Susanne Howarth

I’m going to start by sharing our Container search, which was the final one of the trial. It’s one of our successes, and I’m fairly pleased with it, because Blackie overcame some bad habits that have plagued us at previous trials. Note that there are actually two views of the search, which I have combined into one video — we sure did get value from the Oregon videographer!

Odor is in the black suitcase at the back of the third column. The spiky looking pink bag that was at the front of that third column held a distractor. (I forget what it was — perhaps a toy?) I would have guessed that the distractor was in the pink spotted bag with black handle that was in the second row of the first column: Blackie did a head snap to come back and check it out, but never alerted on it — she simply displayed a certain non-odor interest.

You’ll see that Blackie gives me an alert at the 31 second mark (1:23 in the second half), but I move away, and she comes off the odor — temporarily. I didn’t trust her initially, because she has a history — especially with Containers — of running in and definitively pounding on absolutely any box, without necessarily ever sniffing the containers. Happily, after doing one more circle around, Blackie returned to the black bag, and the second time I called it. And I remembered to call Finish — so a success all around!

FYI, the judge commented that I did a nice job of using my long line, and it felt pretty good as I was doing it. Although, as I review the video, I see that it was dragging on the floor from time to time, so still some skill building possible in that realm. At least I did USE most of the line that was available to me!