Thursday, August 15, 2013

Learning From K9 Nose Work NACSW National Invitational Videos: Kristie & Jasper Part 1

Thanks again to Kristie & Jasper for sharing their videos with everyone! Each clip will show the raw search footage first and then analysis of key moments. Enjoy this awesome example of odor obedience and teamwork!

If you're looking for more details on each of these search scenarios, refer to the 3 posts featuring Muriel's National Invitational video, you can find them in the archive by scrolling down on the right hand side of this page.

The Moat - This is a fun search to watch. I asked Kristie what she was thinking as they passed the one hide Jasper didn't find...

Jeff McMahonYou hesitated as he passed the vice stand hide going towards the forklifts and going towards the table. Any idea what you were thinking at the time?

Kristie CervantezJasper stopped as if he smelled food or rabbit poop or something other than odor.  He was sniffing the dirt but not searching so I told him to keep going.

The Lily Pad 1 - This search highlights the teamwork at play when Kristie & Jasper search. She lets Jasper run the search, but she keeps an eye out for areas of interest that should get a second look, and tries to make sure no areas get missed.

JMThe high hide you block with your body, what was your thinking at the time Jasper was working over there?

KCI knew there was something in that area.  He was working the far wall and the smaller pallet quite a bit, I could tell by what he was doing he knew there was something there, he could just not quite source it.  It seemed like he worked over there for a long time.  Now that I see the video, I was blocking the source.  He decided to go to the other side of the search area, glad he did, and I figured we could be back, which we did.  He ended up finding another hide and I told him “let’s go back and figure out where that other one is”, thus guiding him right by another hide (I think).  By luck, I was in a better postion behind the short pallet and not blocking the odor this time.  He finally sourced it to the best of his ability and I trusted him and called it and we got it right.

JMYou respond well to his behavior changes, are you looking for something in particular that tells you he's definitely on to a hide?

KCJasper is a Labrador Retriever and he likes to retrieve.  When he is on an odor, he will do his best to try and retrieve it.  It is my best indication that he has found a hide.  Even if the hide is inaccessible, he will try to figure out a way to retrieve it and if he cannot, he will sit and look at me.

The Lily Pad 2 - Really nice search. Just watch & enjoy.

Large Warehouse Interior - Kristie didn't feel this was their best search, but I think they did quite well, and there is a lot to learn in the video.

JMGlad you went off-leash to start, I think he would have been fine, but maybe you wanted to save Jenn Brown from getting slobbered on!

KCThis was not one of my favorite searches.  I really wanted to go off-leash but was apprehensive because the area was not completely secure and so many of our classmates were sitting in front.  Jasper sometimes like to visit.  I am glad that I tried it and I suppose if the area were secure I may have let him continue..but I did not.

It was a very difficult area to search, especially on leash.  I was feeling pretty good when he got the bucket right away and than he found people and than he was headed for the doors and on went his leash.  I was really proud of how he worked the pallet hide and in hindsight, watching, I see that he was working the shipping crate also.

I do not remember much of that search except that it was so hot in there and he was working hard.  I remember trying to go down the aisles with him and at one point I was out in front of him, not a good position.  I lost track of what he had found and where he had been and I think that I may have just given up on any kind of strategy I may have had.  I am most disappointed in how I handeled this search.  I did not do my part and he was getting really hot. 

Small Warehouse Vehicles - This search Jasper finds everything he gets access to - the only hide he misses is on the far side of a vehicle he doesn't get to search.

JMHe's not on a vehicle to start the search, yet by working the space (esp wall opposite the SUV bumper) he ends up at the first odor pretty quickly. Did any part of you really panic when he ran in not searching a vehicle right away?

KC: Another bad habit that I have during a vehicle search is to pull to the vehicles if he starts searching the wall or not searching the vehicle.  During this search, I actually did not panic (for a change), I thought to myself “leave him alone..maybe he is working his way to the vehicle because the odor is bouncing off the wall”.  I trusted him and he was right.

