Monday, May 8, 2017

Preparing for a Scent Trial, Part 1

In our Positive Pet Training Blog Hop post this month, I wrote about how good noseworks has been for Barley's reactivity. I also mentioned that we hadn't competed, but that might be changing. A few days after that post went live, we sent in our registration form for our first Canine Work and Games (C-WAGS) scent trial.

Last week, we also got our second scent kit. The scent kit we got several years ago is for the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW) and has birch, anise, and clove oils in it.

Our little tin is looking a little rough.

C-WAGS uses birch and clove, but also lemongrass and cypress, so we needed a few new scents.


Lots of new scent vessels in this kit.

We had planned to attend NACSW events when we first started training, but it was hard to find an Odor Recognition Test (ORT) near us--our trainer had wanted to try to get one organized for our training center, but then she got really sick and that didn't happen. We gave up any plans of competing and just enjoyed doing searches at home. That was fine with us. Our kit has traveled with us. We've used it on rainy days and during injuries that prevented good physical exercise.

I really hadn't thought about competing for a long time. Then last month there were therapy dogs on campus for a health and wellness fair. The dogs are really there for the students, but it's always one of my favorite days of the semester and there's no way I am going to sit in my office and grade papers if I can sit on the floor and pet a dog.

As dog people do, the handlers and I started talking about training. We talked about Barley's therapy dog failures, her agility classes, and her noseworks training. When I told one of the handlers that we'd never competed in noseworks, she told me that her training center--which isn't too far from ours--was holding a C-WAGS scent trial in June and encouraged us to enter. I immediately looked up the trial and the C-WAGS rules. It sounded like this was something Barley would really love, so I read and reread the rules. Then I read and reread them again. Finally, I decided that this could be something fun and different to try.

In C-Wags, you can begin in Level 1 or Level 2, but you have to title in one of them before moving on to Level 3. Level 1 is a search area of 8-12 boxes with one scent (either birch or cypress) hidden in one box and you have two minutes. Level 2 is 8-10 containers (at least 1 box), 3-5 objects, and two scents (birch, cypress, or clove) with three minutes--containers can be stacked in Level 2, too. Barley has done plenty of Level 2 type searches in her training, but I decided we'd go ahead and start at Level 1 since this will be a brand new environment for Barley.

video

Over the next few weeks, we'll be updated on our training progress. We just introduced the Cypress scent and Barley's caught on pretty quickly--but we'll go into more details in our next noseworks post.

13 comments:

  1. That is really cool. I'm going to have to look into it. Part of the reason I've never done nosework is getting into trials just seems to be so hard, and I don't want to deal with it. But maybe a different organization would be a better match if they are available locally.

    Good luck to you and Barley! I'm sure you'll have tons of fun regardless of the official outcome.

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    1. Thank you! I'm not a super competitive person, so I think we are going to be having fun no matter how things turn out, too :) There are a ton of organizations doing it now (Emma listed a few in her comment below), so I hope you can find a way to try it out, too!

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  2. You know we love nose work, but we are NACSW. We may try AKC one day, but right now we like what we know. There are several venues like c-wags, UKC, and another one I can't think of. The main thing is fun with sniffing.

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    1. There were so many different types of kits available when we ordered our new one. I was surprised to see how much its grown since when we first started.

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  3. This is very, very interestin'. I never knew 'bout ANY of this stuff before. purrs

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    1. Barley's kitty brother much prefers to use boxes for napping in rather than sniffing around ;)

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  4. I am so excited for you and Barley that you're going to trial! I didn't even know that there were different groups for scent trials. I look forward to following along with how it goes! I actually never heard of the cypress scent either. Apparently there's a lot about this sport I have yet to learn!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. The closer we get to the trial date, the crazier I feel for entering--but hopefully Barley is going to have fun even if it doesn't go well at all :)

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  5. Good job Barley! I was impressed. She did that very slowly, but it was like her nose knew right away where she needed to go!

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    1. Yes--she's very methodical about her searches! She usually figures out which side it's on pretty quickly, but narrowing down the box is a little bit more time consuming for her.

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  6. Wonderful! Can't wait to hear how it goes.

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