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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Adventures with odor 1

Back to K9 nosework classes with Treasure!  It’s been awhile since we were at class.  We’ve been working on our own, pairing birch odor with food, and some odor by itself.  It was nice to be back at class.  Treasure recognized where she was.  I love to watch her working an odor.  It’s neat to watch any dog searching, but my other dogs use a combination of their noses and their eyes to search, looking for new nooks and crannies that may hold hidden surprises.  Treasure works strictly with her sense of smell, so visual things don’t distract her away from her course.  She follows the air currents as the scent drifts to and fro creating for her a road map to the hide. 
It’s as if she’s doing a dance.  Unscripted, with no plan, yet at the same time every move is perfectly executed as her nose moves her body through space to the prize.  She doesn’t totally look for the only the odor yet, as is seen when there are other distracting food smells in the area that pull her off track from where she is looking.  If she really understood that the odor was the target, she would have realized that the other food smells were not going to pay off.  Instead she kept bouncing her nose off the ring gates, trying to get to the food smells coming from outside the ring.  Something to work on. 
I need to work more with boxes again.  I’ve gotten lazy, since it really doesn’t matter what container I put Treasure’s hide in … she can’t see it.  But I need to start putting the hide into closed boxes again.  I haven’t done that for awhile.  We learned some new tips for getting our dogs to point out specifically where the odor was hidden, and to help them learn to be more persistent once they get to the hide.  This is why I like class – it always gives me new ideas to work on!  Happy sniffing!

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