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MW2015Dec: Deb (De) & Baxter (Dachshund, AK)

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    • #3901
      Deb (De) Frost
      Participant

        Hey guys! Hope Baxter & I aren’t late to the party! For those who don’t know us, we live in Alaska (hi Terry & Linda!). Baxter is a quirky 4 yrs old Dachshund and we started our NW journey in early 2013. Bax earned his 1st NW3 title this past Sept. Baxter enjoys agility too, but Nosework is his true passion. Too much fun!

      • #3929
        Kimberly Buchanan
        Keymaster

          Welcome back, De & Baxter! Always fun to see the little guy search! ๐Ÿ™‚

          Kimberly Buchanan
          Joyride K9 Dog Training

        • #3970
          Deb (De) Frost
          Participant

            OK, I’m starting right out with a recent video (taken last Sunday) that you’re probably going to slap my upside the head over. ๐Ÿ™‚ I realized after the fact that I probably should have started slower and lower (?) …. but hey, I seem to learn lessons best by trial and error. Thank goodness Baxter is so forgiving.

            This “Christmas-themed” search has three hides; two totally sourceable hides (one inside a small Christmas gift bag laying on plastic bubble-wrap, and one inside an open white gift box towards the back of the space). The third hide is, very literally, hanging from the ceiling by a piece of string. It’s about 5′ off the ground – I set several chairs a short distance away to hopefully give Baxter more to work the odor off of. It’s also only a few feet from the left wall, which you can see Baxter using quite a bit in figuring this puzzle out.

            I’d seen a demo of this sort of “free hanging” hide and wasn’t really sure what to expect on our first try, so I determined ahead of time that if Baxter showed ANY interest, I’d accept that. Do you think I rewarded at an appropriate time, or should I have waited for a little more? And, how SHOULD I have started him on this sort of hide? ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • #4003
            Kimberly Buchanan
            Keymaster

              Oh Deb, you are always thinking about 6 steps ahead! Luckily Baxter is forgiving! ๐Ÿ™‚

              If it’s the demo I’m thinking of, my dog Zen and I were actually part of that, and there was only one hide, the suspended hide. Odor movement was observed through changes in doors open/closed. Keep in mind, these were very experienced dogs who had a history of working this type of hide many times. So they had no trouble sourcing the hide well over their head.

              So, to this search and I’ve said it many times: Baxter is awesome! ๐Ÿ™‚ But… you still need to scale things back a bit to be sure there is learning. By observation, we can see there is a lot of odor moving to the wall. Baxter gets up on chairs to try and work that scent cone edge. Good boy! Objects in the area can sometimes help but there are a LOT of objects in your search along with two other odors. That is exponentially difficult, probably Elite or Nationals type of difficult. So FUN for a training search (it is festive, afterall! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) but in order to work those difficult hides like suspended, make it much more simple. The fallout is that Baxter will start to look up for ALL future searches even when there is nothing up there. I’ve seen it happen!!

              Another thought on this search – forget the suspended hide for a moment – is your location. Baxter quickly and clearly sources the middle hide. But you also have a hide in the box at the far back corner. Your body position doesn’t help him to work that one. You stay almost exclusively in the middle of the search area. At this stage of your training, you should be working on the teamwork and using body pressure to move Baxter around the search area. Granted he’s very good and may do it on his own (he did at about 2:14 in this case) but if you never practice it, you will not have it in trial when you need it. You could have simply stepped far to the right and positioned yourself to encourage Baxter to work that side of the search more thoroughly.

              The other thing that occurs to me: Is this a Container search or an anything goes search? Again, that is Elite/Nationals, not an NW type of search. NOT that we don’t do that on occasion, just be AWARE. It can be confusing for some dogs.

              Does this make sense? I think you just combined two exercises into one. Each on their own would be fun and interesting and Baxter ended up having success! But sloooooow down, just a little bit. Thank you for sharing this with us! ๐Ÿ˜‰

              Kimberly Buchanan
              Joyride K9 Dog Training

            • #4056
              Deb (De) Frost
              Participant

                Hey guys! Hope Baxter & I aren’t late to the party! For those who don’t know us, we live in Alaska (hi Terry & Linda!). Baxter is a quirky 4 yrs old Dachshund and we started our NW journey in early 2013. Bax earned his 1st NW3 title this past Sept. Baxter enjoys agility too, but Nosework is his true passion. Too much fun!

              • #4077
                Deb (De) Frost
                Participant

                  I have to admit, Kim … I didn’t even THINK about “what kind of a search is this?” as in being a Container search or an Interior search, etc.

