Kimberly Buchanan

Poor Prim – all of her favorite things and she gets none! 😉

Distractors can be very hard for some dogs. The *KEY* is to let them sniff the distractors but they get rewarded very well when they choose to go to odor instead. If you had let her continue to sniff things multiple times and still paid her enthusiastically and well when she got to odor the desire to go to the distractors should begin to fade as she becomes resigned to the fact that she cannot have them. Now, your reward might need to be of higher value to overrule her desire for the distractors, too. 🙂

I do think you could have paid her faster. As SOON as she hesitated even slightly at an odor box you could pay;
First box (:04) – she lingers for a couple of moments but didn’t stick it and instead she left it (too many other things to sniff)
First box (:24) – she barely acknowledged it but I would have dived in and paid anyhow because of this challenge
First box (:32) – now she’s avoiding it
Second box (:34) – she sniffs it and then paws at (:35) – I’d have RACED her to the box for payment before the paw.
Third box (:51) – she sniffs it and then paws at (:52) – same thing as the second odor box
First box (1:04) – she sniffs it, starts to move it around at (1:05)and almost leaves it at (1:07) but fortunately you pay her at that point and she is rewarded.

You can see these are split second decisions that make the difference between noticing the box, pawing, getting paid. If you can get in the moment she hesitates you can eliminate the paw. I also think the paw is partly due to her frustration of having all the distractors around! This is a WORKABLE problem! I’d do more of it if I were you since this was tough for Prim.

Honestly, when I’ve done this type of exercise in class, I WANT the dog to sniff the distractors, especially those they’re more interested in (unless they get destructive!) but they soon learn that the odor is where they get rewarded and soon they either leave the distractors alone or the handler can really read the difference. 🙂

Kimberly Buchanan
Joyride K9 Dog Training