A group of friends and I have a running joke that she who dies with the most scent articles (or crates) wins. I decided recently that it was time to add to my total.
The only articles I've had for Ty to use were one of the two sets I had for Tramp, my 1st OTCh. Flat-Coat. Treasure's articles have a very fat bit, and Ty couldn't seem to pick them up straight, especially the metal ones. I decided to order a new set from MAX200, because of all the various sets I've ordered over the years, they've held up the best. I teach and use 'hot scent', so when scenting an article, I not only rub the bar with my palms, but I also hold an end and rotate the bar in my hand. This tends to cause the ends to loosen up over time, something I'm fighting with the articles I use for Joker (Java's old set).
I ordered a single metal article from MAX200 to test the size. I do wonder if Ty has some teeth issues going on, since she'll often chatter on a metal one. I'm glad I did order just one, because it still seemed a bit too thick. Then, because I really wanted to have the new ones before our Memorial Day cluster, I plunged in and ordered a set of 8 of each type one size smaller bit diameter. Fortunately, that seems to have been enough. Aren't they pretty??? The stripes are blue and green and the craftsmanship is impressive.
I had recently read on the Ring-Tested-Obedience list about letting new articles air for 6 weeks before using. Six weeks? I didn't HAVE six weeks! I unpacked them last Tuesday night and let them air out overnight. The next afternoon, I put out 2 unscented leathers and 2 unscented metals and added a scented one. Ty made several mistakes, picking up several of the new leathers incorrectly. Didn't seem interested in picking incorrect metals. We muddled through with small levels of success, and before quitting for the night, I had her take all of the remaining ones that she hadn't yet picked up, to get her spit on them.
We did them again Thursday evening on the eve of my weekend trip to Lakeland, FL. I really wanted to see if day 2 would be better. I started with just 4 unscented out again, and after each successful pair, added a couple more. She was 6 for 6 that night, and 4 for 4 yesterday evening after we got back from the quick trip south. Yeah, Ty! She was working with great enthusiasm and speed last night, and seems to be picking the new ones up really nicely. I love when equipment helps improve my dog's performance!
I like to have 8 of each article type because it allows for enough for several trials in a weekend without having to put used one back in right away. We are showing once on Friday and twice on Saturday at the Memorial Day cluster in Kalamazoo, so my hope is to only have to use the one set, swapping in new articles for the used ones.