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Anyone's dog do nosework?

April 14th, 2012, 03:18 PM
No, not like Michael Jackson... like, scent tracking?

Just signed Groucho up with Qs4K9s ( as they came recommended... we start next Saturday!

Last summer, at Clayton dog park, Groucho suddenly took off, bolted 100' or so across the small dog section, slipped through a gap in the fence into the all-dog section, ran up to two women, stood up on his hind legs sniffing around their pockets... turns out one of them had liver treats in her pocket. Pup has an amazing nose, so we're hoping this will be a good task for him!

April 14th, 2012, 04:27 PM
While not involved in scent tracking ,I bet my Abbie would be awesome at it.When I walk her I am always laughing about how she walks with her nose!look forward to hearing how it goes for you.

April 15th, 2012, 12:22 AM
My sister has had Tracking Champions, Soundy, and from what I've seen when she visits us and I lay a track for one of her dogs, yours is going to love it!

April 15th, 2012, 10:02 AM
Hope so! He needs something to help stimulate his mind, and he's skittish of most of the equipment used in Agility (which is sad because he's so nimble and quick and SHOULD be good at it), so I'm hoping since it doesn't use any extra hardware, this will help him gain some confidence.

April 15th, 2012, 12:37 PM
That sounds like fun, Soundy! Looking forward to hearing about your first lesson!! :D

April 15th, 2012, 03:44 PM
What a great story! And you're lucky! In BC you have the one and only at this point certified K9NW instructor in all of Canada.

I've done some classes, LOVE this sport. Way more fun then tracking.

April 18th, 2012, 06:38 PM
Scruffy is all about scents, and I've thought about scent-tracking. I do hide treats and let him use his sniffer to find them. He loves that game.
Have fun, and let us know how it goes.

April 22nd, 2012, 12:18 AM
Well, we had a great time at the first class! Of course, the first thing, everyone was amazed at how small Groucho is - lots of "Awwwww, so cute!" when I brought him in for his first round. He did pretty good, although he was a little jumpy when Ann (the instructor) scratched and scooted the obstacle boxes, but he managed to find the hides without much trouble.

After his second time around, I noted that unlike most of the other dogs that were coming in and immediately sniffing around for the target, Groucho almost seemed unsure as to what he was supposed to do, and it almost seemed like he was wandering aimlessly and just "stumbled upon" the treats. She said no, he wasn't just stumbling across them, but locked on when he got within "cone" of the target. I noted that this was similar to what happens when he loses track of his ball at the park - if I walk toward it, he'll follow along, sniffing around, until he suddenly locks in, anywhere from 6 to 12 feet away, and bolts right for the ball.

On the third round, the dogs all went off-leash, and Groucho seemed to have a lot better idea of what his mission was, and found tracked the hidden treat down with very little hunting around. All in all, Ann said he did really well, and she seemed quite impressed with his progress over just the three tries.

We have next weekend off as Ann is off to a seminar, then it's back to it the following Saturday! Meantime, we have lots of homework to do!

April 22nd, 2012, 02:51 AM
That's terrific, sounds like great fun, and you must be proud of your little guy. Wish I could be there to watch, can you ask someone to take photo's?

April 22nd, 2012, 06:25 PM
They says video or photos MAY be allowed at the discretion of the instructor, but not posted to the internet AT ALL without written permission... so I'll say the pics or video will have to wait until we do some homework on our own.

July 25th, 2012, 03:52 AM
Well, I haven't updated this in a while...

We finished our first level with everyone learning to sniff around cars, with the help of bits of lunch meat :) Second level has been actual odor training, using birch scent. Groucho has one more class in this "term", which will end with an odor recognition test... then the next day our teacher is hosting a "Sniff and Go", which is structured like a competition but is intended more as a social thing.

Ann is taking August off, and we're hoping to get back to it with her September classes!

