Today, really yesterday since it is now after midnight, I took a trip with my mom down to Orange County to my first Odor Recognition Test (ORT) held by the National Association of Canine Scent Work. My mom has been taking classes with her dogs for a couple of months now. I started working informally at about the same time but have not had a chance to attend any formal classes or seminars yet. I am signed up for an Intro to Nosework seminar on June 20th. My mom urged me to just bring Sophie down and give it try since right now there are not alot of opportunities to take an ORT and even if we didn't pass it would be like attending a fun match to get experience. At first I was reluctant since I haven't had a chance to much practicing lately in places other than my backyard but figured my mom was right and no matter the outcome I would learn something from it.
When I got Sophie out of the car, she was eager to find out what game we were there to play. She seemed to realize with all the people and dogs we were there for some game. I had got her out with about 3 dogs left ahead of us so we would be "on deck" when called. Finally, our turn came and we entered the room, they escorted us to the start area and read us the rules. The boxes each had 6 holes in the top about inch in diameter. I think there were 20 boxes in two rows but I didn't count. Sophie found the box really quickly, none of her usual checking out every box but I missed her alert and by the time I realized she had alerted she was casting about checking some of the other boxes. At this point, I figured I had blown it but encouraged her to keep searching and she casually checked out two more boxes and then came back and alerted again so I called it and she was right on. So much to my surprise, Sophie is certified on Birch.
My mom's girl Bella also certified on Birch today. Since only the exhibitor being tested is allowed in the room during each test, I don't know exactly how it went.
I believe that Bella and Sophie may be the first basenjis to pass the ORT for Birch.