We were back at class this week! It was nice to be inside on such a cold blustery day! We have been quite spoiled this winter with little snow and temperatures way above normal, so today was a bit of a shock to the system! It was even snowing when we left.
I was a bit surprised when we arrived to learn that there was odor hidden in the lobby for us to find. It had been there for a little over an hour waiting for us all to come in. I have been doing mostly pairing odor with food for Treasure for the past two weeks. If you remember, she was having trouble with getting in close to the hide when I hid odor by itself. So I was a little nervous as to how she would do with just the odor. Well, I didn’t need to worry. Treasure went right to work and found the odor on a table leg in less than a minute. Good girl!
Then we did a practice for the ORT (odor recognition test) in a back room. There were 12 boxes laid out in two parallel lines about 10 feet apart or so. One of them had only odor hidden in it. These had also been sitting for longer, about an hour and a half I guess by the time we got to them. I have always done hides that haven’t aged very long, just due to the nature of my practicing. I would imagine that letting the odor sit longer could actually be easier for the dog to find, since a large pool of scent would settle around the hide. But in either case, I need to start aging the hides I set for Treasure. The ORT is done on leash and I let Treasure wander a bit as she searched for the scent. She found the right box, no problem!
We did five total hides today at class. We did another one that had been aged for about an hour and a half. The box was up on a chair and had a small hole in it to allow the odor to get out. Treasure found it but took her time pinpointing that hole where the scent came out of the box. The issue appeared when we did the next hide, which had not aged but was in the same general location as the previous aged hide. Treasure picked up the odor right away from the previous hide (remember it had been sitting there for awhile and built up quite a scent pool around it and under the chair). Treasure went right to that chair and placed her nose exactly where the hole of the box had been previously. The box was no longer there, but she knew where that scent had been and had been coming from. Unfortunately, she did not find where the actual hide was without help. She got close to it, but not right on it and she was getting a bit frustrated and trying to go back to the older scent, so I helped her out.
Normally when we practice, I do 3-4 hides in a row in the same general area, but I move the hide around, so Treasure is pretty good about finding the most recent odor and sorting out the lingering older odor. But we have not done aged hides, so she was a bit confused as to why there would be so much left-over odor in one spot when she was actually supposed to look somewhere else for the newer odor. We’ll have to work on that.
We ended with an easy hide paired with food, to make sure Treasure had quick and easy success after being frustrated by the last one. I made a new tuna treat recipe this morning before class and Treasure was really enjoying them, so I think she forgives me!