                  I think I probably set up this sort of generalized search more often than I should. Is that going to hurt his training? I DO also set up solid Container searches, as well as searches with no containers at all. But I hadn’t given it much thought as to way I do or don’t. What is your thinking on this? Thanks!!

                • #4083
                  Kimberly Buchanan
                  Keymaster

                    Since you’re still working on more NW3 trials, I would try to limit how much you combine the elements. This is something you could possibly see at a higher level but be aware of the fallout. Honestly, too many high hides like that and I know a VERY experienced dog who alerts on the light fixtures in the ceiling now when he gets frustrated or can’t solve a problem. So just be AWARE that every choice we make will have a consequence. ๐Ÿ˜‰

                    So, as you set up searches for yourself or others, consider “What is the lesson we’re working on today?” What GOAL do you have for the search(es)? I would work on that back corner hide or corner hide(s) since that took Baxter awhile to solve, maybe because he was so caught up in the suspended hide. But again, consider your location in proximity to the objects you want him to investigate and don’t be afraid to move outside the search area a bit.

                    Kimberly Buchanan
                    Joyride K9 Dog Training

                  • #4132
                    Deb (De) Frost
                    Participant

                      I am storing ALL of your ideas and suggestions away for future searches, but have to admit with only one week of “Movie Night” to play with, I thought I’d try to keep to the current plan just for the sake of continuity. But I am definitely going to keep in mind, “what is the lesson we’re working on today?” the next time I set up a search.

                      So that you don’t worry, I’ll say right away that for every attempt at any sort of inaccessible hide, I probably give Baxter at least 8-10 totally sourceable ones. He LOVES going to (occasionally actually POUNCING on) source and I don’t want to diminish that enthusiasm and desire, so I take care to see that he gets to do so much more often than not. ๐Ÿ™‚

                      So, having said that – here is attempt #2 of our “Hanging Hide” challenge. The 1st one (the very busy, Christmas-themed one) was last Sunday – sort of a trial by error attempt. THIS video was taken Tuesday evening at our regular weekly practice group, where I set up a much lower hanging hide in the center of a group of chairs so (hopefully) the dogs would be able to work off the chairs. I’m thinking I could probably have used a lot fewer chairs? Obviously, I hadn’t actually gotten your feedback on Sunday’s video yet, so am still going on my own observations from Sunday’s practice. I figured I needed to simplify and to lower the “target” to a reasonable height.

                      We were also working on threshold hides this night, so I had both in this video. We had a threshold hide (and 3 of the 4 dogs hit it right away with no problem! Yay!), and then the hanging hide, which is only about 3′ high. I also had a plastic container hide in reserve – all set and ready if one of the dogs had difficulty with the hanging hide – so we could put out a ‘recovery hide’ if needed. After we ran this search, we set out 3 totally sourceable hides in a follow-up search, which all the dogs enjoyed. ๐Ÿ™‚

                    • #4141
                      Kimberly Buchanan
                      Keymaster

                        That was great, Deb!! I love your set-up with the hide in the middle of a circle of chairs. Terrific observation exercise! You can really see how Baxter uses the chairs to figure out where the hide is located. He bounces off of them and when he gets to the outside of the circle he knows he needs to get back in the middle. He also starts going UP and it sure is clear that the hide is elevated. Nice work! Your instincts were really good about where to go with that suspended hide. ๐Ÿ™‚

                        Kimberly Buchanan
                        Joyride K9 Dog Training

                      • #4203
                        Deb (De) Frost
                        Participant

                          I’m debating whether to go ahead and post the third video on this same topic or not (honest – I really did only do this exercise the three times… No chance I’m going to turn Baxter into a non-stop, ceiling-staring crazy dog. ๐Ÿ™‚

                          OR, would it be better to look back through some older practices for a good [different] topic to post for the last video? Suggestions?

                          The little long-dog and I have been at an agility trial all weekend, so my brain is fried. Baxter is happily sleeping on his laurels (so to speak) and zonked out cold on the sofa. ๐Ÿ™‚

                        • #4204
                          Kimberly Buchanan
                          Keymaster

                            Post whatever your heart desires! ๐Ÿ˜‰

                            Kimberly Buchanan
                            Joyride K9 Dog Training

                          • #4226
                            Deb (De) Frost
                            Participant

                              Well, this was my plan from the beginning for this week, so I’ll continue with it and maybe take a different tact next time.

