Instructor: Stacy Barnett
NW3 is a whole new ballgame. The emphasis shifts to pressured searches and handler mind games. Pass rates tend to plummet at this level. Get ready for the rigors of trialing at advanced levels with this class. Feel confident going in and confident in making the right calls. In this class, we will cover topics such as:
- advanced scent puzzles (NW3 Level and Elite Division Level)
- developing the right startline routine for your specific dog
- assessing your dog’s alerts and how they differ under stress
- learning to read your dog in blank rooms
- improving your handling so that you cover the entire search area in the fastest time possible
- acclimation strategies for your dog and dealing with handler nerves
- searching for an unknown number of hides
- building mental stamina
- Each Week will have Elite Lectures
This class is appropriate for any team looking to build NW3 skills or who are already trialing at the NW3 level. THIS CLASS IS ALSO APPROPRITE FOR ELITE!
ANNOUNCEMENT: NW280 Path to Elite is being folded into this class for the October 2018 Session!
There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.
Registration will begin at 11:00 AM Pacific Time.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited.
Gold Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to post questions and videos to the course forums. Students will receive instructor feedback on written and video assignments.
Silver Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to participate in the discussion forum. Students may ask GENERAL questions about course materials and may submit two, one-minute videos for instructor feedback. Any questions specific to your dog MUST be accompanied by a video.
Bronze Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to read all questions and answers posted in the class forums. Students will not post questions or submit written or video assignments.
For more details, refund policies, and answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
- What to expect at a NW3 trial, why it is a different Ballgame
- Self Assessment and goals for the course
- Start a customized prep plan for your dog. Building skills and confidence at the same time.
- Baseline timed, blind hide with unknown number of hides
- Handling the stress of the day
- Advanced Puzzles Week 1:
- Inaccessible and Accessible with Converging Odor
- Converging Odor with One Hide in a Corner
- Pooling Odor
- Developing the right staging routine and startline routine
- Develop a plan for the trial day to help your canine partner cope with the stresses of the day
- Practicing your startline routine on confidence building searches
- Using cool down boxes
- Taking your startline routine on the road
- Advanced Puzzles Week 2:
- Extreme Converging Odor
- High and Low with Converging Odor
- Assessing your dog's alerts and how they differ away from home
- Maintenance for insistence of the alert
- Reading your dog - the KEY to NW3
- Understanding how to read your dog in a blank room and when to call Clear
- Training strategies for blank rooms, maintaining motivation in your canine partner
- Large search area
- Advanced Puzzles Week 3:
- Elevation Discrimination
- Extreme Elevation
- Assessing the search areas during the walk through
- Strategies and techniques for covering the entire search area
- More practice with blind, unknown number of hides
- How to assess when you have found all of the hides
- The enigma of the single hide search area
- How to NOT convince your dog to false alert
- Learning from a "No"
- Advanced Puzzles Week 4:
- Elevation with Distractions
- Suspended Hides
- Mental search stamina. Practicing the ability to cope with stress of up to three sequential timed, blind hides with unknown number of hides
- Mental search stamina in novel locations with increased environmental distractions
- Advanced Puzzles Week 5:
- Fence Hides
- Pole Hides
- Dealing with NW3 Containers. How to know when to stop searching.
- Practicing increased complexity in vehicle searches
- Advanced Puzzles Week 6:
- Inaccessible and Accessible on the Same Vehicle
- Converging Odor in Containers
- Revisit Self Assessment
There are no specific prerequisites for this class; however, teams should be confidently searching multiple hides in all competitive elements (Exteriors, Interiors, Vehicles and Containers). Strong NW2 teams (regardless of titling status) might benefit greatly from this class. If you have specific questions about whether this class is right for you, please contact the Instructor.
Each week we are going to test our skills with advanced scent puzzles. Some of these you might find in trials, some might be a bit more challenging that what you are liable to come across. Each puzzle is intended to stretch your skills as a handler as well as help your dog to learn to source complex hides. There will be NW3 options and Elite Division options for each challenge. If you have a very strong NW3 dog, feel free to try the Elite Division option. The Elite Division option is intended to be extremely difficult as there are no hide parameters for this level. These puzzles should NOT be done blind. A quick note… these are VERY hard challenges… I don’t expect that you will be 100% successful. These puzzles DO however work on necessary skills for NW3 and above.
This week we are going to start on complex puzzles with converging odor and pooling odor.
Inaccessible and Accessible with Converging Odor
In this challenge place an inaccessible hide (not inaccessible by elevation, inaccessible due to being in a drawer or some other enclosed or hard to reach space) near an accessible hide. Make one hide Clove and the other Clove/Anise or Clove/Birch combo. If you are training for another organization, please substitute for your target odors.
NW3 Option: Place the hides approximately 4 to 6 feet apart
Elite Option: Place the hides 2 to 3 feet apart
Here’s an NW3 type of puzzle with converging odor, one hide is accessible and one hide is inaccessible. This was part of an Elite Level search (which I will share in its entirety at a later point). Watch Judd’s body language as he transitions from one scent cone to the other.
