Ep. 93: AKC Buried...AHHHH!

Apr 15, 2023

Dianna L. Santos
Natalie McManus

The AKC Scent Work Buried Class can be a BEAR for dogs and handlers alike!

In this episode, AKC Scent Work Judge, professional instructor and accomplished competitor, Natalie McManus, will outline some of the reasons for this and ways handlers can better approach the Buried class. Doing so will help this class make more sense to the dogs and thus allow teams to more successful.


Dianna L. Santos (00:00):
Welcome to the All About Scent Work Podcast. In this podcast we talk about all things Scent Work that can include training tips, a behind the scenes look at what your instructor or trial officials are going through a much more. In this episode, I have the distinct privilege of speaking with Natalie McManus, all about the AKC Buried class. Before we start diving into the episode itself, let me do a very quick introduction of myself. My name is Dianna Santos, I'm the Owner and Lead Instructor of Scent Work University, Dog Sport University and Pet Dog U. These are online dog training platforms that are designed to help you achieve your dog training goals. And we're very fortunate to have a client basis worldwide Scent Work University. In particular, we provide online courses, seminars, webinars, and eBooks that are all centered around set work. So regardless of where you are in your sniffing journey, we likely have a training solution for you soon. I should know a little bit more about me. Let's dive into the pocket episode itself. So in this episode I have the distinct privilege of speaking to one of our instructors, Natalie McManus, a ready sit go who is an approved AKC Scent Work Judge as well as a NACSW CO and Judge. And she's also a very accomplished competitor in her own right, a professional Instructor and trainer. She's fantastic, but I have the distinct privilege in this episode of talking to her all about the AKC Scent Work Buried class. So let's have a listen to that conversation.

Dianna L. Santos (01:18):
So I want to thank you so much for talking to us about the Buried class, a class that causes so many people angst and stress and why did they do this to us?

Natalie McManus (01:28):
My pleasure. It is definitely an angsty class.

Dianna L. Santos (01:32):
So you are not only an Instructor, but you're also a judge. So you actually have both perspectives that you can come at this from. So do you want to just maybe give your overall opinion about the Buried class and then what you think people may come into the class with the misconceptions about maybe?

Natalie McManus (01:48):
Sure. So I think that one of the big difficulties of AKC Buried is the size and weight of the containers, the sort of complicated factors that come into practicing it. So it tends to be not practiced and then sort of binged for a little while and then not practiced. And so they're sort of pros and cons of course, to not practicing it too often. But I think a lot what really happens is that the handler gets anxious about the class because they feel like they're not posting it enough, they don't feel confident about it. And so then they're more likely to make mistakes or feel like they're going and feeling like their dog isn't going to do well, and that's never a good attitude to go into a search with. And then the other really big thing is, and this is also true of containers although it's a little bit different and Buried, is that the hide is so inaccessible and if we're practicing it with the hide at the bottom of the four inches of substrate and then we've got that grade on top, the dog is getting nowhere near source and they end up putting Buried in sort of a different space in what they think their job is than interiors and exteriors where they know their job is to get as close to source as they can.

At least that's what we hope they know their job is. And then in Buried, because they often, unless you're practicing where they can get to source and or you're helping them maintain connection with the fact that source is in there, even though they can't get to it, they tend to start thinking that their job in Buried is to find a pool of odor. And that also tends to get wrapped up with other dog s slobber, dog footprints, treats, smells, sometimes hand sent, I think from whoever's moving the containers around as well. And so we think our dog is making errors because we're getting nos and the dog is doing exactly what they think we told them to do in our practice. And if we are paying them, for example, a lot of odor tends to pull in those handles. And so if we're paying them consistently for alerting on the handles because we know that's the right container, the dog may not see an enormous difference between those handles with a bunch of odor molecules in it versus the handles of the next container over with a bunch of odor molecules in it.

