NW2 – It’s going to take more than just “Trusting My Dog”

1 Apr
Second Place - Nw2 Container Search

Second Place – Nw2 Container Search

Ren and I competed in our first NW2 trial this weekend in Fultondale, AL. My main goal in entering was to even see what an NW2 was about since there is literally no information available about what I should expect.  My goal was accomplished, and I came away realizing that until more training, information, video’s and seminars are available to truly prepare both me and her, that I won’t be entering another trial anytime soon. The trial was held at a great site – a school.  The day and searches went like this:

 Interior – two average size classrooms right next to each other. Rooms had desks/tables in groups, rugs, chairs, normal stuff you would find in a classroom

  • First Room – 3 minutes – 2 hides. First hide was a threshold hide in a basket within a few feet of the door. Ren walked in the classroom and nailed that hide within a few seconds. I thought we were out to a great start… Ren quickly got back to searching, never stopped working, but got stuck under the tables and never could nail down source – we timed out. The hide was on the underside of an approx 36” inch high table.
  • Second Room – 3 minutes  – 1 hide. She searched the entire time, walked right by the table the hide was one, but never hit odor. The hide was on the underside of a taller small side table – something you might put a plant on (about 33” high) Ren was almost frantic in this room, trying so hard to find the odor, checking everything, standing on her hind legs, covering as much ground as she could but to no avail.

Container – 3 minutes – 1 hide. 20 Suitcases and bags in a high ceilinged atrium. Distracters were toys, white bread, and cheese and crackers

  • Ren walked directly to the correct bag and alerted, 13 seconds. We placed 2nd in this element. She got a “pronounced”.

Vehicle – 3 minutes, 2 hides, 3 vehicles (2 cars and one van)

  • First hide was in the front top inside the wheel well of the van. It took her awhile to narrow this down, but she found it. We timed out before getting to the second hide. She got a “pronounced” in this element, which I thought was unusual because she only found one hide. I am guessing the judge realized how hard she was trying.

Exterior – 3 minutes, 2 hides – brick courtyard/walkway/building/short brick wall.

Brocks Ridge School Trial Site

Brocks Ridge School Trial Site

• First hide was a threshold hide in a crack where the brick wall met the walkway. She went directly to it, hung there a bit, but didn’t alert and I am not sure why. She moved on and correctly found and alerted on the second hide that was under a wooden bench.Both judges gave me feedback after her searches. They said that Ren had a disadvantage because of her height vs the amount of area that needed to be covered, and that this game was all about time. I needed to guide her more to make sure she covered all the areas she could. In my mind I thought that could be something I could to, but that still didn’t help her in being able to locate the higher hides. One judge said that “He loved this dog because she had so much heart when searching, it’s just that her legs are about 12 inches too short”.

Two things bothered me about the day. First, I felt that I let Ren down by asking her to do things that she clearly wasn’t correctly trained to do. I put too much faith into “trusting my dog”. I needed to train my dog. I did reward her though even on the hides she didn’t find, she never stopped searching, never got frustrated – but still it bothered me. She trusts me too – to make sure she is prepared.

Secondly, I felt frustrated by the lack of information that was and is available to me in order to prepare her.  There were CNWI’s attending the trial for the same reason I was – to find out what NW2 was all about.

Courtyard - Exteriors Hides

Courtyard – Exteriors Hides

If they din’t have access to the information and knowledge about what to expect, how could I? Frustrated that we can’t ask training questions on the NACSW list and that we are directed to work with a CNWI. ( I had been working with two awesome CNWI’s, but this was also their first NW dogs, and didn’t know all the answers.) Frustrated that there aren’t more resources available to learn and prepare via seminars, workshop, etc. and simply access to experienced detection trainers. Frustrated that past trial video’s aren’t available for viewing – I would love to watch all the little dogs work to see how owners handled, how the dogs sourced, what the alerts looked like, etc.Most of all frustrated that I didn’t even know what I needed to fix, change, or do differently in order to even think about competing again.


