Sunday, March 22, 2009
Fun Nose Work
My German Shepherd Molly and I went to a Fun Nose Work seminar today, and it really WAS fun. It lasted for three hours. Fun Nose Work is a new urban dog sport created by two women who also do real dog detection work for hire.
You can take the classes just for the pleasure of watching your dog get really good at detecting a scent, or you can compete against other dogs at special events. There were nine dogs and about fifteen people at the event today.
Molly's been trained to recognize the smell of birch oil, which is much like root beer. In classes she's progressed from finding a tennis ball in a box to where she is now, finding a single half of a single Q-tip that's been soaked in birch oil. The jar above holds the q tips we practice with at home. I just hide one, anywhere on our property, and she can find it. When people come for dinner we do a demonstration. It's our parlor act.
Today we worked outside at first on a big grassy field, then along two sides of the street. When Molly is released to find the q tip, she nearly pulls me over, she's so excited to find it.
We also worked inside, and that was the most interesting part for me because I'd never tested her in a new interior. This warehouse building had many small laboratories and offices off of one big space. They make airplane parts in the building, so there were all kinds of mechanical odors and strange equipment to work around.
The q tip was hidden in a bathroom drawer, then in a toilet paper roll in another bathroom, then behind a night light that plugged into a wall. There was a bathroom we were supposed to go in that had no q tip. All the dogs figured this out very fast.
Then we moved on and found it in the laboratories, inside cabinets, inside a drawer, one room after the other.
The dogs at the seminar, aside from Molly, included a Rottweiler, two Cairn terriers, two border collies, a poodle, a Malanoix and a mix. All the dogs were superb workers with success every time.
I think the next scent she should learn to find is the smell of my keys.