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Looking for Ideas on How to Speed Up a Slow Searcher

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    • #14465
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

        Since this weekend’s trial I’ve been contemplating what I might be able to do to encourage Biscuit to speed up her searching. I came up with one possibility and before setting it up, I wanted to see what you (and anyone else) thinks as to whether it will do what I want. My concept is to set up a reasonably small search area with a LOT of paired hides and to give Biscuit a limited time frame in which to search. Since everything will be paired, she’ll get plenty of treats, but my thinking was to set the time limit such that if she doesn’t REALLY hustle, she’ll leave hides behind. She, of course, will know that there were more hides to find, and we can repair and rerun the same search more than once. My thought was that if she realizes that she doesn’t have all the time in the world, maybe she’ll work a little faster? And if she gets lots of treats anyhow, perhaps she’ll drive a little faster the second, third, fourth… times I do this?

        Of course, this will still leave us with a question if/when we’re in a large area with only one hide…

        Any thoughts? Any potential risks I’m failing to see?

      • #14468
        Kathryn Dobyns
        Participant

          Just curious – is Biscuit’s slowness a problem when practicing or is it more an issue at trial? I have a friend with a very worried Mini Schnauzer who can really rock a search in a familiar (safe, quiet) environment with just a few familiar quiet people watching from an acceptable distance. Mess with any of those variables and Seva will be barking and scanning and checking in and out of the search. She is actually a fantastic little searcher- but her worry about the world overrides her interest in the most wonderfully paired birch. Over the last couple of years she has made dramatic progress in her ability to recover and go back to searching – but she would never make time in a trial setting…

        • #14504
          Kimberly Buchanan
          Keymaster

            Good question, Kathryn – not sure what Sue will answer but I do know that is certainly the case for some. I don’t know that it’s Biscuit’s issue but maybe in her own way?

            Sue – were you present when we did this exercise in the big room on a Thursday? I like the concept. The question is how to remove her from the search area w/o punitive measures. Keeping her on a leash works but do you pull her or pick her up? Also, if you work Blackie next will Biscuit connect the dots that Blackie gets the treats Biscuit left behind?? Hm…. something to ponder….

            Kimberly Buchanan
            Joyride K9 Dog Training

          • #14506
            Susanne Howarth
            Participant

              Thanks, Kathryn and Kim. Biscuit’s environmental sensitivities appear both in practice and at trial. To try to help her get over such issues, I try as much as possible to take her to new places where she will be challenged. Often, her sensitivity seems to relate to not liking the feel of whatever surface on her delicate little paws. I’ve been kicking myself ever since our exterior search this weekend, because I had her booties with us and failed to think to put them on, even though I knew a large portion of the search area had dry grass, just like in the potty areas, and she had NOT been happy walking on it to potty. Silly/forgetful me! In addition to this weekend’s challenge, she struggled at an EST where one of the searches was on really yucky old fake grass.

              That said, she also slows down if/when she is not in odor. If there’s odor present, she’ll usually work through her hesitation (slowly but surely), but if she’s not getting odor, she barely moves. We saw this in class two weeks ago when we were searching a very large room with a fair amount of places where a hide could be placed, but no odor past the door at the threshold. She found the two threshold hides and then barely moved for the rest of the search.

              I’m not sure if we were present when you did an exercise similar to what I proposed above, but perhaps I’ll try it today. I’m still waiting for the trial videos and will post them if/when I receive them, because I think they’ll be informational as well. But for now, this will be something we can work on.

            • #14523
              Kimberly Buchanan
              Keymaster

                Ok sounds good. I can’t review them right now but will take a look first thing in the morning.

                Kimberly Buchanan
                Joyride K9 Dog Training

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