|Poppy - 1st place container search with a time of 5.37 seconds|
|Linda with Kyra (who finished her NW1 title this day at age 13), Marilyn with Mia, and me with Poppy|
|Part of the room where our interior search was held|
|The most evil invention of mankind according to Poppy|
|Fireplace where hide was located sans holiday flowers|
We went from the interior directly to the exterior search without any real waiting period in between, so Poppy and I needed to recover fast. The pictures below show the exterior search area which was in the front of the house. The picture on the right gives a better perspective of the area. The threshold was the doorway (since we were coming from inside the house) and extended from the foreground of this picture to the edge of the garden area in front of the windows in the background. It ran across the macadam to a stone wall bordering driveway directly across from the house (just off camera in this picture). LOTS of cracks and crevices for hides! The hide was actually up under the seat of the bench to the right of the doorway shown in the picture on the left, although it was pulled out a bit from the wall of the house.
When Poppy and I crossed the threshold into the search area, she turned to the side of the door opposite where the hide was and worked that area for a short time. Then she moved to the side where the bench was and seemed to catch the odor pretty quickly. She worked the bench and went around the back side of it. This time she gave me a typical, strong indication including pawing at the bench seat and I immediately called the alert - 22.27 seconds and the 5th fastest exterior search of the day. I felt some sense of redemption.
After a lunch break, the afternoon searches got underway - container followed by vehicle. Again, we had to run the gauntlet of scary golf carts and swooshy wind noises. Poppy almost came unhinged during our walk down the driveway to the final waiting area as a golf cart came down the drive behind us. Argh! The container search was set up in a large tent area next to the house. I gather from many photos I've seen, this is often used for weddings that take place at this location.
|Evidence of our proud triumph|
Last came the vehicle search. The 3 vehicles were parked side-by-side in a staggered pattern with the startline face the drivers side of the first vehicle. It was VERY windy by this point and competitors were instructed to call the alert loudly so we could be heard over the noise of the wind. If I remember correctly, the hide was located on the inside of the wheel-well of the rear passenger side of the first vehicle, an SUV. Poppy worked the that vehicle a bit, as well as the drivers side of the second vehicle, which was parallel to the location of the hide. She then went around to the front and worked that a bit before coming back down and working the passenger side of the correct vehicle. She stopped and gave me a medium indication on the hide. I wasn't very disappointed in her indication behavior because normally she is too exhuberant in indicating vehicle hides and scratches like mad at the car. I'm quick to reward the find and stop any major damage, but scratching like that in a trial could be faulted, so I was almost relieved that her indication was just nose touch and some excitement. Here is a link to a picture of her indicating the hide. Having learned my lesson from the interior search that morning, I decided to call it. It was the right thing to do. Her time was 26.73 seconds, which was the 8th fastest vehicle search of the day.
So, while Poppy didn't end up with her NW1 title, we had 3 really good searches and I learned a lot about what I might expect from her in a trial situation. I plan on trying again in 2014. At this time, I don't have plans to pursue a NW2 title on any of my dogs, but that could change. I AM looking forward to the element specialty trials starting up next April. In the meantime, I'm going to start Ollie and Poppy on anise. And I've started training Hokey in nosework. She's absolutely MAD for it!!! I'm going to be starting her on birch odor TODAY, but here she is doing one of her first search sessions, looking for hotdogs in boxes. She caught on like she's been doing it her whole life.