“Roxanne” NW1, RN, CGC

Owner: Rosanne Wellmaker

Roxanne was born at the Town of North Hempstead Animal Shelter. I happened to be giving a lecture that night and fell in love with that little "hamster", after recently losing my last Akita, Shebabear Tomodachi Aisuru CGC, TDI, CD, at 15. When they were about 4 or 5 weeks old the other volunteers and I started training and socializing Roxanne and her litter mates. Using treats, they were introduced to the basics, sit, down, come, off, heel and grab a toy when excited. Within a week of bringing her home, at about 8 weeks old, she was off lead healing with attention and had a beautiful sit front on her recall. I gradually added in distractions and new locations to her training.

Her mom, Sunshine, and litter were taken and adopted out through Akita rescue. At first she was so shy as to not take treats from a stranger. I took her every day to new shopping centers with a ton of cookies for tossing, ordered take out so strangers came to the house and brought food, had a steady stream of friends over, ignoring her but dropping treats, little by little over her first year or so she blossomed to solicit petting and is sometimes down right cuddly with strangers!

As her confidence built, Roxanne excelled in obedience classes and quickly earned her Canine Good Citizens award at Dog Works in Holbrook NY. She earned her Rally Novice title at Doggie U with two first place scores. She is a great hunter and excelled at tracking. As soon as I was aware of a K9 Nose Work seminar in my area, given by Jill-Marie O'Brien, at Dog Works, I attended. Nose Work is the perfect outlet to combine my obedience and Bloodhound man trailing background with her intelligence and love of a good game. Roxanne initially thought I was setting up an elaborate 'leave it' scenario. I will never forget the look on her face when she realized I actually wanted her to eat the treats in the boxes! Every time I challenge her more, using varied hides and locations, she is excited by the challenge and builds drive in the sport.

We attend weekly Nose Work classes at Blue Ribbon Dog Training School in Holbrook NY. I practice once or twice a week outside of class. We do either a quick hide at home, or go for a ride in the car to a new location for more cars and exterior searches with varied distractions. What has helped most to build drive for her has been short and varied training sessions. I make sure to stop before I see her get tired, even at school, ending early if necessary. I also stop her searches after shes worked very hard on a hide. Varying very high quality meats has recently made a huge difference in her excitement to do more searches per session. I use two or more different rewards for longer sessions to re motivate. At the trial I used one before lunch and a new treat after.

She earned her NW1 title at her first trial on October 26, 2014 after about a year of Nose Work training. The event was hosted by Your Dog's Place in Hawley, PA. They gave out wonderful treat bags for her, and I ordered a T shirt celebrating the event. A great Halloween trial and my birthday present! Roxanne is already on anise and loving the new challenge. We intend to be ready for her Anise ORT in the spring and trial for NW2 next fall/winter. I may also enter element trials. It is just too much fun to travel with her or my Bloodhound, Cyrano, to an event and stay over in the hotel the night before. Trialing is my special time alone with each dog. I expect Nose Work to be part of our lives forever. We will constantly be working to challenge ourselves and building our relationship through communication in K9 Nose Work.