Well, drat, friends. Clover finished the canine nosework competition last Friday, March 3, 2023, in Loveland, Colorado, with finding 6 of the 8 hides (in 5 searches), but you have to be PERFECT and all in ONE DAY to earn the NW2 title, so we'll try again March 31 at a trial MUCH closer to home ... and, in fact, the same location where Clover earned her NW1 on her first try at that level of canine nosework competition. Thanks to an expedited video process. We already have our videos to share. Here's how it went.
NW2 Canine Nosework Results
The good news is that with Clover getting 6 of the 8 hides throughout the day and other reasons she came in 9th overall (from about 28 dogs), which is WAY better than next to last at the event in October 2022. Improvement!!
Also, she *almost *almost *almost got a ribbon for her 2 interior searches that day. They only give places 1, 2, and 3, and Clover came in 4th in the interior canine nosework element. She is really quite good at interiors, very methodical, etc.
It's about a 2-hour drive each way to Loveland for us, and Clover's tummy seemed off that morning once we arrived (sickly poops), but she worked really hard and rested in between searches, and she seemed pretty happy.
A friend (who hosted the event) took this photo of us right before our final search -- an exterior canine nosework search with just 1 hide, but the location and the winds causes swirling air. That's why Clover keeps circling the area in the video below.
Let's take a look!
Canine Nosework - Vehicle Search
I won't show you the entire vehicle search because it's painful to watch. Clover found the hide right away, but I was too goofy to call it so fast and ended up asking her to search all 3 cars, and we timed out.
Lesson learned!!! While Clover does often pass hides in other canine nosework search elements (like containers and interiors), she is MUCH MORE decisive with vehicles, and I need to be brave enough to call ALERT!
Alas, in our first NW2 nosework competition in April 2021, the one search I messed up was because I called something too fast. Now, we missed getting a title because I botched the first search of the day by not calling something fast enough. Hey! At least I don't keep making the *same mistakes. (ha ha)
Yes, Clover found the hide in like 7 second, and yet I blew the full 3 minutes of the search. Gah!
Canine Nosework - Interior Search 1
After botching the first search, I used all my Mental Mastery skills to shake it off, including playing our theme song [see video of that below too] for this event's prep over and over in the car.
The next search was a 3-hide interior in a pretty big room. And, the limit was 3 minutes.
I realize watching this video back that I waited a LONG TIME (again) to call the inaccessible hide in the stack of chairs. I was mostly wondering why the odor was so low on the ground for Clover. It probably had to do with the heating system in the building and the cold temps outside, but for a while (about 30 seconds), it kind of threw me, and I wanted to be right after being wrong on vehicles.
But, then, Clover went back and picked up the "threshold" hide on the trashcan near the door and the one on the music stand that she also passed on her first lap around.
Again, that's pretty common for Clover to work rooms like this in a counter-clockwise pattern, so I just let her do what she needs to do.
Canine Nosework - Containers
We've struggled a bit lately with container searches, which are really SELECTIONS and not SEARCHES in the same way that other canine nosework search elements are.
Selection is MUCH MORE stressful and difficult for the dogs. We've been taking an online class in recent weeks to work on our container search teamwork and conceptual training, but we got caught up in a distraction box, and I didn't read Clover correctly and in fact affected her work (and accidently made her look at me, which she sometimes does when she finds a hide).
Still, she got 1 of 2 hides in a difficult room with high ceilings and drapes and table cloths. We've also never had a photographer clicking away at us while we work before.
I kind of suspected where they other hide was based on how Clover searched the drapes nearby on her first pass through, but I can't call ALERT until she kind of shows me that she knows or thinks the hide is somewhere.
I recently learned that when a lot of dogs false alert on a cold box that it often triggers other dogs to false alert too. The theory is that they release a happy pheromone in that area and that other dogs respond to that instead of the target odor. Gah!
So, basically, it behooves ALL of us to avoid false alerts on containers. That darn bagel!!
Canine Nosework - 2nd Interior Search
Again, I rallied myself to continue with the day and finish strong. Next came the second interior search. One hide in a smaller room than before and a 2 1/2 minute time limit.
Again, you'll see Clover work the room twice before settling on the hide. I think of this as Clover "taking attendance" in the room to survey how many hides she thinks there are. Remember, I'm told how many hides at this level, but I don't know where they are, so they are "blind" searches.
Canine Nosework - Exterior
As I mentioned earlier, our final search of the day was outside or a so-called exterior search. It was just 1 hide, but the building's face and winds caused swirling ... especially with a fireplace nearby which might have drawn the odor that direction too. When she goes out of video view, she is searching that freestanding fireplace.
I'm SO grateful that I did NOT call ALERT when Clover got caught up for a bit in "pooling odor" around another chair and up one of the big posts. In that instance, waiting to all ALERT was the right decision because then she worked her way to the correct location under another chair.
Our Theme Song
It struck me recently that this song from Neil Diamond should be our theme song leading up to this competition. It's a LONG story, involving my mom who died 10 years ago, about why I've been listening to so much Neil Diamond this winter, but this peppy little song helps me, and the video includes puppies!
Our New Theme Song for the Canine Nosework Competition on March 31
So imagine this playing in my head as we walk to the start line next time we compete. ;o) It's quite the anthem.