Last month I lamented over ORTs. I'm still not sure if Jedi is ready, but I'm going to bite the bullet and drive to West Palm next month to find out. My friend and her dog, Semi, are going with us. Friend and two of her dogs took the ORTs in Jacksonville last month. Each passed two of the three target odors. Funny thing, they missed different ones. Semi missed birch, so he's going to retry with Jedi on January 9. Birch is the target odor for level one, and our dogs can't start competing until they pass the odor recognition test for birch. So, wish us luck!
To prepare for the ORT, we've been practicing here and there. (For Jedi, it's been more there than here. He has an inconsistent handler -- me!) Every other weekend, Friend's husband sets up various hides and we try to sniff them out. They have a large piece of property with lots of places to hide stuff along with a variety of distractions -- including chickens and feral cat poop. Yesterday another friend took a few pictures of the dogs in action. Above is one of Jedi zeroing in on the scent. (The scent box is hidden under the right corner of the trailer, and the wind is blowing towards me.) Friend's husband played a trick on us and used the level two odor. He didn't tell me what or where the hide was, so we searched as usual. Jedi found it and alerted. It wasn't until afterwards that I was told that Jedi had found anise. We're not even training with anise! I'm so proud of my boy. What a confidence booster -- for me at least; it's all just a game to Jedi.
Want to learn more about how incredible a dog's sense of smell is? Check out this article called The Dog's Nose. It's amazing. -- K