And so I think we really have to, if we're having trouble and Buried, we really need to look at it from the dog's perspective of what do they think they're getting paid for right now and how do we shift that back to being connected to the fact that source is actually in those containers. And I think part of that is that we shouldn't practice. It's a test all the time. We don't need to set up all those containers and have all that substrate in there, have the odor at the bottom and have the grates on there. Of course we can do that some for both the dog and the handler to understand what that looks like when it is set up for trial. But I don't think it's necessarily helpful to do it like that all the time. I like to practice quite a bit with the grates off and with the odor, either not Buried or not as Buried sand specifically, I will use sometimes larger rocks to change that airflow so that it's clearer to the dog exactly where source is.

And with water, I will often practice with the water level significantly reduced so that the dog can get right to source. And I also like to practice water in kitty pools and natural water ponds or puddles or whatever. So the dog is not thinking, well, if there's water, I just say this water sort of smells like odor, but there actually is source somewhere and I can actually figure out where source is. And I think sometimes we also don't necessarily think that's possible. There's a kitty pool, there's a hide in it if the odor is filling up the whole thing, which yes, the odor is filling up the whole thing, but the dog can still get it all the way to source if they think that they should. Now of course, confidence comes into play as well. If they're not confident with water, then you've got other things you need to play with setting up that kind of an exercise. But all of that really, I think is wrapped up in making sure that the dog does not track of the fact that source is the criteria in this exercise, just like it is in all of the other elements that we put them in, that this isn't some separate special thing where we want them alerting on whatever seem is vaguely accurate.

Dianna L. Santos (06:13):
And that's an amazing breakdown for all those things. So even though for myself as an Instructor, when I have been talking about Buried, the things I would worry about is, okay, when you have something that's Buried, the dog are going to want to use their feet, they're going to want to try to disturb some of that odor. So then we need the grates. But then exactly what you were talking about of, well, now the dog is like, well, did you want me to just tell you where odor is pooling and collecting? And again, those handle things that you're talking about is absolutely true. Then we also talk about, well, we don't want people contaminating the containers, so then we actually have them rewarding on the side of the containers, which makes those handles very, very reinforcing like, oh look, I also got cookies here too.

Natalie McManus (06:52):
Yes, exactly. That's a very good point. And I do agree that the potential for them scratching is a problem. As judges, we get very nervous when dogs start interacting with those containers with their feet because a lot of us have had whole containers knocked over and when it's water, that's a big deal. And so I think sometimes we may get a little too worried about it, like, yes, we really don't want that to happen in trial, but we may need to spend some time working through that in practice if it is coming up for that dog. And you're right, it's completely natural for them to want to scratch at a substrate like that or Buried was a thing in competition. We were once working in this big sandlot and we decided to do just barely Buried hides, just the tiniest bit of sand over them and just said, okay, dogs, see what you can figure out.

And my dog, she was I think already an Elite maybe at the time, running around going, I don't know what's going on here. This is weird. And then finally she put her nose to the ground, scratched it with her foot and went, oh, okay. And then got all of the hides and the scratch wasn't even anywhere near any of the hides, but it clicked. And anyone with cheese, not a terri, but anyone with the terrier nose that they can figure out what's going on underground from ages away from where the animal actually is. And there are a lot of unnatural things we ask the dog for in Scent Work. And I think that it's important that we do keep those in mind so we know when that we're kind of fighting with their nature and figure out how we can mitigate that to the best of our ability.

And I also think when the grates are on, we can still look for that connection with, oh, there is odor, they're sourced down in there versus a behavior of poking at a part of the container. And I think often because we tend to want to wait for communication, we wait so long that the dog has moved from that connection with source into that behavior communication side. And so sometimes it's also us dropping what we think it means for them to tell us that it's in there and focus more on their understanding because we already know what do we need them to tell us for in practice? We know it's in there, so we should be looking so carefully for their understanding versus them telling us, in my opinion,

Dianna L. Santos (09:12):
Such good points. And I think that that's something that people, it's something that we've had Judith discuss through a bunch for our webinars and she also talks about the importance of different concepts and you're not always working on everything. Sometimes you're working on hunts, sometimes you're working on sourcing, sometimes you're working on the Alert, sometimes all these and people like, what? I thought I was doing that all at the same time,

Natalie McManus (09:32):
Same time. Yes, it's so true.

