Susanne Howarth

    We did this exercise a week ago, and just haven’t had an opportunity to post it until now – it was a busy weekend! Anyhow, when we did it, we did it a bunch more times than what you’ll see here: I kept having technical difficulties, like pushing the wrong button on the camera and only realizing after the search that we weren’t recording anything, or aiming the camera wrong, such that the hot box wasn’t in the image!!!

    It was interesting to watch Biscuit with all of these searches, because she rarely went directly to the hot box from the threshold. Generally, she needed to bypass it first, and then return. So, the film includes 4 searches, all in either our front driveway or the walkway to our front door. The first uses random cardboard boxes – USPS, Amazon, and the like – while the other three use the cardboard sleeves that Nespresso coffee comes in. One hide per search pattern.

    In the first search, the box at the far right has the hide. Biscuit blows past it initially, but returns pretty quickly to find it. Of course, in this search I did NOT attempt to hold her back at the door – just opened it and let her go. It’s still a pretty good result for a slow searcher: she alerts at :08!

    Search number 2 has an unplanned distracter: Fred’s driver had arrived to take him to an appointment, so when we went to the driveway, Biscuit saw Patrick in the car, and immediately headed in his direction to check things out, walking directly past the odor box, which is the white box with a greenish end at the corner closest to the garage and front walkway. She eventually came back around and worked, but even when she finally gets to the odor box and is about to alert, she first tips her head towards Patrick and the car, and then gets back to the business of alerting.

    For our third search, I moved the clean boxes around, such that the white coffee sleeve would be in the middle of the start line, and we approached the search area from the garage instead of coming from the front door. Biscuit was pretty darn quick!

    Finally, for our last search of this video, I again moved the boxes such that the odor box was at the right side of the search area, and Biscuit hits it instantly as we start to search.

    All in all, she did a good job, and I think our in-person class this weekend, where you unintentionally set up a bunch of threshold hides, showed that she’s pretty good at finding them. Obviously, since she tends to work slowly and deliberately, if we want to have success, we cannot expect to cover an area more than once, so this is a skill we really do need to master!