Sunday, July 7, 2019

NACSW Elements Trials

Today was a NACSW Elements trial day for the girls! Perri got into a Level 1 Container trial, and Molly got into a Level 1 Exterior trial. Time to redeem yourself, Molly!

The container trial was first and I was glad of that. Perri especially does not do well in the heat and I kept wondering what I was thinking entering her in a trial in the summer. Blech!

But before any trials, we arrived at the trial site...there was a long driveway and alllll the cars were lined up with nowhere to go. Turns out, the field where every body had parked the day before had received 4 inches of rain the night before and was now a wet and muddy mess. The trial got started a little late as cars were juggled and parking was found. Long story short, nearly everybody just parked each other in along the driveway and that was that. I got lucky, depending on your definition, by being parked on the next property over's driveway. I was within walking distance of the search areas and trial site, under the shade, and not parked in.

The trial site was on a farm, there was a creek running through and there were woods to be enjoyed. We were so far away from the main trial area that before and after searches, my dogs got to enjoy the creek or going for short walks in the woods. Heaven, really.

Perri was the first dog in the run order in the Container trial. The first search was on the grass and it was plastic shoebox type containers with tissue paper inside. It was also right near a barn door entrance. Perri was obsessed with the barn. She wanted to get inside of there so badly. She was only half searching and kept disengaging from the search to try to get into the barn. I kept my head and kept her on the search and she did alert and I called it and we passed that search. Then we had to go...into the barn. 6 ORT style boxes, with only one minute to search. The stuff of nightmares! And Perri was even worse in there. There was a goat paddocked outside of the barn, there were creature smells inside of the barn (the property owner even stated, "rats only run through the barn every now and then.") Perri wanted to hunt and not for birch! It was hair raising and I will be surprised if our time was anything below 59.59 seconds! I really thought we were sunk but I kept asking Perri to check each individual box and she alerted. Whew!

We took a break in the creek and back to the car, and waited for the run order to finish and then we had two more searches. I felt a little more secure in these searches. One was in a foyer of a house. Like, inside of a building with no rats or livestock smell. And the next was on a wooden deck. Perri was her normal self, mildly worried about ghosts or whatever it is she sees when she stares all over the place but she finished both searches and earned her L1C (Level 1 Container) title. Wow, Perri! Today was kind of cool for P-dog because she titled under the judge that was so dismissive of lower drive dogs at her first NACSW trial and she got to title in the element that she failed in her second NW1. So, kind of a vindication day for the poodle.

There was a break in the afternoon, and exodus and re-shuffling of cars as well as new arrivals for the Exteriors trial. Then it was Molly's turn.

We started off by blowing the trial on the first search. Dammitall! Kind of embarrassing to fail a second L1E trial! The search was on a front porch. There was a walkway, stone steps and then a porch full of little ornaments. But there was an ornament at the base of the steps. Molly had run past it. And then she was swirling all over the porch, searching for odor but mostly looking at herself in the glass reflections of the windows alongside of the door. I remember getting her off the porch and resetting her direction. I swear I gave her time to try to catch odor down off of the porch but back up she went. I will be purchasing the video of this search. I mainly remember a lot of focusing on the windows and looking inside and then false alerting at the door. Or, pawing at the door. Whatever you want to call it! Either way, another L1E blown. Looking back, I wish I had taken Molly back to the start line, paused and did a little reboot. 

Molly went on to do a lovely job on the second search. It was in the barn that had so distracted Perri. Molly was not distracted, she found odor and while she did blast past another threshold hide, she was beautiful working odor and following it back to source. 

A short break and then we returned for the day's final two searches. We searched a back deck, table and chairs. Molly did not find odor right away and got a little silly but got back into the search and did a great job working back to source on one of the chairs. No attempts to jump on the table. The last search was alongside the barn, on a step stool and Molly walked right to it and indicated. Super quick.

We finished strong and now Molly has a "leg" towards her L1E title. If she passes 3/4 searches at our next L1E trial she will title. My goal would be to still pass 4/4 searches but hey, at least we improved from the last L1E. I'm frustrated that I let myself get flustered by Molly in the first search and did not handle her well when things got sketchy but I will learn from it!

It was still a great day out with both girls and we had a fun time at a perfect for us trial site.

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