Thursday, November 01, 2012

Sometimes ...

the best learning creates a whole freaking chain of questions for me. The sporting dog scenting workshops did that to me. Yes they did.

We all survived it. Mind you, the door of the truck suffered thanks to Yen who dug the cosmetic thing that makes it look pretty off. It was really interesting to start a sport with a better knowledge of dog and human behaviour under my belt. The facility worked well. The never ending stream of food and hot drinks were much appreciated. A good event overall. The clinician, Karin Apel, was very positive with people and dogs, very entertaining and did a great job balancing helping with letting dogs and handlers figure things out.

I could see the handlers timing and movement having a profound impact on the dogs work. This is not a game you want to interfere with. Get the dog working and let them do their job. It's very intrinsically motivating at first (dog finds toy or food alone to start) but I can all ready see that Sally thinks the scent itself  is rewarding ... yesterday when doing homework she was pushing the scent container around the box inhaling deeply.  Wyn prefers to find a more primary motivator with the scent still. I guess he doesn't see me as quite a good provider as Sally does!

Each round gave us three searches ... some searches were very very quick;some took longer- it made me think of a snookers class - you never really knew exactly when you'd be in the ring.
The first round of searches was very straight forward ... a row of boxes without lids with food/toy/reward in one. The second had lids ajar on the boxes and they were a little more random.  The third round varied a bit depending on the dog's readiness and progress. Some  had scent introduced, some had more complicated "finds", some did a repeat of round two. By the final round every dog had scent in their box, and was pretty engaged in finding the target!

Twelve searches a dog. Two hundred and four searches for the instructor. (Each day!)
Some dogs started shy and nervous,others kept checking with their handlers to get information about what they were supposed to be doing. Some jumped right in. Guess what Sally and Wyn did?

And how!

Sally settled to work very quickly - both dogs vocalized while instructor reset the searches but got amazingly focused as the rounds continued. Sally was always keen to get to work.

Brody kept checking in with me but he was fascinating to watch - he really used his nose.

We've been doing a bit of homework - so I have 147 searches under my belt. Astounding!

The questions I have are mostly around moving forward. And figuring out how to practise with each of them.
Must. Find. Discipline.

(thanks too all the variety of camera folk who got these great shots - and many more!)


Sara said...

That's cool stuff! I think my dogs would love it, especially if deer poop were in one of the boxes!

Muttsandaklutz said...

Awesome! Glad you and the gang had fun and will have tons more fun with thisin the future! I love how this sport really welcomes dogs of all ages, sizes, and physical abilities.

Laura and The Corgi, Toller, & Duck said...

What a super cool sport!