Susanne Howarth

    This video wound up going a bit longer than 3 minutes, due to trying to present all of the distractors more than once. Even so, I’m not sure we accomplished that objective. We had 7 distractors — all in boxes identified with little greenish post its. The 3 that most interested Blackie seemed to be cheese, salmon treats, and a box of her favorite toys. We had 3 odor boxes, one with each odor.

    When she enters the room, she initially walks right past the anise box without noticing it and checks out the first two distractors (prime rib and peanut butter). Then, she finds and alerts on the clove box at :35. She finally comes back around and alerts on the anise box at :52.

    Next, she investigates the salmon treat distractor box and alerts on it at 1:06, but returns to the anise box pretty quickly. Finally, at 1:30 she has a head snap as she “sees” the Birch box for the first time.

    At this point, I started “presenting” distractor boxes to her — and was initially pleased with how she responded. At 1:40, although I suggested the box with her favorite cheese in it, she starts to alert on the distractor and instead snaps around to choose the box with Birch. Similarly, at 2:00, I presented the box of her toys, which she initially agreed with, but then changed to select the Clove.

    At 3:00, I blurted out a badly timed “good girl” just as she alerted on an empty box. It was at about this point that her frustration really showed and she started alerting on empty boxes — not even distractors, just anything! Therefore, seeing her heading toward the anise box, I let her alert there once more, get paid, and then stopped the video. After that alert, she actually went back to the birch box one more time.

    All in all, she behaved pretty much the way I anticipated: once frustrated, she started alerting randomly. I was, however, pleased by the fact that she remained basically honest at the start: she showed interest in the distractors, but didn’t alert on them until I had kept her in the search area for too long. Another difference was that I usually only pay her once for any given hide — so being paid each time she alerted on the same (correct) hides was different for us.