Packed up the Outback, loaded His Redness into the car, and headed out to Chicago-land last Friday for Toka’s first attempt at an NW3. 12 hours of driving fom New York to Illinois, which we split into 2 days. Stopped at East Harbor State Park on Saturday, for a fun hike along the shores of Lake Erie. Toka loved playing in the waves!
After that, we headed to Elgin, where my friend Carol and her family lives. Carol and I know each other from my corporate clone days. She’s got a lovely home, a lovely family, and lives in a great little town. We’ve not seen each other for 20? or so years, but it was as if no time had passed. How wonderful to see a dear friend!
Sunday: NACSW in McHenry, IL. I had few expectations. Toka, at age 2, does not have a lot of trial experience, and I don’t know his search habits as well as I do 6 year old Kiyo.
He started off the day by being a wanker. Really. A completely silly teenaged wanker. He yelled at every dog he saw when he was in he car. He acted like a jerk when he saw dogs when I was walking him on potty breaks. I’ve got a ‘training opportunity’ here. Yes, I know that. And yes, I am addressing his idiocy.
Our first element was interiors – 2 classrooms (one of which was packed with desks) and a long combination conference and lunch room. Because he’d been an *IDIOT* about the other dogs he saw, he was a bit over the top and panting like crazy.
First classroom – he found two hides. Second classroom – he found one. At this point his tongue was lolling out and his panting was so bad I seriously considered aborting the next search. I’d brought a squirt bottle of water in with me, and I took a few extra seconds to give him a few squirts of cool water before we entered the last room.
He found one hide pretty quickly. He then centered his attention on a TV cart, and seemed to be in odor. The timer had called ’30 seconds!’ just before he hit that area, and I counted off in my head…. then called finished before he timed out. I was convinced he’d been in odor and we’d missed a hide.
Good news if so! We had more flexibility to relax and enjoy the rest of the day.
When I went back to the car, I pulled out his crate, stuck him in it, and covered it with a sheet. I put both of my portable fans on him, too — between the fans, the water I poured over him, and the breeze, he cooled down quickly. His ‘stop being an idiot’ training started then, too, because every time he cried when he saw another dog, I dropped a sheet over his crate.
We went into the container search. This consisted of four islands of three containers (cardboard boxes and bags) each. When I’d seen it on the walk-through in the morning, I’d thought ‘oh, yeah, Performance Scent Dog speed class!’ Toka seemingly thought that too, because he sped through each island of containers and successfully found three hides.
Three hides! I had to stop and think for a nano-second “oh, right! NW3 has a max of three hides!” before I called ‘finished!’
Amusingly, only the timer had heard me call that. I turned and started to leave, then realized I was the only person moving. I looked at the judge and said ‘I *did* call finish….’ when the timer chimed in ‘I heard her!’ No one else had, and everyone there got a good laugh.
From containers we immediately moved to the exterior search. One hide. Toka found it, and I asked him to check other structures in the area. A fair amount of the search area was grass, so I asked him to check it….. His expression was priceless. “Trust me! There is NOTHING out here…..”
Lunch break and then vehicles. 2 hides on three vehicles, one of which was set off at a distance. Once again, it was pretty clear that one vehicle was blank. He strolled around it, I had him stroll around it again… and called finished.
I went into the awards ceremony thinking that we’d missed at least one hide in interiors, and who knew how many in the other elements. My stupid-stitiousness usually prevents me from checking the hide sheet. I’ve always waited until the certifying official discussed hide placements in the past.
On Sunday, I looked at the sheet. Then looked again. And then, *just* to make sure, checked again. Interiors – 2 hides, 1 hide, 1 hide. Check. Containers, 3 hides. Check. Exteriors, one hide. Check. Vehicles, two hides. CHECK!
Holy cow! Holy moly! Toka earned his NW3.
You rock, Little Red Dog. You simply rock.