Susanne Howarth

    We made time Friday morning before leaving the cottage to redo the beach search, moving the hide locations slightly and adding one more hide. Because I had used the same battery in my camera all this vacation, I figured it was at risk of dying mid-search, so I swapped batteries before starting. Unfortunately, the “new” battery wasn’t so fresh and expired after Biscuit had found only one hide! Fooey!

    I knew we wouldn’t have time to redo a new search, so I stopped the search after that first find and we reset – re-pairing the hide she had already found. I’ve spliced the two videos together, which is why you’ll see two starts. Two things were particularly interesting about this: (1) both times, Biscuit notices the threshold hide on the stair railing, but doesn’t follow through on it as we cross the threshold; and (2) although on the first start, her first find is on the pink boat, when restarted she mostly ignores that one. It’s as though she knows it’s still the same set of hides and that she already found that one.

    It’s also interesting to see her check out underneath the seat of one of the blue chairs: when we did the beach search that I inadvertently deleted, I had a hide in the middle there, so I suspect she was working mostly on memory on that one – perhaps a bit of drifting odor, but also memory.

    Note that I did these searches before having time to read your comments about why one wants to pair all or none. The idea that NOT pairing the high (and more difficult…) hides could deliver a negative message that they aren’t as important makes sense. Thank heavens it’s not possible to break our dogs! If it were, mine would be thoroughly broken 🙂 Might it be possible to demonstrate higher value by using better rewards for the inaccessibles and/or giving two rewards for those instead of just one for the paired hides? Or does that create a different (negative) message?

    Happily, Biscuit’s energy and stick-to-it-iveness held out in spite of some being paired and some not, and I think I’m reasonably good about rewarding quickly – at least I sure do try to be!

    Finally, note that even with the second “new” battery, we only had enough juice for 5 of the 6 hides. Shortly after the video dies, she found the one on the stair railing, and we went to pack to come home!