Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Nose Knows

I've been interested in nose work for a long time.  A lot of people have told me that it's great for confidence building and relationship making - so it's perfect for us.

I'm hesitant to sign up for classes because that would mean taking Marge to a different training club (which I suppose could be good for her agility/rally career, but I'm not ready to do it yet), so we played around a bit today for the first time at home.

It didn't take her long to figure it out at all.  I started with three shoe boxes, and by the end of the session, upped it to six boxes of all different shapes and sizes.  It's VERY cool to see her little brain going.

I only recorded one time outside, but she actually did it several times, got VERY excited each time, and started to mark a bit when she found the correct box (looked towards me when the bowl was in the shoebox and she needed my help to open it).

Someone I know offered to send me notes from a K9 Nosework class, so I hope we can build on the fun that we had today.


Golden Samantha September 25, 2010 at 5:46 PM  

You are just SUCH the great trainer, Sam! You keep up the interest by introducing so many new situations and you are totally right - learning does build confidence! I've never heard of "Nosework" per se, but I've done tracking with Sammie and plan to do it again this fall as well as introduce Avalon to tracking, which is similar? Maybe? Looks like "Nosework" prepares dogs for S & R??? At any rate, Marge is excellent at this too - I think you can take her anywhere - the sky's the limit, especially with you as her trainer!
Hugs xoxoxo
Sammie's and Avalon's Mom

The Army of Four September 25, 2010 at 6:06 PM  

Oh, yeah! I'll bet you had a sniffing blast! Way to make training fun, Sam!
Play bows,

Anonymous September 25, 2010 at 7:01 PM  

Marge has a great snooter! What fun she looks like she's having :)

Gonna ask Mom to let me try this :)

andrea September 25, 2010 at 7:20 PM  

AWESOME work :)
what a good idea - to fnd something and confidence inspiring for you both :) :)

looking forward to work now so I can see the video :)

Muttsandaklutz September 25, 2010 at 7:27 PM  

Super cool! Marge looks like a total natural at this - have fun with it!

houndstooth September 25, 2010 at 7:39 PM  

My husband has been thinking about doing some of this with Morgan. It seems pretty interesting and exciting. I hope you two can try it and have fun with it.

Brittany September 25, 2010 at 8:15 PM  

How cool! I have never even heard of this for every-day dogs. Good work with Marge!

Maggie Mae and Max September 25, 2010 at 8:30 PM says she is gonna try dis wif me. :)

Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae

Kathy Mocharnuk September 25, 2010 at 8:38 PM  

That is soo cool!!! Marge looks fantastic and like she really enjoys that! I never thought of putting boxes like that.

Stella September 25, 2010 at 9:08 PM  
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RILEY AND STAR MY MALTESEKIDS September 25, 2010 at 9:42 PM  

Marge is so smart! And you need to put a PHD after her name for Pretty Happy Dog!

Luv you guys,
Riley and Star.

Stella September 25, 2010 at 9:49 PM  

Hi Sam:

I found some pages on the 'net that will do me, I think. Winter is coming and I thought this would just be something fun for Stella to do, both inside and out in the snow!
You probably know all this, but I am just gonna give it a try for some Stella Fun.


LauraK September 25, 2010 at 10:55 PM  

How cool! After reading AC's blog about nosework, I've always been interested in it. Marge looks like she's really enjoying it :) I'll have to give it a try sometime, maybe with Homer so he can have a job that doesn't hurt his legs! Thanks for sharing :)

Lorenza September 25, 2010 at 11:00 PM  

Sure Marge is good with the nosework!
I am going to tell my mom about it and maybe I can give it a try!
Happy weekend!
Kisses and hugs

Wyatt September 25, 2010 at 11:12 PM  

We are interested in that too. Wyatt has such a great nose. We thought a tracking class might be fun! Keep us posted!

Wyatt and mom

Dexter September 26, 2010 at 8:04 AM  

Dexter is starting nose work on Friday. When I went to the try outs, I was told that BLACK labs are some of the best nose work dogs around. I can see that Marge picked it up right away. I will be interested to learn how they progress from boxes with food to harder stuff.

Mango Momma

KB September 26, 2010 at 9:29 AM  

Hey, I'd call Marge's brain very "big" rather than "little" as you did!!!

Very cool to see Marge learning so fast, thanks to her great trainer. Will you progress to having non-food in one box but giving her food as a reward when she finds it?

I'm trying to think of games that I can play with K that don't involve much moving around. I bet that I could adapt this so she takes very few steps to find the right box.

Thanks! You two are a great pair!

Sam September 26, 2010 at 9:45 AM  

"Little" was a form of endearment. :) Believe me, I think Marge is smarter than a lot of people!

And yes, the goal is, hopefully, to have her sniff out specific scents and know that finding that scent=food. I've heard that beer is a good scent to use (I feel like I read that on Roxanne's blog).

AC September 26, 2010 at 6:41 PM  

How fun!! I love watching dogs learning nose work because, like you said, you really get to see their brains working. Marge looks like she really enjoyed it. You can purchase "official" nosework kits online that use the "official" scents. I can't remember the upper level scents, but the beginning level nose work dogs use birch. It's just natural oil on a q-tip, then you put the q-tip in some small container so the scent doesn't roll all over the box.

Gus, Louie and Callie September 26, 2010 at 6:55 PM  

That is way to cool. We need to try that with the deaf ones. Their ears seem to work overtime anyway...

Big Sloppy Kisses
Gus, Louie and Callie

AC September 26, 2010 at 6:58 PM  
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AC September 26, 2010 at 6:59 PM  

Forgot...whatever odor you choose, just make sure it's unlikely Marge will run into it outside of practicing. Our trainer's friend first taught her dog scent work using vanilla. Her dog ended up being very into nosework, so you could only imagine the problem (and frustration for the poor dog) whenever they were around baked goods.

Laura September 26, 2010 at 7:39 PM  

That is very cool... well done Marge!

tula monstah September 27, 2010 at 1:27 AM  

That is way kool.. plz post some of the activities you do! Dexter's signed up at our grad skool facility but don't think miss tula would like waiting in a crate calmly for her turn.

Good nose Marge!
tula & dee

Cyndi and Stumpy September 27, 2010 at 11:01 AM  

Tracking and scent discrimination are great! Enjoy!

BRUTUS September 27, 2010 at 11:13 AM  

That's so fantastic! I always say that Brutus can only make good choices when he's working, so the more ways I can find to put his brain to use the better he is! Wonder if he'll do some nosework... I know Carmen will, she's my sniffer! How did you start - just loosely cover the boxes and she got to have the food as her reward for finding it??


Kathy Mocharnuk September 28, 2010 at 3:21 PM  

SOOOOOOO inquiring minds are dying to know how your weekend went and how the big test went!!! Hope it all went well, give Marge a huge hug for us!!!!! Know you are busy but just wanted to let you know we are thinking of you!!!!!!!!!!----Kathy/Liz/Breeze/Cricket

Scout and Freyja September 29, 2010 at 1:12 AM  

I firmly believe that Marge is a star in all she does. She is a hard worker and has such a good attitude!

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