Check out this video from our last trial. This was Iona’s Master Interior run. I am so happy that Play Paws Record was able to capture these runs on video. The video shows both Iona and I working in unison throughout. For me, that feeling is the reason why I love this sport.
The hides were set and judged by Steve DeTata and the trial was put on by the Scent Work Club of the San Gabriel Foothills. SWCSGF always puts on great trials, and I love running Iona in Steve’s searches. His hide placement is really well thought out. The searches are always fair yet challenging. In the masters interior search, you have three rooms with 0-3 hides in each. The time limit for these rooms was 2 min each. You only advance to the next room when you correctly call alert and finish in each room.
My strategy for these searches was to watch the clock closely and worry more about clearing the rooms correctly than getting a first place ribbon. You will see me start my watch at every search and check the time frequently. Iona has several different ways of telling me that a room is clear and I watch for these as the time starts to run out.
Iona was already in odor at the startline and I had to push her through the cones a bit to ensure that she did not step over them.
At 0:52, you see a huge COB as she finds the edge of the scent cone and works her way back to source.
The head twist at 0:57 is so easy to read and is a good reason why it is so important to train your dogs to get all the way to source, particularly when the hide is under objects.
At 1:01, you see me let her swing wide. She might need to go outside of the search area to catch odor. I also find that it is so much better for our flow just to let her leave the search area and come back on her own (particularly in a room this small).
At 1:20, you can see that she has found the second hide. She brackets it several times until I call it at 1:32. She never actually gives a nose press, but I feel comfortable calling this inaccessible. Her behavior has told me clearly that it is in the cabinet.
At 1:40, you can see her pick up the scent cone from the original hide and then rule it out.
I do a bit of directed searching before calling finish.
Again, you see me muscle her through the start line a bit.
There is a bunch of odor in each of these small rooms and Iona loves to chase odor around, so it takes her a few laps to figure out its directionality.
By 2:41, she knows which direction it is coming from and is working her way to source.
Watch me take a step back at 2:45 and again at 2:52. This gives her the space to source without feeling pressured.
For the rest of this room, you will see Iona pop up a few times as she searches for a new hide. This is a pretty good indication for her that the room has no more hides.
She runs into a big odor cone at 3:52 and it pulls her towards this stack of chairs. I am pretty sure that it is in these chairs, but it is really important to let her take the time to properly source the hide. Also, line management is key here, the last thing I want to do is tangle these chairs and have them fall on her. As I move around her, it is like we are playing doubles tennis. She is busy volleying while I adjust my position behind her. I am sure that this hide was meant to be an inaccessible, however she was able to pinpoint the exact location. The time that I would gain from rushing a call here is not worth it to me. Her odor obedience is worth more to me than a faster time and she maintains that by working to the highest concentration of odor for every hide. So I let her do that if possible on each and every hide.
The last two hides are no brainers and it is easy to call finish because each room can have a maximum of 3!
It is important to know how long it takes your dog to find a hide. Here is how long it took Iona to find her hides:
7 sec, 30 sec, 31 sec, 22 sec, 12 sec, and 5 sec. The average time is 18 seconds! Much quicker than I would have guessed. This is good information. If she goes for a minute without finding a hide in a small room like this, it means that there probably are no more hides to be found!