Julia Back

Here we go! We had so much FUN at the trial yesterday – so we met goals #1, 2, and 3 (fun, fun, and more fun) and goal #4, which is finding out how our skills show at this level and what we still need to work on. No title for us (only two titles for the day), but we had a blast and I can’t wait to do it again.

Here is our NW3 exterior search. We had two video angles, but both were partially obstructed, so I cut them together to give the best view (hopefully this doesn’t cause confusion). It was the last search of the day, so the odor had been sitting for 6+ hours. Warm (!) sunny day, ~65 degrees, light and variable wind. Fifteen dogs had been through already.

The search area (orange cone borders) was basically a “C” or horseshoe shape around one side of a fountain and included (from left to right) a bench, a picnic table, and two more benches spread around the outer edge. The fountain itself was not in play, but everything up to the edge was.

Two hides, on parallel benches on opposite sides of the fountain (CO mind games, man!). Both were up and under in the trough along the front of the bench seat, and the trough and holes were doing some fun/funky things to the odor.

I had a very stupid handler moment at the end where I missed my finish call by about 0.2 seconds – just lost count. I would like to think that I was just enjoying it so much that I didn’t want it to end!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 (there was no chance of us titling at this point so it was not particularly traumatizing, just an “oops”).

Brody rocked this search. Watching him detail hide #1 was a ton of fun. I fell for the mind games on hide #2 because we had a similar miss in a past trial (alerting on drifting odor on the leg of a table when we had JUST found a hide on the leg of another table). But you can see Brody worked through that nicely as well (“Where. Is. My. Steak, Crazy Lady?”). We did a lot of gentle pawing on most searches today but were given no faults. We will definitely be working on reducing it.

So #1 success – we found all of the hides. #2 success – We did not try to pee on anything. I am always on guard for this when there is obvious vegetation in our search area. I gave a little tug when he was crittering around that large bush (00:59), but it wasn’t a big deal. Oddly enough, the judge’s steward jumped up and started making noise at 2:30 – I don’t know if she thought we peed or got stung be a bee or WHAT, but it was unexpected and distracting.

It’s obvious to me watching now that odor had drifted into the vegetation in front of bench hide #2 (he worked it back to the hide), and that was Brody’s interest there. I really didn’t need to go back there and would not have timed out had I recognized/not forgotten that. It’s a lot harder to figure out drifting/pooling odor a) without a distinct wind direction and b) when your brain is in trial chaos triage mode!

So, questions – are there areas that we didn’t cover effectively? Did I deal okay with the crittering, or should I have tried harder to move him on? I know it cost us a bit of time.

Was bringing him around the back of the bench the right choice when he was working it?

Should I have insisted he cover the picnic table in more detail? My thought at the time was that odor was so readily available that detailing was not necessary, but from the video I can see that he’s already sort of in “off/there’s nothing else here” mode around the picnic table. Apparently a number of dogs false alerted there, so I’m glad I didn’t talk him into anything.

And, of course, any other comments/observations are appreciated! Thanks!