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Discussion Starter #1
First, I apologize for the long post, I’m just so thrilled with how today went! A little over a month ago I was lucky enough to find a NACSW-certified instructor who’s only half an hour away, and today we had our first (virtual) Intro to K9 Nose Work class. Our trainer had us start out by spreading some small plastic containers around the living room for a really simplified container search. Reggie caught on quickly to this fun new game so we were able to up the difficulty a bit with each search. He was put in the bathroom in between searches and we slowly tested if he would go under something, search at nose height, and recheck an area in order to find a hide. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so focused before! He came into the room ready to work each time and worked through finding some of the more difficult hides with very little direction from me. After the last search Reggie trotted over to the bathroom door and looked at me as if to say, “Well, aren’t we going to do it again?” I’m so glad I was able to find something that he seems to thoroughly enjoy! I’m hoping I can update this as we take more classes.


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Great start to nose work.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
I love your enthusiasm! That's exactly what I needed. I just emailed my trainer because I've lost a lot of training mojo. Thank you so much for sharing. Keep it up. I want to read more.
Thank you!! I always love hearing about what you and Noelle are working on. We have another class this week, so hopefully there will be some more to add!


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Discussion Starter #9
Reggie and I had our second NW class this past Friday. We started off with a container search and then went right in to some more challenging searches. Up to this point we’d only worked with hides on a horizontal surface, so introducing vertical hides was an experience for both of us. I had no idea you could use sour cream to stick a piece of hotdog to a wall! Reggie seemed just as surprised when he found that hide; I could actually see him slam on the brakes.

We also started to work on container searches outside. As it turns out, Reggie isn’t the type of dog to waste time when it comes to searches. On our last search there was one hide and two containers left. He stood in between the containers and sniffed in the direction of the container on the right. He decided that container didn’t have the yummy treat in it and walked over to the container on the left to get his prize. I love how nose work gives me the opportunity to watch him problem solve.


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I'm really enjoying reading about Reggie progress. Galen is showing signs of having a decent nose. Maybe you will inspire me to work him into those classes when the Covid situation settles down.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm really enjoying reading about Reggie progress. Galen is showing signs of having a decent nose. Maybe you will inspire me to work him into those classes when the Covid situation settles down.
Thank you that sounds like it would be so fun!


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If Buck found a piece of hotdog stuck to the wall with sour cream, he would think he won the lottery! Enjoying your nose work reports:)
Class days are definitely like one big jackpot! Thank you!!


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This week’s class started off on a very positive note. When describing what we would be doing in class to two new teams, our trainer mentioned that I might consider doing a nose work trial once Reggie and I reach that point in training. I had given it some thought, but it’d probably be best to wait and see how we both do after switching over to using scent before making any definitive plans.

A majority of searches have been done in the living room so far, so I decided to use the kitchen for this class. We did an easy warm-up search and then started to work on some simple overlapping hides. Reggie didn’t seem too fazed by those so we switched over to searches where some of the hides were in the containers and others where about 5” away from a container. Those were much more challenging for Reggie. He knew there were still hides in the kitchen, but he would often only check the containers, causing him to walk past a hide several times before finding it. Our homework for this week will definitely be to repeat those types of hides until he’s no longer relying on the containers so heavily.

We finished the class with what our trainer called and “evil hide”: on the handle of a kitchen cabinet. That one was definitely a challenge. Reggie walked past the spot a few times but always had his nose to the floor. Our trainer had me put him in the other room, add more pieces of hotdog to the spot, and have him search again. After walking by it a couple more times he found it!


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You’re training sounds like a lot of fun and Reggie clearly knows what the game is all about.

Babykins and I compete in nose work and I encourage you and others to take classes and compete. It’s one of the rare competitions where you bring treats into the ring and treat them each time they find the hide. You see lots of wagging tails.

When things open up and you can take classes look for a teacher who can help you train for competition. It’s amazing how it builds confidence and independent thinking in your dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You’re training sounds like a lot of fun and Reggie clearly knows what the game is all about.

Babykins and I compete in nose work and I encourage you and others to take classes and compete. It’s one of the rare competitions where you bring treats into the ring and treat them each time they find the hide. You see lots of wagging tails.

