Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Field" Training

We spent the morning out at Stephanie's yesterday.  What a beautiful place!

The view from the "training culvert."

Several dog/handler teams showed up for ECS "field training."  It was fun to be "on location." 

G, our esteemed Training Director, announced that Crush, Molly and Kona have been named (by head-honcho Scott) as Team A dogs - so good at the job they are almost ready-to-certify.  I'm not sure what else they have to learn.  How to wear an ECS vest?  How to fill out paperwork?  :-)  Maybe they need more time training in a "real job" situation.  Scott submitted a bid for some work in S C.  If that bid is accepted, I imagine Team A will be sent down there.  All three teams have been competing in NoseWork trials for at least two years, so they have a good head start.  Can we say they are a-head by a nose?...haha!  

Team B is made up of Five, Paula, Tea ("Taya"), Aida and Riff.  Although someone said Aida may need to drop out (because she is "too calm" during the work), and Tea (sp?) is preggers - their handler is excited about the project, and a really good teammate.  LL already pulled Poppy out of the mix (because Poppy wasn't very enthusiastic about it). 

Five, Aida and Paula have been doing NoseWork training for several months, and their handlers have competed in NoseWork with other dogs.  Stephanie (Kona's handler) also played around with "Max," her older Malinois, on a couple of the exercises.  And G brought out her very young BC puppy, whose name I forget.  He reminds me so much of B's "Kype" (aka 'Kuiper') that that's the only name I can think of right now. What a cutie-pie! 

Riff and I got through the exercises in decent shape.  (Yay, Riffle!)  We did a couple of "paired" searches involving a number of crates, set out on the driveway.  ("Paired" = pairing an odor with treats, then hiding them in an object such as a crate.)

Setting up a line of crates.

We also worked a "paired" alert at the end of a culvert, and an alert in a pipe in the middle of a creek.  Riff was brave and only mildly confused, at times (due to handler confusion, as always).  And he walked right into the creek like he was walking into the living room, and made straight for the pipe.  Good boy! 

Lucky Riff gets to work with me - the proverbial "fish out of water" - basically unfamiliar with NoseWork handling techniques and terminology.  One of my flippers is still "lame," and I'm pretty out-of-shape after being laid up....but it's a surprisingly fascinating adventure....

I've never seen a NoseWork trial in person or on video, and have never trained a dog in scent work, so I'm entertaining the group with a bunch of beginner questions.  Thankfully, they're a really nice bunch!  (Someone mentioned that the NoseWork organization doesn't allow video equipment at their trials, or their training sessions.  Why would that be?  Proprietary about their methods?  ECS is not as paranoid, thank goodness.) 

Ever Onward!!

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