Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lots of Sniff Work

With another nose work class later in the day, we kept our morning romp short. I kept an eye on Queen Pouncer to avoid another repeat of our weekend's adventure. Kona still made off with some sneak exploring.

Nose Class
Kona's Sunday class went better than I expected. We were out in the parking lot again for more vehicle searches. I hadn't practiced at all with Kona and didn't know if she would remember anything from the previous week or if we'd be starting from scratch.

She needed help a few times when she got nervous and forgot what she was doing, but a few taps on the van and guiding her with the leash helped her to reengage her nose. She found the odor much more quickly and seemed to know that she was there to work, unlike last week when she was pretty lost.

She whined a couple of times and yanked me back to the car after every turn, but she still manged to work...in a parking lot!

During today's mixed class, the dogs learned how to alert when they found the odor. It's not a hard skill for the dogs to learn, but I won't have Kona practice it anymore for quite some time. It's still more important for her to want to find the odor at this point. We'll worry about the fancy stuff later.

It was fun to watch the more advanced dogs practice their alerts. One young sibe gets so excited that she play bows. She's learning a more formal sit, but I think it would be fun to reinforce the bow.

The highlight for me today was taking Kona across the parking lot where three or four people from one of the neighboring businesses were sitting outside. She saw them and they made her nervous, but she didn't panic. Six months ago, that probably would have sent her over the top.

She also did one exterior search. During her turn, a man in a shop yard came into view through the fence where Kona searched. Kona stopped to take note of him, but I didn't notice her stress levels rise. If I were to show you a video of Kona during class I'm sure everyone would say, "That's one anxious dog." But the fact that Kona can engage her nose, or willingly approach a classmate, makes me one proud Kona mom.


Kathy said...

wow, Kona sounds like she is doing amazing and to be able to do that higher level thinking and pay attention, that is such an accomplishment, what a wonderful girl she is. The class just sounds like so much fun!

Sam said...

This really sounds like an awesome experience for her. It's hard to believe that this is the same dog who was having so much trouble with CGC prep. I think that this format is a lot better - it seems to leave her fears out of the equation and allows her to do the thing that comes so natural to a dog without any hesitation. Good for you both!

Sara said...

Wow, you had some great moments in class! What a great opportunity to be working in a parking lot. Oreo still pulls toward the car (any car) at agility events, even though we've been doing it for over a year. I think it is almost a habit for him. See car, try to get in it to escape. LOL. So, this is a great chance for Kona to see cars as something else.

Isn't it the best when things that once made your dog panic are now manageable? I'm so happy you had that moment in class.

Don't worry about what other people think about your dog. YOu know how far she's come, and that's all that matters.

LauraK said...

That's so awesome! Sounds like Kona is starting to handle stressful situations better and keeping that little nose going despite what's going on around her. I bet your class is a lot of fun to watch, I love hearing about it :)

Barb said...

So interesting to read about of Kona's nose work. I do wish you could have someone take a short video while you're working her. Maybe later when she is even more confident. PS Lucinda was very thankful for your advise - she hates sunburned ears (so does Barb...)

KB said...

It sounds like you had a really good class, and I was so happy to read that you were a proud Kona mom!!! It sounds like Kona faced some things that previously would have freaked her out or even stopped her altogether but worked through them. That's great progress!