• suzjennifer62

Essence of Team Work

Winnie and I had the good fortune of attending an NACSW authorized K9 NoseWork seminar at Tail Wagging Dogs and being given a coveted working spot, we wasted not a moment to capture every word, every subtle phrase, every nuance offered by the acclaimed Christina Bunn, CNWI. The theme was "The Art of Teamwork," one of the few most important aspect of the sniffing hobby, the very heart of what we enthusiasts pursue. Christina's extensive background in professional K9 training and handling of detection dogs for law enforcement coupled with her unique ability to observe and understand both canine and human behavior make her seminars interesting, engaging and hugely beneficial for folks like me who find ourselves addicted to the NoseWork sport.

Hitting the ground running, the opening lecture is informative and beautifully establishes the ambiance, the pace is set, and within 20 minutes the Dog/Handler Teams begin the active portion of the seminar. The auditors get to enjoy the "show" as each team enters a search area designed for maximum viewing and learning opportunities. From silence as the Team works to quiet instruction, help and advice for the handler from Christina as they work, one by one the teams come thru. The seminar is structured with brief pauses to allow teams to come and go thus giving all participants as much listening time as is reasonably possible without boring auditors. After all teams have run, there is some lecture on what we saw with direction towards important aspects in case we missed it followed by Q & A.

And so on it goes with more search areas designed to break down the general idea of scent work into elements of dog behavior (exploring, hunting, interacting), odor behavior (drifting, coning, fringing, pooling), environmental behavior (indoor, outdoor, expansive, cluttered), too much for the scope of this blog but so fascinating as to barely begin to quench my thirst for more.

The 2nd day of the two day seminar is a switch up with teams that handled their dogs the day before becoming auditors, and the previous day's auditors becoming handlers teamed up with their own dogs. My experience with Christina as I handled my dog was eye opening and gave me appreciation of Winnie for her strength, boldness and drive. Christina's patient coaching gave me stronger confidence and reaffirmed in my mind that I probably can't "ruin" my dog, Winnie will always forgive my mistakes.

Hosted by Lisa Kretner of Tail Wagging Dogs training, I cannot mention often enough the smoothness in which the seminar was run. With hours of planning and prep work Lisa Kretner saw to the comfort of the guests, both canine and human, at every aspect from parking to seating to hospitality. With caring and patience and uncanny foresight to know what is needed, Lisa made happen a weekend seminar with not a glitch nor hitch.

I feel compelled to include a personal shout-out to my husband Mike who also had a direct role in making this weekend seem like time spent in heaven for me. Faced with a long drive from almost as far West as one can go without getting wet by the Pacific ocean, across three counties as big as some states back East with known problematic traffic issues the entire way, Mike orchestrated a plan that minimized my time on the roads and kept Winnie from having to sit in the parking lot the whole day while I audited. Mike brought Winnie over Saturday evening, after the auditing portion of the seminar, meeting me at the hotel where we all stayed the night.

On Sunday morning we all split, Winnie and I to the seminar for our day of running searches and Mike back home catching a huge VW car show on the way.

With team work being the theme of the seminar, it turned out to be the theme of the weekend. Christina Bunn, CNWI, a key member of the NACSW team of elite founding instructors, Lisa Kretner, CNWI a valuable and much appreciated front line NACSW instructor, the many volunteers who worked to present an awesome seminar, husband Mike planing and orchestrating the transport logistics aspect. It took teamwork from them all.

For two days, I was immersed in NoseWork. I was allowed complete surrender to the addiction and I am so grateful for every minute. Grateful as I am that my habit is not detrimental to my health, I also recognize the need for balance and don't want to rush away to my next "hit" before savoring the current high.

I am now looking forward with greater appetite to the upcoming NACSW K9 NoseWork Camp in Granby, CO but not before honoring the team that forms my network of supporters and enablers. Rest assured I don't need an intervention,..... yet.

Dedicted to Leslie and Finn, an admirable Scent Work Team who inspire with encouragement and support.

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