Zap has demonstrated not only a talent, but a joy for scentwork/nosework. We originally started at the end of 2020 when all of the rally trials I had planned on entering with Tesla continued to get cancelled and all of the conformation trials I had entered Zap in were getting cancelled. Dock diving season had ended for Phoenix. With no foreseeable events, we were basically left with a void in the trialing universe and I like to train with a specific goal and end point in mind to work towards. I decided now was as good of a time as any to learn Nosework, which had been on my training bucket list. Zap was getting the least amount of "training time" overall since I was so focused on trying to earn Tesla's RACH this year and focusing on Phoenix's dock diving skills, so she became the "chosen one" to learn this new sport with. Lucky for me, I chose well for the first dog to learn with.
After all the scentwork trials within driving distance (3 hours) for 2020 had ended and looking forward, pending where the pandemic seemed to be heading, it looked like there would be a while before our next in-person event. Zap had done so well at her first two in-person events that I wanted to keep that momentum going. Luckily, Fenzi TEAM titles, was offering a new virtual titling program: Fenzi TEAM Nosework. The Fenzi TEAM titles are virtual titling programs that focus on the training of the dog and handler's handling skills. We had been involved in the program for Tesla, Phoenix and Zap before then, so we were very familiar with the format. When they announced the Nosework version of TEAM being released at the end of 2020, we knew we had to get involved with the momentum I had with Zap and to continue to give her something fun to focus on.
The rules for NW-TEAM 1 are:
Exercise 1-1: Interior Threshold Hide Under Chair
Exercise 1-2: Interior Hide Under Bin Handle
Exercise 1-3: Distance Search
Exercise 1-4: Container Search
Exercise 1-5: Exterior Search
Exercise 1-6: Vehicle Search
More specific rules and elaboration on what each exercise entails can be found here: https://fenziteamnosework.com/rulebook/overview-level-1/. The other big component for the rules for NW-TEAM 1, is that each exercise must be done in a different location.
We quickly submitted our Fenzi NW-TEAM 1 run and received a passing score. Below is our passing video along with the judge's comments:
"Exercise 1: Zap did a nice job working the odor to source. It seemed to be moving around the room.
Exercise 2: What cute puppy and being so good and just watching. Zap did a great job working that to source. (For future reference, the rule was updated that the bin must be 6' or more from the start line I am only mentioning in case you are running another dog. The rule was changed so we are not requiring from early submissions)
Exercise 3: great job in ensuring she went through the start cones. She did a very nice job covering the area and nice indication
Exercise 4: Zap did great checking each container from the line and beautiful indication
Exercise 5: Very nice, I would recommend not setting up the hide right in front of the start line. So in this situation, you could have moved your start line to the left or approaching parallel to the building so she was not pointing straight at the hide.
Exercise 6: Look at her drive to the odor, she was in odor at the line and did a nice job working to source.
Zap does a great job picking up the odor quickly and working to source. Be careful in your hide placement/start line as 4 of the 6 hides were set directly in front of the line (distance and vehicle were not). Zap does a super job working odor, so I know it was not done to help her.
Now, that we have received a passing NW-TEAM 1 score, we could either focus on earning the NW-TEAM 2 or we could work towards the NW-TEAM 1+ title. We chose to work towards the + title because the + titles have the same criteria as the original titles, however, they need to be done in novel locations away from the home and each location has to be different. Each location also must not be previously submitted for any of the other titles. So strategically thinking, if I went straight to working on NW-TEAM 2, that may limit some of my location options for the 1+ option. So, I got to thinking about some reasonable locations to plan our searches at.
For NW-TEAM 1+, these were the locations I ended up using:
Exercise 1-1: Interior Threshold Under Chair - training stools in Petsmart training room
Exercise 1-2: Inerior Hide Under Bin Handle - shopping basket at back of Petsmart near cat litter
Exercise 1-3: Distance Search - Swing set setup at Lake Fayetteville by disc golf fields
Exercise 1-4: Container Search - Shoes at basketball court near Iams Dog Park
Exercise 1-5: Exterior Search - Picnic area near Iams Dog Park
Exercise 1-6: Vehicle Search - Arvest Bank on Wedington parking lot
Below is our passing submission along with judge's comments:
"Very nice NW TEAM submission
Exercise 1: Wow look at that head whip turn to odor at 0:25
Exercise 2: Very quick and efficient search
Exercise 3: It looks like your quick body turn at the line is what pulled her in to you and then 1:39 she caught odor and right to it!
Exercise 4: She was quick and look at that kiss, Zap says this is fun!
Exercise 5: Very nice, very distracting area and she was all business
Exercise 6: She caught odor quickly and worked to source very nicely
Great team work and the two of you are fun to watch. There may be a reason you ask her to get in heel position before starting; however, by looking at you it is challenging for her to sample the air and drive the search. If she was standing and focusing forward, then she would be headed in the right direction to start searching. It may also be a really good differentiation for her of the game. Zap is a great nose work dog, keep up the great work!!"
I was pretty happy with our feedback for both runs and it definitely gave me some things to think about in terms of planning and executing searches with Zap. Now, we are ready to start working towards our NW-TEAM 2 titles!