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USCSS Trial Report - Part 1

Wager and I competed in Senior on Saturday, November 16 at Arapahoe County Fairgrounds. Denver Metro Sniffers always puts on a fun, challenging trial. The fairgrounds are a wonderful location for a scentwork trial - lots of interior rooms, exteriors that don’t have line of sight issues, and a large room that serves as crating space, hospitality, and secretary's office. It’s also not too far from people who live north of Denver and south of Castle Rock.

The searches were nested, which means the club ran Novice first, then added more hides for Senior.

The container search used metal tins from Dollar Tree mostly, with a few Christmas-y cardboard boxes. Wager correctly alerted on a couple of hides, and I was going back to the threshold to re-check those boxes when Wager caught odor. He sniffed a box near the wall, then whirled around and gave his classic “slap that hide” indication on a Christmas stocking hanging on the wall. What??

“Is that in play?” I asked the judge.

“Yes, sorry, I forgot to tell you.” she replied.

“Alert!” I said.

“YES!” she said.

Wager was the only dog to pass containers. Trust your dog!

The Interior search was in the very large women’s bathroom. This bathroom was huge, but the aisles were narrow, making it feel cramped. Wager quickly located a hide under the sink, then found one in a stall. We were headed back to the threshold to check again when he started working odor across from the sink. Unfortunately, he was convinced the hide was there and we got a false alert. I think he was on traveling odor from the sink. There was one more hide at the threshold. None of the dogs passed Interiors, so we were in good company.

The exterior search was held in a 3-sided alcove next to the building. Wager quickly found a hide in a drainpipe, and detected scent from another hide. He worked the corners, he went up the walls, but he couldn’t locate the source before we ran out of time. It was in a crack in the center of the space. I think the wind was creating some turbulence in the alcove, making the hide really difficult. None of the dogs found that hide, and it sounds like the Dog in White had a hard time with it, too.

In the vehicle search, we quickly searched the three cars, found two hides and called “finish.” There were three hides, but it didn’t really matter too much at that point.

We either win or we learn, and I learned that we need to work more small, cramped interiors with lots of hides. I’ll find some places to do crack hides in alcoves (we had class at Lowe’s yesterday and they had a good alcove).

As always, it was a fun trial. Thanks Denver Metro Sniffers!


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