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K-9 Nosework: Interior Searches

Analysis of a successful search. It's a good idea to sometimes video your dogs working so that you can critically analyze what's going on, what looks good and what needs improvement.

0:00-0:11 -- She is confident in her warm-up "routine," which consists of some downtime where we casually ask her where she thinks it is and if she's ready to search. Her focus is gradually moved from us to the outside environment. Only one command "Find it" is needed. This is actually harder than it sounds; highly-trained dogs tend to be so oriented to the handler that it can actually be difficult to get them to orient to the environment instead. Lucy looks good here.

0:11-0:14 -- I really like that she started her search on the far right-hand side; this was a good idea. But I would have rather she then move left, rather than spin all the way around and set off in a different direction. An efficient dog will be a little more methodical in its search patterns.

0:15-0:26 -- Now she's getting into it; clearly committed to the search.

0:27 -- Did you see how her head flicked to the side? She hit the edge of the scent cone (scent travels in a cone shape.) She must have then drifted out of the scent cone and second-guessed herself, because she did not try to pick it up again. Time and confidence is all she needs to stop second-guessing.

0:28-0:37 -- Again, her efficiency will improve with time. She's re-investigating spots she's already checked.

0:38 -- She did not follow the scent cone in. She just chose to inspect this piece of furniture, and lo and behold, it was there! This is good. If a dog can not find a scent cone, you want them to think to examine individual objects. This will really help if there are windy conditions or some other reason the scent will be impaired.

0:38 - 0:45 -- A clear alert, wagging tail, a little bit of mouth movement. The "Where is it?" cue tells her to put her nose at the exact source. This looked really good, as you can not have the dog just tell you "It's on this table" -- it has to tell you *exactly* where on the table it is.

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