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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Vacation Nosework

With such beautiful weather today, and being in a totally new place, I was eager to do some nosework hides with Treasure outside!  My Dad's backyard has lots of interesting places to hide odor ... under a doormat on the patio, in an old tree stump, in the low branches of small trees, near the shed, in an old vase ...
If Treasure has a weakness in her searches, it is perhaps obstacles.  She can't see them, so is not as bold about interacting with them as some other dogs may be.  I have noticed especially that she is hesitant to climb up onto things that she's not familiar with.  At home, she will easily put her front feet up on the couch or the coffee table for a find, but not elsewhere.  When I can, I try to encourage her to feel more comfortable putting her feet up on new items. 
With her recent trick training, she has really gotten comfortable putting her front feet up on various objects that are step height or lower.  She readily puts her front feet up on any new low object now, and then waits for the treat.  Even at nosework class, when we used boxes, she was putting her front feet up on a lot of the boxes, which she had never done before. 
Today's nosework hides were about obstacles and encouraging Treasure to take risks and climb up onto new things.  She found the hide on the patio and easily put her front feet up on the cement, but would not step up onto it completely with all four feet.  We'll continue to work on that if we have time.  But this first hide was also very interesting, because Treasure found another low obstacle in the yard that had some type of animal poo on it (probably that fox we saw!).  She put her front feet up on the obstacle to check out the poo more closely ... I wondered what she'd do and if she'd forget she was searching, but she smelled it for a moment, then hopped off and continued her search for the birch.  I was very proud of her and also impressed, because she had never run across that type of distraction before, yet she kept searching.  Good girl Treasure!
Q tips under mat.
Our next hide was in an old stump.  She found it right away, coming at the stump from the back.  I rewarded her right away, but then used the reward to help her come up onto the stump, which allowed her to put her nose closer to the odor to get her reward right at the source.
Q tips down inside old stump.
Our last two hides were in the low branches of a tree.  I was very curious to see what she would do with this one.  I don't have any small trees, so I was eager to give her this experience.  She found the odor right away, but was a bit confused on the first attempt and circled the tree at first, looking for the source of the odor.  She did come back to it and was pointing it out with her nose.  As I was rewarding, I put food at the source and fed her little bits each time she stretched her nose up it.  At one point, Treasure tried to put her feet up but couldn't find a secure hold.  I did lift her front feet up onto the tree at the end and she could easily reach the source and got her food.  The second tree hide, I left in the same place and did a paired hide there.  She found this one quickly and was very insistent, putting her nose up as close to source as she could, but she never did jump up on it.  I was pleased that her nose was pointing directly to the source, however.  It was nice enough to show me exactly where the hide was!
Rewarding at source in branches.
Assisted feet up to get to source/reward.
Can't get much clearer than that!  Good Girl Treasure! 

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