As I practiced patience with delays on a recent trip, it reminded me how important we need to be patient when our dog is searching in Nosework.

I love watching my students learn to relish the simple joy of observing their dogs when searching for a hide. Some hides require the dog to work though a lot more problem solving to hone in to the source. It could be an elevated hide puzzle, an area with converging or pooling odor, or a cluttered area where some maneuvering is needed to source the hide.

Time can feel like it’s going by fast as we watch our dog work in a search area and especially when trialing.  We get the dancing feet or want to take over the search. However, time moves at the same pace each and every time.  We can account for some “delay” in our search time when the environment is distracting and still give our dog the time needed to work the odor and source the hide.

When we continue to apply the handling approach of letting the dog lead most of the time – to follow when they move, slow down when they slow down, and stop when they stop (repeat: to stop when they stop) – we are less likely to rush them in their work. 

I’m seeing this beautiful transformation in teams as they work on more challenging hides placements and setups. I’m seeing the transformation with me as well! We won’t truly understand how our dogs figure all this out so we need to let them work the part they know best. As I famously am known to say “we have the best seat in the house” when watching our dogs search!

The more we are patient in our observation and the more they problem solve, the more efficient and effective the team becomes. Practice your patience!