Julia Back

Agreed, Karen, it’s an interesting topic. I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of access to formal classes, all the way up to NW3 level. We had a lot of softer dogs in class, so we talked a lot more about body pressure than about patterns (e.g., how to place yourself in/around a corner to get your dog into it; how to come wide around the end of a line of containers so your dog hits the corner bag, etc.). I can think of only one class where we did what Kim describes, stopping and making sure they checked every container. It was a real challenge for just about everyone, so I wish you luck with it! 🙂 We did often talk about changing the direction you’re working in – clockwise then counterclockwise, or if you’ve gone lengthwise down a row and back up the other, start zigzagging sideways and back instead, etc.

My dog is not one of these bombproof jet-setters, so working a pattern is a bit like a dance (Kim gave us some excellent feedback on this in our exterior video). He starts leading with the nose, if he’s on odor we’re in business, if he’s not then I try to work a pattern (mostly trying to remember where the heck we’ve been). He can be quite “soft”, so I have to watch very carefully to allow him to take the lead again as soon as he catches scent, otherwise he may let me push him off of it.

I will certainly direct folks here if they ask about search patterns.