Here’s the link to Toka’s NW3 container search in Doswell, VA last weekend. (Click on the green words to see vid).
I *love* how His Redness trots into the search, so happy and excited! That’s my boy!
He hits that threshold container immediately. I pause for a nanosecond, step back (at 3 seconds) to see if I can pull him off. Because he stays, I call alert.
:22 seconds – I point out a container and then keep moving, so I’m not blocking odor between him and anything else that’s hot. Sure enough….
He finds the hot box just past the one I point out. I keep backing up. Note neutral body posture, not facing the container. Again, I’m moving to see if he comes off it. Another successful indication, though I can’t hear the judge’s ‘yes’ because Toka is clattering the box in excitement.
:32 seconds – He hits the first hot box, & I reward him again. I don’t do this in training. However, he needs to learn that in trials, he only gets paid when he’s actually indicating a real hide, not when he’s being silly.
We move on and check the remaining containers.
:36 seconds – why, oh why did I call ‘finished’ then? He’d checked every container & found what was out there. I let the devil of ‘what if??’ override my instinct to stop.
:58 seconds – This is where the mind game of NW3 comes in. Is he really indicating? Is he being silly? I wait, I move, I pray…. (and I could have avoided this little heart stopping episode – coulda woulda shoulda!)
He comes off it, he moves on, we go back, and at 1:14 he bumps it, but keeps going. We’re done.
This was a successful search and indeed, a successful NW3 for us. We’ve had some hiccups in our journey to earn his NACSW elite title. The hiccups have been because he bites at things – trash cans, bed posts, containers, bumpers – when he gets over excited or frustrated (and maybe bored). I’ve called those false alerts, and have gotten the dreaded ‘no.’
Go back and watch how Toka behaves when he’s in odor. He sniffs each hot container a couple of times before biting. Compare this to the way he acts when he encounters that cold container that I did not call. A bit subtle, but there is a difference.
For me, the journey through NW3 trials has been about learning my dog, and noticing those slight differences.