Carolyn Murray

As the saying goes in Montana, if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes. We arrived at Home Depot tonight under intensely windy conditions only to have the windy conditions disappear about 5 minutes after getting out of the car.

Temp 60 degrees
Wind – little to none
Hides aged about 15 minutes for hide #1 – 30 to 40 minutes for hide #2

Real life distraction
Handler restrains herself by setting simple hides
Start line observation and timing of release

Search area #1 takes place in the front of the garden center at Home Depot. There is currently no direct customer access from the parking lot to the garden center. Customers must walk through the store. Distractions are simply “life” including people and general traffic – sometimes a real issue for a dog like Cooper. One hide.

Search area #2 takes place on the side of the garden center on the large truck. Again, the distraction of life. One hide.

There was a third search area with one hide, but it was way too dark when I filmed.

For search #1 I thought Cooper did a nice job. I believe he was in odor at the car. You can see him stretching out and sniffing before I let him go. He works the general area and zeros in on source. One funny thing I noticed while reviewing film from this past weekend, and I saw it again tonight, is his tail! Watch that tail when he hits source! Lol! Too cute!

Search #2 – We were losing daylight and I hope you can see this. I don’t think this is one of our better searches as I release Cooper at the wrong time (he was after something, but not odor). Just as I get him to start working the truck we have skateboarders enter the vicinity and this is when the search gets good! Cooper has a big reaction (he hates skateboarders and bikes) BUT he is able to compose himself and get back to work. To me this was very exciting to witness and I’m glad I have it on video.

So as far as distractions are concerned, tonight went better than planned. I’m very proud of Cooper for remaining collected enough to continue to work. I’m very proud of myself for not setting too many hides and creating complex problems in a high distraction area.

I think designing lesson plans with Cooper in mind, first and foremost, will really benefit Scout. I have this attitude that “Scout can handle it” and “Whatever Cooper does is fine”. But what I’m starting to learn, particularly after what I saw this weekend, is that Cooper might be a bit better at this game than I’ve given him credit for and Scout could really use a break. So Go Cooper! 🙂