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NW301: Jill & Digger (Border Collie, CO)

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    • #2555
      Jill Kovacevich
      Spectator

        Our Story- Team Digger
        Digger is now a five year old Border Collie, my first “sport” trained BC, but not my first BC. My goals with him were to gain a balanced dog (yes, a balanced border collie) and share the joy of doggie-hood with him along the way. Nose Work came as a surprise after poor attempts at Obedience, Agility, Freestyle Dancing and some success at Dock Dogs. I now know, my “human” crazy energy, short focus and insatiable desire to run or even fly before I learn to walk, are more our stumbling blocks to our progress than anything else. I just want so urgently to be a great team with this dog, Digger, at all costs.
        Its hard to believe, its been over 5 years from Digger’s first ORT to our first NW3 Title this July in Davenport, Iowa. We started NW in 2010 in a school parking lot hunting for toys in the snow when Diggz was only 9 months old, spending Friday afternoons at Sniff Club, home schooling our way to odor for over two years. We had a blast making BFF NW friends and becoming avid training partners with Cathy Vito and Gracie, her NW2 bound JRT. Along the way we found Dana Zinn, CNWI, Gale Creek, CNWI, Troy Mills, CNWI and a host of other skillful and wonderful Colorado NW friends, CNWIs and NACSW founders and faculty attending as many classes and workshops as possible including 2013 Colorado NW Camp. Somewhere in between we also attained our CNWI and enjoy teaching NW, hosting trials and ORTs etc when we can in the Colorado mountains. From our 2012 ORT to NW2 in July 2014, we trialed 3 times at NW1 and 2 times at NW2 to obtain NW1 and NW2 (both with high placements- not bad for this team). Then we set our sights on the Abyss that is NW3 and five trials later we are still learning to climb those cavern walls !
        We may be, without a doubt, over the average (or below average) number of trials to reach NW3 but I wouldn’t trade one missed title for a quicker result. As Dr. Seuss would say, I am what I am ! Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one !

        The journey has just begun and an NW3 Elite title is somewhere out there and more after that. More miles, more trials, more learning ! Whoo-Ray. We have drunk the Nose Work Kool-aid and proudly admit our addiction. I firmly believe the activity and sport of NW is a an opportunity to share a bond with our dogs and with this dog Digger, I will find no where else, doing nothing else.

        Our goals and expectations are to grow better in NW skills and proficiency together as a NW team. Digger and I have discussed our team, and we acknowledge handler skills are now the team focus. Learning to search as one, together as a team of two. My handler observation skills are key to this success. We embrace the opportunity to put on the miles needed to gain the experience and confidence needed to train, trial and play NW at our highest level on any given Sunday.
        Thanks for this coaching opportunity.
        Team Digger

      • #2564
        Kimberly Buchanan
        Keymaster

          Welcome Jill & Digger! I love the phrase “Nose Work Kook-aid!” ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m hoping to focus quite a bit on the handler aspect of NW3/NW3+ in this course, so you’re at the right place! You have a great community of dogs and instructors in the CO area so lots of fun opportunities! See you on Monday ~ Kim

          Kimberly Buchanan
          Joyride K9 Dog Training

        • #2953
          Jill Kovacevich
          Spectator

            Here is the you tube link for Containers Lesson 1A- it doesn’t seem to create an automatic view of the video- so not sure this is helpful-

          • #2990
            Kimberly Buchanan
            Keymaster

              This was great, Jill! What is interesting to note is that Digger got all 3 hides in about 30 seconds. There is one non-odor box that he sniffed and left at (:14) and then at (:40) he had a head-snap. Didn’t stick it, but that’s just enough information for some handlers to then get overly focused on it and sell the dog. Digger instead became VERY insistent on revisiting previously found hides! Very cute! ๐Ÿ™‚

              Ok, ready for Lesson 1B!

              Kimberly Buchanan
              Joyride K9 Dog Training

            • #3014
              Jill Kovacevich
              Spectator

                Lesson 1 B – Here is our run with distractors included- the distractors are in boxes with a small piece of blue tape- an antler, peanuts and a tennis ball. The tennis ball can be hard for Digger- but this time he avoided the bonk fest !

