Bliss is the result of a silent conversation between me and my dog
The sun hadn’t even begun to tint the morning sky and Winnie and I were on the road again. Anxiously anticipating the NACSW (National Association of Canine Scent Work) Trial. With energetic anticipation, I drove the two hours to Loomis knowing it might seem unreasonable to go so far to play around with my dog but I can confess I have driven farther. Fortunately, Winnie likes to go, loves to do Nose Work and has no interest in the outcome. Tho it is a competition, it wouldn't be unnatural for me to be nervous, I take my cue from Winnie and have no expectations. Neither of us is ever disappointed.
Today we will do a total of four searches called Elements. The Elements are Containers, Interior, Exterior and Vehicles. In each Element there will be one/two/three hidden vessels of odor, either Birch or Anise, there must be 8 total hides spread over the four Elements. At this level there are also one or more distractors: a toy or even food! the dog must ignore to demonstrate odor obedience. My job is to get us to the search areas but Winnie is the leader, I will wait for her to tell me where the odor is hidden. She wants to find the odor because it is a fun and natural thing for her to do. Winnie gets a reward, a tidbit of meat or cheese or some other tasty treat she finds irresistible. We enter a room and I watch Winnie. We haven’t even crossed the line that starts the clock but Winnie is already working the area. Sniffing, searching, following the path like a hiker walking a well worn trail. We cross the line and Winnie’s pace quickens, the rhythm of her intake and expulsion of air increases. She’s on odor and I hold my breath. Her nose goes up then down as she takes a sharp turn. Now she's standing on hind legs to sniff up the wall then back down. Winnie follows the odor around a door frame, zeroes in as she senses the odor strengthening. Her nose hits what she believes is the strongest odor on the frame of a clothing rack and indicates she’s found it. The judge will let us know if we have found it or not. Winnie will either get a treat or she will not. Regardless of the judges response, Winnie and I got out of it what we came for and we go home celebrating an awesome day together.
This Blog is dedicated to my friend Rhonda in memory of her sniffing dog, Olive