Dianna L. Santos (09:34):
So is that something you want to talk about a little bit more in the realm of Buried of like, okay, that seems really interesting. I didn't know that I was supposed to just wait for this connection to odor that Natalie is talking about. What does that actually look like then if I'm training because I thought that I was waiting for the doctor to look at me or for the dog to freeze or the dog to stand on their head and spit nickles, what am I supposed to be doing to see this connection with odor if I am still having the hide somewhat Buried either in the sand or in the water, are they supposed to be doing something in particular? Are they supposed to be looking at the middle of the great looking down? What are they supposed to be doing? Help me Natalie. I'm so confused now.

Natalie McManus (10:11):
Yes, it's a good question. And I think if someone feels like they're really not seeing it, they should ask someone to watch them because sometimes when you're the handler and you're there in the moment and you're nervous that your timing is going to be off and you're holding the food and maybe you're also holding a leash and all this stuff, sometimes you don't see the things that you'd normally see. And videoing yourself of course is also a really good thing to do. But what I think that you should really be looking for, it's the dog getting there and going, oh, I would get in further if I could. I know sources in there, the grates in my way I wish I could get in. And that often is them more toward the middle of the grate because we tend to bury it straight down. And yes, the odor does move to the sides and all of that, but to me it's sort of the dog, their focus and attention is pushing under the sand as opposed to it's on the edge or even on the grade itself.

It's past that. People may sometimes see the same behavior in other inaccessible like in cupboards and if you make a blockade or something like that where the dog goes, they're bracketing and I wish I could get in there. All of their attention is much deeper than the object that's blocking them. So that's really what I'm looking for, which is it's not the dog pokes this number. Great. And that's when that little hole, that's when you know they're under there a short with a dog, it's going to be a little bit different. There probably are going to be close to the edge, but they're still going to be that attention that's kind of past the grape and very odor focused. They haven't yet shifted to handler focus. They're still very much focused on the odor. And for some dogs it may be hard to get that at first because they have so strongly learned like quick pick, this one smells kind of like odor. Just make a decision and communicate with the handler. And that's when you tend to have more problems. You have more of a disconnection from odor or from source in that case. And with those, I would really recommend that people work back to a place where it is sourceful, reconnect the dog with the idea that that is important in this element and then put the grate back on and then try to get that without waiting for the communication. Does any of that make sense?

Dianna L. Santos (12:26):
Yes, that makes wonderful sense. I think it's going to help a lot of people be like, oh, that sounds what you're doing now for anyone who may think they're like, okay, well maybe I do need to take a couple of steps backwards. And they're like, okay, maybe I can take the grate off, but I have my hide Buried at the four inches. Wait a minute, we're still getting ready for trial. I have a trial in two weeks, Natalie, what's going to happen? I'm going backwards too much. My dog is not going to know what I'm doing.

Natalie McManus (12:53):
Well first let me say that with my older Elite dog, every time we're getting ready for trial, I'm working on sourcing because she's done the fancy stuff, we've practiced that for years. But I want to make sure that she is as tuned up to the criteria of speech hides should be sourced as possible so that when hides are too far away, when she can't get within two feet or six feet or 12 feet, that she is still trying. And I can read that trying as she would get into that area if she would, she would get higher if she could. She would get deeper if she could, but there are physical parameters stopping her from getting there. And it makes my job reading her much easier because she's not saying, well, the last three trials you told me that you would pay me four feet from odor or 10 feet from odor, so why don't I just communicate 10 feet?

