Sarah Woodruff

I like this topic because i refer to myself as the dork in the room that doesn’t know what to do 🙂 But honestly I think you get into a groove based on lots of practice and exposure. You will have your standard way of working, yet probably not approach every search exactly the same. like Kathryn mentioned, from Jacy, I try to do containers and vehicles by walking the perimeter and letting my dog choose the direction to go when she picks up on odor. But, with containers we have done them so much that she is also really good at being methodical and hitting each one. So my handling will depend on how she is approaching the search. I have also learned (from trials of all places) that I need to assist in the heat to make sure we approach searches efficiently. And I have one experience where she was incredibly nervous about the search environment so I lead her to the vehicles to get a hide so there was a quick success and celebration before leaving the scary search area.

I’ve done the exercise that Kim suggested, with hides close together and its a fun exercise. After the dog finds one and gets rewarded the handler is not allowed to move, cue or say anything. It can sometimes result in staring contest but in the end it really does teach the dogs to keep on trusting their nose and skills and not rely on our cues.