Last night I had Mickey tested for recognizing Birch odor. The Odor Recognition Test (ORT) is a test to show that my dog understands and can alert to a specific odor for trialing. This will save many people and spots from making the mistake of entering a trial when their dog is not ready. However, just because a dog passes their ORT, doesn't mean they are ready to trial.
My experience with the ORT was interesting. As I walked into the building, my excitement escalated. I was even surprised I was able to walk forward as I felt like I almost was going to freeze like a deer in front of head lights. Mickey and I went into the room,, made a circle to the right to calm me down, then stood behind the line. I felt like I was there for awhile but it probably was only 8 seconds. My head was getting light. I had previously did the "test" run and Mickey spotted the odor. I'm so glad I did that as that dropped my anxiety down a few notches.
Mickey kept looking at me while we stood behind the line, I was waiting for him to look forward on his own, but he was intent in waiting for me to tell him to "go find it!" He knew what we were doing, he knew there was birch some where out there, he was just staring at me "come on already will you just tell me to GO!!! I cued him to find it and he probably nose touched about 4 boxes, then tapped his nose on a box that I "almost" was going to say "alert" but he nose touched the box next to it. I had to hold back to see where he was going to indicate. He went to that first one he tapped and indicated strongly that was the box. I said, "ALERT!" they said yes, I rewarded Mickey. I was still in shock that I was like, "did he pass?" I think I asked two or three times as I couldn't believe it. It happened so fast. I didn't even know my time. They probably said it and I didn't hear. I said I have to leave, they gave me my booklet and I couldn't stop staring at it, like Mickey just got a big beautiful ribbon. As I walked out the doors to go back to the parking lot, I sniffled about ready to cry. I just couldn't believe reality happened. I knew he could do it, but reality hit! I went up to Kim and said, "You see that show 'So you Think you can Dance" where they come running out saying they are going to Vegas? I could see her and everyone else's face going "well, did you pass?" I then said, "I'M GOING TO VEGAS!!!!" Then everyone knew that we passed. I almost was going to bust out of the doors waving Mickey's book saying WE ARE GOING TO VEGAS, but I wasn't sure if anyone had seen "So you Think you can Dance" show.
When I finally got in my truck and going on the road, a pure calmness came over me. With being so stressed in my life of having a lot of trouble of achievements in other areas, passing this ORT was a good thing. A great streak of getting a leg in Beginner Novice, Rally and now passing the ORT. I'm feeling rather accomplished, and now I can really start getting to work on real training and rising above :-) I'm so fortunate to have an incredible dog! He's got the stuff, now it is all on me.