Hard to believe another half-year has come and gone, and that the next time we meet, we’ll be fighting darkness! Very sad to think of it that way, so let’s think about the beautiful Strawberry Moon we had on Monday night. I got to see it through the trees when I was packing my car up, and then from the highway most of the way home. Gorgeous!
We had a smaller crew this year, I’m sorry Lorraine and Astro (Holly’s newbies), Cathy and Phil (work), Kathy and Buddy (sick), Kendal & Calvin (limping) Dave and Reo (stuck working in NH) and Linda and Ella (best reason of all – guiding a full moon kayak tour across the marsh!) couldn’t make it. We missed you guys!
But for those of you who were there, thank you thank you thank you for another great feast! Mac n cheese, watermelon mint feta salad, veggies and dip, pasta salad, tuna salad, deviled eggs, orzo salad, lemonade and iced tea, and home made cookies and ice cream for dessert. And I’m probably forgetting something in there – I know my plate and I were full!
It was fun to catch up and chat, without the pressure of keeping class moving. I think we left the dogs in the cars for almost an hour before starting to work them. Which of course, is good practice for trials. Sounds like there will be a lot of NW3 activity in the coming weeks, between Saturday’s Elite trial (have fun and tell us all about it, Sarah and Roxie!) and Huntington MA & Flemington, NJ. I can’t wait to hear details! I’m hoping to make it to Huntington, although it will be the first year without Izzie trialing there. I have never been to the Flemington location, but Karin Damon always puts on smooth trials – good luck to her, doing back to back weekends of trials! Be sure to thank her if you see her.
Back to Monday. Our dogs got to work a LOT of odor, with some interesting cross currents, from high up open windows, and the fan that never stops. The birch hides (7) were more out in the open, in buckets, coolers, flower pots and under a berry box. The clove hides (7) were a little more challenging, in a glove with a hole in the thumb, very close to a birch bucket hide, up on the leash hitches, in a flat silver bag very near a birch hide, on the side of a rubber maid container very near a more accessible birch hide. The anise hides (7) were mostly on the heating register, either on the flat top or on the side, spread about 5ft apart. So 21 hides, with indoor air currents, an overhead fan, and lots of chairs, buckets, bags and things to check out.
I split everyone up into 3 teams this time, and we tallied the total # of hides on each team. I think the least found was 47, and the most was 52 or 53 (per team). I think the high scorers found 10 hides in 3 minutes. The thing I like most about this game, is seeing the different hides each dog comes up with. There were about 3 hides that no dog got – they worked them, then got drawn into a nearby, easier hide. There was one hide (the flat silver bag) that only Roxie and BoomBoom found. The hides on the heating register, that I thought once a dog got one, they would bang off the other 3, really did not get worked that way. Most dogs found 2 of the four, but did not work the wall in a line to get all four. One of the high hides was found by short and tall dogs alike, the hanging bird house hides were only found by Logan and one or two others. And, there were some hides that were found several times – the open pail by the gardening stuff, the cooler lids, and the berry boxes. I think some dogs were a bit overwhelmed with all the odor – they would begin to work a hide, get to source, then walk off and begin working another hide. Are you ever going to have a search area with 21 hides in it? Probably not, unless they come up with a NW10 or something. Is it a good skill to have, being able to distinguish between multiple hides, working out one strand of odor to source, communicating the find, getting paid, and then moving on to the next one? Yes, I think it will help for NW2 and NW3, when you have a small room with multiple hides, or a room or area where air currents are pushing all the odor into one big jumble.
Another thing I like about our twice yearly get togethers, is seeing the dogs progress. Cecil stands out as a dog who the first Social maybe got one hide, the next Social maybe he got 2, then 3-4, and this week he got 6 if I am not mistaken. Some were paired, but he found and communicated to Lucy that he found some that were not paired, too. He seemed more happy to visit with Sarah and Travis than he was scared and wanting to leave, so that is an improvement, too.
For those of you are taking the summer off for other dog sports, human recreation, enjoying your lake/ocean homes, and just enjoying an evening off, I hope you have a happy and safe summer! For those of you who are coming down to York for a session of classes, I’m looking forward to your dogs working someplace “new” – or at least, different. And, I’m hoping to catch at least one day of trials this summer. Good luck to all who are entered, I’m looking forward to updating our Achievements page and getting some fresh pictures!
Don’t forget the NW1 & NW2 trials in Merrimack NH open soon! And, even if you are not at the Elite level, there are 2 days of Elite trials in early October in Manchester, NH that should be fun to watch (and hopefully root on some classmates!)