Kimberly Buchanan

Ok, really good first search that might highlight some of the issues! 🙂

So your planned challenges were:
* Blind search
* Unknown number
* Distracting environment
* Vehicles

So really you had 4 challenges here. The OTHER challenges I see are:
* Elevation for 2 of your hides
* Close convergence of odor
* Environment

Yes, I said “Environment” again. 😉 Something we discount as a simple challenge can sometimes be much more that just adding another hide. You not only have the sniffing of the foliage but the possibility of live animal distraction. It appears to be dusk, as well. Is it not true that some critters become more active at this time?

One thing I noticed, especially knowing the high degree of distractability from Prim, is that you let her explore into the surrounding shrubbery and yard at a couple of locations. It is TRUE that sometimes dogs will need to go out and investigate adjacent greenery in order to work back to a hide BUT it seems that it was clear that was not Prim’s reason for ranging out. So as handler advice, I would say to not let her do that. The moment you think she’s mentally off on another adventure, get her back.

You mention that Prim blows by the hide in the gas cap. I don’t think she actually detected it when she went by, even fairly close. She didn’t give any signal of acknowledgement that I could see. And it was after she passed it, and investigated the other vehicle that she found the hide on the BBQ. Which tells me the odor was going in the other direction.

Another thing to consider is limiting the number of blind hides you do. It is virtually impossible to pay fast when you are not certain where the hides are and you’re waiting for confirmation. Plus, the unknown number of hides adds to the challenge, as well. Yes, you need to work on that but you say you knew Prim was done by the look in her eye. So maybe if you do blind searches, know the number of hides and keep her in the search area for another 30 seconds to see if she gives you that “eye” consistently. Then you both learn something. 🙂

Kimberly Buchanan
Joyride K9 Dog Training