Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Working towards the Zone

     Today i didn't have to go to work so I decided to do a lot of various nose work practices today. I did one at a strip mall, a park and containers in my drive way. The Container search enabled me to work all three of my dogs.

        The little strip mall i went to isn't very big and isn't very busy. It has a huge church that has services Saturday night and Sunday. So today, Wednesday, not much was there. There are a few businesses but they don't generate a lot of traffic. I set 6 hides. One behind a brick wall. One  6 feet high (or higher) in a tree, 6 feet on a pole and three hides along the front of the church (Window sill, door and cubby hole on the ground). Mickey had a great search. While working him, I realized I did not have my hearing aids on. I usually listen for his gush of air to tell me he found the odor. My response time to him was different and I could tell he was a little frustrated when I didn't respond instantly when he did his gush of air. I simply don't hear it at all. But it gave me a new way to look at Mickey. I never looked at him closing his mouth, as Fred, an instructor, mentioned many times. Sometimes it is hard for me to see, so I looked for it this time. Today, I was working on visual cues rather than sound. I did know where the hides where so when he looked at me, I knew why, but that is a bit of a delay from his burst of air. Interesting to see his response that I was not responding normally.

      The second place I went to was a park. I did six hides. One in a latch of a chain link fence. One in the crack in the cement. One by a pillar, one behind a railing, one between grass and the walk way and one in the middle of the grass in a sprinkler cover. There was probably an hour between these searches. Mickey just was distracted, probably because just as I started to do my searches, a few  families came out of their cars to get ready to play soccer. That is one of the hardest things about practicing at parks is sometimes no one is around and then when you want to do the searches, you get distractions. We worked through them. He found them all.

          Then I came home and didn't feel like going to any other parks or strip malls so I put out a bunch of containers in my drive way. I increased the difficulties and always did two odors. I ran all three dogs and all three really loved the game. I did use a distraction by putting toys and pine cones in a bag, but Mickey didn't seem to be phased by it. A few weeks ago when I went to the Halloween search, Mickey went straight for the bag that had a lot of distractions in it. Really hitting the bag hard. Which is odd since Mickey usually leaves bags with distractions alone. Well today he left it alone. We are back in the game.


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