Reyna passed her Anise and Clove ORTs over the Jacy Kelley workshop weekend. It was a very long weekend for both of us. We had long waits in the car some easy searches, some hard searches. I couldn't use the van so Reyna was curled up behind the passenger seat in our little ranger which means I also had to get her out repeatedly to stretch and warm up so she wouldn't be stiff.
She did awesome all weekend, no reactivity issues at all even when reactive dogs barked at her. She was calm, relaxed, and happy...it felt awesome!!!!!
So we had a LONG working day Saturday followed by me volunteering for the Birch ORT. Then we had a LOOONG working day Sunday and as I loaded Reyna up for the last time at the workshop to head to the Anise/Clove ORT I asked her for just two more, give me two more sweet girl and we're done!
The ORT was very well run so our waits were not long. I was thinking about switching to a food reward since Reyna was tired from two long searching days, but Reyna still really wanted to play with her ball outside, so I figured okay let's go with it. When we ran the Anise boxes her alert was half hearted and again I thought I should probably use food, but she's a "toy dog" so I didn't. So we went in with her ball, approached the start line and I told her to find.
She was not as focused as I would have liked, on the first pass around she showed strong interest in one box and I was 90% sure that was it but she didn't alert, we had time so I turned her around and we went back up the row, she nosed at the same box again and now I knew that was the box, but for whatever stubborn crazy reason I didn't call it and she didn't alert. She saw the boxes that were set up for clove and she REALLY wanted to go search all of those before she made a formal decision.
So now I had to think of a way to have her approach the box from a different angle. This time we walked down the middle of the row and she veered over and gave a formal alert. Yes! She got the ball and we trotted out 59 seconds...a lifetime in an ORT as far as I'm concerned.
So for Clove I listened to my gut and my dog, and borrowed some chicken from a friend. We did the practice boxes and gave a sort of alert and got chicken, she immediately perked up so when we shuffled the boxes and I re-cued she hit right on it and stuck!!! Hurray we were back in business!
Our name was called, we crossed the line and she nailed the right box the first time around in 16 seconds!
Just goes to show if you listen to your dog and stay flexible with your plan it will always work better than forcing a plan that may no longer apply to the current situation.