This isn’t going to be a surprise to many of you since I teach online…  but I LOVE VIDEOS.  Videos are perhaps one of the greatest, most powerful teaching tools available.  In my classes, there are some working students but the bulk of the students are observers.  You know what?  The education is pretty powerful if the student really works the class.  When we take video of ourselves and our dogs we see errors that we might not catch otherwise.  And from a teaching perspective, I can review the video over and over and pinpoint to the second where a change would be helpful.  When you teach live or take a class live you don’t have that luxury.  As a perpetual student of Nosework, I video nearly all of my training sessions.

Recently I attended a Sniff N Go with Judd (NW3, training towards Elite format) and Why (prepping for NW1).  I brought my Go Pro Hero 3+ along with a chest harness.  Judd and I have been starting to work on Elite Format searches in class but there is still much for us to learn.  He’s a very solid NW3 dog and it’s time to really start pushing the envelope!  Well, one of the searches was a combined element search, 3 Vehicles and a smattering of Containers…  3:00 search time, unknown number of hides, no maximum number of hides.  Judd did great!  The biggest challenge was search strategy.  Our Vehicle approach is usually somewhat Freeform while we are usually very systematic in Containers.  This search required us to go back and forth between different search modes.  Here’s the video!

He did rather well!  The VALUE though is in REVIEWING the video.  Although he’s a handsome fellow, my purpose isn’t necessarily to show what a good looking Labbie I have…

Judd found 2 out of 3 of the hides.  I was a little surprised when I heard that we missed one because our track record with Vehicles is stellar and it’s a specialty of mine.  I wasn’t so surprised when I reviewed the video.  Take a look at the Blue/White bag at 0:57…  we never checked it.

Learning from Videos:

The benefit of course is actually in WATCHING the video.  In fact lately I’ve become somewhat obsessed with handling.  I sit down with my videos and I WATCH.  Errors such as missing corners and skipping containers really pop out at you!  If you are like me, once you make an error and you’re aware of it, the likelihood of making the same error the next time falls dramatically.

If you’re lucky enough to be at a trial where there is videography, BUY THE VIDEOS!  Personally I buy photos because I LOVE the artistry and seeing my dog in action.  I buy videos to learn.  Watch your handling!  Watch your search pattern!  What would you do differently?

There’s a real trick in getting the most out of a video review.  Don’t JUST watch the video and assume you have gotten all of the gems.  Follow these steps:

1. Watch the whole thing through once without pausing

2. Watch the video again and then make general notes

3. Now REALLY watch it.  When you see something interesting, pause the video and note the second counter.  Write out (1) What you saw, (2) How you could have improved and (3) What you plan on doing differently

4. Rewatch the video from beginning to end and test your analysis

If you follow these steps, you WILL see a difference in your handling and your overall teamwork.  You can also swap videos with friends and ask what they see in the video.  It can be amazing what some focused video review can teach you!

Taking Videos:

I frequently have people ask me about my video setup.  I have two cameras that I use and I use them for different purposes.

Setup #1: Go Pro Hero 3+ Silver (any Go Pro would do) with a Chest Harness.  I like the Chest Harness better than the head strap because there is likely to be less movement of the camera.  Then I have an adaptor for the SanDisk so that I can easily upload files to my computer to use in iMove and to upload into YouTube.  This setup is GREAT for times when you would be obscured in a standard video setup either because you are working behind large objects such as vehicles or perhaps the search area is just too large.

Setup #2: iPad mounted on a tripod using the Makayama Movie Mount.  The Makayama has a wide angle lens which can be critical when videoing with an iPad.  These types of movie mounts can also be found for your other accessories.  I then edit directly in iMovie and upload via Capture to YouTube, all on my iPad!  The Makayama Movie mount is about $65 and it makes ALL the sense the world.

When people don’t video, it’s usually a combination between the fear of technology and the lack of understanding as to how CRITICAL videoing sessions is.  The technology is actually VERY easy and intuitive.  Over the last several years, i’ve taken nearly 500 videos of dog sport training.  I learn something new with every video!

Lots of you reading this blog may either be an online Nosework student or you may be contemplating it.  Right now, we are in open enrollment at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy.  We have a lot of Bronze students (Observers).    Often Bronze students will work the homework but won’t video their work.  My advice is to video your work no matter what!  Videoing practice and training sessions improves the effectiveness of training many times over.

Happy Sniffing!