So Steeler attended a Noseworks Seminar this Sunday at MasterPeace with Scott Williams. There were 16 working dogs and several people that came to audit. Steeler thought this was LOADS of fun. Search the boxes for food ... yeah how could that not be fun! We covered quite a bit in this seminar and it is very much a "working" seminar.
First up we divided into two groups of 8. Scott and helper Pat, put 8 or 9 boxes in a straight line and walked the dogs up and down the line letting them sniff and then when they indicated in some way that they were really interested in the "food box" (which thankfully was marked for us) we opened the box and gave the dogs lots of praise. Oh and the first couple of times they showed the dogs the food in the box and then hid the box in the line. So we did this three times in a row and then put Steeler back in the crate. We cycled through the first group of eight - the first time the boxes were straight, and the dogs were on leash. Round two - the boxes were in straight line - the first time down the line the dogs were on leash. The second/third time the dogs were off leash. For round three the dogs were off leash and the boxes were spread out unevenly on the floor. some up against the wall some in the middle ... you get the idea.
After this we gave the dogs a break and the second group got their turn to work. Then we had lunch. :-) For the next session with the dogs we made the search area smaller and got the food out of the box! We cut the area in half and added a big cardboard box that was open on it's side, an over turned table, over turned chair, a shoulder bag and several of the original "boxes" that we were using. (I think they were 9 in x 5 in x 4 in) In this scenario, the dogs were once again working off leash and the food was hidden in a bowl around one of the objects and there was a "box" in the general vicinity. For Steeler - the first time the food was placed in the big box open on its side, the second time I think it was either behind the table or over by the wall. The third time it was behind the shoulder bag. It was really cool to see him work. Lots of the dogs were getting tired when we got to this exercise so Scott was very aware of which dogs could handle three searches and which should end with the second successful search and not pushing them to a third repetition. This exercise all of the dogs went through one set. Then we talked for a bit about trials and the sport and had a question and answer period. Then the dogs got one more chance to work.
This time we went back to "box work" and the boxes were arranged in a horseshoe. The really cool part about this exercise that we did was that we (the handlers) did not know where the food was hidden. And we did this exercise on leash. It was our job to let Scott and Pat know when we thought the dog had found the right box. This is where it became obvious that Steeler had clearly caught on to the game. It was SO cool to watch him work! I can see how people could easily get hooked on this. It is really fun to see all the different dogs work.
And Steeler was even able to hang out in his crate quietly for most of the seminar. I did give him a little bit of a break in the car for a bit, but I thought he did very well! Steeler and I were both exhausted by the time we got home Sunday night!