Lok started Nosework class last night! He LOVED it!! Lok has not been in class for over a year, and when we left classes he was still pretty stressed about obedience. He has also had trouble listening, even at home, for the past year or so. But this was a great re-introduction to classes for him. It was stress-free, obedience, free, and ALL he had to do was find the treats and eat them!
Nosework is, a brand new sport wherein dogs learn to search rooms, outdoor areas, and vehicles for a tiny amount of an essential oil. Any dog can participate. Obedience is not required. They make it (even the trials) accessible to reactive dogs too (so maybe Elo will get to play next time!) by requiring all dogs to be crated when not working and not getting out the next dog until the last one is in its crate. All the dog has to do is follow his nose to get a reward! There are even trials and titles and all that stuff! In the first level trial, the dog does an indoor search, an outdoor search, and a vehicle search. For the indoor search, there is a line of boxes, one containing the scent they are looking for. When you think your dog has found it, you tell the judge "alert." If the dog was right, it gets rewarded! If not, the judge helps the dog to find the scent and then they get rewarded! I love that the dog always gets to be right and always gets a reward! No failure, and no stress for the dog!
The training process is apparently very similar to the training used for drug/bomb/SAR dogs. I'm not quite sure where it's going yet, but I'm excited to find out. The first step is to have the dog search 7-9ish boxes for the one that has the food. All my dogs are well versed in the "find-it" game. They love it and it's great for a mind-stimulating activity on days when it's really cold and I don't want to play outside for long. So Lok was already a pro at this. Other than tripping over and stepping in boxes, he did an awesome job searching for the food! We practice this step this week. I think I'll do it with all the dogs. Can't wait to see what's next!