Weight saves me a lot of time. I don't have to push all the way in. I know it's this distance. And so I think it's a kindness to our dogs to be really clear about the criteria that we expect because if we change it on them without realizing it, they're going to give us what we told them the new criteria was especially certain kinds of dogs who switch criteria very easily. And then as I said earlier, then they're doing what we trained them for and we don't realize that we made an error in understanding what they thought they were being paid for. So I highly recommend going into a trial that you take the grade off, put the hide on top of the sand, let them source it like that a couple times, then go under a little bit further, a little bit further. Being careful of course about the scratching. You don't want to get in reinforcing a scratching right before trial in particular, I mean ever, but especially right before trial. And then if you feel the need to get the great back on there and get a few repetitions of them connecting with source with a great on, absolutely. I don't want people going into trial feeling like they changed everything and the dog are confused. But I do think that the dog staying connected to the criteria of sourcing is paramount for getting as few wears and noss as possible in trial.

Dianna L. Santos (15:00):
Excellent. And I just want to make it clear for everyone that this is something that if you are hearing this wonderful advice from Natalie and your brain is exploding and you're like, oh my God, I don't know, just know that myself as an Instructor, that I have fallen into all these things myself and be like, oh, well I got to make sure these dogs are not scratching and I got to make sure that they're getting ready for trial. And I have. People are trialing in two weeks like, okay, we're just trying to mimic this as much as possible. What Natalie's pointing out is very, very good. It's excellent advice and everyone should be taking it. It also can help to kind of pump the brakes a little bit, that if you can wait to do Buried until you and your dog are ready, that your confidence that you have in your dog is everything.

And once you lose that, you are going to be in trouble and Buried can be a beast. So one of the things I wanted to talk about in this podcast with you is why it can be such a beast. So particularly if you could talk about the various different ways that they could see Buried that you may go to a trial and have Buried out in a parking lot, you may have another Buried that it's underneath an awning, you have another one that is inside, you have another one that is humid. What does all that do to the Buried element, Ms. Natalie?

Natalie McManus (16:10):
Yes. Well absolutely. I've talked to so many people who half of them want to be outside and half of them want to be inside because they've had success in either of those spaces and really feel like, well, it's better when it's there. Now I think one of the huge tricky parts of Buried is when you have wind, which you can have that airflow inside or outside, and you've got that big space under the grate and odor blowing into that big space, you can end up with a large cloud of odor sitting in that container. And that's a tricky problem for the dog to say, well, there's a ton of odor in here, but there's actually no source in here. I do believe they can figure that out, but a lot of dogs will go, oh, this is it. And then go, oh wait, maybe not.

And sometimes that us trying carefully to read them, don't give them quite enough time to go, oh wait, it's not, let me work this all the way to source. Or the dog may not have seen enough of that where one odor is blowing into one or more other containers. And so that is a great thing to set up and practice where test your wind know which direction it's going, set it up, let it sit for a while. Even 30 minutes or an hour is more than enough to get a strong pooling picture if you've got the wind for it. And again, inside as well, you can get this. In fact, I think one of the strongest potential pooling problems I've had in judging Buried was indoors and a large kind of, not a tent, but one of those buildings. It feels kind of like a tent, like it doesn't have solid, solid walls and it had a very high ceiling and down at ground level, it just this low steady wind and those low steady winds, it's a little easier often if the wind is blowing back and forth because the dog realizes that's what's going on, but you've got this low wind blowing the same direction and just all of this odor getting dumped into a particular container.

And I was really lucky to have a demo dog who was super clear about what was happening and I got to make just a few inch shift with the containers and make a really big difference in the experience that the other dogs had. But sometimes there's nothing you can do about the wind. And the most recent place I set at Buried was between two, I guess they were buildings, but anyway, two walls and another wall far at the back and wind coming in and swirling and then leaving the other end. And the dogs did a nice job, but they had to work and they also needed to be allowed to work out to those walls, figure out what was going on with the wind and come back in. Whereas if they're stopped as soon as they're about to leave the boxes, then often they make more guesses because they can't confirm what's going on and they end up saying, well, maybe it's this one because I can't get far enough to figure out that it's not.

