Temperatures have been in the 30's at night. For most people, during the winter this is either normal or warm. Not for Southern California. Relative speaking, we will usually have 50's at night during this time of year. But instead we had mid 50's during the day. For us, that's cold. Anyone who has lived in Southern California long enough would acclimate to it, and find this weather to be rather cold.
However, excitement, Mickey's very first K9 Nose Work(R) trial. An all day event. As the Certifying Official, Jill-Marie O'Brien, said today is great dog weather, but no so much handler friendly. She was right. No over heated dogs today! Which is a relief. I did bring my fancy sun shades and extra bottles of water, but didn't need it. But always glad to have it there.
I was the very first one to go. Some people just do not want to be the first one, but I found for my anxiety level, get it over with and I don't have to be in tension for several minutes before my run. I was happy being first.
My first run, exterior. It was good, he found it fairly fast and I was really good getting out of his way when he past the odor and needed to come back. Probably why the judge said "good handling!" on the score sheet.
Second run, interior. Good and fairly fast. I thought for sure Mickey did a fault. He nudged it, looked at me, I rewarded him, he went back and scooted the odor for about 5 inches. I thought for sure that was it, I got him to take his reward and then had to lure him away from the odor. A very HANDY technique when your dog is interacting too much with the odor at a trial. Whew.....! This was the second time Mickey has ever done interiors. It didn't dawn on me until afterwards we only did one interior search away from home. I have done about 8 different in house interior searches.
Then vehicles. This one Mickey had a little bit more trouble. He kept fixating on the front bumper on the driver's side. So much so that I almost really thought it was in that general area. But....it didn't feel right to call it, so I gave him a "show me" cue. I do not like to give cues in nose work, but I saw he had a bit of trouble and needed some guidance, but I simply didn't know where it was. However, when I said "show me" the second time, he left that area and he targeted towards the passenger rear side. AH! I'm wondering why he fixated on that other spot. Odor collecting under the bumper? Was the wind going at a diagonal to the front? I don't know, but was so glad that I read my dog well to know he didn't quite find source. Whew! He did go out of scent and wasn't in scent for a few seconds, which I gave him that usual look, "you need to work it out yourself bud." He did. Obviously.
The container search was fast. I said, "alert!" The judge yelled YES! said "Good Job!" and when I looked up at her for saying that, a second after she wrote something down. Found out later I got faulted for dropping food. I probably got distracted when she said good job and accidentally dropped food.
My general feel was, this was a big step for Mickey. I don't get to practice a lot and for how little we do, Mickey did an awesome job. We had only done interior outside of home once. We have done vehicles other than my own, about 6 times. I've only done about 6 blind hides, where I didn't know where they were located. So when I really thought about this, MY GOSH CHRISTY! You rally didn't practice enough and you passed! WOW! Good Job Mickey!
Wn't be this easy for NW2 (Nose Work 2) trial.