NW Handling with Intention – How to Make Good Handling Choices

Saturday Oct 5

1:40 PM

Experience Level: Novice & Above

There are many options for handling in Nosework. All dog sports require a thoughtful approach on what WE should be doing to support the team. Nosework is a sport where most of the time we are following our dog’s lead. However, our role as a handler is still very important!

Many of us train alone and place our own hides. It’s easy to consciously or unconsciously influence our dogs to work in a certain area or prevent them from going into unproductive areas. Those are some of the behaviors we might want to use intentionally – and then we are unaware we are influencing them at other times.

Since dogs are masters at reading our body language, it’s critical we are handling with intention. If our handling is not consistent on what we are meaning to convey, we create uncertainty in our dogs on what is meaningful or important to respond to.

Balancing when to follow their lead and when to interject is the art of handling. We should be focusing on building their autonomy, having patience as they solve these scent puzzles and not just trying to get them to a hide!

Join this session to learn about:
– Common handler mistakes.
– How to simplify your handling.
– What really is an independent searching dog?
– Why can directing or leading a dog be problematic?
– When CAN we make a suggestion?
… and much much more!

Presenter Bio

Julie Symons

Julie Symons (she/her) has been involved in dog sports for 30 years and prides herself on the versatile accomplishments she has earned with her dogs. She has earned HITs across four different sports with four dogs and earned Championships in Obedience, Conformation, Agility and Nosework. Her passion for dog training grew out of the incredible journey she shared with her first performance dog Rival. She was her Novice A dog and together became the first CH OTCH MACH Belgian Tervuren.

Through their journey, Julie learned how wonderful the bond can be with our canine partners and all that was possible to accomplish together. After the thrill of earning a TDX and immersing herself in Nosework with her next dog Savvy, Julie’s love for scent sports intensified. She has been coaching Nosework teams since 2014, is a co-creator and judge for the FDSA virtual NW TEAM program and is a retired AKC licensed Scent Work judge.

Along with being a faculty member at FDSA, Julie is owner of Savvy Dog Sports, Inc where she teaches in-person Foundation, Nosework and Agility classes. She is a consummate learner, an energetic instructor and skillful at problem solving. Julie brings a wealth of experience to her students; her success across multiple sports is built on solid foundation skills and effective communication.

Julie currently shares her life with 3 dogs:

  • Savvy, 16 yrs young, has earned a CH, ELT-CH, MACH2, UD, TDX, VCD3 and many other NW titles.
  • Drac, 8 yrs old, has earned his ELT-CH, MX MXJ HSAd TDX and many other NW titles.
  • Moxie, 5 yrs old, has earned her CH, ELT-CH, AX AXJ HSAds TD and many other NW titles.

In addition to the joy in reaching her competition goals and those of her students, Julie is most content when out on a trail hiking with her dogs and spending time at home with her husband and son.