Stefanie Alexander

Thanks, Kim, for your generous comments. I, too, believe that dogs need opportunities that allow them freedom to think and grow. Now I need to put that theory into practice (and not have a dichotomy and helicopter handle when things aren’t going as smoothly as I’d like). 🙂

Your concise explanation (vehicles, exteriors in the 3rd paragraph above) really resonates with me–most helpful information. Thanks!

Part D (Varied): This is on the same day as the above parking lot videos above, but much later in the afternoon on our deck. It is relatively quiet and distraction-free. It has rained, so there is some water on the deck that has yet to evaporate. I elect to have Prim off leash so that I can stay out of her way and let her do her scent thing. Also, I am using a high-value treat, homemade meatloaf, and I want her to be precise with her alerts—sometimes she gets over-excited with this treat and alerts before she’s actually at source.

Note: when this was originally recorded, the video for some reason was at regular speed for the beginning and end, but in slow motion for the middle. While I was not too happy about this at first, I found it to be really valuable footage. I had seen other dogs lick their lips when in odor, but I had never witnessed Prim doing so when I handle her. In fact, I didn’t recall this until I saw this slow-mo portion where she clearly does so—it is fast, but it is there. Rest assured, I edited the video to regular speed for its entirety to better suit the class and audience (It is 2:02 in real speed, but 5:40 in slow-mo).

There are 4 hides (2 low, 1 medium, and 1 high). The first (medium) she finds at 10 seconds, yet I wait for a clear alert before rewarding.

I can tell she’s happy because that nub is wagging. After finding the low hide on the broom (35 sec), she moves to the raised flower bed and checks the grill and the foliage. She then comes back to the table, going around it into the garden. I’m hearing her breathing change at this point and her head raises up; I believe she will work this scent cone to source, up the steps to a flower pot (low hide), which she does at around 1:22.

The next hide is the high one and it is on a white wrought iron wall hanging above the Adirondack chairs. Immediately, and without lingering, she works with determination, exiting down the step into the garden and backing up onto the deck. Working back to the Adirondacks, she searches high, medium, and low. I am pleased. She zeroes in and tah-dah!