              • #3032
                Kimberly Buchanan
                Keymaster

                  Curious if the first head snap was for a distractor or was he working the odor?

                  There were a couple of boxes he seemed to “notice.” Were those distractors? I don’t think he ever checked the small box in the back next to the ladder?

                  Digger does a very nice job of stopping at odor regardless of what you’re doing. Your reward process is very smooth. Are you cheeking food? That works well for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

                  Again, he is pretty insistent at odor and going back to odor after he’s found everything. That might be a really good clue for you that there are no more hides in a given area!

                  Kimberly Buchanan
                  Joyride K9 Dog Training

                • #3048
                  Jill Kovacevich
                  Spectator

                    Cheeking food came as a result of Izzy looking at my hands too much while searching and works well for training- trial not so much, cant seem to get the food from my mouth to source with grace and ease much less short of spit. I have used Digger’s return to odor as an indication of number of hides in all elements, but careful to get to all areas in the search first. The challenge of the return to odor is in containers remembering which one is odor especially if they all look the same ! My other strategy has been to walk ahead when he stops on a container and have him “stick” it if its odor or “walk it” if its not odor or a distractor.

                  • #3049
                    Kimberly Buchanan
                    Keymaster

                      This works beautifully for you! Very nice! ๐Ÿ™‚

                      Kimberly Buchanan
                      Joyride K9 Dog Training

                    • #3103
                      Jill Kovacevich
                      Spectator

                        Here is the first video for Lesson 2.

                      • #3130
                        Kimberly Buchanan
                        Keymaster

                          Great patio for container searches! ๐Ÿ™‚

                          Digger doesn’t have any problems with the ‘high” bags

                          Good job!

                          Kimberly Buchanan
                          Joyride K9 Dog Training

                        • #3149
                          Jill Kovacevich
                          Spectator

                            Digger Joyride Lesson 2B- Low containers

                            Low containers- digger just loves nose work- he is a pleasure to run- especially when Im not nervous ! Not sure how this got recorded in slow motion-hmmmm

                          • #3197
                            Kimberly Buchanan
                            Keymaster

                              Haha! Funny in slo-mo!

                              Digger does a SUPER job on the low hides! It’s interesting to see how the odor is blowing UP the wall to the left and he has to work back to the bags. He details each flat bag very tightly and looks great! ๐Ÿ™‚

                              (I wish I had more to comment, he’s just looking really good! Hopefully something HARD will come up and we can review what happened. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

                              Kimberly Buchanan
                              Joyride K9 Dog Training

                            • #3202
                              Jill Kovacevich
                              Spectator

                                Response to Above: Digger understands that the NW pendulum is now swinging in my direction
                                to build handler skills. Thankfully he is fairly consistent even when I
                                feel we havent “performed” well. (Ugh there is that word- always a time
                                for learning). I am very interested in your comments and observations
                                even without a “problem” to identify especially as we move forward to
                                the next phase of Elite Trials in a year or so.
                                I have been working to observe how “Digger” works and not second guess
                                how I think odor should be traveling. I am finding he works odor up from
                                low hides and then down and works higher hides low and then up. Very
                                interesting. In the past if his head casted high, I “assumed” there was
                                a high hide, if it went low, I assumed it was a low hide. I now know its
                                “how” he is working it and not whether his head alone goes high or low.

                                Here is our Mixed Bag run- thanks !

                              • #3206
                                Kimberly Buchanan
                                Keymaster

                                  I think Digger’s pace helps him a lot. He’s not too fast and not too slow. He’s methodical and investigates items pretty thoroughly. Your distance from him seems to work well. You’re there to support but not crowding.

                                  Digger gets distracted at (:32) from something towards the camera – ? – but willingly goes back to work. Interesting how the odor moves around that mobile crate! (Is that a shopping cart? I like it!)

