Kimberly Buchanan

    First question is why your helper didn’t tell you “no” – ?

    No, you should not reward the false alert. You didn’t break your dog but I’d be really careful about that. Make sure your helper knows that they need to confirm yes or no.

    What could have happened is some odor was pooling at the drain and somehow drifted over to the adjacent bag. Could have been when Prim walked by, could have been when you walked by, a random air current or – ? So hard to know but with a hot air temperature and cooler ground temp at the drain it can do funny things. OR, Prim was responding to some cue from you when she was showing interest in the bag, just because.

    If you’ll watch the video she doesn’t respond to that bag as if it were odor the first time she searches it. In contrast, she *does* respond to odor for the other two containers the very first time she checks them. She paws the box, she backs off the watering “can” in order to get payment. With this bag, she showed mild interest the first time but moved on. The second time she was trying to get inside the bag, not asking for payment. Take a look at (1:05). Seeing her interest, you started to step in to pay. And then she looks at you.

    SO – what does this mean? Nothing too bad, really. I think it’s time to purposely delay the reward SLIGHTLY to elicit some sort of alert behavior rather than call it on a paw or nuzzling a container. Wait for some kind of “look” if she’ll give that to you, even if it’s just a sideways glance, “why aren’t you paying me?” AND, watch yourself so that you aren’t inadvertently cuing her. You could argue that you got behavior with this but it seemed to me more like general interest rather than an indication of odor. It can be subtle.

    This is the kind of exercise that will reveal these things. Often there is something in the reward process so you want to know if it’s something you’re doing that Prim is responding to.

    What are your thoughts?

    Kimberly Buchanan
    Joyride K9 Dog Training