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    • #5941
      Julia Back

        So, we had a fabulous first NW3 trial in Salem, OR yesterday. We didn’t title but we learned a ton and I’m even more excited to continue training. There were only two titles for the day. I would love to hear about others’ first (or 2nd… or 7th) NW3 experiences. A few of my take aways:

        -The searches were challenging – all had 1 or 2 hides, so theoretically not that different from NW2, but more converging odor setups and bigger/more complex search areas. The searches tended to be a lot longer because of the need to cover the whole area to make sure you didn’t miss any hides (unknown number). We did not have any blank rooms.

        -I found that I loved the challenge, and that our mistakes/not titling were really put into perspective by our success in other areas. It’s just harder to be upset about our one miss in an interior search when we did two other really good interior searches. Maybe part of the positive attitude was going in without the expectation of titling (so few do on their first NW3).

        -We had two misses, one in containers and one in interiors. Both were situations of pooling/drifting odor. We don’t work a lot of interiors in stuffy, warm rooms where hides have been aged for 5+ hours, and that definitely played a big role in this trial (39% pass rate on interiors). It’s definitely on the practice list now! Containers I just called a little too soon, I should have waited to see if he would come off of it – the odor bag was just a few feet away and the door was pushing the odor back onto the soft cloth bag we falsed on. Many dogs had the same problem (50% pass rate).

        -Do not try to count to 20 when you get the 30-second call, lol. Count to 10 if you have to and then call it. In every search area (excepting the misses) we had found all of the hides long before that and weren’t going to pick one up in the last 10 seconds anyway.

        -Bring a USB drive! Now that videographers are becoming more common, this is the easiest way to get your videos. Lucky for us we were only 15 minutes from a Walgreens.

        Anyone else have similar challenges? Do you work aged hides often? Do you practice timed searches?

      • #5945
        Susanne Howarth

          We are still working on our NW2s, but in a previous on-line class, Kim had us attempt to estimate our search times. I’m horrible at it! The way I did this, as Blackie (or Biscuit?) found each hide, instead of saying “Alert,” I would say what I thought the timing was for that hide, and could then compare this to actual using the videos I was making. I was usually pretty good at guesstimating the first find, but subsequent ones tended to deviate significantly. It’s clearly an exercise I need to work on some more!

        • #5947
          Julia Back

            That would certainly be a useful skill to have, Susanne. I’m with you, I can usually gauge the first one in practice, but lose it after that. In trials, everything feels like an eternity. I find myself relying heavily on the 30-second warning in NW3 (it seems like many people do), but there’s always the possibility that you may not hear it or the timer may forget. Plus, it’s really hard to practice that on your own.

            • #5958
              Karen Irby

                Except for class where we do a lot of containers, Lola and I mostly do exterior searches. I do not have a lot of access to different vehicles or interiors to use. Also, although I have a practice group that meets every other Sunday (we do time each other), week day practice is alone- so no blind hides and often they’re rarely aged more than 10 minutes (we usually practice in the mornings before I have to commute to work). I do about 90% accessible hides, and about half of the time I’ll pair with food.

                In setting hides, I’ve found it’s VERY easy to inadvertently create converging odor, but it’s more difficult to find the right location and variables for pooling odor. With each hide I put out, I try to have a goal for the search, and although many times it doesn’t work out quite like I expected, I do think I learn something from every run. I will say that some of the very best lessons I’ve learned have been at trials when I’ve royally screwed up. I will say that my dog has never had a problem searching for odor, it’s always been her handler’s fault we didn’t title.

                Some lessons learned during trials- the dog is the one with the nose; yes, hides can be set within a few feet of each other; three minutes is an eternity but 30 seconds go by in a flash; don’t call finish while your dog is still working; sometimes you come upon a search that you and your dog just aren’t ready for; patience is the cure all for blurt-alerts; another dog’s slobber can be the most powerful distractor of all; and, as long as my dog had fun a title doesn’t matter.

            • #5973
              Deb (De) Frost

                Re: your lessons learned – oh, so very true, Karen! 🙂

                In my first NW3 trial with Baxter;
                I learned that having been to a total of 3 NW trials (ever) was NOT enough to prepare me for the challenges of NW3. Baxter did fine – I flubbed it totally.

                I learned that the searches themselves weren’t necessarily any harder than in NW2, but not knowing how many hides there were really, really CAN mess with your mind unless you are prepared – and you CAN be prepared. And that your DOG doesn’t care what level it is – TRUST YOUR DOG, and when he tells you, “NO, there really was only one hide, can we leave now?”, you should probably say Finish (especially if you’ve been around the whole room several times and been back to the same one hide twice) and not waver uncertainly and then call “alert!” on your dog sniffing the AIR. <sigh>

                I learned that, DANG! My dog really can very clearly tell me, NO there is nothing in this room. How cool is that? 🙂

                I learned that although you should trust your dog, you should also give your dog every opportunity to GET TO all the areas of a search zone when you had an entire 3 minutes to search and he’s found two hides after 1 minute … and not call Finish when your dog is still moving forward with interest and intent – with all that time still on the clock – even though YOU thought you had already been around that vehicle once (ONCE?? Ack).

                We did lots better six months later at our second NW3 trial. 🙂 Live, learn and most of all – HAVE FUN WITH YOUR DOG!

              • #5974
                Julia Back

                  Thanks for sharing, Karen and Deb! Those are all great (and important) lessons indeed. I think I need “Patience is the cure for blurt alerts” on a wall somewhere (or on a post-it note on my forehead when I go in to search?).

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