I have waited a long time to have a smaller group with Fred. We had 6 working teams today with one host and two helpers. Perfect size. Everything went really well and smooth today.
It is two weeks before Mickey's two element trials and three weeks before Mickey's NW3 trial. I'm trying to get back into the swing of things and working with Fred was a great opportunity to get my skills going.
......First Search.....Interior, Men's Bathroom
Our first search was in a bathroom. I was relieved when I went in and saw the lighting good enough I could see. There were two hides. The bathroom goes in to the left, then right where there are sinks to the left. Another right goes into another section with the stalls and Urinals. The hides were placed in the corner next to a sink on a broom, and the second odor underneath the second sink. These hides were rather close to create a converging odor problem for the dog. We also had the fan in the bathroom moving air around.
I opt to have Mickey off leash, let him in, he caught the general area of the first odor, but got stuck under the first sink. I did call it, but knew it wasn't strong enough. I almost think Mickey knew it was on the broom, but doesn't like moving objects like brooms. After some waiting out, he eventually got the odor on the broom. Then he got the second hide under the second sink. We went to the stall area to let him check out everything. he did not find odor.
I did have a little bit of a "deer in headlights" episode. I froze and my brain didn't think. I just let Mickey go and I follow when I do this. I don't do it all the time. When I am mindful, I do much better directing and presenting areas to Mickey. it is like getting back into an old habit that I have to work my way out of it again.
What I need to get back into is when I walk in, (or during the walk through) what are my goals and what are the goals for the dog. Think about having fun. Be observant of my surroundings, watch the dog, but don't be so fixated you are not seeing the whole picture. Step back, don't crowd your dog.
------Interior, Conference Room---------
this is a fairly small conference room. Three hides very close together. This room has an air current from the air conditioning.
Mickey comes in the room and instantly turns right, hits the trash can. I walk in the door, and my body pulled him away from the trash can. he moved away and started to search the room. he later came back to the trash can but tipped it over. For me this was confusing because Mickey likes to tip over trash cans for fun. Fred told me that is where the odor is and reset the trash can. Mickey went up to the trash can and appropriately alerted. Then he went back into the room, wandered a bit then went to an area where a chair was in a corner next to a filing cabinet. Mickey showed interest but I could tell he did not find source. Fred had me move the chair and Mickey sourced the odor.
Then we wandered a bit, Fred said where haven't you been. My brain froze. There was a corner that Mickey brushed over. It was between the trash can and the odor behind the filing cabinet blocked by the chair. It was up on a picture on the wall. took Mickey awhile to source this odor. It was in a challenging spot.
We need to remember to check our corners. They are important. When I thought they were covered, they weren't. I have seen Mickey in the past not cover corners well, but in a trial we got everything. So I'm not sure what that connection is, whey we get it in a trial, not in a workshop. I'm wondering if it has to do with my mindfulness. I'm not that mindful in a workshop as I am in a trial (if my head is on right).
Don't forget to ask if you can move an object.
We then had our search on small little boxes. It was fun and Mickey did get all the boxes. However, towards the end he was just bouncing around to boxes and I was feeling a bit frazzled, not knowing he got them all. I did get a little lost at the end of where have I been and what did he missed. However, Fred did point out that Mickey didn't hit all the boxes because he didn't have to, as he could tell which ones had odor coming out of them. He probably was hitting the boxes because I gave the body language of, keep looking! This had so many boxes, about 50? That this is more on Elite Division level, not NW3.
What is my purpose?
-present an area for the dog
Watch the environment. Pay attention to what the wind is doing. Use the wind to your advantage. Use a loose leash, and don't crowd your dog.
-----Exterior, two pipe corrals, first one just an outside corral, a second one went partially into a barn----
We went in, circled a few times, Mickey did hit odor, then he went down a channel, jumped up, i called it too quickly, not odor. Just pooling odor from a channel.
Went in, Mickey went straight for the balls that they put in corrals for horses. They were soft and Mickey could bite into it and carried it around a bit with him. I discouraged it and got him back into searching mode, sort of. he was still thinking about the balls that when he went to an area, he went right past odor. I just knew he wasn't paying attention. He eventually went into the stall, found the high hide. Then came out, then we went along the corral, he found the odor he breezed by due to the balls. Then we worked the barn wall. and he eventually sourced the odor and got it. this was a bit more difficult mostly due to the balls that were distracting him. I certainly do need to practice with more balls.
Three vehicles, two odors.
zig zag of perpendicular configuration. Mickey got the first hide fairly fast. I went around that vehicle to clear it. Then we kind of got stuck on finding the second odor. Fred noted it seemed Mickey was getting tired. It was at the end of the day. Mickey found odor by really going under neath the car, but was about 1 1/2 feet from source. We then worked him to source.
Things to remember.....
Watch for when mouth closes.
What is the behavior before the change of behavior?
Pay attention to the wind. The Wind is your friend.
I really did think I was moving along, It just seemed today I stepped a few steps backwards. Probably because I'm not practicing 3-4 times a week. With health issues, it is really hard to keep up with it and I tried to trial two other dogs. It really is difficult for me to work more than one dog. Makes it hard to focus. But I do have to remember these were difficult problems. They were set up for a purpose, and I think some hard for NW3 level. I have three weeks until our NW3. I need to get my head calm and have fun with this. If I don't, I will blow the trial.