Saturday, July 22, 2017

Still Sniffing

K9NWSource has the AKC target odors!
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about nosework. Don’t worry, we haven’t quit! In fact, we’re plugging along nicely. Trainer is incorporating the new AKC Scent Work rules into our Thursday night classes. What does this mean?
  • We’ve added another odor -- Cypress (which replaced peppermint). Jedi is still working Sweet Birch (level 1 AKC/UKC/NACSW), Aniseed (level 2 AKC/UKC/NACSW), Clovebud (level 3 AKC/UKC/NACSW), Myrrh (level 4 UKC) and Vetiver (level 5 UKC). Yep, my dog smells!

  • We’ve added another element -- odor buried in dirt. Only AKC has this element. All three organizations (AKC/UKC/NACSW) have interior, exterior and container searches as well. UKC and NACSW also have vehicle searches whereas AKC does not.

  • We’re practicing handler discrimination. Jedi has to find something with my scent on it. UKC does this too, but they always use cotton gloves hidden in boxes. At UKC level 1, Jedi has to find a box with my glove in it while all other boxes are empty. As UKC levels increase, gloves scented by other people are added to the other boxes. AKC went a different direction. Level 1 is still cotton gloves and boxes. However, as levels increase the handler's scent is put on cotton balls or Q-tips and hidden like the odors.

  • We’re learning to pinpoint the location of the odor. During competition a judge can require a handler to point out where the odor is hidden. The handler's guess must be within 6 inches of the actual location. The acceptable margin of error decreases as the competition level increases. Gulp.
Jedi says the odor is in THIS box
The Scent Work Club of Ocala is holding a Scent and Go (same concept as a Show and Go) next month. It's being judged by the standards of the new AKC Scent Work program and is offering all five elements (interior, exterior, containers, buried and handler discrimination). Despite it being on a Sunday (my regular work day) and a two hour drive, I signed up. The club shooting for an AKC Scent Work trial in December and I want to be ready.

The Nosework and Rally Club of North Florida is holding UKC trails in Ocala this October. I'm going to enter. Yes, I plan to compete in both AKC and UKC. They are similar enough that Jedi should have no problem. Jedi's job is: Find odor, tell Mom, wait for treat. I'm the one who has to worry about the rules.

Even more terrifying exciting, the German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida has received licensing to hold official AKC Scent Work trials. We're working with Trainer to see if we can make this happen. RK and I are already working to put on a conformation show -- do we really need this stress too? Yes, yes we do. We're currently scouting out areas to hold a Scent and Go and a Scent Work Trial. We're also brainstorming on ways to encourage other club members to get involved. Any ideas?

So my friends, keep following. One of two things will happen: I will pull this off or I'll implode. Either way, it'll be epic! Later, -- K