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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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K9 Nose Work

I enrolled Maiya in a K9 Nose Work class late last year and we're in our 2nd session. I'm excited about this class because Maiya really enjoys searches.

We are still doing box and interior searches. Hope to start exterior searches next month and then vehicle searches. After that we will start from the beginning with box searches using the official scents instead of treats.

For those of you who are also participating, what are your experiences with classes and trials? Timeline of training from boxes to vehicle searches? How long until you were using official scents? Was the transition easy for your dog? Ideas for training at home to keep it interesting?

As far as I can tell, there are not many trials in the Illinois area yet but, as more people enroll in classes, hoping to see more trials.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 03:48 PM
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I started a nose work class this year with Pula. She hit the boxes the hardest of any in the class, but she is also the youngest. We are practicing with boxes at home, and she really likes it. So far, we have had just the 1st class. Today's was cancelled due to rain (we have class outside). I'll answer some of the questions as we move forward in the class.

Lisa
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 04:54 PM
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I participate in Nose Work with my dog and she goes psycho for it! It is definitely our favorite activity to do together.

It is still a fairly new sport, hence why there probably aren't very many sanctioned trials in your area. The structure for our classes went a little something like this;

*Intro To K9 Nose Work- This builds the foundation that Nose Work is a game, using boxes and just treats. During these 6 weeks we started integrating other objects, like chairs and umbrellas into the mix with the boxes. Until eventually we were using rooms with no boxes and just treats.

*Intro to Odor- Same game, just now you're pairing Birch with the SAME treats. It's really important to pair in this stage and REWARD REWARD REWARD, also when rewarding making sure you're feeding right over the source, so they know Birch= Deliciousness.

As you continue to build your skills and layer your dogs skills as well, even when you're advanced, you will more often than not always be pairing. 9 out of 10 times.

You'll be really surprised how quickly they put two and two together and recognize/distinguish odor. It's amazing, really. We did a Box Drill the other evening that resembles an ORT(Odor Recognition Test). Our very first try, every dog in the class nailed it. No pairing, just Odor! It was a blast and we were all very impressed with how quickly our dogs determined the scent. Matix even offered TWO alerts, which is very uncommon at this stage. Alerts are not something you teach, alerts are something you allow the dog to offer you to better communicate where the odor is.

Vehicles and exterior are a little later down the line(but not too much-I'd say within 6-8 months of starting- or at least with my classes and instructor), because you want to make sure your dog has a firm foundation, and you have fairly good communication with one another before you attempt them. They're a little bit more challenging because you have quite a few more things to factor in then you do with Interior and Box Drills. Wind currents primarily.

Matix and I will hopefully be completing our ORT(Odor Recognition Test- you must complete this before you can trial) this March and competing this August in NW1. I've volunteered at trials before and they are very fun, a lot more laid back than any other sporting trial I've participated in.

NW1- Birch
NW2- Birch, Anise
NW3- Birch, Anise, Clove- There are no dogs titled in NW3 at this time. It is very difficult to obtain this title.

Good luck to you, and HAVE FUN!! This sport is a blast!!

ETA: Fun training things for home: Have her/him do a sit stay in another room while you set up boxes, then give your command to "search" or "find it" or whatever it is you have decided to say. Gradually you can start hiding the treats outside of the boxes and, even places the treat on furniture near the boxes, nothing too complicated though, always nose level right now, you want success! If she's working(really searching), but it's taking her a bit longer than you'd expect, let her work- don't help, they need to problem solve, it develops their skills. If she starts to get frustrated and stops working I would then move a box close to the furniture or area where you've hid the treat. Stick to one room at a time.

Here's some sites:
http://www.funnosework.com/
http://www.nacsw.net/

Lynsee & Matix

Last edited by LynseeC; 01-30-2011 at 05:09 PM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynseeC View Post
I participate in Nose Work with my dog and she goes psycho for it! It is definitely our favorite activity to do together.

You'll be really surprised how quickly they put two and two together and recognize/distinguish odor. It's amazing, really. We did a Box Drill the other evening that resembles an ORT(Odor Recognition Test). Our very first try, every dog in the class nailed it. No pairing, just Odor! It was a blast and we were all very impressed with how quickly our dogs determined the scent. Matix even offered TWO alerts, which is very uncommon at this stage. Alerts are not something you teach, alerts are something you allow the dog to offer you to better communicate where the odor is.

Vehicles and exterior are a little later down the line(but not too much-I'd say within 6-8 months of starting- or at least with my classes and instructor), because you want to make sure your dog has a firm foundation, and you have fairly good communication with one another before you attempt them. They're a little bit more challenging because you have quite a few more things to factor in then you do with Interior and Box Drills. Wind currents primarily.
Yes, I was surprised to hear that our class is going to start exterior and vehicle searches before intro to odor. I would have expected that we'd introduce the dogs to the official scents before expanding the searches. I knew the outside distractions might be a problem with the exterior searches but didn't even think about wind currents.

Thanks for the information about the odor pairing; I wasn't sure how introducing the odor would work.

We've been training in class (and at home between sessions) for 10 weeks so I've expanded our at home training to multiple rooms with different items with and without boxes. Except for this past class when Maiya did get a little distracted, when she enters the building and sees the boxes, she goes straight to work. Hope she continues to be so interested and focused.

It is interesting to watch the dogs' various alerts - at least the few dogs in class that seem to alert. The most obvious alert in our class is the dog that paws at the hide. Maiya only alerts if she can't reach the treat herself. Her alert is to stop, stand still and turn her head to look at me.

Good luck on the ORT!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R2reddobes View Post

We've been training in class (and at home between sessions) for 10 weeks so I've expanded our at home training to multiple rooms with different items with and without boxes. Except for this past class when Maiya did get a little distracted, when she enters the building and sees the boxes, she goes straight to work. Hope she continues to be so interested and focused.

It is interesting to watch the dogs' various alerts - at least the few dogs in class that seem to alert. The most obvious alert in our class is the dog that paws at the hide. Maiya only alerts if she can't reach the treat herself. Her alert is to stop, stand still and turn her head to look at me.

Good luck on the ORT!
I love to see what ways different dogs try and alert too, it's very fascinating. Most dog's initial alert is to look! Sounds like your dog is doing a great job at it too.

Another fun place to train is Home Depot. Gets the distraction rate up and makes for a fun outing.

When you're doing different rooms in your house do you stick to one room per hide?

Lynsee & Matix

Last edited by LynseeC; 01-30-2011 at 06:12 PM.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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I spread the boxes across multiple rooms (adjoining rooms) for one hide. Our house isn't that big so multiple rooms in our house isn't that large of an area.
We often play "find it" with her toys too.

Boy, Home Depot would be quite the distraction for her. I've never checked to see if the Home Depot in our town allows dogs - I'll have to look into that. I had planned to borrow a friend's house for searches and use our two garages when the weather warms up to create additional distractions.
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Our Home Depot LOVES dogs. Hopefully your's does too! A long lead would work best for this type of practice. Bringing a friend would be a good idea too, so you can have a friend hold while you place the hides, and vise versa. Maybe leaving one dog in the car while you allow one dog to search.

Lynsee & Matix
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