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Be careful of your body language - are you giving your dog signs?

Get ready -

Place a series of 12 white boxes near the center of a larger space – if you don’t have a suitable area, you can put them a little closer together (no more than 2 feet) or use fewer boxes. As the number of boxes becomes greater and the hides increase in difficulty, your primary job will be to study your dog for indications that they have found the scent cone and more specific indications to indicate their final decision – whatever that might be for your dog.

Mock ORT - Ask a second person to place the hot box in the lineup so that you are unaware of which box is correct. Mark the box with very small letters on top so that you can double check the correct box after your dog has indicated but before you reward. Ask your assistant to stay with you when you send your dog to search. When you believe your dog has found the correct box, call “alert” (a requirement of a real ORT), double check your assistant by looking for the small mark on the box, and reward your dog – it’s critically important that you be correct!

Doing a blind search should make up a small percentage of your searches; however, if you NEVER do them, you may be missing those small “helps” that you are giving to your dog which make them successful. In addition, an occasional blind search allows you to study your dog with absolute clarity – can you really read your dog’s search behavior?