Here’s a video of Judd doing a high convergence search. One hide is inaccessible, one is accessible. Hides are about 2 feet apart in a small enclosed space. He found the accessible hide immediately but you’ll notice that I didn’t recognize it right away since the heat shrink tube had fallen to the ground. It was originally at nose level. He still does a nice job working out the puzzle.
Before you enter the search area, keep your dog on the start line for a little longer than usual. Let him catalog the hide locations. You'll find that as you use your start line more effectively, your dog wil start to do much of the difficult work before even beginning the search.
The key to this exercise is to not rush your dog out of the area. This is especially important in the Elite Level searches. By training with a combo odor you are giving your dog information about a second hide. Once your dog gets adept at this challenge you can start to use the same odor (which really increases the level of difficulty). However, remember that every hide has its own scent profile so even if both hides were Clove... a skilled dog will be able to find both. Don't rush this exercise! This is about your dog figuring out the puzzle rather than completing the exercise quickly.
The other critical aspect is that you MUST age your hides. Dogs who have worked with non-aged hides for a period of time will develop a habit of hunting and pecking for odor and instead of following the scent cone to the next nearby hide, the dog may tend to leave the immediate search area all together. Scent cones are like three dimensional maps for our dogs. If your dog is struggling with the distance between the hides, keep the aging the same (at least 20 to 30 minutes at a very minimum) but increase the distance between hides.
If you are doing well with this exercise, you can enlist a helper to set them as blind searches for you.
Converging odor with one hide in a corner
In this challenge we are also practicing converging odor. However with this challenge we will place one of the hides in a corner. Corner hides are especially difficult. Place your non-corner hide at approximately the same height as the corner hide. The non-corner hide can be accessible or inaccessible. Make one hide Clove and the other Clove/Anise or Clove/Birch (or use odors specific to your organization)
NW3 Option: Place hides 4 to 6 feet apart, no higher than four feet high
Elite Option: Place the corner hide at a higher level (4 to 6 feet) than the non-corner hide or vise versa
Here’s Melissa and Edge working on converging odor with a corner. The odor was collecting in the box. In fact, the odor from BOTH hides were collecting in the box. This is quite a difficult puzzle as the scent from the elevated hide is actually falling onto the hide in the box. Edge has been taught to value corners. By keeping him in the immediate scent area, he was able to catch the scent of the elevated hide and work it to source. Having the structure on the shelves helped him to find source. Remember that structure holds scent and changes air flow.
So how to you encourage your dog to search a corner? Remember that handling is a dance. Although ideally we would like the dog to do 100% of the work, we are still a part of the team. The dog is in essence the "Team Captain" but the handler is also an important resource.
Watch my body language in this very short clip. With a step towards Judd I'm able to simply encourage him to search a corner without actually helping him (this is a blind search however because of the way I handled this corner, Judd did not miss the hide and we easily passed the element (this is an example of a NW3 hide).
Pooling odor is something that you will have to deal with in NW3 and Elite Division. Where the odor pools doesn’t necessarily mean that that is where the odor is located! This is a puzzle that dogs need to learn to figure out on their own.
For this exercise you will need a fan and an area where odor can pool. Place the fan near the odor on very low setting and let the odor age. Make sure that the fan currents are pointing towards a naturally pooling element. Run your search.
NW3 option: Place 1 hide for this exercise
Elite Option: Place two hides for this exercise
Here’s Melissa and Edge working the Pooling odor exercise. Notice that the odor is pooling in the corner and collecting below the hide.
Here's Bounce working through Pooling Odor. Notice that as the hide gets farther from the pooling odor that the difficulty level increases.
Pooling Odor with Containers
Another alternative of this exercise that is VERY useful to work is to apply this to Containers.
Set up Containers like the puzzle in this section of a recent NW3 trial that I attended.... Place the hide with odor in the center as indicated. Then place a fan at 12:00 so that the odor pools up against the neighboring containers.
NW3 Option: Do not worry about distractors in this exercise if you are doing NW3.
Elite Option: If you are practicing for Elite, put out 3 or 4 distractors.
A sampling of what prior students have said about this course ....
This was my first class with Stacy, and I was quite impressed! She gave great ideas for NW3 and Elite level puzzles and great explanations for applicable scent theory. And gave great information on how to get ourselves and our dogs mentally ready to trial. This class was great!!! Molly B
Course materials were dense with information and the instructor's engagement with Gold students was very impressive.
I am so happy that I took this course. My confidence in trialing at the Elite level with Sheila has increased tremendously. The advanced odor puzzles were very helpful. The understanding of elevation, scent cones, and converging odor was something we needed to work on. Besides all that you are such an enthusiastic and positive trainer. All your observations and suggestions were always presented in a helpful and positive way:) Planning on taking the NW230 Gold Level with my NW2 dog Pax!!
I loved this class! ~ I couldn't wait to go out and try the exercises. Very thought provoking, you really had to think about the hide placement and set up. Great feedback on student videos. If there were one thing that might be changed is that this course could actually be probably three full courses. Massive amounts of information and I'm very grateful that the lectures are stored because I will be using the information for quite some time.
Very impressed with this instructor and her willingness to connect with students as well as share her secrets for success.
Thank you! Clear understandable lecture materials, and good exercises.