I spent yesterday working as a volunteer at a Nose Work 3 (NW3) trial in North Las Vegas. I do love to volunteer because it usually gives me an opportunity to watch the pups work and we learn so much when we see 35 dogs work the same search area. For the trial yesterday, I was a timer for the interior searches. In NW3, there are three rooms that are searched and there can be 0-3 hides of the source scents in each room. (Only 1 room out of the three can be blank or without odor hides).
One of the things that absolutely amazes me is that in most situations, the majority of dogs find odor within 20 seconds. I see it happen over and over. And, then handlers keep their dogs in the search area looking for the possible additional hides. And, because there might be others, they work and work and work, sometimes pushing or forcing their dogs into a “false alert.” (The dog signaling that there is a hide where one doesn’t exist.) We all seem to do that from time to time, so I’m not making a judgement, just sharing an observation. Like I said, watching and observing is a fantastic learning experience and I believe everyone working a dog in the Nose Work sport should spend some time as a volunteer at a trial, just to get to watch all those searches.
So, what’s a “Dog in White”? That’s the dog/handler team that gets to run the trial before the competitors so that the judges and Certifying Official (CO) can see how a dog will probably react to the search area and how long it will take for dogs to search. When Atlas and I ran the trial yesterday, it was a super learning experience. The CO for yesterday’s trial had also been the CO when we trialed in Salt Lake City a few weeks ago. So, I got to ask him some questions and a bit of learning came from that. All in all, it was great fun and Atlas rocked the searches.
No matter what your interests are, take some time and volunteer in some way. It’s good to give back to the community that supports you and also good to pay if forward for the next time you might need some support.