Kimberly Buchanan

Hi Cheryl – I know you’re trying to catch up. But let’s back up…. What you’re showing is something from Lesson 1, where you design a search with 3 challenges. I will break this down for what I see;

Your stated challenges were:
* Testing a threshold
* Elevated hide
* Corner hide

What I saw in addition to this:
* Small space
* THREE hides
* Very closely converging odors
* On leash
* Kitchen area with potential food distractions
* Open counter area
* Refrigerator (motor) running?
* Companion dog barking

I can’t tell if it’s an open plan with the kitchen opening up into the rest of the house but that could be a challenge with airflow in combination with the nearby window, as well.

Your start was pretty good since Joey was ready to go when you began. The video had started but he zoomed right to the threshold hide. Good boy! 🙂 You were slow with your reward, tho’, since you had to unwrap and break off a piece of the cheese.

Joey does a beautiful job of working the perimeter surfaces, right to the second hide and communicates very clearly when he’s found it. Yeah!

Now, the 3rd hide is over his head, just below the counter, in the corner. TOUGH hide by itself, let alone with the other challenges. We see the first signs that Joey knows it’s up at about a minute where he’s throwing his head up. AT 1:04 he hits the corner of the refrigerator and does a head turn back, continues working the base of the refrigerator then peels off at the end of the refrig. Dog barks, Joey gets momentarily distracted. (1:12) Joey goes UP on the opposite side of the kitchen. Clearly he’s catching odor UP.

Joey is trying desperately to locate the hide. You and he go ’round and ’round, stirring up the odor I think. Finally, he goes up at the cupboard and gives you a look at (2:18). You could have taken that. He’s up and in a bit of a niche where odor is likely falling. Most definitely I would have taken (2:26).

SO, what does this mean? Your challenges, tho’ seemingly “simple” really are not. This is a pretty advanced search and by the time Joey gets rewarded at almost a minute later, he’s been working to solve that last hide for over 2-1/2 minutes. That’s a long time. You had mentioned that you felt Joey was losing enthusiasm for the game. I think if you look at the challenges you’re giving him, or working thru, they’re really really hard. He needs some simple!

Oh – and remember, pairing is about self-reward at source. Can’t do that with an inaccessible hide, tho’ he did manage to knock the treat down. 😉

LESSON 2 is all about simple. ONE hide at a time. An easy, sourceable threshold hide. Repeat the exercise in each element multiple times. You can choose which to begin. But ONLY one hide. FAST, easy, motivating. I think he needs this. 🙂

Kimberly Buchanan
Joyride K9 Dog Training