Monday, May 2, 2016

Perri ORT Practice

Yesterday Perri and I met up with a very kind friend of ours from our dog club who offered to meet with us and set up some ORT boxes....with blind hides for me!    ORT stands for "Odor Recognition Test" and Perri will be attending her first ORT on May 22nd - for Birch Odor only.   She will need to choose the box that has Birch Odor inside of it, alert me to the fact that she has found the odor, and I will need to say "Alert" to the testers to let them know that I feel my dog has indicated the correct box.   I will have no idea which box the birch is in, it will be up to Perri to tell me.   Perri tells me which box is correct by nudging and shoving it with her nose.

We met in a covered parking garage and set up our boxes.  One thing I have been mildly concerned about is that the white boxes I have been practicing with are slightly shorter than regulation size.   Would Perri be able to adjust to a different size?   My friend had two different size boxes and one of them was regulation size.   Perri had zero issues searching either new size and shape so this is now a non concern of mine!

I knew which box contained the birch odor on our first search.   Our second search was "blind", meaning I had no idea which box contained the odor.   As soon as Perri took an extra amount of time to sniff a box, I panicked and called Alert!  Our friend told me to be patient and that Perri was just smelling the box - truth!   Two boxes later, Perri gave me a crystal clear alert behavior of shoving the box with her nose.   It was a really good experience to remind me to relax, watch Perri.   I know her behavior when she has found source in a box and sniffing "longer" isn't it.   She always shoves the box.   Our friend video'd our final three searches so that I could watch Perri work, and watch her sniff the boxes.

This was our third search.   Perri works her way all around the boxes but is very clear when she gets to source.

The next two I got to experience working blind hides, letting Perri do her thing and watching for her alert behavior.   Perri gets faster with every search and yesterday was no exception.   And it was a really great and necessary experience for me to get used to working my dog and having no clue which box contained odor.

Yesterday was one of those days when Nosework felt very exciting and fun!  I set up a search in my driveway tonight, I was so inspired by our work  yesterday.   Perri was very tentative and slow searching the boxes on the first time out but I relaxed into it and let her work.   (We did two more searches that she was much more confident on.)  Our friend reminded me that Perri and I will have three minutes during our ORT, and it is important to remember that we have that amount of time!   There is no rush.   Let Perri do her thing, relax.   Trust my dog.

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