Kimberly Buchanan

    I’m sure this was a disappointing search for you. It was rainy and gloomy and you got the dreaded “no.” So sorry!

    What to learn from this? Should you have insisted on a pattern for Blackie, rather than letting her go where she wanted to go? That really is the $64,000 question and my answer is the same as it is for Containers, it might help you but it isn’t for all dogs. You could experiment to see if it might help to efficiently cover a search area but it might prevent her from going someplace if odor calls.

    Based on Blackie’s interest in the adjacent vehicle, I’m guessing the wind was blowing across and away from you when you covered the back end of the vehicles as you began your search. I like that you two went along to the end and had the possibility of finding odor quickly. Unfortunately the wind wasn’t in your favor so it was unlikely she would catch odor even just a foot away since the wind was (likely) carrying it in the opposite direction. There appeared to be a collection point at the front passenger side of the adjacent vehicle and maybe Blackie just wanted out of the rain! It can be so hard to know. One thing to work on with vehicles are those points of collection where the dog finds what is (so far) the strongest source of odor and tells you about it. Are they saying odor is near? Or are they committing to source?

    When Blackie crosses from the silver pick-up to the Scion around (:30) you were very focused on watching where she was checking. That is your job and you were doing it nicely. One thing that might have helped as you moved between the vehicles to detail the Scion is if you continued to let her lead and be slightly in front of you. It appears that you are ever so slightly using body pressure to keep her detailing the black vehicle and your body position may have been just in the wrong place at the wrong time. If odor was blowing across from the back driver’s side wheel to the front passenger side wheel between the vehicles you were in the location to block that path so Blackie couldn’t catch it when she was detailing the black vehicle to work it back to source on the Silver truck. Sure, the other option may have been to detail that side of the silver truck but Blackie is detailing the black vehicle so nicely I’d hate to interrupt that process.

    When Blackie comes all the way around the Scion, back to where it looks there may be pooling odor you are a bit close to her (1:04). It’s hard to see from the camera angle if she gives you a definite alert or if she’s looking at you like “there’s odor here somewhere!” similar to when there is a lot of odor blowing around but she’s not locating source. The other thing to note is that she already covered that section and hadn’t indicate odor there when she was drawn over the first time. Of course, it could have been an inaccessible hide that took her a bit to make a decision about, etc….

    I think you did the best you could in the circumstances, tough environment to search! So glad we’re doing Vehicles in the Sniff of the Month Club next quarter!! 🙂

    Kimberly Buchanan
    Joyride K9 Dog Training