Recently, Zap and I had started working through the new Nosework options for the Fenzi TEAM program, an online titling program focusing on the training of the skills required to be successful in Nosework/Scentwork. This new form of titling for the organization was introduced at the end of 2020 and Zap and I were some of the first participants to receive our NW-TEAM 1 and NW-TEAM 1+. Now that we had earned those two titles, respectively, it was time to move onto earning our NW-TEAM 2 and NW-TEAM 2+.
The rules for NW-TEAM 2 are:
Exercise 2-1: Interior with food distraction
Exercise 2-2: Containers with toy distraction
Exercise 2-3: Container corner hide
Exercise 2-4: Interior multiple hides
Exercise 2-5: Exterior search
Exercise 2-6: Maze search
More specific rules and elaboration on what each exercise entails can be found here: https://fenziteamnosework.com/rulebook/overview-level-2/. Unlike NW-TEAM 1, you are able to repeat locations for NW-TEAM 2 because the skills are more challenging.
Our biggest challenges for NW-TEAM 2 were the interior multiple hides (Ex 2-4) and the maze search (Ex 2-6). The maze search was actually fun to watch Zap work through, however, the challenge was in filming it. In creating a maze, the judges still have to be able to see my dog and when filming alone, that can be a challenge to not only create a maze acceptable to their criteria, but also that would allow the search to be visible. The challenge with the multiple hides is that we really hadn't done much work with it before now. We had done a tiny bit of Zap learning to search for anise, and not just birch, but we hadn't done a ton of work on her learning to search for both scents in a single search. That took a bit more practice and since I felt Zap was very capable of being able to do all of the other skills, I decided to go ahead and work a little extra hard on our multiple hide searches and see if we would be able to earn that NW-TEAM 2 title.
After a week of practicing and a few days of filming, we submitted our Fenzi NW-TEAM 2 run and received a passing score. Below is our passing video along with the judge's comments:
"Hi Melinda and Zap! Great job on your NW-TEAM2 submission!
1-1: Right to it! And she got the banana!
1-2: Clear alert and ignored the toy! I would like to see a less used box as that one looks heavily used and was vented a bit when the others weren't. I like to pull out a new box to mimic a "clean" trial search where the box won't have all the smells of previous use.
1-3: No issue on the corner hide! She took her own path!
1-4: On this search you did call that first hide really fast. I know we could call one that fast at a trial. Always good to wait just a 1/2 to 1 second longer for these known hide placements. Also, I can see the second hide on the basket. Per the rules the hides should not be visible. For that reason I scored this one questionable. She moved off nicely after that initial recheck of the first one!
1-5: Lovely search and duration at source before calling :).
1-6: Thanks for the extra view of the maze as it was a little hard to see. I would have liked to see a bit more "path" in the 2nd turn. For example if there had been an object next to the little table so that the hide was on an object a bit further down. I know that would have made the videoing a bit harder. The maze is passing, but just wanted to point that out for next time!
Thanks for having good camera angles, clear start lines and showing more hides than you needed to!
Zap is an honest worker and a reliable partner! Congrats on your NW-TEAM2!"
Now that Zap earned her NW-TEAM 2, we could then move onto working towards her NW-TEAM 2+ and her NW-TEAM 3. The criteria for the + titles is the same, however, they need to be in new locations and can't be in locations used for any of the previous 1, 2 or 1+ titles with the exception of the maze search. Because the skills were fresh, I opted for focusing on the 2+ title. A new clarification was also made on the new locations aspect in which you can use multiple spaces within a location as long as each are new and different, which came into play for our 2+ where I used various locations within our local post office on a Sunday.
For our NW-TEAM 2+, these were the locations I ended up using:
Exercise 2-1: Interior with food distraction - local post office space and used an apple for the food distraction this time
Exercise 2-2: Containers with toy distraction - local post office near P.O. Boxes
Exercise 2-3: Container corner hide - outside of local post office
Exercise 2-4: Interior multiple hides - different area within local post office
Exercise 2-5: Exterior Search - bench area at Wilson Park
Exercise 2-6: Maze search - Elite Pet University
Below is our passing submission along with judge's comments:
"You are moving right along!
Great use of that post office - it looks big enough to use multiple areas.
2-1: Great job and even with some unintentional distractions.
2-2: Some sniffing on other boxes but clear not her indication. Well done!
2-3: Nice search!
2-4: So fast on finding those 2 hides and using a natural interior area!
2-5: Another good natural area!
2-6: It's ok if the doorway is your startline without cones. Clever setup! Nice job.
Good clean training and all that novel area! Congrats on your NW-TEAm2+ title!"
Overall, I was pretty happy with our comments. Zap and I are both still relatively new to nosework/scentwork, so I found this program to be a little helpful in working through some training gaps of ours. The + locations this time around have also been helpful in me getting more creative in thinking how to use new spaces to practice. One thing worth mentioning about out 2+ title is that there was a missed error on my part that the judge didn't catch. For exercise 2-4 with multiple hides, you are supposed to call "finish" after finding the two hides, which I forgot to do. That would have made that exercise a "questionable", so I still would have passed the overall submission, but that was an error on my end worth pointing out.
Next, we can work towards our NW-TEAM 3. We may take a few weeks off to give Zap a bit of a break from Nosework and come back to it a little bit later. I also want to take a bit more time to work on her multiple hide skills, since that will come back into play in NW-TEAM 3. We both are still having fun and can't wait to do more!