Home › Forums › ARCHIVES › MW2016Jul: MOVIE WEEK, July 6-12, 2016 › MW2015Jul: Classroom forum (Silver/Gold discuss all other things here) › Changing training practices mid-stream
- This topic has 6 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 07/11/2016 at 10:14 am by Sarah Woodruff.
07/10/2016 at 12:37 am #6965Deb (De) FrostParticipant
OK … I need some suggestions. After my first video (interior/training facility), Kim (quite rightfully) reminded me that now that Baxter and I are trialing at the NW3 level, I really need to stop directing him where to go next after he finds a hide. I was clearly backing up, and then walking a few steps further into the search zone – sort of moving him along. He shouldn’t NEED me to “present” the next area to him – heck, in a trial, I won’t know where to send him next anyway, right?
Besides, he could actually pick up the next hide right from where he’s at – it could be quite close. I need to allow HIM to decide which way to go next and go there independently. I don’t want to inadvertently pull him off odor by my body movement.
So, why is it so difficult for me to figure out what to do with my BODY at this point? Back up? Move forward? Pivot in place? Stand still? It has (obviously) become HABIT for me to move a few steps away and re-cue Baxter to “Find more”. The words and the action have become one. Baxter seems to see it this way too. I TRIED (today) to simply re-cue him and not move. Wow. Unexpected response. He hesitated, looked at me and (I swear!) stopped dead in his tracks. He looked back at the hide he’d just found, then re-alerted on it – twice. This is NOT his normal behavior, but then, standing still is not MY normal behavior. I think I confused him. ?
You would think at this point, we’d have this sort of thing down pat. Well, maybe not PAT, but at least be moving together as an operate team. But obviously, my habit needs to change, and Baxter’s response along with it. Back to the drawing board. ?
07/10/2016 at 4:40 am #6968Kathryn DobynsParticipant
Hmm, I think this is something I will need to work on, too! My instinct would be to say move a little, just not necessarily in the direction of the next hide. I find that now we are training to cover the search area – rather than just locate 1 or 2 hides – I am tending more toward trying to loosely pattern the search area. Let Hunter pick the initial direction – almost always counterclockwise – and then stick to the perimeter until he catches odor, let him work the problem, then return to the spot we left the perimeter and continue around the search area (this comes from training with Jacy). That means you are encouraging your dog to continue moving through the search pattern but not necessarily directing him toward the next hide. I suppose with off-leash searches, we just need to think in the same sort of moving so that the dog covers the whole search area. I’ll be looking for other comments on this one!
07/10/2016 at 10:26 am #6974Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
Deb/Kathryn, yeah, that is one way to approach the search and Jacy has a boatload of experience with professional working dogs. However, I challenge you to let Hunter/Baxter chose where to go next, just to see what choices they make. Of course, this depends on how your dog searches (methodical, running laps, sorting problems, etc.). I have learned with my two, for example, Emmy is more experienced working one hide to the next but she also tends to return to previous hides asking for payment (even with more hides out there). Zen is really good leaving the current hide to continue searching and will check in with a previous hide but not expect payment yet he ranges out really far and less efficiently. I’ve started working him on leash to limit how much he circles and runs laps but still not directing where to go after finding a hide.
Try it by setting up hides in close proximity and see if it helps to make a search more efficient. Yes, reality is you still need to ensure search area coverage. 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
07/10/2016 at 10:40 am #6977Deb (De) FrostParticipant
So Kathryn, (playing devil’s advocate here …) What if the other hide is 5′ further on? If your body language (or leash pressure) are telling her to go back to the perimeter search, how long will it take to find that 2nd hide?
NOT that you are wrong – many, if not most trainers teach us to keep a general pattern in mind and try to return to it when you can so you are sure you’ve covered the whole area. Heck, I remember one particular search at camp where following that advice would have given me much better results! Arrggh!
BUT (Kim, feel free to jump in anytime), as we work NW3 and above, I am seeing that we need to walk a fine line between supporting the dog and staying out of their way. Hides CAN be closer together, there could be lots of them, and time can be a big issue type. The dog could pick up another hide whose scent cone is converging with hide #1, etc., etc.
Without freezing in place, how do you send your dog on to the next hide without influencing the direction?
07/10/2016 at 4:51 pm #6986Kathryn DobynsParticipant
Ah, well, the honest truth is that every search is different and there are many ways of achieving the same goal. I have two training partners I practice with routinely – one has a GSD who is very willing to pattern search and almost never passes a hide. The other has Viszlas that ping pong all over (quartering) and still almost always find everything in the search area. I put Hunter somewhere in between (I am the classic middle-of-the-road type!). I can pattern him to a point, but if he is chasing odor, I let him work the problem. If he moves on from a hide in an unexpected (or unplanned) direction, then it is my job to make sure we return to unsearched areas – a pattern just makes it easier to know where we have been and where we need to go!
07/10/2016 at 11:59 pm #7002Terry Wright and KaiParticipant
Deb, what about doing a little dance in place … maybe the cha cha. LOL
I’ve seen some videos of people basically staying in basically staying in the same spot (area) but move their feet, either like marching in place or kind of a side to side movement???
And just let Baxter decide what he needs to do from there??
07/11/2016 at 10:14 am #7008Sarah WoodruffParticipant
I like this topic because i refer to myself as the dork in the room that doesn’t know what to do 🙂 But honestly I think you get into a groove based on lots of practice and exposure. You will have your standard way of working, yet probably not approach every search exactly the same. like Kathryn mentioned, from Jacy, I try to do containers and vehicles by walking the perimeter and letting my dog choose the direction to go when she picks up on odor. But, with containers we have done them so much that she is also really good at being methodical and hitting each one. So my handling will depend on how she is approaching the search. I have also learned (from trials of all places) that I need to assist in the heat to make sure we approach searches efficiently. And I have one experience where she was incredibly nervous about the search environment so I lead her to the vehicles to get a hide so there was a quick success and celebration before leaving the scary search area.
I’ve done the exercise that Kim suggested, with hides close together and its a fun exercise. After the dog finds one and gets rewarded the handler is not allowed to move, cue or say anything. It can sometimes result in staring contest but in the end it really does teach the dogs to keep on trusting their nose and skills and not rely on our cues.
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