Instead of an ending it really does seem more like a beginning.
Yesterday Batch 1 of my Nosework 2 Class had just graduated. My students are a Golden Retriever named Cash, a Dachshund named Hershey, and a Siberian Husky named Watson. I learned a lot from this class, the first and primary one is , though I may have all the documentation necessary to say I can teach detection in the end of it all dogs cant read.
This class made me a better teacher because of the students , canine and human, kept pushing the line. The only one who was very obvious about pushing the boundaries was Watson who was the best in his class in his tenth class of Nosework. For some reason, he decided that it would be more interesting to hold my heart on a string and attach that string to a roller coaster as he toed the line of disorderly conduct, insubordination, and mutiny for the first 9 classes. I know one cannot prove that dogs have a sense of humor scientifically but Watson has me thinking that science needs to hurry and figure that one out.
Hershey, little Hershey aka SuperGirl, reminds me of my bestfriend … a lot ( obsessively organized, practical, and knows she is smart without being arrogant ) and is probably one of the smartest dogs and bravest dogs I have ever met. Who knew in that teeny tiny princess prancing dog lay a full blooded German Shepherd. I own a German Shepherd and I see Hershey as a travel sized version of a working K9 because working with her really felt like working with the Belgians and German Shepherds I had worked with before. That tiny little dog , with her stroller in tow, is in all and every aspect of the word a working canine. I even had to be careful when I would tell her owner where the target was because Hershey would go directly to the locations I would say it was. I swear that dog can speak English . The challenge with Hershey was she was too organized . I had to make sure to keep things random for her as possible or she develops a search pattern and wont deviate from it making her time slower than necessary. I felt like Adam Sandler in 50 first dates. I had to keep it different and yet the same over and over again.
Then there is Cash,our class’s efficiency expert. Cash found one hundred and one ways to cheat around actually having to scent. He first tried peaking through the doorway when the puzzles were being set up, then he moved to opening all the boxes, then graduated to profiling his owner’s body language and his latest “efficiency upgrade” was tracking his owner’s footsteps to see where she laid the scent down. Cash kept forcing his owner to create more and more complex puzzles and forced me to open more and more puzzles I had no intention of putting in Nosework class at all. He just kept surprising me and it was a pleasant surprise.
So it is because of these 3 dogs that Nosework is as much fun as it is today. I changed it a lot to adapt to the dogs in that class . I had a plan. Really I did. It was suppose to be really really easy and not to demanding for the dogs because they are “pets” only. Probably the most important I had learned in teaching Nosework is that all dogs are genetically the same as wolves.. so don’t let the cute fluffy exterior fool you , they are born to hunt and when we go into scent detection we are on their turf not ours.
I will start documenting my classes now. So I raise my glass to a future where I get to hang around superheroes .. for legged ones. So I’m sure I will be writing about these three super heroes more in the future. this is more of an introduction than a proper blog.
So I suppose this is just the beginning , I raise my glass to the stories I am about to live nose down eyes up.
Cheers and may the “paws” be with you