K-9 KAMP: NOSE WORK

Several years ago a show called The Weakest Link had short-lived fame on TV.

Teams answered questions that would earn them money. The M.C. was a dour looking women dressed in black. She looked and acted like an executioner as she booted those who answered questions wrong off the show, snarling, “You are the weakest link.”

When it comes to Nose Work, I am the weakest link.

On day three of what I like to call K-9 Kamp, the dogs were introduced to Nose Work.

Nose Work is a sport created and sanctioned by the NACSW (National Association of Canine Scent Work). It is based on the work performed by search and rescue dogs, as well as drug-sniffing dogs, that use their noses to locate a target odor. However, in Nose Work,  dogs nose in on odors for sport and competition.

Nose Work is open to dogs of all breeds (and mixes) and all sizes. To title, dogs must successfully perform in four elements: Container Search (boxes), Interior Building Search, Exterior Building Search, and Vehicle Search.

Penelope has been taking Nose Work for a while, so she was the ringer in this introductory class. While the other dogs got used to the idea of looking in boxes for treats, Penelope was ready to lunge into the ring and get there first.

Introductory Nose Work starts with a series of open boxes.

Introductory Nose Work starts with a series of open boxes.

Dogs check out the boxes for the ones that have treats.

Dogs check out the boxes for the ones that have treats.

 

My nose knows.

My nose knows.

Penelope doesn’t find treats that are in full view in open boxes anymore. That’s too easy.  She can find a Q-tip dipped in birch oil inside closed boxes, under tables and chairs, inside wheel wells of cars, and hidden inside shingles and crevices on buildings and floors.

Penelope searches the interior of a building.

Penelope searches the interior of a building and checks behind an outlet.

Alert!

Alert!

Penelope has gotten to be quite good. She’s ready to take her ORT (Odor Recognition Test) and go into trials.

The only problem is her partner. Me.

I have to be faster in reading Penelope’s head turn and tail wags when she finds her target.

Instead of saying, “Duh,” and losing precious time and momentum, I have to say “Alert.” And I’d better get it right.  Like on that TV show, it’s embarrassing to be the weakest link.

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