For any of you in the GVRD looking to get into nosework, I HIGHLY recommend Ann's classes - I've been to and seen some training courses where the instructors seem to be quite rigid about how they expect things to go and particularly seem to get frustrated with the handlers... but not Ann. She stresses constantly that this is *the dog's* game, that it's up to the individual dog to find their own method of hunting and signaling... and she not only understands, but actual revels in all their unique behaviours. You can tell this is a person who really loves dogs, and derives more joy from just watching them than from their final accomplishments.

July 25th, 2012, 02:50 PM
No, not like Michael Jackson... like, scent tracking?

Just signed Groucho up with Qs4K9s ( as they came recommended... we start next Saturday!

Last summer, at Clayton dog park, Groucho suddenly took off, bolted 100' or so across the small dog section, slipped through a gap in the fence into the all-dog section, ran up to two women, stood up on his hind legs sniffing around their pockets... turns out one of them had liver treats in her pocket. Pup has an amazing nose, so we're hoping this will be a good task for him!

When I had my standard poodle I would carry salmon treats for him. One day when I was walking in the woods with my dog , I had 3 or 4 dogs following me and some dogs where trying to put their noses in my shorts pocket and my shorts where getting pulled off! I stopped carrying the salmon treats after that. My new dog, Marty keep his nose to the ground in our yard looking for rabbit poop! Gross!

July 25th, 2012, 07:26 PM
Sounds like you and Groucho have been having a fun time, Soundy! :D I'd love to see him in action!

August 23rd, 2012, 11:08 AM
So we ran our first "Sniff'n'Go" a couple weeks back - it's done like a trial, but it's more a "just for fun" social event run mostly by n00b dogs. Groucho did quite well... daddy not so much, as you see by his timecard:

In each case, there's a small hidden container with a Q-tip carrying the scent (birch, in this case, and paired with a bit of food for beginners like us); the dog has to find it and indicate it, and the handler has to read the dog's indication and call "Alert". If he's right, it stops the clock - clock starts either when the handler gives the command to start, or when the dog's nose crosses the threshold to the search area, whichever comes first.

Points are allotted by the judges based on various things like how the handler works the leash, reads the dog, stays out of the way... points can be deducted for things like dropping food in the search area (will create a distraction for later dogs). I think everyone got 25 points this time :)

‎"Container" search involves two rows of identical closed cardboard boxes (20 or so), with the "hide" in one.

"Exterior" search takes place around outside objects - in this case, some picnic chairs, a picnic table, and a couple farm implements.

"Interior" search was in part of a room and has the hide in amongst regular indoor objects (this one was extra tricky - UNDER a garbage can!)

"Vehicle" search has the hide somewhere on the exterior of a vehicle, the tricky part being there are multiple vehicles in the search area.

Oh yes, and the "P" in the comments means "Pronounced" and it's the judge's indication that they think the dog and handler performed exceptionally well together!

August 23rd, 2012, 11:31 AM
Awesome!!! Sounds like quite the challenge! How often do they hold these events? Must be as much fun to watch as to participate!

August 24th, 2012, 02:34 AM
Well, an "official" event is called a trial, and dogs (and handlers) can be certified for the various levels of nosework (separated by degrees of difficulty, and scents used). The "Sniff 'n Go" follows the general format, but is more of an informal, social event (we had a potluck lunch!)

The info on the different levels and what all is involved in a trial can all be found at the official site, (National Association of Canine Scent Work).

August 24th, 2012, 11:16 AM
Interesting site! Will there be more Sniff 'n Go get-togethers that you and Groucho can participate in?

August 24th, 2012, 11:49 AM
Interesting site! Will there be more Sniff 'n Go get-togethers that you and Groucho can participate in?
Don't know what's planned in the area... there are fairly regular trial events in the general region (Pacific north-west), most of them in western WA, but Groucho's not ready to trial yet (neither am I!)... unless we want to REALLY travel. I wouldn't be surprised if Ann held another Sniff'n'Go in the spring, since this one went so well.

August 24th, 2012, 07:41 PM
When you go again you MUST find someone to go with you to take pics! :D You know how we are about pictures!!!! :p :laughing:

August 24th, 2012, 08:23 PM
Ask, and ye shall receive...

August 24th, 2012, 10:03 PM
Pawsome!!! :highfive: Thanks, Soundy!

