted time.  Typically one and a half to three and a half minutes.  When you think your dog has found the hide-as indicated by a change in behavior (some people train a specific end response like a sit and some just go with what their dog does naturally) then you call "alert."  The judge will tell you yes or no. If your dog has alerted in the wrong spot and you get a no this is a false alert, you have not passed that search area, and you don't get to finish searching.  At level 2 and 3 you must also say finish when you are done searching to stop the clock.

Once you have passed the level 3 test three times you move to the elite division.  Here the searches are often more challenging, with more hides, larger areas and longer search times.  On the plus side though you don't have to be perfect.  You can get some faults-you will not get a perfect score but your day is not over.  At this level titles are awarded as you accrue points.

And that's pretty much the cliff notes version so hopefully you understand my posts a little better!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

If at first you don't succeed

Try, try again. Then a few more times after that. This is pretty much the mantra of those of us stuck in the black hole of NW3. 

After a more than exhausting day of working at the elite trial Saturday, we got our chance to try on Sunday. We started off with a strong container search. It was luggage, which she's pretty good with. But we had been practicing boxes for two weeks so I felt we were ready this time. She rocked it and we ended up getting a third place even! Next up was interiors. There was a little incident involving something black on the floor near where the hide was but it ended up ok. The next two rooms went off without a hitch and we did well in a search that only had a 53% pass rate. 

Next up was exteriors. She was starting to get a little warm but ended up getting the two hides with a few seconds to spare. I don't know why I fret about exteriors so much, she typically always does well. I felt like we were pretty solid and if we could make it through vehicles we would have a good shot. She found one hide quick and then went on to show a fair amount of interest in the third car down. She did eventually alert. I was a little unsure but she had been solid all day so I called it. Mistake. It was just pooling from the wind blowing down from the first car. This was pretty soul crushing. But another lesson learned. 

We did earn our NW3 container title in addition to our third place. And we found all the hides for the day. Plus we had fun and enjoyed a good time with friends. Every day you get to spend having fun with your dog is a win.   Or that you can't take 30 minutes to be sad. But after that, move on!

This weekend we travel to IL and then I have to start hoping to get into some trials over the summer. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spring stuff

And now for some randomness around the yard. 

Slick, still doing well and starting to shed off and look summer pretty. 

Espy, always looking for food 
One of my new flowers this year 
Twist, just chilling on the deck. 




And finally, Jerry's wedding ring he lost about 6 years ago. We didn't think we would ever find it, but we never looked outside. It was just laying in the dirt by the deck and I happened to see it as I walked by. So crazy!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Saturday's 5k

Saturday we did a local 5k. It was actually a little longer but I recorded my time st the actual 5k mark for an accurate assessment of my training. And it's going pretty good! I'm only 20!second from my goal for the year and it's only April!

I think the rainbow kittens helped. 

And as a bonus I knocked out second place!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

More puppies

If you are local you may have seen this story on the news

It's about a hoarding case in Pulaski county where the animals were not only hoarded but then abandoned. Many were already dead when help arrived. I work with one of the clinics who is doing some of the care for the animals. This one has a broken leg.



Despite the non ideal age of the fracture my colleague has tried to pin it. We are hoping for the best. This little guy is being fostered with us. 
Here are his post-op films. He's a trooper. Always so happy. 

None of they animals can be spayed, neutered or adopted until the owners relinquish or the case is tried. But so far they have not been able to locate them to even press charges. 


So here they all are-time for puppies to go to sleep!


And finally one of handsome Havoc, looking more grown up but not always acting it. He's hopefully getting adopted in the next few weeks. 


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Meet Missy

Missy is an 11 month old mostly border collie girl. She was an owner surrender.  Her family cared about her and took good care of her but they had not intended to be a three dog family and did not feel like they were a good match for a border collie. Missy is a sweet girl but is still a bit overwhelmed by her recent life change. She will be up for adoption soon!

She is a very happy girl and likes her toys. She enjoys tugging. We should know more about her soon. 

Friday, April 7, 2017


I'm a little behind in my posts. As usual. But this week I had a belated birthday dinner with Kennedy. It's crazy to think that she is 8 years old. Even crazier that she is almost as tall as me! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Kentucky NW3

We headed to KY this weekend for their first NW trial. They did a good job and other than the fact that only two dogs passed the NW3 it seemed to go well and everyone had fun. And no, Legend was not one of the two dogs. Interiors and containers had a terrible pass rate. Legend failed both. There was a second hide in room one that tripped up a lot of dogs including her. She worked the area of the hide (a desk) a lot but was never able to source it. We got to the 30 second warning and I just figured it was odor blowing over from the other hide but I guess it wasn't. I don't feel bad about it though. That's kind of an anomaly for her to miss an interior, and she was not the only one by a long shot!

Other dogs were apparently failing containers by missing a hide. No consistency to which one but mainly they were not getting both. Legend alerted on an empty box. Again. This is frustrating because she never (in general) does this in the other elements. Or not even usually in containers that aren't boxes. So I guess we will be working really really hard on boxes for the next several weeks!

Sunday I volunteered and got some score room training. It was and NW1 and went super fast. Some of the times I was entering were amazing. Placements were super competitive. We finished early and I drove the whole 8 hours home to sleep in my own bed and enjoy a day off!

Friday we made a pit stop on the way up. No time to do much but I did get a shirt.