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.


Linda said...

And very funny, there at the end.

Blog Administrator said...

Fun is not an adjective.

stray said...

keep birch oil on the keys?

Mean Jean said...

I saw the header, I saw the Q-tips...I almost didn't read it for fear it was about cleaning out dog's noses.


Sally said...

Fun Nose Work. It's a tricky name to improve on, (even though fun is not an adjective.)

Funny Nose Work doesn't quite nail it. Fun with Noses sounds kinky. Smelling Fun-- I don't know. Smells R Us? Nose Work hints of plastic surgery.

What would you call it?

stray, that would work, that would definitely work!

Namowal said...

Molly's a genius.
I like how she's so enthusiastic about her task.
Any reason you picked birch oil?
Ever had a birch beer? If not, you can probably guess what it tastes like.

Sally said...

The trainers choose the oils, and birch is the starter oil, then comes anise and finally clove. I don't know why.

I have had birch beer long ago. I've even had sarsaparilla. (wow I guessed at the spelling and got it right.)