When things open up and you can take classes look for a teacher who can help you train for competition. It’s amazing how it builds confidence and independent thinking in your dog.
That sounds like a great environment! Reggie is my first dog, so a nose work competition sounds like a perfect introduction to performance trials.

We’re currently taking (virtual) classes taught by a NACSW instructor. Unfortunately the virus hit the area the week we were supposed to start classes, so I’m eager to see how different an in-person class will be. I believe most of the teams she trains move up to the class focused on birch ORTs and NW1 after a couple months, so hopefully we will be able to do the same. I’ve already noticed that Reggie seems more confident and is more willing to problem solve on his own! I’m excited to see where we’ll be with more training.
 

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If you have a NACSW instructor, then you will get great instruction and preparation for competition.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If you have a NACSW instructor, then you will get great instruction and preparation for competition.
Sorry, I think I mistyped; she’s an NACSW-certified instructor. I’m not sure if there is a distinction between the two, but either way all of her classes have been fantastic so far!
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Distractions and start lines were the main focus of this week’s class. We tried everything to distract the dogs while they were searching: clapping, banging plastic containers together, opening and closing the front door and cabinet doors, and crinkling treat bags. The treat bag was, understandably, the biggest distractor. Reggie barely seemed to notice the other distractors, but when I brought out the treat bag he abandoned the search to check out what I was doing. After a couple seconds, he realized he realized he wasn’t going to get a treat and went right back to searching.

Since Reggie and his (virtual) classmate flew through the first part of the lesson, our trainer took the rest of the time to discuss start line routines. Reggie has a harness that I got specifically for nose work, so we started to build the connection between the harness and nose work by putting it on and doing a couple super simple searches.

The last thing we touched on was how to release the dogs from a start line. Our trainer had me practice releasing Reggie and taking a step back at the same time. Releasing him from my left side was fairly simple, but releasing him from my right side felt so strange! Reggie definitely felt my hesitation; he sat and looked at me for a second before searching. Releasing from the right is definitely going on my list of things to practice.

What was the biggest/strangest distraction you’ve run in to at a trial? Do you have a start line routine that you do before searches?


 

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First, I apologize for the long post, I’m just so thrilled with how today went! A little over a month ago I was lucky enough to find a NACSW-certified instructor who’s only half an hour away, and today we had our first (virtual) Intro to K9 Nose Work class. Our trainer had us start out by spreading some small plastic containers around the living room for a really simplified container search. Reggie caught on quickly to this fun new game so we were able to up the difficulty a bit with each search. He was put in the bathroom in between searches and we slowly tested if he would go under something, search at nose height, and recheck an area in order to find a hide. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so focused before! He came into the room ready to work each time and worked through finding some of the more difficult hides with very little direction from me. After the last search Reggie trotted over to the bathroom door and looked at me as if to say, “Well, aren’t we going to do it again?” I’m so glad I was able to find something that he seems to thoroughly enjoy! I’m hoping I can update this as we take more classes.


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Nosework is such a great activity for those dogs that were originally bred to hunt! It might sounds ridiculous, but the 99% of family dogs need a little help and direction in how to use that strong tool that we call 'nose', but as soon as they grasp the idea they'll love the activity. The first time I tried nosework I was amazed in how my dog (who is usually very prone to get bored with repetitive tasks) was actually enjoying the game, and was even push me to perpetuate the training, by doing more and more sessions. Another amazing thing about nosework training in general is that it is a great activity to worn out all the energy in excess and to develop concentration and self esteem: smelling and following a track is in fact a very hard task for a dog that requires a lot of effort, so it's perfect for high energy pups that needs a lot exercise. A dog trainer once said to me that a high energy dog should not only be engaged fiscally, but also and foremost mentally: in fact, if the day 0 you have to keep throwing a ball at the park for 10 min in a row, before the pup gets tired, the day 10 he'll be fitter and you will need 100 mins and even more. On the other hand a training that develops also the cognitive side of dogs helps them to feel more balanced and more self confident in every situation!


Hope to hear news of your journey through this awesome activity! Let's share tips and experience!! 😁😁😁
 
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