Last post, I described our first search at the Penny Scott-Fox’s Turner Trials. I left that search with high confidence and Iona was ready for more, which was good because the next search was the main event. In retrospect, this was the most difficult and most fun search that Iona and I have ever had the pleasure to run!
Jeff named this search “99 Problems” because we had 9 minutes to find 9 hides in an absolutely HUGE search area. I could write this blog post about so many topics regarding this search (productive vs. unproductive areas, elevated hides, scent theory, or how to structure a large search). However, I will talk about distractors, because this was our major obstacle with this search and one that we overcame quite well.
When we finished the search, Jeff said to me, “you get an A for reading your dog, and a C for counting hides”. Let me talk about my C first. I did not set my timer on my watch at the start line. I also got a little overwhelmed and could not remember how many hides I found. Total rookie mistake, but it worked out ok.
He also gave me some advice on the score sheet. He said, don’t let your speed add to your dog’s speed. I general, I try not to run behind Iona, if I am running (not just fast walking), then I know that she is moving too fast to pick up odor efficiently. However, you will see me do a lot of running in this video.
In the beginning of the search, I reorient her to start her towards the building. I don’t like to start her into a wide open area because she just builds momentum and keeps going faster and faster. I want her to hit an object and work along it and hopefully hit a hide quickly. This worked out well for us.
At 0:45, you see a large COB and she dashes between the railing. Here I misread her. She was on odor, I don’t know why I moved her on, because my plan was to work the buildings, but I did. I think that my nerves were a little high at this moment.
1:43, I just could not believe that there was a hide here (I think because Jeff said we did not need to go up the slide during the briefing. Good thing Iona stuck around till 1:50.
2:28, You can’t see it, but she found a rock with pee on it and I moved her along.
3:25, I had to actually check the ground here to make sure, but yep, just bird poop. However, I remember thinking that this spot was worth checking again if I had time.
4:55 – 5:00, See that high head as she works along the edge of a bush. Gotta be LIZARD HUNTING TIME!
5:10, This was a really cool puzzle. You can see her show vague interest in the picnic bench, but it was clear by 5:30, that the hide was coming from somewhere else. I think this was actually the only time that I solved a puzzle before Iona!
6:10, She wants to go L, but I take her R. I should have let Iona lead the way on this one.
6:56, Now this is painful, in video, she was clearly on odor (there was a hide here) and I pulled her off, assuming that she was in a scent cone that she had already found. Watching these videos, it is painfully obvious that Iona has an extremely good memory for scent cones and if she wants to follow a scent cone, the chances are extremely high that it is attached to a hide that she has not found yet. This is the lesson that I will learn from watching this video.
8:05, We spooked a live rat here! So I turned her around to keep her from chasing it and thus missed a hide back there. This was just bad luck.
8:25, I am just so proud of how Iona worked this hide. You can see her panting, yet she is just working it so hard. She knows that it is elevated and is checking all the signs. As she gets close to the pole, she runs out of odor because it is shooting over her head and so turns around and rounds up some more, this time coming in higher and SOURCES THE HIDE! what an exciting finish, what a good dog!