Monday, July 16, 2012

Nosing Around

Riff and I had to skip the USDAA trial near Carmel this weekend.  :-( 

But it sure is fun to read about it on FB, and in a few blogs.  We also love the YouTube videos folks are posting.  Thank you!

[Can't wait to get the Rifflet back on a nice, fast-flowing USDAA course...]

In the meantime:
Riff and I spent the weekend at an Environmental Canine Services workshop.  It's amazing, to me, how much fun the dogs have, alerting their handlers to certain odors.  Mister Riffster was The BEGINNER in the group, having had exactly three short nosework lessons in his life.   Most of the other dogs were seasoned competitors.  The other two Beginners had already had a few months of training.  I was hoping we wouldn't flunk out of the group within the first five minutes. 

Not only was Riff a Good Nose Dog (even in a "blind" exercise, and even when transferred to a new odor), he was also a Very Friendly Boy.  He wiggled and wagged, grinned and charmed everyone. 
:-)  I was proud of him!

Saturday We spent the day in class...watching a PowerPoint presentation and sharing stories.  At the end of the day we went on a walk along Santa Rosa Creek, and checked out the water situation there.

Nice place for the workshop!

Sam the cat kept us company during the PowerPoint presentation.

SR Creek

Scott, from ECS, tried to figure out what the heck that pipe was for.
The creek meandered by, hunkered low in its bed.

Sunday We spent the day testing our dogs.  The "expert" dogs had some tricky tests!  Everyone did really well. 

Crush was a STAR!

Kona, during the garage search.  Good dog!

Riff and the other two beginners didn't have to search the garage.
They set up a line of boxes instead.
I had Riff on a long line, because he likes to Move Quickly,
even during nosework.

His nose said 'whoa!' and he slowed at the 4th box...

...where he took a quick look, and then knew for sure.... was the 3rd box!

If I get a short video from my iPhone into acceptable blogging format, I'll share the next test with you.  During that test, I had no idea where the scent was (a "mini-blind"??), but Riff literally ran down the entire line of boxes, straight to the second-to-last box...Bingo!  After that, they let him do more difficult exercises.   He acted like an old hand.  I pretty much didn't know what to do (we're both beginners) so I just let him 'have his head' as they say in HorseLand.  Border collies are soooo smart.  Riff appreciated my trust in him, and his searches were really, really good.  Not perfect, of course...we need a lot more experience...but we were pleased....

A search in the grass.  This is Molly,
a rescue from the Katrina hurricane in New Orleans.

The culvert search involved both sides of the driveway.
Although I almost slipped on the rocks (just call me Grace!)
Riff did great.

This was a nifty little set-up involving several kinds of pipes, milk crates and rocks.
Crush had already gone by a couple of possibilities when I took this photo,
so you don't get to see the whole thing. 
Riff did really well during this test!

Riff asleep on my foot, in the end of the day.
Is he dreaming about nosework?
We were surprisingly tired!
I was soon dreaming about agility...

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