Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nose work

Scorch and I are hoping to begin tracking early next year, but I couldn't resist starting some nosework with him now.

I started out very simply, with one of his highest motivators: the tennis ball. We started playing Chuck-it out in the field; then, I put him in a stay and "hid" the ball a short distance away. I released him to "find it", which of course he eagerly did. We progressed to harder and harder "finds" (with lots of chuck-it release in the middle).

The most amazing thing to see was what a default using his nose was when it came to problem solving. He started sniffing out the ball when it was out of sight in the high grass and would smell it out. It took a few tries before he began tracking my scent to get to the ball, but then he really began working my trail. The next time we try it, I'll put his tracking harness on so he gets used to it. He does look awfully adorable in his harness.

Open work is going well too, except for the broad jump. I really need to build one. His high jump is far more advanced. He thinks short jumps are for climbing over, probably due to his relatively little exposure. His drop on recall is getting nice, as is his retrieve. For utility, signals has improved tremendously. We really need to work on proofing.