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  • AMPP Pittsburgh

Big Feelings, Big Goals!

By Vinci Parks

Meet Bug!

Bug LOVES people. Bug LOVES toys. Bug LOVES sniffy games.

But Bug also has BIG feelings.

Bug arrived as a foster in January 2024 and quickly became a full member of the family as my partner Britt’s first “real” dog. 

I compete in nosework, specifically NACSW (National Association of Canine Scentwork),  with my dog Zina, and Britt has previously trained fosters in nosework. But now she has her own dog and they will begin competing too! 

The first step of competing in NACSW is passing your ORT (Odor Recognition Test). The dog and handler are given three minutes to search 12 identical cardboard boxes to find the box containing an odor - either birch, anise, or clove - often referred to as the “hot box.” When the dog indicates they have located the hot box, the handler will call “Alert!” If the team is successful on all three searches, they earn their ORT title and are eligible to compete in the next levels. 

Next Friday, we will be driving three and a half hours for Bug (and Britt’s!) first trial — their ORT. 

When I took Zina to her ORT (and our first trial), I was frantically texting friends that I was so overwhelmed, we were never going to do this again. Then we passed all three searches and have competed regularly in the two years since.

So of course I volunteered to document Britt going through the same thing, haha! You’ll hear from me in a few days as I detail our last week of preparation and training and then ride along with us for the trial. It won’t be a live ride-along though, so you don’t have to worry about getting  unfiltered panicked texts like my friends got at my ORT! 

Maybe you’ll find this interesting, maybe you’ll find this informative, but hopefully you’ll at least find it fun! 

Ready Bug? Search!

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