Tonight we did some introduction to vehicle work, on two different vehicles in my driveway. This was Perri's second session with vehicles and she was much more sure of herself and driven than she was for our first session. I have noticed that Perri behaves nearly catatonic on being introduced to any new Nosework concept, but when we do a second session she behaves as though she has been doing the task for months. Interesting!
Following the vehicle work, we came inside to practice with our Odor Recognition Boxes. Perri is more than proficient searching for Birch in our garage. I decided it was time to try an ORT with Anise. I had taped Q-tips inside of the box and allowed the box to age for an hour. I set up our ORT search with the box closed. I made a mistake. I thought that since Perri was familiar with doing this type of search, and that she was familiar with Anise, that she would have no trouble alerting on the box.
Wrong! But Perri's behavior was very interesting indeed. She searched all of the boxes, about three times each. She started searching the surrounding area and the whole while her tail was up and she was enjoying herself. She did not give up and come to me for help (she used to come and stand in front of me and give me small stress signals: lip licking, sighing and huffing, yawning.) No today when I mistakingly overfaced Perri, she just kept happily sniffing and searching for her scent. I assume she was looking for Birch.
I think today was the first day that I watched Perri and felt that she downright knew that I was asking her to search for that scent, and she knew how to do it. She was on a mission, rather than haphazardly stumbling upon scent. She seemed to have a pattern and was content to rework it several times. I have never felt so strongly that Perri knows her job until today.
I broke Perri off and gave her an "effort cookie" and praised her. I re-set the search to the Anise in a tin hidden inside of an ORT box. I vented all of the search boxes liberally as well as the "hot box." We did three searches this way and Perri alerted on the hot box quickly and confidently each time. This video is our third search. Perri does not seem to get mentally exhausted of Nosework. She is happy to do more and more of it. And for that, I am happy to continue.