So I really believe in giving the dogs a lot of freedom of movement, even in container like setups where we think, well, we know it's in here, I want them to work this, but that's not how wind and odor work. And so I think that relaxing about that often makes a really big difference. Don't go call it on the wall, but you can let the dog work the wall and that can be hugely to their benefit. And it can be to the handler's benefit too. There was one handler in that search actually who beautifully observed their dog working odor up a pole and then back over and then over a box. They maybe thought it was in to where it actually was. And because they noticed how the dog was working that wind and working it back, they were a lot more relaxed and they just let the dog do it instead of thinking that the dog was maybe goofing off or moving them on too soon, whatever the handler could have done.

I have seen frozen water, which is fun and exciting, but odor moves through frozen water, so it may not be what we expect, but sometimes there's nothing you can do about the weather. Sometimes even inside it could be mostly or entirely frozen because there's no heat. So I think as handlers we should go, Hey, the weather's the weather. If I'm choosing to trial, I'm just going to believe that my dog can do it. And if you get a chance to practice in the cold, that's great, but we know that dogs in search and rescue applications work things from much larger distances under frozen water and are very accurate. And so I think we need to know that our dogs are good at what they do and just let them do it and not allow it to make us more flustered because that competitor stress stresses often what gets to us more than whatever could be going on that's different with the substrate itself.

Dianna L. Santos (20:43):
All good things. And I hope that everyone's also in between the lines here of people are seeing something and they're just trying to call it fast at a trial because we're worried about times and placements and things, but that our dogs are not machines and these are really complicated puzzles. It's going to take them some time to figure it out, breathe and let your dog do that, that you may still be in the placements. You did that because you didn't get a no. Yes, absolutely. Or you didn't get aware. Yes,

Natalie McManus (21:11):
Yes. And one other thing that I meant to say and forgot was I often see in the stress of coming into a varied search, the handlers moving very quickly and I think that often works better for, well, better than it doesn't vary, maybe not better in totality in containers where the odor tends to be much more straightforward, it's not getting filtered through the substrate and ending up really cloudy and confusing. Generally in containers in Buried, you move that fastened dogs like I can't process anything because we're just flying through the space. And so I think letting them take it at their pace really, really helps. Often I see teams do a couple of laps at high speeds and make no progress, and if they don't get a fault and are able to slow down, relax, let the dog work, then the dog starts finding things.

Dianna L. Santos (22:00):
We just have a terrier digging in the background. My apologies.

Natalie McManus (22:04):
No problem. I haven't

Dianna L. Santos (22:04):
Heard it at all. So as a judge, what are some of the things that you're noticing for teams that do very well in Buried, you had mentioned that they're taking their time a little bit more, that they're allowing their dog to work the space. And also please, I really hope that everyone who's listening takes us to heart that yes, we understand the odor is inside those containers. Odor doesn't just stay in there though. It's not like, oh, here's my box, I got to stay in here. It is actually interacting with the environment. So please allow your dog to check out the environment if they're chasing odor. But is there anything else that you're noticing for handlers when they're tackling Buried and they're actually doing well? And I also want to define well that it may not mean that they qualify, but that they're actually going through the experience and they are no worse often when they first started, when they first crossed the start line.

Natalie McManus (22:51):
Yes. Well, I do think something you said earlier is very important that teams may get in this sort of downward spiral with Buried and end up mistrusting of themselves and their dog. And I do think that if you're in a mistrustful place where you're going in saying, I can't trust you, you shouldn't be in that search because it'll only make things worse. And you need to get to a place where you can go and say, I trust you. Even if you make an error, it's probably because I taught you something incorrectly or confused you in the moment or something. It's not malicious, it's not that you're stupid, it's that something has gone wrong and we can fix it, or you're over faced by the environment or there's something going on. But I think handlers who do well come in with a lot of trust in their dog, and that doesn't necessarily mean calling fast, but it means when the dog has given them clear information, they believe them.

