Ah, Nosework. It’s exquisitely elegant. The rules of the game are quite simple, just not easy.
Rule #1. The dog rules the game.
Rule #2. The handler must perform his or her job as assistant to the dog correctly and completely.
Yesterday, I set up two runs on my front stairs. I wanted to do them before I headed off to an appointment.
Handler Error #1. Don’t be in a hurry.
Both dogs found the hides readily, and I was pleased with my handling, which was mostly watch your dog, trust your dog, get out of the way of your dog, reward your dog.
I put them away, grabbed my purse and headed out the door.
Handler Error #2. Don’t be in a hurry.
The next morning, I reached into a jacket pocket and brought out a hide. Hmmm. Went to the Nosework kit to check. Yup. Missing two hides. I remembered that Zeke last night had gotten into my closet and dragged out the jacket. Hmmmm. Thankfully, I hadn’t said anything to him, but had just closed the door of the room.
Horror. Maybe he’d EATEN the hides? Nah, the Schip, maybe, but not a Cattle dog. But where were they?
I hunted through the closet and the room.
Husband says, why don’t you ask the dogs to find them? Thanks, dear.
Zeke searches for a few moments and then stops and looks at me. I give up and walk into the kitchen. Zeke continues to the back door and sits. I follow. The light goes on. Could I have committed the BIG Nosework no no?
I go out the door to yesterday’s search area and yes indeed, there remain the two hides I left in place, because I was in too much of a hurry.
Thanks, Zekie, you little genius.
Must revisit Rule #2.