Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekend Writeup

Kona finished her level 3 nose work class last weekend. Her class ended the series with an Odor Recognition Test. The ORT is required for dogs to compete and checks to be sure they recognize the target odor. It's overseen by an official judge.

The test itself is really simple. It's a box drill and the dogs have three minutes to find the odor. It's a blind search for the handlers, so we have to know our dogs well enough to recognize when they find the odor since most of the dogs don't have an official alert at this point.

Kona didn't pass. She was the only dog who didn't. She wasn't able to focus. Though I can sometimes help remind her of what she's doing, no luck this time. I was bummed about it, mostly because I hate taking her to class only to see her stressed out. I also really thought she would pass and was looking forward to an official recognition that Kona and I had accomplished something. I know Kona and I are always accomplishing things, but in the moment it was hard to remind myself of that.

What went wrong? The environment changed. Instead of the human classmates being inside with us, they were all outside. She didn't know the judge and timekeeper, but I don't think they scared her, I think she just didn't put them together with searching.

I did get the affirmation that I read Kona well. She was able to engage her nose a number of times and even paid special attention to a couple boxes, but I knew she was just sniffing and not searching. I thought it was cool to recognize the difference. It was also a good reminder for me that I go to classes with the goal for Kona to have fun in a different environment, with the greater goal of increasing her confidence. I need to be more focused from here on out to cater the class exercises to help Kona relax and have fun.

It was another learning weekend. We'll be back in the level 4 class in a couple weeks!

Here's a Nose Work video if you want to see some dogs at work. The clips of the dogs searching the rows of boxes is the box drill.


Stella said...

You mean to say, you took an animal with the best, most developed sniffer in the universe, put her in a class, and she flunked? Is that what you are telling me?

You need to send Kona to Minnesota where we prefer to just walk around with our dogs and let them have fun, let her spend a couple of weeks with us, and she will have time to forget this failure and get on with just sniffing around like she is supposed to do.
Whaddya say, AC? lololol!

Cheers and hugs,
Stella's Mom

AC said...

Haha! I do think Kona prefers to sniff on her own terms and there sure isn't anything wrong with her snout! Today, she started woofing at her water dish. She had sniffed out a single cheerio that was stuck UNDERNEATH her water bowl. She wouldn't stop woofing until I figured it out and retrieved the cheerio for her.

Barb said...

First of all, Kona passed even if she still needs some practice. She's come a long way. I liked the video - learned something fascinating about how the dogs alert differently. Obviously if they had hidden a Cherrio, Kona would have passed with flying colors.

Stella said...

I love it! When I saw your comment on my blog I thought you might be upset with what I thought was a funny comment to you! But you aren't and I am so glad!

I have always had little Hoover dogs that would clean up any foodal item off the floor, but Stella will NOT! NO DICE! She wants food in her dish and she is not on the clean up committee!

Priscilla said...

AC, don't worry about it. We all know that Kona has passed her nose work. Both of you are doing so well learning each other and I think that's the most important thing to be worried about at the moment :)

Sara said...

It is so hard whenever a "judge" enters into the equation.

Kona has clearly made huge gains in her confidence level. That is a bigger accomplishment than the actual test. As we say in agility, personal "Q's" sometimes mean much more than a Q on paper.

I'm sure next time around, she will pass!

Diana said...

Sorry about the sorta unsuccessful scent test. But Im sure you learned a lot. You'll get it next time. Diana

Kathy said...

Well, I still think Kona has come so far and heck this is just a little bump in the road, you guys are my heros, and are doing so well, she is going to be the STAR in the class next time, although she is already a star. I am so proud of you both for getting as far as you have, and being there to take the test in such a new environment, heck I think the nose work is just so interesting and so different then anything I know how to do with dogs!