                              This is the 2nd round of the “hanging hide” exercise at our evening NW practice at The Better Companion. To sum up (and I’d appreciate tips on whether I could have/should have done the early prep differently, too); we had started the evening with a tight circle of chairs and a totally accessible hide on one front chair leg to get the dogs working the circle of chairs.

                              Round 2; we moved all the chairs outward but still in a [more loosely formed] circle so there was room for the dogs to squeeze between and turned the chair with the hide on it inward, so the dogs had to move between chairs and do a bit more problem solving to locate it and alert. We placed a 2nd hide in a plastic tub outside the circle, but near it.

                              Round 3; we kept the circle the same (room to move between chairs, but a circle and placed the “odor chair” (the only hide) in the very center.

                              Round 4; we removed the chair with the hide entirely (we didn’t want to confuse the problem with lingering odor), placed a different chair just off-center of the center of the circle and placed the hanging hide overhead (that was my 2nd video for this Movie Week exercise). We added a threshold hide as well so that the dogs would have some way to go to source during this search (besides, it’s always good practice), but far enough from the focus of the hanging hide so that (hopefully) it would not be confusing to the dogs. Was this a good idea or no? I instructed the students to accept the first indication that the dog understood the hide was “up there overhead” and NOT wait for a clear alert – just recognition.

                              Round 5 is this next video. All four dogs had done well so far and seemed to be having a good time, so we decided to raise the criteria just a little bit. We raised the hide, but only about a foot, and we moved all the surrounding chairs around so that it would be an entirely “new” search even though we didn’t move the hanging hide. We did arrange the chairs differently, and I was interested in seeing how the dogs would use the chairs to help them, and if the chairs were as much of a help now that the chairs were more randomly placed. Was this a good idea or no? Oh, and in case you (or anyone) is having a hard time seeing where the hanging hide is placed – look for the string line – it shows clearly on the large TV viewing screen at the back of the room. Follow that line down and you’ll see the hide better.

                              Again, I’d appreciate input not only on Baxter’s work (of course!), but on how I structured the learning for this practice session. Thanks!

                              Did I reward Baxter too soon in this video?

                              BTW; we finished the evening with two totally sourceable hides, placed in the plastic tubs – one on the ground and the other sitting up on a chair. Easy hides, quick success – happy dogs. ๐Ÿ™‚

                            • #4254
                              Kimberly Buchanan
                              Keymaster

                                Wow! You got a lot of searching in!

                                For Round 4, I guess the answer would be whether any of the dogs got confused with the accessible hides vs the suspended hide? If they did not then it was a good plan. ๐Ÿ™‚ Smart to eliminate the lingering odor on the chair. (Sometimes we try something that doesn’t work, other times it does!)

                                In this Round 5 search, Baxter clearly knows he’s working a hide up in the air!

                                I think for all the searching in the rounds this day, use them not just for working the dogs but for observation by the handlers. What does your dog look like when the hide is *here* vs *here* etc. Your progression sounds good, going back to sourcing at the end especially thoughtful and again, the end result will tell you whether you were correct. ๐Ÿ™‚

                                I would not do more suspended hides for a long time, just put it back on the shelf, so to speak, for now. ๐Ÿ™‚

                                Good work, tho’, I think you’ve embraced the layers that come with a successful lesson.

                                Kimberly Buchanan
                                Joyride K9 Dog Training

                              • #4265
                                Deb (De) Frost
                                Participant

                                  Yep, I totally agree – it was an exercise for the one 90-minute class. We built up to it slowly, and observing the dogs and how they approached/handled each individual search dictated whether we moved on (and up) or not. We talked a lot about how to judge this – and how important it is to know when enough is enough (especially with hides like this) or to even back up a step for better learning for the dog.

                                  My goal for this week’s practice (we have a couple of newer NW2 teams joining us) is to work on “building strength in elevation” in fun, totally sourceable hides. Near ground level to chair seat height to start, building to table edge and then, IF we’re all successful, adding one that will stretch each dog to reach source. But sourceable.

                                  Nothing “sexy” planned for the near future. ? We don’t have to have sexy to have fun … just don’t tell my husband I said that! ?

                                • #4266
                                  Kimberly Buchanan
                                  Keymaster

                                    ๐Ÿ™‚

                                    Kimberly Buchanan
                                    Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                  • #4273
                                    Deb (De) Frost
                                    Participant

                                      Thanks Kim! Another fun nose work week, with good advice to think about as we go forward. Hope to have a chance to see you again soon … for now, I’ll just “get along little doggie …” ๐Ÿ˜‰

                                      MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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