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0 Comments | May 27, 2012

The trial, part two

Read ‘The trial part one’ here.  After lunch, it’s on to the vehicle search and the exterior.  The vehicle search consists of three vehicles together, with the odor hidden on one.  True zooms through this one, in just twenty-one seconds, with no hesitation. I’m impressed!  I was a little concerned that I would be unsure about her signals, but she is crystal clear.  Three elements so far, and every signal has been rock solid. We’re working together really well. 

The exterior search is set up in an area with a walkway, a concrete patio, and lots of grass.  There is also an overflowing trash can with the remains of someone’s lunch.  Uh oh.  We wait for quite awhile before we are summoned to the walkway.  Did something happen with the dog before us?  The time limit for this search is three minutes, and we wait for closer to fifteen or twenty, so something must be going on.  When we finally get to the start line, nothing seems amiss.  True heads confidently down the path.  She quickly veers to the right and begins searching in wide arcs.  One of her arcs takes her to the trash can—she checks out a styrofoam tray with leftover ketchup from someone’s French fry lunch.  After a quick sniff, she moves on—no scent there.  I am thrilled!  She walked away from food!  She heads to the brick wall and alerts on a metal plate attached to the wall.  I call it, and we’re good!  One minute, twenty-one seconds.  She has passed all four elements, and we have earned our NW1 title!

Later, I find out that the dog before us pooped in the search area.  This is an automatic disqualification, and explains the time gap, since they had a lot of clean up to do.  Unfortunately, it also distracted several of the dogs following, and there were quite a few who marked on that spot, disqualifying them as well.  Only 11 dogs overall earned their Nose Works 1 title.

The exterior search is a big topic of conversation once the searches have ended.  It was challenging for most of the dogs, between the trash distraction and the bathroom distraction.  The vehicle search also caught a few teams.  The wind was blowing pretty good during much of the afternoon, and more than one team alerted on a spot on a vehicle just across from where the actual hide was, where the wind was pushing the scent.

The last part of the day is the debrief and the ribbon ceremony.  Ribbons are given for earning titles, and also for performance in individual elements, whether you earned a title or not.  This is a great practice, and allows some of the dogs who got disqualified in one search element to be recognized for their impressive performances in other search areas.  We receive a lovely ribbon for earning our NW1 title and, to my surprise, a ribbon for taking second place in trial on the vehicle search, and another for coming in third place overall.  Way to go, True!  At 5:30, we’re done and on our way home.  It’s been a long day—9 hours at the trial plus an hour and a half drive each way for a total of 2 minutes and 41 seconds of searching.  Sounds crazy, but I loved the challenge, the camaraderie, and the teamwork with my dog.  I’m officially hooked!