Saco: Cont NW & NW3 Classes 5.11.15 **VIDEO**

This was a busy week for everyone!  Jeanne’s dogs were sick, Chandra had something come up, Holly & Mike were on vacation… so we had 2 super small classes! For Continuing NW, it was the Cathy & Phil show 🙂  We did Interior, multiple hide searches.  I wanted something where we could alternate high and low hides, front and back (near the open aisle, then close to the wall)  I wanted Phil to get lots of rewards at source, to have some “easy” hides, some challenging hides, and to practice working out multiple hides.  I didn’t used to have NW1 level dogs do multiple hides, but found that if we wait too long to introduce them to multiples, they have such a history of getting rewarded and staying at source, that they are reluctant to move on.  And, when presented with pooling odor in a trial, say odor from the vehicle is pooling onto an adjacent vehicle, the dogs really need that skill to work out weaker, pooling odor from source odor. There were times when Phil could get 3 or 4 hides, but there was so much odor available, he just couldn’t work out the last one or 2 hides as separate hides.  So, I would remove the ones he found, and have him search again.  By removing hides he had already found, it seemed to clarify the search area for him, and he was able to find the hides he had missed previously.  I am really trying to listen to the dog – if he is telling us that he’s not finding it, I don’t want to direct the handler to triangulate the hide for the dog.  I’m trying to be more willing to walk away from a missed hide, make an adjustment and retry it, rather than “move right, step back, come over to the wall, now step in” until the dog is guided by the Siri of NW to the hide.  Because you are not going to have Siri telling you how to push/pull your dog to a hide when you are in a trial! One of those elusive hides, one that Phil struggled with, even when we stripped out the other previously found hides, was on a chair that was on the outside of the circle, not agains the wall.  I used a smoke match, and we saw the smoke rise, then drift towards the wall and chair that was against the wall.  Now, Phil had already told us that, since he kept working the chair opposite the hide, and casting his nose up along the wall.  But seeing the smoke just solidified it for us that yes, trust your dog, he will tell you where the odor is.  He now just needs more experience with that sort of thing – odor moving to a solid surface, opposite the hide.  A taller dog may have been able to pick up odor as it drifted across the empty aisle, but I think it was just over his head.  So he couldn’t pick it up until it pooled against the chair and wall. For NW3, I wanted the dogs to work in a contaminated search area.  Too many times in trials, we see the dogs false alert not on food, or a toy, but on an area a previous dog had sniffed.  Something caught the dogs attention, they sniffed, left some mucus/slobber/crumbs behind, and that cocktail caught the next dogs attention.  Sometimes the next dog showed interest, which caused the handler to show interest, which caused the downward spiral of talking each other into something that wasn’t there.  Other times, some dogs seemed to truly believe that that cocktail is what pays, and would give a full-blown (false) alert.  SO, by working the SAME area Phil had just contaminated, we had the perfect cocktail: lingering odor from the tins having been all over the chairs, dog slobber and mucus, and crumbs.  The only difference was I gave Ella and Roxie Containers to work.  There have been 2 NW3 trials I’ve been to where there were a few elevated containers, so I figured, what the heck.  Not only were the containers all different fabrics, materials, and sizes, but I alternated them between being on or next to a chair.  Lots of converging odor.  We did the same thing – if the dogs missed a hot bag after a few passes, I removed previously found bags, and left the one they missed.  That usually clarified the search area/scent problem for them.  There was one hide, in a small white jewelry type box, that gave them both trouble.  It was on the heating register, down in the far corner of the search area, next to a chair.  *I* thought they would pick up odor along the baseboard, and work it into the corner.  But they kept cutting the corner, working the heading register, and not turning back to the corner.  No matter which direction they approached it, no matter if we removed the other hides, they looked like they wanted to leave the search area to go behind the chairs.  Sure enough, that is how they got it.  When I used the smoke match there, the odor when straight up, like a chimney, then drifted high near the ceiling, and towards the back of the search area / large empty room.  No WONDER they weren’t picking it up along the heating register, there was no odor there! And, there were no false alerts, neither Ella nor Roxie seemed interested in areas where Phils hides had been.  So let’s hope this carries through to trials! Here are the links to the videos:

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