“On Deck” is one of those Nose Work terms that you’ll encounter at ORT and Trail events. And, because of that, it the term might even filter into your training classes and sessions.
It’s a term that simply means “Your Next.” On Deck means there’s a team in the element or room that’s working and that you’ll be next into the queue.
There are times at trials where there might be two or even three dogs On Deck or Staging (meaning getting ready to be On Deck.)
Being ready to go and where the volunteers ask you to be at trials help trials run smoothly.
While On Deck, it’s a good time to quickly potty your dog and there’s usually time to run those practice boxes.
Your next step will be staging for the element. Usually, there’s a chair, sometimes, an opportunity to be in the shade. And, you’ll be asked to wait there until called to the next part of the event. And, there might even be more staging sites that lead you to the event.
Of course, there are times when COs will (Certifying Officials) might ask that no dogs be On Deck or that no extra dogs stage. Why might they do that?
I volunteered at an Elite Trial at a cool museum in southern California. It was a record hot day. There were several Pop Up tents to provide shade, but it was just plain hot.
On that day, the CO asked that dogs remain comfortable in crates and shade until it was time for the next dog to go into their trial run. Yes, it slowed down the trial some, but the decision was about keeping the pups as comfortable as possible.
What should you do while On Deck? That’s more or less up to you. My dog, Atlas, gets excited when people give him attention, so I ask the volunteers to go easy with their kindness.
When possible, I like to sit and try to breath calmly while supporting my dogs–attempting to keep them calm, too.
But, we’re all different. So, you’ll find your style as you trail and spend time at NACSW events.
Bottom line: follow the directions of the volunteers at your trial and be ready and On Deck when they ask you to be there.