Sunday, November 22, 2015

Switching Gears -- Again

Jedi free stacking at the IABCA show
A couple of weeks ago I said we were going to try something else. Truth is, the past month has been a real head scratcher for me as far as where to go with my dog. For those of you following Jedi's canine career, I'm sorry. (For those of you who aren't, it's crazy and we're all over the place. Now you're caught up.)

I learned a lot at the IABCA shows over Halloween weekend. What I took away from the event is that Jedi and I need more time and practice before getting back in the ring. So, Jedi and I are going to take another break from conformation. Again. We're going to try to work on strengthening his back end and give him time to fill out some more. Again. Meanwhile, I'm looking for ways to build his confidence and have fun in the process.

And this brings us to last weekend. K-9 Obedience Club hosted a nose work seminar with a prominent figure in the National Association of Canine Nose Work (NACSW). I was fortunate enough to score an auditing (aka dog-free) spot. I was probably the least experienced person in the class. Everybody else had taken the ORTs and most were competing. A large portion of the info was training tricks and techniques. And honestly, some info was a little above my head (probably because we're not competing yet). But all-in-all, the instructor was knowledgeable and engaging and I left the seminar feeling hopeful and ready to go.

How good is this nose?
I've discussed the Odor Recognition Tests (ORTs) before. It's the first step to competing in nose work. K-9 Obedience Club hosted ORTs on November 1st and many of my friends took the tests. Because they didn't have to pay for travel or lodging -- big expenses -- my friends paid to take all three tests: sweet birch, anise and clove. One friend's dog passed all three, my other friends' dogs only two.

I didn't take the test, choosing to participate in the IABCA shows instead. I feel like I made the right decision, but I'm still frustrated about the timing.

So now what? Well, I'm considering taking the sweet birch ORT in Lake Park (near West Palm Beach) in January, but I have some reservations:
  • Its a four drive and Jedi doesn't travel well.
  • The handler briefing is at 8:30 in the morning.
  • Because of points one and two, we'd probably need to get a hotel the night before (an added expense).
  • I'm not sure Jedi's ready.
  • I'm a big, fat chicken.
What's a girl (and her dog) to do? A friend is trying to set up some practice sessions at her place. And a training facility around the corner hosted a Sniff 'N Go this morning. For $5 Jedi and I ran through a couple hides to see how he did. I was surprised that he found the odor right away. If he had bombed the decision would be easier. Fortunately I have four weeks to practice, obsess and agonize before making up my mind. I'll keep you posted!

On a happier note, we're computer shopping. This old thing is really getting on my nerves. Soon I'll be able to blog without yelling obscenities . . . yeah right! However, if the computer wasn't so temperamental -- taking three times as long as need to pop out a post -- I would definitely write more. And that's a promise! More later (hopefully not too much later), -- K