They do give the dog a lot of space and patience if the dog needs it. And in the upper levels where you in, excellent. You can have three in master, you don't know how many you have handler memory. And this really actually comes into play in advance as well. As soon as you have more than one hide and novice, you can find a hide and get out of there. In advanced, you have to remember where the first one was. And in excellence, you have to remember where two were while looking for the third. And so even coverage of the space, not getting stuck in any one area becomes really important. Having a way of figuring out where you have and haven't been, but also you're standing here at a box, orienting yourself to where you are in space so that if you get back there again, you don't go, I have no idea.

I didn't look around when I was here before. I don't know if this all looks the same as everything else. And then in master being willing to say, okay, my dog has cleared this after whatever number of passes, hopefully it's nice if the team can do it in two or less because things tend to get really convoluted the longer you stay out there. But of course that's two or fewer passes where the dog is really able to work. If you're moving through space and the dog is acclimating, you're not clearing those because the dog hasn't been there to clear they weren't clearing them when they were there. So I'm not encouraging teams to just walk through and then leave. But if this is the fourth or fifth or sixth time you're working in the containers, they give you a lot of time at those higher levels, then you probably gather.

So the teams who do really well tend to have a plan of how they're going to cover the boxes and they tend to believe the dog when the dog says they cleared and they get out of there. And a lot of that comes just through good practice and that trust in the dog, that the dog knows their job and that you know what it looks like when they have checked a box and it's not there. And when they've checked a box and it is there. And having ways of managing all of the myriad of ways that Buried can be set up, because judges have a lot more freedom to set up the boxes in wild ways that may or may not be easy to keep track of. And so tricks for yourself and figuring out how your own brain works in terms of what's going to work for you for those tricks, to keep track of where you haven't been and not let that become this overwhelming murky soup of a search area.

Dianna L. Santos (26:11):
I think it's going to help a lot of people, again, try to, I think a lot of times when we're talking about these things, we're always talking about what we do wrong or how to fix problems or whatever else. But I think highlighting what goes well and then also redefining what that means, that that's not always going to be qualifying because odor is a thing and everyone, the judge, the trial hosts, the volunteers, the staff, you and your dog, everyone tried their best and odor said, not today.

Natalie McManus (26:37):
And if the team goes through and they confidently cleared, the dog was working and something kooky was going on with the odor, but they both handler and dog did their jobs and got out of there, that's great. That's much better than dragging your dog around for four minutes and 50 seconds and begging them to find an unfindable hide. It just may not be findable in that moment. So I love to see teams that really trust their dog. You can see that they have built that teamwork together and they both understand the element they're in. They understand what the job is, and they don't let competition stress take them over. And in any element, I was talking about the memory piece before, but I do want to say memory is something that often gets overlooked as a handler skill. And we tend to say, well, I just don't have a good memory. And that may be true, but it is something that can be worked on. And I have seen people who really did have atrocious memories find ways to work on them for Scent Work and become able to remember where hides were, remember where they hadn't hadn't been, and remember what their dog did in the search and have a lot more awareness and presence in their searches, which I also think makes 'em a lot more enjoyable.

Dianna L. Santos (27:50):
That's a really good thing. And that this also for everyone listening means that I'm going to be following with Natalie, see if we can have her for a webinar about how we can improve our memory. So I just wanted to mention that you do indeed offer a berry class through us the Working Water Hides course. You just want to do a quick plug or talk about that class as far as what people could look forward to if they were interested in taking it really sounds like she'd be a really good person for me to train under. Well, guess what? We have a course. So do you want to talk about that for a little bit?

Natalie McManus (28:18):
Sure. So the Working Water Heights course is really intended to start from ground zero. Your dog has never seen a box with water in it before and work your way up to being able to go and compete in water hopefully very confidently. And I think with how I like to train water that ground zero, where I start in that course is where I want to bring my dog back every once in a while no matter how advanced they're, I think anytime you're losing clarity or the dog is losing clarity with what's going on in water Buried searches, I want to bring them back there. I don't want to stay up in the murky, confusing piece if I can re-clarify things for them. And so even though it's intended to be absolutely no experience required, if you are having trouble, that is where I would restart anyway.

