Instructor: Stacy Barnett
This course will take your Vehicle and Exterior Skills to the Next Level. Teams working from NW1 through NW3 will find this course extremely valuable.
Vehicles are one of the least practiced elements yet are also one of the least understood. Stacy decodes the ins and outs of her favorite element and shares all of her hidden secrets that have resulted in multiple NW3 Vehicle wins and 100% pass rate. Learn her "secret sauce".
Exteriors are more often practiced but are often difficult due to scenting conditions and search area complexity. Stacy guides you through one of her other favorite elements (and often won at NW3) in order to get you comfortable in understanding and navigating your search area.
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 begins at 11:00 AM PDT.
Enrollment limits: 12 gold, 25 silver, unlimited bronze. If you are interested in a bronze level subscription, you can sign up any time during the registration period.
Week 1: Vehicles and Exterior Basics
- Vehicles and Exteriors as Elements
- Basic Handling
- Sticking to Vehicles
- UKC Novice Vehicles - Training Bumpers
- One Hide Multiple Vehicles
Week 2: Vehicle and Exterior Scent Theory
- Vehicles: Flow and Aerodynamics
- Weather impact
- Wind, Elevation and Structure
- Windfalls, Working next to Buildings
Week 3: Vehicle Handling and Lots More
- Vehicles are like a sundial
- The Dance
- Keeping your bearings
- Handle This and I Handled That
- When to Call Finish
- Inaccessible hides
- Addressing pawing at source and other troubles
Week 4: Vehicle Challenges and Competitive Considerations
- Multiple hides on a single vehicle
- Getting Creative
- High Up Vehicles
- Anything with Wheels Goes
- Shaving off Seconds
Week 5: Exterior Handling and Lots More
- Evaluating a Search Area in 3D
- Working a space effectively
- Boundaries! Or Not.
- Handle This and I Handled That
- When to Call Finish
Week 6: Exterior Challenges and Generalization
- Ground Hides
- Hides on Multiple Levels
- Hides Near Drains
- Training for Distractions
- Generalization of Course!
NW130 or equivalent is suggested in order to get the most out of this class. Dogs are expected to be able to work multiple hides. Although there are no titling requirements, teams who are NW1 and starting to learn NW2 or who are working at the NW3 level will get the most out of this course.
This class can be accomplished with access to one or two vehicles that can be parked near neighboring vehicles. The ability to video vehicle searches effectively is strongly suggested for Gold teams.
The desire to have FUN is a course requirement!
1-2 Basic Handling
Let’s start at the very basics of handling. We will quickly work up from here.
I like to use a ten foot leash (both in exteriors and vehicles). Some folks prefer longer with a fast dog but I’ve found that as long as I’m quick on my feet, I can keep up (my Elite dog is fast dog). Also, with a longer leash than ten feet, you can easily get left behind and lose sight of your dog. Since I’m right handed, I put the loop over my right wrist and hold the excess with my right hand. I then use my left hand to hold the leash at the correct height (a comfortable height… you don’t want to be a human coat hanger). I feed the leash with my left hand. Try not to raise your leash supporting hand higher than halfway between your waist height and shoulder height.
The MOST important thing about handling is to ALWAYS KEEP THE DOG IN SIGHT. That means around corners as well. If the dog disappears around the corner of either a search area or a vehicle, and you lose sight even briefly, you might miss a change of behavior.
This can be challenging if you have an especially fast dog but it’s just as important if you have a more methodical dog. To accomplish this, step diagonally away from the corner as you round the curve. This way, you give your dog room and you can keep him in sight.
Here’s a visual of what I’m explaining.
That brings us to the second most important thing about handling. SPACE. Yup… you have to give your dog plenty of space to work. It’s really, really easy to crowd a dog after he has narrowed down the source to a general location. We see this a lot with green teams. The dog is trying to figure out where the hide is and the handler is so close that (1) the dog is more likely to just give an alert and (2) the scenting conditions are changed by your movement and presence making it harder for the dog to finish sourcing the location. The reason why handlers find it so difficult to give the dog space in vehicles is that we tend to try to hug the vehicle as well! It’s just an inclination that a lot of handlers share. The dog walks close to the vehicle and then the handler does the same. In reality, you need to be away from the vehicle and you need to give your dog a good 5 to 6 feet of room.
Another important aspect is to LET THE DOG DRIVE. What I mean by that is initially let the dog dictate where to start. Your job is to stay out of the way and remember what has been covered. In NW3, you’ll need to remember this specifically so that you can ensure that everything has been searched. If your dog started the search and you haven’t found the hide(s), then you want to take a quick check of wind direction and head downwind and check the vehicles or search area coming from that direction. The handler's job is Clean Up Batter....
Here's a video of me doing an Elite Style search (meaning that the exterior is also in play, not just the vehicles), blind. I was given 7:00 to search the area with an unknown number of hides, no max. We will break this video apart into pieces later in the course, but until then, I'd like you to review it and watch it from a handling perspective...
Those are the very basics… we will get into the nuances later.
A sampling of what prior students have said about this course ...
Another phenomenal six weeks!!! Class after class Stacy brings out the best in everyone and provides detailed insight and feedback. She ensures success and encourages her students to challenge themselves while building confidence. Ana C.
Loved this class -- Stacy is a great instructor! I learned a lot about searching vehicles and exteriors and scent theory in this class. Lectures were easy to keep up with and understand. Stacy provided clear explanations and search strategies in her videos and participated in discussions as well -- all my questions on the discussion forums were addressed by her promptly. I had fun doing the homework and it gave me confidence and helped my dog and me succeed at out first NW1 trial. I'm looking forward to taking more of Stacy's classes to improve my skills!
Rockin Vehicles and Awesome Exteriors taught by Stacy Barnett is an awesome class. So much individual feedback - very positive approach when working with students. With all the time and feedback Stacy gave I felt like this class was designed just for me and my needs. My dog truly made astonishing progress by following the progression of the class. Well worth my time - outstanding class and outstanding instructor. Thanks, Stacy. Linda T
This is an amazing course for people who are looking to improve their nosework training in a methodical way! Stacy breaks up all the skills and scenarios into separate lectures with their own assignments, so you can work on one thing at a time. Also, the homework is very specific so you can place hides confidently without inadvertently making the search too difficult for your dog's experience level. Loved everything about this course!! I know I'll use the knowledge I gained from this course in every future search, even the interior ones!
Before this class, I was never super comfortable with the NW Element of Vehicles. Having done the exercises.... I am loving this Element. The only thing I would change is to make it the full 6 weeks covering Vehicles. That said.... We are doing some great Exterior exercises too!