JMBefore he finds the hide on the mini-van, he ducks under the rear bumper and checks a few times on the driver's side of the vehicle. You seemed to hold him on that side (hence the attempt to crawl under the rear of the van), was that because of the find on the SUV rear bumper being so close by?

KCThe rest of this search is a blur.  It went so fast.  I wish that I had done if off-leash.  I forgot that we had the option.  After he found the first one, I was just trying to remember where he had already been.  Everything started to look the same and the time went so fast.

JMHe misses the last hide because you didn't give him total access. Interesting that you went back to the area you'd covered several times rather than go check the one car that you'd barely checked - any thoughts on why you turned back to the area already covered?

KCAgain, lost track of where we had been and what he had already found.  It was fun though!

Vehicles Open Bay - This search was tricky for video cameras to capture, but there's a nice view of Jasper working a deep hide under the flatbed truck.

JMNice work on the drum hide under the flatbed.

KCIt is the retrieveing thing again.  Jasper is not afraid to go as far under a vehicle as he can to try and retireve a hide.  When he is working like that, I know he has found it, I just need to wait for him to let me know.

JMIn this search there are parts of the vehicles he doesn't pay much attention to, interesting that he misses the hide in the metal frame on the rear of the flatbed. You were moving pretty fast through the area. 

KCI have a bad habit of moving too fast in vehicle searches.  I need to slow down my pace a bit so that he will slow down his pace a bit thus not missing things because we go by too fast.  Funny at the end, he had his eye on my back pocket.  I guess he figured out where I was keeping his treats.  :)

More videos to come soon!

Happy Sniffing!


  1. Excellent .. great narration and a lot to learn ! Keep up the good work !

    1. Definitely a lot to learn! I really enjoy how two dogs like Jasper & Muriel are so different in the same searches. Each dog has his/her own style and preference for working scent. Each dog works with his/her handler in different ways. Each dog has taken his/her own path to success in K9 Nose Work.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Happy Sniffing!

  2. Jeff, thank you for the all videos and for your insightful analysis. Muriel is a beautiful dog and I enjoy and learn from all of your posts about her.

    I also especially appreciated Kristie's videos, since her Jasper's style is so similar (but so much more advanced!) to that of my own Labrador, Tigger, so I learned a lot by watching. So many similarities: following the scent instead of sticking directly to the vehicles, driving to get to the scent regardless of physical obstacles, having to greet human friends on the sidelines (I burst out laughing at that one, my dog has done the EXACT same thing!). Even his attitude and gait were almost identical to Tigger's.

    Jasper is so handsome and such a wonderful searcher. We will continue practicing, working towards acquiring more of Jasper's fantastic abilities. Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Thanks for commenting!

      Jasper is a wonderful dog, Kristie is a great handler and partner, the two of them have a special bond.

      I'm so glad you are able to see similarities between Tigger and Jasper in the videos. Stay focused on the foundational skills of K9NW and keep having fun, before you know it Tigger will be that advanced searcher you see in the videos of Kristie & Jasper!

      Happy Sniffing!

  3. Hi Jeff,

    I finally got a chance to watch Kristie & Jasper. They are a great team and I can't wait to see more! I know I will watch these over and over again! Thanks so much to you and Kristie for sharing!

    Marsha & Walker NW3 x 2

    p.s. We just got back from Nipomo on Tuesday where we titled for our 2nd NW3. Wahoo! I'm still celebrating!!

    1. Fantastic, Marsha! Based on the guidelines for entry into the 2014 National Invitational, you and Walker have earned an invite. Hopefully, I'll be sharing videos of you & Walker on the blog next spring!

      Keep up the good sniffin'!


    2. Hi Jeff,

      I'd be honored to have you post my videos to your blog. I am definitely planning to go to the 2014 Invitational. It will be a blast! We just returned from the McCoy trial and did pretty well, but, no 3rd NW3 pass to get our Elite.

      Take care,

      Marsha & Walker NW3 x 2