Susanne Howarth

We actually did the Low search immediately after our High searches the other day, but we set this one up in the back yard, using an eclectic combination of plastic containers, Nespresso and Toothpaste sleeves, and random small cardboard boxes. There wasn’t a lot of breeze in the back yard, but from some of what I see Blackie doing, I think a bit must have been getting past the house to affect the search. In our High searches, the breeze was blowing up the driveway; in the back yard, that same direction would be from the pool towards the grass. In this search, all three hides were anise — I was playing with whether it mattered that I used the same scent for all three hides on these two parts of the lesson.

Looking at the 3 columns of 5 containers, the hides are located (1) in the white styrofoam takeout container in the 4th position of row 1; (2) the black bottomed Costco chicken container in position 2 of column 2; and (3) the Crest toothpaste sleeve in the first position of column 3. The searches were set before we did either of the two High searches, so they had well over an hour to “cook.”

In this search, Blackie did something unusual for her: she seems to catalog all three hides before alerting on any of them — sniffing the Crest sleeve at :13, Chicken box at :16, and takeout container at :23. Those are three of the first 6 containers she explicitly sniffs! Now, there’s a possibility that she would have alerted on the takeout container when she first sniffed it, except that I let my leash drag the container next to it, thereby distracting her. She wanders a bit, and then comes back to alert on the takeout at :33. Then, at :41, she considers the chicken box, but pulls off and semi-alerts (guesses) at the Kleenex box beside it. (This is why I suggest that the breeze might have affected things — probably blowing odor from the chicken to the Kleenex box.)

When I step back to question her weak Kleenex box alert, she immediately comes off and returns to the takeout container (:48), to triangulate off of it — and then goes fairly directly to the chicken box and alerts (:53). Finally, at 1:02 she alerts on the Crest container and is rewarded.

As of this point, not only has she found and alerted on all three hides, she has also explicitly sniffed each and every container out there — nice to see how thorough she is! At this point, her behavior also changes: she nose taps and looks back at me more, exits the search area (1:20), and returns to known hides. At 1:44, we call it.