Friday, November 6, 2015

Sora's Nosework Journey Continues

Red Lake Rosie's Rescue is always so happy to receive updates on our dogs and cats. We have been following Sora's story since she left us as a pup named Crimson in 2011. I think we are almost as proud as her mom about her achievements!

Update on Sora (RLRR class of 2011, Oct. Spay-Neuter Clinic)
Sora and I have been training in K9 Nosework since she was about 6 months old. As a puppy and adolescent, Sora was so skittish in busy places (such as parking lots and pet stores) that I couldn't imagine taking her to an obedience class - actually, we did try one, and she had a bad experience with some puppies that weren't being controlled by their owners or the trainer, so we didn't go back - but not to worry, I've been a trainer for 12 years, so she didn't lack for training, just the socialization experience that offered). One of my other dogs was taking agility classes at a school I really liked, and when the offered nosework classes, and I found out that it could help with her fearfulness, I signed her up.

K9 Nosework is like detection dog training (think sniffer dogs of any kind: drugs, arson, fruit, etc.), except our dogs search for 3 specific essential oils - birch (like wintergreen), anise and clove. Dogs learn to search in 4 'elements', containers (boxes, luggage, cans, etc), interiors (just what it sounds like, indoor rooms), exteriors (outside) and vehicles (only the outside of just about anything with wheels). To attend a trial, a dog must demonstrate that they know what odor they are searching for. Each title level adds an odor, Birch for NW1, Birch and Anise for NW2 and Birch, Anise and Clove for NW3. The test to demonstrate they know what to search for is called an Odor Recognition Test (ORT), and one must be passed for each of the 3 odors.

Sora passed her first ORT for birch in February of 2013, and received her NW1 title in July of 2013. For this title, she had to find one birch hide in each of the 4 elements, within 3 minutes time.

Since then, we've had a lot of training challenges: getting her to many many new and unfamiliar places and not being too anxious to search, getting her comfortable with going under things, and in narrow places, teaching her 'close' isn't 'good enough' most of the time, as well as passing her Anise ORT (October of 2013) and after 3 tries, her Clove ORT this past January.

This year we entered an Element Specialty trial (4 searches, all in the same element; they follow the levels of the other trials, so Level 1 is like NW1, one birch hide), but it was a very hot day in early spring, and she was too warm to compete well (a dog can't sniff and pant easily). Next we entered an NW2 trial in Hudson over Labor Day weekend. For NW2, she has to find birch, anise or a combination of the 2 odors, and there are multiple hides, always in interiors, and possibly in the other elements, as well as an additional challenge of having 'distractors' in the containers (such as toys, food, etc.). At that trial, despite heat and humidity, she did very well - getting 7 of 8 hides, including the container search that foiled most of the dogs there.

This past weekend, at Buck Hill Ski Area in Burnsville, MN, we finally earned an NW2 title. She successfully found 7 hides, 1 in containers, 2 in the exterior area on a deck, 1 on the 4 vehicles, 1 in a small interior space and 2 in a larger interior space. She rose above all her insecurity, was able to focus, relax, was resilient to my needing to be told more than once that she'd found the hide; what an incredible feeling to be really working as a team.

Check out previous posts about Sora:

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails