2022 Dave Kroyer Nosework Seminar

Internationally Acclaimed Dave Kroyer Came Back to Sheridan, Wyoming to Teach Another Nosework Seminar!

September 16, 2022 was at the PAWSitive Training Arena
On September 17-18, 2022, we spent mornings at Craftco Metal Works storage yard and afternoons at PAWSitive Training Arena
See an illustrated explanation of nosework and the locations of the seminar.

This seminar focused on efficient searching, accurate indications and the dog’s indication (whatever that indication may be).  In Dave’s method, the indication is a sit or down – or reaching up on high hides to get as close as possible – staring at the hide until released by a clicker or spoken “yes,” at which time the dog goes away from the hide to the owner to receive its reward.  All of us in Sheridan use that indication but some seminar participants don’t.

September 16 was for beginner dogs – dogs not yet competing or just beginning competition, that search for all 5 UKC scents and have reliable indications.

Many thanks to Dave, to Sue – the arena owner and our local nosework trainer, and to my friend Katina, who took photos.

Participating dogs were Cat Baloo (mixed breed), Dash (corgi), Deltje (standard poodle), Joe (Vizsla), Justice (my GSD, a sable), Missy (Heeler), Pansy (Yorkshire Terrier), Ursa (a Cantor/Mercy son from my UU litter, a black & tan) and Xaavi (Dutch Shepherd).  They were at different levels in their training; for instance, my Justice is very immature and wants to pounce on the pipe. swat it with a foot or pick it up.  I was looking for suggestions from Dave to encourage more mature indications.

I picked the best shots of each dog.  All dogs are not featured in every exercise.  Many thanks to Katina, who agreed to take photos for me.  She used my camera.

First, Dave evaluated each dog’s indication, using a pipe or a wooden box, which contained a “cocktail” of all 5 of the UKC scents. The pipe was mounted on a board.  In the Kroyer method, the dog pushes it nose into the pipe and remains there until the handler clicks to release it, then comes to the handler for its reward.  The handler and dog team came into the working area and headed toward the pipe, the handler letting the dog approach the pipe and show Dave what it knew.

One dog (Joe) had no real indication, so Dave took it back to the beginning.  The handler had gotten an old DVD series of Dave’s, when he used the wooden boxes to teach indications, so they worked him on those.  First, they teach the dog to put its nose into the box, feeding it treats from your hand that is in the box. Then you work up to having the treats outside the box, the dog holding its nose in the box until a click releases it.  Next, when you click, you throw the treat for the dog to get.  Eventually the dog leaves your side, goes to the box, indicates, holds the indication until you release it, then returns to you for its reward.  Katina got some GREAT photos of Joe with his ears flying everywhere as he tried to get the treat.

Dave then worked on focus and clear indications with all the dogs except Joe.  He used whatever container – box or pipe – the dog was used to.  He played the “shell game,” where someone (this time it was Sue) teases the dog with a treat or toy, then goes down the line of boxes/pipes, pretending to put the treat in them.  We did these exercises against a wall in the part of the arena with a rubber mat floor so the treats wouldn’t get lost or dirty from the sand.  Meanwhile the handler was holding the dog back while trying to excite it by voice and body, so that when released the dog rushed to find the hide.

Then, the dogs with the best indications worked a line of containers, like a Novice Containers Class at a trial.  To improve Ursa’s focus on the search, Dave had Sue tease Ursa with his ball, like she had done earlier with food.

See Friday’s photos

Saturday, 9/17/22:  Saturday was for dogs actively competing in all four elements (exteriors, interiors, vehicles & containers).  In the morning we worked exteriors at Craftco Metal’s storage yard; in the afternoon we worked interiors in Sue’s arena

On Saturday and Sunday, Katina and I took as many photos as we could when we weren’t running or pottying our dogs.  Also on Saturday and Sunday, Sheila, a professional photographer, took photos except when she was walking or working her dog.  Sometimes her husband, Bob, took Photos when Sheila was otherwise occupied.  Sheila didn’t do all dogs so some searches just have my photos; I didn’t photograph every search, so some dogs just have Sheila’s photos.  We tried to make sure every dog was photographed as it worked. 

You may notice that we have more photos of some dogs than others.  I take a lot more than Sheila does – probably the teacher in me, as I like to go over the photos to watch a search, look at leash handling, note any change in the dog’s posture that perhaps I missed, but which could be used to tell when it was coming the scent cone, etc.  This year Sheila did not put her copyright mark on her photos, so I’m concerned that she gets credit.  Instead of mixing them into a sequence, n each search and each dog, I put my photos first since they might tell the search story, and then hers, so it may look like 2 searches as my photos end with an indication and then Sheila’s start at the beginning.  She was often on an opposite of the search area than I was.  You can usually tell Sheila’s outdoor photos pretty easily as she is much better at setting the camera for lighting conditions, so her photos are much better.  We started early in the morning and the novice searches were against the east property fence, making us look into the glare.  Some of my photos are pretty bad so just see them as a help to learning more about searching.  

One of the reasons I hate covid is that all photography classes stopped and our photo shop where we could get help closed.  I used to go down with my camera and ask what I did wrong to cause what I got.  So now I’m trying to figure things out on my own, which is a really slow learning process when I have a year to forget what worked on one seminar before we do another seminar.

Novice classes only 1 hide (birch), with no distractions.  Advanced classes also contain only 1 hide (anise), with no distractions.  Novice exterior and interior search areas are pretty small, while the Advanced search areas are larger.   Above Novice, the classes (Superior, Masters & Elite) get increasingly harder, with larger areas containing multiple hides, one or more distractions (toys or food).  Superior has clove plus one of the scents from before (birch, anise); Masters has myrrh plus two of the earlier scents (birch, anise, clove); Elite has vetiver plus any and all of the earlier scents – and the judge doesn’t tell you how many hides and distractions there are.  There can be 1 or up to 5 hides, and multiple distractions.

Participating dogs were Cat Baloo (mixed breed), Diesel (English Shepherd), Gavyn (Welsh Springer Spaniel), my Hopeful (a black & tan Cantor/GloryToo daughter from the SS litter), Joe (Vizsla), Kaiser (a Cantor/Lovely son from my RR litter), Pansy (Yorkshire Terrier), Rambler (blue heeler), Rumor (Belgian Tervuren), my Spirit, a sable Quasi/Lively daughter from my ii litter and Ursa (a Cantor/Mercy son from my UU litter.

Dave set up two novice exterior searches, two advanced, one for superior and one for masters (we had no elite dogs).  All of them were a little more difficult than actual competition searches.  If a Novice dog did really well, he let them try the Advanced searches. 

Cat Ballou, Gavyn, Joe, Pansy and Ursa worked Novice Exteriors, with Ursa and Cat Ballou being invited by Dave to also do the Advanced Exterior searches.  Dave showed Scott how to use the ball to increase Ursa’s intensity in searching.  Hopeful and Kaiser did Advanced Exteriors. 

Novice Exterior Search 1

Novice Exterior Search 2

See all these photos

We only had a couple of Advanced dogs and a bunch of Novice dogs, so I put my Hopeful in Advanced even though she has only been to one trial.  She does, however, do the same searches as my higher-level dogs when I go train.  I try to go train at Craftco on weekends.  On Saturday I’ll take 3 dogs, then on Sunday I’ll take the other 3.  (Yes, I have 6 in active training, plus Varoom!, who is beginning). 

Advanced Exterior Search 1

Advanced Exterior Search 2

See all these photos

The superior and master searches included distractions (toys, food) that the dogs had to ignore. The Superior search had 2 hides:  one on an orange upright and the other in a pipe a few inches off the ground.  The Master search had 3 hides:  one in a batch of small-diameter pipes on the ground, one in a 4” diameter pipe with a screen on the end, and one in one of two pipes 3’ off the ground (very difficult as the scent pooled in the second pipe, which was on the other side of the area with the only option for the humans was to go around the end of the search area and then come back along the stacks of materials to locate the hide.)

The Superior dogs did their search and then also did the Masters search after the Masters dogs finished.  Then the Master dogs did the Superior search.  Everyone got a good workout.

Superior Exterior Search

Master Exterior Search

See all these photos

When we moved to the training arena, all the dogs did the exercises.

Dave worked all of us on detailing, which is helping the dog to search by our indicating where.  We worked “W’s,” alternating getting the dog to look up high then down low, using wooden boxes.  Dave had us work down the line of boxes, then make a circle back to the beginning, so that we always worked the boxes in the same direction.  To test commitment to the indication, Dave had us drop the lead and keep walking when the dog indicated, then wait before clicking to release the dog to come to us for its reward.  After a while, Dave took pity on some of us who had long, fast moving dogs and separated the boxes farther from each other.

Detailing W’s with boxes close together

Detailing W’s with boxes separated 2’

See all these photos

After that, Dave set up a HUGE interior search, using most of the arena with all kinds of items that could possibly hold a hide.  No one could watch the others work, so we all came into a blind search, and it was pretty intimidating, especially since we didn’t know how many hides there were.  A lot of teams struggled, and several dogs gave false indications.  Dave then helped the team find the one hide so that they left successful.

