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Okin 02-26-2014 09:19 AM

Nosework speed of progress
How fast do your dogs progress through Nosework? Is this something determined by the instructor or does the organization decide how the classes are run?

My dog loves doing it so we will probably stick with it but it seems to move a bit slower than I had hoped. We are on week three and are already doing 10+ boxes and environmental adds like chairs and random objects. There are hides under boxes, stacks of boxes, next to them, on random objects etc. My dog goes in and finds everything in a couple minutes.

I asked when the birch scent is added in and they said not until after 12 weeks! I was kind of surprised there was no imprinting of the scent done until two full six week classes are finished. I was hoping they would start imprinting the scent halfway through the first six week class but apparently not.

From talking to my trainer they have to get an ORT where they just identify the odor among a series of identical boxes. Then they can start to prepare to get a NW1. The closest place that does trials is 4-5 hours away so that can be a huge pain. 8-10 hours of driving to alert on one box once just so they can get started .. sheesh! Doing that drive for a NW1 that you prepared for is one thing but that is a long trip to identify one box once and be done.

The Nosework site only identifies one instructor in my entire state so I guess it is lucky they are in my city at least.

Liesje 02-26-2014 10:40 AM

Is it a NACSW class? They have their own "way" of training and it's r-e-a-l-l-y slow.

My dog did his first ORT 4 months after starting and his first NW1 6 months after, but this was an adult dog that I have titled in several other venues including two tracking, so I have a good "read" on him and a basic understanding of scent work (though Nosework is quite different from tracking). I went ahead of my class pretty early on but had help from someone who trains my dog's littermate in Nosework and uses a different method.

Okin 02-26-2014 10:44 AM

Yeah is is NACSW. I guess if my dog enjoys it which she does seem to do I'll stick with it. We are also doing obedience classes along with it at another club.

It does kind of seem like the way the class is structured is is set to make you pay for a lot of classes when your dog could move a lot faster. I wonder if I started to work with the official scents before the class gets there if I would mess up her progress?

Liesje 02-26-2014 11:53 AM

I started scent outside of class, but like I said I was being helped by someone who had tested her method and titled. Also, I do not pair scent and food which is basically the NASCW method (put food in boxes, then put food on top of scent in boxes....).

mspiker03 02-26-2014 11:54 AM

We just started level 2 NW classes. I found the beginning classes were pretty easy but when we started doing blind hides the human needed more help. But, Paisley is still really young and does not always trust her nose, nor do I have a good read on her yet. I would just work on doing hides outside your house and in the environment - which seem to be more challenging with all the distractions. We also do multiple room hides at home - having her search upstairs and down, searching up high and with covered boxes that aren't vented. We also took away the boxes so we could do harder hides in the house. Your instructor can probably give you ideas to make things more challenging at home (that is what I did - asked my instructor how to make things harder).

I also think if you don't know what you are doing, jumping ahead to pairing orders may be counter productive at some point. Having done other dog sports - there is usually a method to their training ways for a reason.

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Okin 02-26-2014 12:00 PM

I'm not really that concerned with the titles aside from a goal to try to achieve. I do tend to get overly ambitious and try to move too quickly :) I am just looking to spend time working with my dog. I'll probably just stick to the program unless she seems to be not enjoying it. I would ideally like to get her doing some real tracking at some point but this seemed like a fun way to get her using her nose!

mspiker03 02-26-2014 12:09 PM

Just as a comparison and possible method to the slowness....

Paisleys main sport is herding and she is quite good. My instructor is often saying that we need to bring her along slowly and methodically and she will be amazing. Plus, us humans need to do a lot of learning in dog sports and it helps to go slow at times, especially if you are new to the sport.

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LeoRose 02-26-2014 01:07 PM

One concern that I have about the NACSW method is, that in the higher levels, food can be used as a distraction during a search, and they have to ignore it. I had dabbled in training on my own using food hides, but quit, and will start up again in April with an online class that starts the dogs out on scent right from the first lesson.

TaraM1285 02-26-2014 03:28 PM

My dog was initially trained using the boxes and then the pairing method that it sounds like your trainer uses and she did just fine at both the NW1 level and NW2 level. Only reason she doesn't have her NW2 is I managed her searches poorly.

Since then, I have gotten much faster results and a better understanding of odor/scent earlier with dog/handler teams by introducing odor in the very first session. I doubt I will ever do extended searches for food ever again.

David Winners 02-26-2014 04:05 PM

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IMO, part of the reason the classes move so slowly is that they are designed so the majority of dogs can participate, especially in the early levels. They bill Nosework as a sport for all dogs, so the training was designed with that in mind.

If you start with a high prey drive dog with strong hunt, the process of imprinting goes exponentially faster. I've had dogs working room searches in 2.5 hours, moving to vehicles, open areas and more complex building searches in under a week.

I plan on teaching Nosework when I get back to the states. I think I would really struggle with the low drive dogs, so I may just work with people that really have some potential. We'll see.

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