Ranger in action 🙂
I started nose work with Ranger about a year ago to build his confidence. He did so well at it but I called it quits with him when I saw just how hard to was for him to travel there, particularly on his own in the car, I couldn’t fit a crate in my Toyota Corolla and the only place he would go after being carried and lifted into the car was shaking down behind the seat.. for the whole trip. I now have mums car for 3 months and can fit 2 crates in so I can take both dogs. He still struggles with the drive but will voluntarily get in the car as our other dog Syrah is already in.
So last night I took both of them. Ranger is only on the first two odours, birch and aniseed while Syrah is on birch, aniseed and clove. Ranger did really well, his dedication to searching was still there and even though he wasn’t very fast his persistence in searching impressed me so much and he found the hides in the end. I was so happy with him.
Ranger in Action
Nose work is great for anxious or reactive dogs as it is a one dog at a time sport. It helps to build confidence by letting the dog figure out things for themselves and as there is no obedience or instructions they only do what they are comfortable doing. Ranger went from being nervous in class with a tucked tail and not wanting to even stick his head in a box to find some food, to now putting his head up on chairs, under tables and paws up on walls to find higher hides of only odour.
For more info on nose work check out these pages:
K9 Nosework in the US and K9 Nose Time in Australia
I take Syrah to obedience most weeks and today as I could fit two crates in my car I decided to take Ranger too. Syrah loves getting in the car, travel and going anywhere really as the drive is the fun part for her. Ranger got in the car without too much fuss, I had put Syrah in first so it might tempt him to jump in. As soon as we started driving though he was back to hiding his head in the corner and shaking. When we got to the turnoff to class he surprised me by jumping up and sniffing and getting quite excited so that was really positive!
I took Syrah to her usual class then half way through put her away and got Ranger out. We didn’t go into a class but just kept about 5-10 metres away from the class I had just been in. At first he appeared really nervous, tail tucked, ears back, eyes darting and had a small lunge and bark when a lovely Collie just looked at him, we did a quick ‘lets go’ and walked away, returning a little while later. I just kept shoving treats in his mouth, he was happy to take food when he wasn’t looking around (like how we started with the birds). After a few minutes we started a bit of a routine of him looking at the other dogs, to get him back to me I marked the behaviour with a ‘yes’ and he would turn around to get his treat… like we did with the birds. If he had looked at the dogs for a while and voluntarily looked at me I also gave him a reward, we worked on lengthening the time he was looking at the other dogs between every treat and I was really happy with his progress. If I ever thought he was starting to go from a look to a ‘stare’ or it was becoming intense I called him name and rewarded him.
We had to walk away a few times when I thought people or dogs got too close and the whole session with Ranger took about 10 minutes and he did very well, he was gaining confidence the whole time and we ended on a good note.
This is his little vest that he wears which I think is a nice level of warning without making people afraid of your dog.
Gorgeous boy, Ranger
Relaxed at home after training
‘In Training’ vest