Okay – so we headed back up to campus tonight for some quick and successful searches. Ha ha ha! Why do I even allow myself to think such thoughts?
* Temps likely in the upper 70’s as clouds were forming. We ended up having a couple drops of rain at one point, but nothing significant.
* Very breezy.
* Far less pedestrian/bike traffic
* Four hides set (one hide per search area) – Four dogs searched.
* Because I felt the hides were relatively “easy” the dogs ran all four in a row.
* My dogs had not searched since last Sunday.
Cooper ran first – all hides paired.
The tracking remains an issue and actually seems to be getting worse. I think I’m going to have someone else set the hides going forward to see if that helps, but I’m pretty sure he’ll track them as well. I’m also thinking of having all participating in my practices do some “Crazy walking” through the search area before the dogs are brought in, but I”m not sure that will stop him from picking out someone to track.
Despite his tracking, he did a nice job on the first two hides finding the first in about 23 seconds and the second hide in about 8 seconds. The next two hides he seemed very distracted and much more interested in checking out the area rather than searching for odor. His third hide took almost 40 seconds to find and the fourth took over a minute.
Scout ran last – no hides paired.
She took about 30 seconds to find the first hide – started by tracking in and then swinging out in wide circles several times. The second search she tried to race off in another direction (towards where we had set hides last week) and then got distracted in the grass, started pulling everywhere, finally settled in to search and checked everything except the bench with the hide on it. After about 42 seconds she found it.
The next two searches were much better with her literally walking straight to the hide (she was downwind) and the fourth hide was nice as well, although I could tell she was wrestling with something that was distracting her.
I know training isn’t linear and we will have good days and bad. When I watch tonight’s videos I see a reemergence of previous behaviors including being totally distracted, racing around in big circles, lots of tracking, and goofing off in general. I just wish it didn’t happen with both dogs at the same time.
I’m thinking this week I will set some little hides around the house and do some pairing with Scout again. I’ll probably also change up the reward and see if that encourages a bit more focus…