Ok, I will play (easier to do this at the office on the PC than on my ipad at home!)
•Do you use the warm-up boxes or not?
I typically take Hunter to the hot box and reward at the odor – I don’t ask him to search them.
•What do you do as you wait for your turn in the queue?
I will pet Hunter, maybe do a few tricks and I encourage volunteers/friends to pet him – he loves the attention!
•Do you watch your dog as you are walking up to the search area?
Always, even if just in my peripheral vision.
•Where do you change your equipment if it’s different for the search?
Hunter wears his nosework harness most of the day – I take it off if we have a long break between searches, but otherwise, he is wearing it in his kennel in the car. I may or may not take it off for a potty walk – I just use the short leash on his collar for the potty walks and walking to the search areas. I usually change him to his searching leash on his harness at the final staging area or while talking to the gate/judge’s steward.
•What do you do with your leash if you choose to run your dog off-leash?
I hold it – I have had to put Hunter back on leash in an NW2 to get him to leave a hide and move on to find the other. (and my shorter walking leash is already stuffed in a pocket)
•Do you take your eyes off your dog as you listen to the steward’s instructions?
I try not to.
•Can you hear and comprehend what the steward is saying?
I honestly don’t know – it has been almost a year since we trialed last!
•Do you have a start line routine?
It is a work in progress!
•Kiss the dog’s head?
•Make them sit?
I don’t ask him to but he often offers a sit.
•Get them on your left/right/center?
Typically he is pulling in front of me, but we tend to start with him on my left. (obedience habit)
•Give your dog a treat and/or show them the reward?
He generally gets a piece of the good stuff before we start – usually at the final briefing area or as we approach the start line.
•Do you stroke your dog for calm assurance?
Not so much.
•Do you stop at the start line or walk through?
I typically hold Hunter by the harness a foot or two behind the start line until he is focusing forward (into the search area)
•Do you rev them up or wait until they’re calm?
No revving needed for Nosework! I’m usually looking for an instant of calm attention forward.
•Do you release your dog or do they choose when to go?
Release – he is usually ready to go well before we hit the start line! (I rarely use a verbal search cue – just the “okay” release)
•Do you let your dog’s head go OVER the start line in order to give them a better assessment of an Interior space?
We are just starting to experiment with this.
•Do you begin on leash and slowly pay it out so they first investigate the threshold?
If it is an off-leash option, I am trying to hold him briefly by the harness at the threshold, then let him go (so leash is off before we start)
•Do you step in behind your dog or do you wait until that threshold is cleared?
I am trying to stay well behind him. If the room is small I try to remain at the doorway unless I need to press him into a corner somewhere.
•Do you begin a Vehicle search from the line or do you go right up to the first vehicle?
I am starting to pay the leash out a little on the way to the first vehicle, but I try to start he “search” at the vehicle.
•Do you have a plan for the search?
I generally have the mindset of start on the perimeter and try to work the whole area from the outside edge. If needed, cross through the middle in 1 or 2 directions to ensure the area has been covered. If Hunter pulls in a different direction from my plan, then I follow him and try to get back to my plan when possible or rework it on the fly.
•Do you think about the wind and air currents of the space?
•Is your dog READY when you release them to begin?
If he is not, then there is something way wrong with my dog!