Susanne Howarth

Yes, I knew when I set the gas cap hide that it was well beyond “basic,” and that I’d probably need to accept an alert that wasn’t necessarily precisely where I anticipated it happening. So in the end, I’m really pleased with how well she did at solving that problem!

As for the final portion of this lesson: We own a rental property which is currently between tenants, so I took advantage of that to set up our container searches in a location my girls had never seen – and a location with absolutely no clutter! We did a total of 5 searches in an 8-box pattern similar to the drawing you had in the lesson. After each search, the hot box changed position (relative to the rows and columns), and the columns moved such that no clean box was ever in a prior hot box location – you’ll see the rows slowly move from right to left. The hot box positions in our 5 searches were as follows:

– Row 1, box 4
– Row 2, box 1
– Row 2, box 2
– Row 2, box 3
– Row 2, box 4

Biscuit’s searches were pretty fast and furious. Although it surprised me in several of them to see her check every single box other than the hot box before finally alerting on the hot box.

What really surprised me in all of this was the amount of time I spent trying to persuade Biscuit to accept the treat from my fingers! She’s a silly little girl sometimes, and I think the fact that I was trying to DASH in to reward quickly made her nervous about me “coming at her.” We’ve had this treat avoidance response before, and I’m thankful that the treat hesitation didn’t lessen her desire to search: she was still excited to get to each new search. I think the floor in the empty dining room where we searched may have bounced a tiny bit, or echoed slightly when I made my very fast move, contributing to her worry. Plus it was a strange location, and I know she has seemed more environmentally sensitive lately.

Unfortunately, for her final search, this treat avoidance game resulted in rewarding her well away from source. I’ll need to remember to watch for that going forward!

Of course the truly remarkable thing about this exercise is that I think I actually followed your instructions to the letter! I’ll bet you didn’t know I was capable of that 😛