Dianna L. Santos (29:11):
Perfect. And yes, we definitely highly recommend. I've had several clients who have gone through this course that were like, I was just lost and Buried. It was a mess. We were getting nos, we were getting wears. It was just such a thing. And then they took it and they're like, oh, clarity. Oh, we're doing so much better. And also, by the way, Natalie's an excellent Instructor. So yes, if you guys are interested in doing Buried in any of the levels, take that course. I know that I have put together various courses for AKC trial prep, and I'm always like, oh yeah, we're only going to be brushing up on because you want to go take this course with Natalie. So much better than I'm So do that. Thank you. Do you have anything else coming up that people would want to know about as far as any kind of speaking engagements or where you're potentially officiating or anything else coming up on your end?

Natalie McManus (29:56):
Oh, that's a good question. Well, I'm already booking judging stuff through next spring I think. So there's a variety of things in the works that are in it. I don't even remember what states, I think I'm going to Minnesota in September, October. I'm doing some stuff more locally to me in the St. Louis area sort of all over the place. And I'm also coing for some NACSW trials coming up in Oklahoma and Wisconsin. So yeah, I think, I don't know, my brain doesn't know what else is going on fast this

Dianna L. Santos (30:31):
Week. Exactly. It's like, oh look, the phone's like, oh, I'm going to be in a different state next week. Okay, there we will go. Exactly,

Natalie McManus (30:37):

Dianna L. Santos (30:39):
And then for people who are like, you know what, Natalie sounds really awesome and I am thinking about the course, but I may have something that's a little bit more personal for me and my dog as far as something we're struggling with. Do you offer any kind of virtual, maybe you do Zoom consultations, maybe you do video reviews. What do you offer Ms. Natalie?

Natalie McManus (30:56):
Yeah, so through Scent Work University, I have a handler's choice class where we work on whatever the team wants to work on, completely customizable for any issues you might be having or just things you want someone sort of bothering you to work on something. And then I also have a study buddy program that is monthly topics where you have a prompt, like the first one is field trips, getting yourself out and about, which is so important for dogs, especially if you're competing. And then it goes through other topics like containers, interiors, thresholds, whatever the big topics that are important in Scent Work. And so that one we can still work on things that are specific to the team of course, but it's a little bit more structured in terms of the suggestions of at least where you're working, the kinds of hides potentially that you're setting up. And then I do have video review options if it's just a one-off, like I got these trial videos and I want someone to look at them and zoom consultations or privates and all that stuff.

Dianna L. Santos (32:06):
Perfect. So we'll make certain in the podcast replay as far as the page where all of our wonderful information is going to be, we're going to have links for all that stuff you want to work with Natalie, she is very, very experienced. She's talented. And also the feedback that she gives is excellent. So again, we are beyond fortunate that you share your expertise with our clients because I know it elevates everyone. So thank you. Thank you, thank you.

Natalie McManus (32:27):
My pleasure.

Dianna L. Santos (32:28):
So as you can see, Natalie is extraordinarily experienced when it comes to AKC Buried. She's been officiating this from very early on, from when AKC first came on the scene, and she's also been teaching it also through Swick University with her Working Water hides course. I really urge everyone who is interested in competing in AKC Scent Work has either already started competing in the Berry class or they're interested in the Buried class. Definitely take a listen to this episode, but also make certain that you check out her working water hides course. It is really excellent. We have received a lot of feedback from people who have been struggling in Buried because it can be a bear of a class, and they went through Natalie's online course through Scent Work University, and it totally turned around the results that they were getting. They and their dogs had a better understanding about the class.

They were more successful. I strongly urge you make certain that you check that out. I will have links for her course as well as the other courses that she provides at university. Her Scent Buddy course, as well as how you may be able to work with her one-on-one, either through a Zoom consultation or by submitting videos for her to review and provide feedback on. I'm very, very thankful that Natalie took some time to do this episode. I love when our instructors share their expertise with our listeners. You guys don't want to just listen to me and these are very, very experienced people. So thank you, thank you, thank you to Natalie. Alright guys, thanks so much. Happy training. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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