Noseworks is a canine sport in which dogs and handlers search for a hidden scent...either birch, anise or clove, depending on the level at which you are working. We had tried Noseworks a couple of years ago but decided, at that point, to concentrate on Barn Hunt, which relies on prey drive. Both dogs hold two titles in Barn Hunt which means we compete at the Senior level and this is too difficult for Lacy. Not because she can't find the rats....she can....but because, with arthritic hips, climbing three levels of hay bales and maneuvering through a tunnel which includes at least three turns is just too hard for her.
So, we went back to Noseworks.....athletically, a much quieter sport and one which still counts on her very acute sense of smell. (Lacy is our "go to" ball/Frisbee finder. Ginger has an irritating habit of abruptly taking off into the woods with a Frisbee or ball in her mouth and coming back without it....so I send Lacy in to find it...and she does!)
At any rate, we attended our first ever Noseworks trial last Sunday in nearby York, ME. Unlike a "regular" trial, in which the dog has to find the scent in four different venues....Containers, Indoor, Outdoor and Vehicles....this trial was a specialty trial and only vehicles were used,
She had to locate the scent in four different situations, each of which contained two or more "vehicles"...from a 20' snowmobile trailer to cars/trucks to a lawnmower and a four-wheeler. None of the hides was visible and each hunt was timed.
The first two were easy....Lacy was very methodical, focused and clear in her indication of the scent source. The third one, however, was tricky as, for whatever reason, she wasn't focused at all and had to be redirected several times. Something more interesting was "blowing in the wind" and she barely found the hide with seconds to spare. Same thing happened in the last search, on the four wheeler. On this one, after I called, "Alert", the judge asked me to show her the site and I could only really indicate the general area. But it was enough...again, with seconds to spare.
So, Lacy now holds her first NW title. I hope we can participate in more trials but they are few and far between, and difficult to get into (we were lucky this time). But, for now, I'm very pleased with her performance.