Kimberly Buchanan

    Hi Karen – welcome! Yes, I can see that Lola is a ball of energy! 🙂

    Interesting search! You were so lucky with the number of containers and how FAR they were spaced!

    This is a tough nut to crack. I will say that Lola did NOT check all the containers and appeared to be less than focused, despite her excitement. I will give you some things to think about and I’d like some feedback. Are you in a regular class where you get to practice containers on a semi frequent basis?

    You asked what I would do with *my* dogs. Both of my current competition dogs are very dedicated to odor but over-the-top excited when they search. So it’s been my aim to practice with them in a more controlled fashion. By that, I mean, I work more of a PATTERN – EEK! – on containers. A lot of that is due to ME and the fact that *I* get lost in a Container search when my dogs are bouncing all around. So I want to do one pass and be done. BUT, if we pass something and my dog “registers” that he missed a hide I certainly let him go back but I will not let him skip around. Sometimes it’s ugly but it’s helped. Zen and I have failed containers several times due to pooling odor so I make sure he really SNIFFS the containers.

    In the beginning of our re-training it would have meant a lot of pulling on the leash, flinging boxes/containers around (you’ve probably seen video of my dogs flinging containers!) but we’re slightly better now and I feel more confident that we have investigated them all. Well, MOST of the time. But this requires me to COUNT correctly, which I do not always do when I’m nervous in a trial! LOL!

    It can still be ugly, but it is working better for us and might be something you consider. In the case of this container search, I’d have insisted Lola investigate each container before you let her move on to check the next. You just restrict the leash. As soon as she begins to investigate, release the tension. If it’s odor she should have gotten it and then you move on. This requires a SHORT leash!

    NOW, here’s something else to consider and maybe this is where you make some sort of adaption to that;

    Some dogs are naturally drawn to the FURTHEST hide first. As a GSD is bred for boundary work, keeping all their flock within a range, maybe it’s instinctive? Regardless, she zooms to the end of the search area. If you note her skipping containers along the way, RESTART her at the end and insist she investigate all containers starting from that side.

    Another thing that might help begin this process (and I’m just throwing out ideas here) is if you either (a) have several self-reward boxes within the search area so she learns to STOP and PAY ATTENTION more frequently (strategically place them to her weak spots which is everywhere now) or (b) simply plant a lot of HIDES in containers thru a search where you come in and pay her frequently. Do that a few times and she’ll begin to expect hides will be often and hopefully she’ll be more diligent along the way. Up to you if you ALSO want to reinforce the “not going forward” with the containers at that point.

    Hope that helps! Thoughts?

    Kimberly Buchanan
    Joyride K9 Dog Training