Hopeful doesn’t have a lot of experience yet, and it showed in today’s big interior search.  She got rattled in that HUGE area with all those things to check and finally false indicated when it was too much for her.  We took her over to the real hide and Dave helped her find it and be rewarded.  Next time she’ll be more confident.  I asked Dave for suggestions to deter Hopeful from body slamming me when I click to release her from an indication.  I know there’s a fine line between discouraging the inappropriate enthusiasm while encouraging enthusiasm for the hunt and the reward.  He pretty much said it will smooth out as she gets more experience – but he’s not the one who might be knocked down…

See all these photos

See ALL of Saturday’s photos:
to page 1 of the Saturday seminar (Novice & Advanced Exterior searches)
to page 2 of the Saturday seminar (Superior and Master Exterior searches)
to page 3 of the Saturday seminar (detailing and Interiors search)

Sunday, 9/18/22:  Sunday was again for dogs actively competing in all four elements (exteriors, interiors, vehicles & containers).  Sunday morning we worked vehicles at Craftco Metal’s storage yard; Sunday afternoon we worked containers in Sue’s arena.

Participating dogs were Cat Baloo (mixed breed), Diesel (English Shepherd), Gavyn (Welsh Springer Spaniel), my Hopeful (a black & tan Cantor/GloryToo daughter from the SS litter), Joe (Vizsla), Kaiser (a Cantor/Lovely son from my RR litter), Rambler (blue heeler), Rumor (Belgian Tervuren), my Spirit (a sable Quasi/Lively daughter from my ii litter) and Ursa (a Cantor/Mercy son from my UU litter).

Novice Vehicle classes involve three passenger vehicles, lined up facing the same direction.  Teams search only the front bumpers for only 1 hide (birch), with no distractions.  Advanced Vehicle classes also include 3 vehicles facing the same direction.  Teams search all areas of the three vehicles for only 1 hide (anise) and must ignore a toy distraction.  The other classes use up to 6 vehicles of any type, scattered and facing any direction, and have up to 4 hides and 1 or 2 distractions.  As usual, Dave sets up harder exercises that we will encounter in a trial.  Different dogs do different searches according to their ability and Dave is always there to show both human and dog how to work out anything they struggle with.  A lot of the photos show a series of his helping a team.  He set up a Novice/Advanced search of 3 passenger vehicles, plus another search of 5 vehicles.  Then he set up a BIG elite search involving 2 passenger cars and 4 big Craftco trucks – and a lot of detailing to find both high and low hides.  I organized the photos with a page for the two cars and one for each of 3 trucks because Sheila and I took LOTS of photos because the searches were so interesting.  On the first truck, #206, Dave put 3 hides.  I put the photos of the search for the first hide on one page, and the photos of the 2nd & 3rd hides on another.  The second truck, #201, had 2 hides.  On the third truck, #203, the dogs had to climb up on the back to find the hide.  We had a ball with that one!  You may notice a difference in the photos of truck #203.  After just a couple of dogs worked that hide, we worried about the metal bed getting hot so we commandeered a piece of plywood and propped the edge level with a thermos and stack of cones so it was stable.  On the fourth truck, #204, there was only one hide and it was low – an easy end to an intense search exercise.

Joe illustrates the Novice Vehicle search

Kaiser illustrates the Superior Vehicle Search

In the big elite vehicle search, Diesel illustrates searching the two passenger vehicles

In the big elite vehicle search, Gavyn illustrates the first find on the first truck, #206

In the big elite vehicle search, my Spirit illustrates the 2nd & 3rd finds on the first truck, #206

In the big elite vehicle search, my Hopeful illustrates the finds on the second truck #201

In the big elite vehicle search, Rambler illustrates the find on the third truck, #203

In the big elite vehicle search, Cat Ballou illustrates the find on the fourth truck, #204

See all the vehicle search photos:
to the Novice & Superior Vehicle Searches
(page 1)
to the first part of the Elite Vehicles Search
(2 cars, page 2)
to the 2nd part of the Elite Vehicles Search
(first truck – #206 – 1st hide, page 3)
to the 3rd part of the Elite Vehicles Search
(first truck – #206 – 2nd & 3rd hides, page 4)
to the 4th part of the Elite Vehicles Search
(second truck – #201, page 5)
to the 5th part of the Elite Vehicles Search
(third truck – #203, page 6)
to the 6th part of the Elite Vehicles Search
(fourth truck – #204, page 7)

In competition, Novice and Advanced Container classes have 12 containers in a straight line; Superior classes have 16 containers in 2 rows; and Master & Elite classes have up to 24 containers in any arrangement and contain multiple hides and distractions.  Dave set up one search of containers in a straight line, another of several rows of containers and a third of containers arranged in three circles.  I made a page for each search.

Rumor illustrates the search of containers in a single line

Toby illustrates the search of containers and pipe in multiple lines

Ursa illustrates the search of containers in circles

See all the Container Search photos:
to the container search in single lines
(page 8)
to the container search in multiple lines
(page 9)
to the container search in circles
(page 10)


See Spirit’s photos from the Saturday & Sunday seminars
See Hopeful’s photos from the Saturday and Sunday seminars