PS Groucho was surely the cutest one there!!! :lovestruck:

August 25th, 2012, 12:43 AM
And the smallest, by far! His reputation preceded him - one of the women who's had several dogs through Ann's classes was also in our first set of classes, and just adores him and had already told several of the other people there about him, so they were all anticipating meeting him :)

I'd brought my camera along anticipating some "action" shots of other dogs, but then realized when we were getting the initial briefing... I couldn't go in and watch other dogs that were going before us, or I'd know where all the hides were. And since Groucho was 39th out of about 46 dogs, there wasn't really time to do any after we'd done each run.

August 25th, 2012, 11:15 AM
Oh, I never thought of that... I suppose it would give you an unfair advantage if you knew were things were. :o

Well, maybe next time they'll put you in the first half of the lineup so you'll have more photo ops afterward. :fingerscr

Wow, 46 dogs!! That's a big turnout!!

August 25th, 2012, 12:02 PM
Oh yeah, there were several came up from WA too.

August 27th, 2012, 12:34 AM
thats cute and a popular one. I sure hope to see more of it.

January 2nd, 2013, 10:52 AM
So, Groucho's classes are taking a winter break, but one of the students in our last class is studying to become an instructor and is now running her own first class, so I signed Daisy and Taffy up with her. Since we missed the first session, I gave them a little introduction to "the box game" at home, then we joined up for the second session this past weekend. Both pups did REALLY well!

One of the "puzzle games" has a small box stacked on top of the low box with the hide (treat) and the dog has to figure out how to get at it - Taffy has NO FEAR about stepping into the flat box and pushing the top box aside :) She also has no hesitation about going right inside a garbage can to get at the hide ;)



January 2nd, 2013, 12:44 PM
That's awesome!! It looks like fun for the dogs, too.

I can't get over how small they are! :D I know they're Team Mini-Mutts but they are just so adorably smooshable!! :flirt: (Only don't tell them that cuz I'm sure they both think they are the biggest baddest doggies around!! :dog:)

January 2nd, 2013, 01:39 PM
That's awesome!! It looks like fun for the dogs, too.
Groucho's instructor, Ann, regularly reminds us that this *IS* the dog's game, not ours, and that while it should be a challenge, we still need to make it so the dog has success, especially in training and practice, because if it's NOT fun, they won't want to do it.

She also points out that this really is stimulating and using the primal hunting drive, so it helps to give them a sense of purpose.

I'm on a couple different mailing lists and FB groups for nosework, and there are lots of stories of dogs being helped by sports like this (tracking, agility, etc. are good as well). Like this one that just came through my mailing list this morning (part of a discussion on dealing with reactive and stressed dogs at trials):

have a Pit Bull I found abandoned in a local park that I ended up keeping. She has had terrible reactive issues with other dogs to the point of going red zone with no provocation at all even with dogs that she knew. Worse when walking and meeting other dogs walking towards us. She has always been great with all people under all circumstances. I started NW training with her last March and have been cautiously working with her meeting other dogs. Everything done positively. I now have a dog excelling in NW under all conditions, we train everywhere. She loves her NW training to the point she will not stop barking while waiting her turn. She never barks any other time while waiting in the car. She has shown massive improvement with other dogs to the point of really enjoying pack walks which we do weekly. She still has excitement when seeing approaching dogs but now it is more "I want to meet that dog" instead of "I must kill that dog". When she does meet a new dog she does great, proper sniffing and she avoids conflict. We are doing our ORT next month and I am sure she will excel. I believe NW has helped her as she is more confident. I hope that at some point she will be just a normal, happy, well balanced dog. She may never be able to play in a dog park but I am OK with that as they often are not the best environment even for well behaved dogs. I am also sure we will beat any challenge at any event because I am always aware of our surroundings

This is just one of many stories of how a training regimen has helped troubled dogs, and fits right in with Cesar's "steps to fulfillment: exercise, discipline, THEN love."

Karen Ann
January 4th, 2013, 06:49 PM
Sounds like great entertainment for Groucho. Love the updates you've been posting!!