                                  Also note that he is rounding the corner of the building as you’re looking back into the search area at (1:21). He starts going up on the building at that point but then comes back to the search area at your request. He’s already found all the odors and probably knows that. ๐Ÿ™‚

                                  Nice that he doesn’t try to sell you on anything else, just goes back to previous hides. ๐Ÿ™‚

                                  Kimberly Buchanan
                                  Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                • #3237
                                  Jill Kovacevich
                                  Spectator

                                    Here is next Lesson 3A- Vehicles
                                    Sorry the video doesnt capture us at the hide on the Subaru (mid drivers side). Its interesting to watch and remember that Diggz worked it way different than I thought he would (evident when I started to head left at the front of the blue truck and he went right). He is so meticulous about 1) going to the edges and downwind and 2) covering all sides of each vehicle. I almost sometimes feel he can do NW without a handler. But its much more fun with me attached to the leash. Im sure he would agree !

                                  • #3252
                                    Kimberly Buchanan
                                    Keymaster

                                      Interesting that Digger went right first, then around the blue truck to the hide on the white truck. The hide on the blue truck is an easy one to miss because a handler might just “assume” that they’ve covered it and any odor detected was on the white truck.

                                      We can see feeties behind the SUV so I’m assuming he was diligently working that hide. ๐Ÿ˜‰

                                      If Digger wasn’t as dedicated to odor he may not have worked back to the hide on the blue truck. You can see there is a moment where he throws his head up (1:09) and decides the odor is behind him. He turns around and goes to the that 3rd hide – again, a location easily missed by the handler.

                                      Another thing that could have happened, is by observing the interest Digger showed on the SUV (critter interest) some handlers might assume it’s odor. Looks completely different but with the trial nerves people do things they would never do in training. Bottom line, if it were odor, he’d have told you he wanted to be paid. ๐Ÿ™‚

                                      Kimberly Buchanan
                                      Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                    • #3288
                                      Jill Kovacevich
                                      Spectator

                                        So turns out there was a hide in the head light on the Subaru where Digger showed interest at our NW3 trial in Edwards this past July- both Digger and Izzy showed interest- glad they didn’t “alert”. I had totally forgotten- hmmmm. I have even tried to make sure a Qtip isn’t stuck – but cant really access the area- I will need to power wash it to be sure.

                                        Here is the next two vehicles- to save time. I also have Lesson 4 done but we may not get to post it until after CO Camp. Let me know your preference.

                                      • #3290
                                        Kimberly Buchanan
                                        Keymaster

                                          Are you referring to the “interest” on the Subaru in the video lesson? I’m pretty sure the interest looked like critter and not odor, tho’.

                                          In this search your vehicles are much further apart than I’d intended, probably twice the distance apart. The way you have them set it is easy for Digger! ๐Ÿ™‚

                                          In the exercise, they should be CLOSE – wheelchair width, about 22-24″ apart. The reason is the challenge of working between vehicles with odors on either side. Where does the handler stand? How does the dog navigate back to the hide they haven’t gotten when they’re near the one they already sourced? Handler may not know there is another hide so the dog needs to learn to leave one hide to go to another and the handler needs to figure out how to not be in the dog’s way. Pay the line out or take a step back? ๐Ÿ™‚

                                          I know you have CO camp – you can re-do the exercise with the space challenge in mind if you’d like me to review?

                                          Kimberly Buchanan
                                          Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                        • #3291
                                          Jill Kovacevich
                                          Spectator

                                            Ok, I can redo this one- probably this weekend. Can you look at the last vehicle as well- just in case I need to do something different. I will need to upload it from home as its still on my ipad. That way I can redo both if I need to.

                                            Jill

                                          • #3301
                                            Kimberly Buchanan
                                            Keymaster

                                              Sure, you can add that video and I’ll take a look –

                                              Kimberly Buchanan
                                              Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                            • #3332
                                              Jill Kovacevich
                                              Spectator

                                                Here is the next video- my guess is I should do it over with the vehicles closer together.

                                              • #3334
                                                Kimberly Buchanan
                                                Keymaster

                                                  The spacing on this one looks pretty good. The tight spacing was mostly for the two side-by-side vehicles. I’ll review this a bit later – using this as the placeholder. ๐Ÿ™‚

                                                  Kimberly Buchanan
                                                  Joyride K9 Dog Training

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