High in Trial!
So proud of my girl for winning High in Trial in Masters AKC Scent Work last Sunday. The Scent Work Club of the San Gabriel Foothills put on an amazing trial at the beautiful Mountain View Mausoleum. Thanks to all the judges, volunteers, friends, and instructors who made this day possible. Iona’s searching was precise and fast all day and she even searched through a distracting lizard and some pooling odor in her last search of the day. She was the only dog to qualify in every search!
This is by far the coolest location that we have been able to search. The Mausoleum is old, huge, and beautiful. Luckily, Iona and I searched here last year for three days of Elite searches with the Turner Trials so she knew what to expect. She looked extremely comfortable searching the areas and I could see her checking some areas where hides had been previously. It is funny to reflect on how much we have grown as a team since last year!
At the Masters level, you do not know how may hides are in each search area, but you are given a range for each search (1-3 hides). This makes the searches quite a bit harder than excellent. Overall, all the hide placement was fair. No super high hides, no deep inaccessibles, no converging odor. The dogs ran Interiors to Containers to Exteriors. These ran back to back so the dogs ended up with 5 searches in a row. This is probably the best case scenario for Iona as sometimes she just loses steam at a trial when she falls asleep in the car between runs.
We started off on Saturday with an Interior Search. These searches are a bit of a math puzzle but basically, it is important to work out all the variations of hides before you step into the search. There are can be between 1-3 hides and there can only be one blank room. So with a Interior search with three rooms, you can have 3 hides or 2 hides total. The first search area was a “T” and Iona found a hide in one arm and in the threshold and I quickly called finish. So this meant that one search area was blank and the other had a single hide. She made it pretty clear that the second search area (a bit of hallway) was blank. Finally the last search area held one hide. This hallway had a mop, and a statue with a chair in front of it. Iona caught odor by the chair, moved up under the statue then sourced it to an electrical outlet in the wall. This was probably one of her best searches in a trial ever.
On the second day, she absolutely destroyed her HD masters search! This was two search areas. One had two cotton balls and the other had one CB. The first search area had a arc of boxes, some other stuff and some benches. One hide was in a box and the other was under a bench. The second search area was kinda like a container search with a bunch of household objects. The hide was under a step stool. On Saturday, the hide was under a fabric wagon and she could not find the scent cone. I am guessing that none of the other dogs could either because no teams Q’d on that day. I did a bit of training with her on this at home after the trial and it is really hard for her to find the scent cone when the hide is under the wagon.
In Interiors on Sunday, the first search area was on a U shaped balcony which had two hides, one was slightly elevated threshold. The other was a floor level hide on the other side of a large U shaped balcony. After finding the two hides, she did get a little sticky in some odor drifting over from the two hides, however I could tell that it was not sourcable and called finish. The second search area was a blank hallway that was full of objects that seemed like they would have hides in them. She made it abundantly clear that there was no hide in the hallway.
Containers on Sunday had a food distractor in one of them. She didn’t blink at that yet she falsed on containers on Saturday without the food distraction. Go figure.
Exteriors on Sunday was our hardest search. The second she stepped outside the door, she started lizard hunting. I took a second to get her focused and she was able to pull it together and search despite being distracted by the lizards in the search area. She found the two hides relatively quickly then got distracted by a glob of pooling odor that was quite separate from either one of the hides. It was hanging by a drain pipe but she never actually alerted on it. I checked downwind from it for a crack hide and rechecked by threshold, checked the pooling odor again and called finish not really sure if it was the correct call or not.
Running blind hides is scary, more so when you don’t even know the number of hides in the search area. To run these hides successfully, you need to know what your dog looks like when they are not in odor, when they are in sourceable odor, and when they are in pooling odor that does not have a hide attached to it (this can be hard).