7 Responses to “NW2 – It’s going to take more than just “Trusting My Dog””

  1. gardengeri April 1, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    what is NW2? how did you know to go to it? are hides animal hides or hidden things? you see, there is no information or training online. thanks, Geri and Lily the dog

    • wyattjrt April 2, 2013 at 7:50 am #

      NW2 is the second level of a new sport called Nosework. The dogs are taught to find a target odor similar to how a drug or bomb dog is trained. You can find more information here: http://www.k9nosework.com/

  2. Elizabeth April 5, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    I’m sorry to hear it didn’t go as well as you had hoped 😦 I think a lot of it is just the newness of the sport. I figure their will be a lot of trial and error as people figure what works and what doesn’t. It’s a blessing and a curse to be part of the beginnings of the sport I think. Think about how much agility training has changed…you may come up with the Nosework version of 2×2 weaves who knows!!!. Maybe we should start a yahoo group called “Atlanta Scent Work” where can all discuss training ideas etc.

    • wyattjrt April 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      Elizabeth – I totally agree with your newness of the sport comment. It made me think back to Agility Novice A with no weaves and the course just being a big circle!

  3. Christy April 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Hi Tracy! As you know, I understand the need for more K9 Nose Work workshops in the area, I’m just so sorry that you missed the one with Amy Herot immediately after the trial. While it would have been wonderful to have had the information months before the trial, I found that competing and working the trial before the workshop was actually extremely beneficial! I went to the seminar better understanding what I didn’t know, and able to ask appropriate questions to get the answers I need to take the next steps! The timing was atually perfect and Amy, being a co-founder of the sport, is an excellent instructor.

    Two days after that, I headed for K9 Nose Work Camp in GA for four more days of learning from a host of incredible instructors with backgrounds ranging from SAR, and owner/trainers of detection dogs, to teams at the K9 Nose Work Elite level who are competing in the very first nose work Invitational in June! This was followed by a day of advanced skills for CNWIs and ANWIs–my head is abuzz with information. We need to get you to Camp, or at least the seminars that are held locally!

    As for the “lack” of lists for training discussions, I’m confused! There are several K9 Nose Work YAHOO lists where there are training discusssions all the time! We need to get you on those so you can join in and get your questions answered!!!

    I’d love to see videos of my trial work as well, but there are so many legal issues with that! The best I can do is continue to video myself, have a friend do it, or focus on the videos taken in clases I attend. For now, that will have to do, and it’s a good learning tool.

    Hopefully there will be some upcoming seminar/workshops in the near future!

    • wyattjrt April 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

      Thanks for all the info. Yes I would have loved to go to Amy’s seminar, I had already stayed an extra day/hotel night to volunteer though. With the trial entries, classes, etc I unfortunately have to sometimes self impose my own dog budget 
      We attended Camp last year, and had planned to sign-up for 2013 with the early-bird rates. The feedback I got however when signing up was that I couldn’t be guaranteed a working spot in an NW2 level camp group (Ren already had her NW1)
      I have posted a few questions to the K9 Nose Work YAHOO, but for whatever reason my questions started arguments between the respondents on the best way to address or train, and the threads were quickly shut down.
      I have actually found a great resource group on Facebook Open Nosework Group https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/groups/546598185372275/ where I have received some great feedback, and UKC Nosework https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/groups/255675937883102/ who has recently posted trial videos. The alert behavior the dogs is showing is pretty darn cool. Hopefully there will be some small dog videos up there one day.


  4. dfenzi April 10, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Tracy, I have a few general thoughts. First, trial preparation is the same regardless of sport. First you train ( training) and then you get ready to compete (trial prep). You are right that unless your dog is ‘over trained’ in non stressful training conditions, you will likely struggle in a trial. Of course there are never any guarantees, but it sure is helpful if your dog in trained well beyond what you might expect. So….your dog should comfortably wait at source for several seconds – effectively convincing YOU that they have found source, before you are ready to compete. Same is true for a range of types of hides – you should be downright surprised when your dog fails to find a hide, even when it is blind. Same as with any other competition sport for dogs..

    I saw the person above comment on legal issues but I’m confused by that. Every other type of dog event that I know of allows videotape. If there are concerns about the actual space being videotaped, then exclude those portions, but who objects to the side of an outdoor building or a volunteer’s car being taped? Further, I understand that trials ARE videotaped – and used to train instructors. That’s fine for those who either train with a CWNI but not much use for those who may want to compete in NASCW events without training the NASCW method.

    Now that UKC is in the picture, I think life is about to get easier for those of us who have chosen a different training method for our dogs (no access to a CWNI), or who simply want more thorough information about how to prepare for a trial. The video from the first UKC trial is a godsend; already I have watched the “Dog in White” – a dummy dog who goes through before the competitors, and it has helped me understand how to prepare for competition. Assuming the rules are similar for NASCW trials, a person could watch these videos and compete in whichever organization is most convenient for them.

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