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MW2016Jul: Dave & Bodie (Labrador Retriever, CA)

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    • #6930
      Dave Ellison
      Participant

        Hi everyone,
        Bodie and I are in Palo Alto and have been learning K9NW for about 5 1/2 years now. We are both seriously addicted. My wife also has a NW dog and is a CNWI, I am her class assistant and training buddy. Bodie has a brand new Elite title as of a month ago, and several element titles. However, she does not have her L3C title as you can see in my video. That feeling when you leave the search area thinking “WTF just happened?” is the primary reason I am seeking opinions via video. I have my own theories, we’ll see if you all come up with something different. BTW, thank god for trial videos being available now (sometimes). I would kill for a video of my false alert from our first NW3 interior.

      • #6932
        Dave Ellison
        Participant

          OK, here’s my video. It is 4 indoor container searches (they’re quick). My intent in showing several searches is to show how Bodie usually searches and alerts. The first is from a successful NW3 last September, which I included to show how Bodie acts when she’s interested in a non-odor container (the black bag at 45 seconds has odor collecting from the nearby blue one). I thought it was interesting that she had no interest in the first 2 bags she sniffed (odor and fringe containers). I wonder if it’s like a dog missing threshold hides? Anyway, we need to go back and recheck our starting part of container searches, I think. The next three are from the L3C trial in May, in the order we did them. The one we missed was in the third search at 2:45 and 3:00. Bodie was interested but didn’t give me a clear (quick?) alert, so I had to choose “finish” or “alert”. I decided it wasn’t odor because she didn’t look at me when/how I expected.

        • #6941
          Kimberly Buchanan
          Keymaster

            Welcome Dave & Bodie! Always a pleasure to watch you two search! ๐Ÿ™‚

            (I fixed your video so it actually displays in the post above.)

            So, what happened….

            First off, I think you may be correct in the “Threshold hide” syndrome of missing a hide at the beginning of a search. Had you insisted on one pass and out you’d have missed that one in the first search. Also, if you note, she approached it from the opposite direction and then noticed odor. I will say that she never checked that corner blue bag until you called “FINISH” so IF that had odor you’d have missed it. She was very interested after time had stopped.

            Fast forward to the search in question and the long triangular box which is where the hide was; Bodie showed interest and left it. Why? In this search it seems your body pressure (and leash pressure) indicated to move on. With the other hides you were closer and your leash tension was loose. YES, we hope our dogs will tell us there is odor even when we do that and it is a way to proof BUT if you look carefully the first time you are quite a distance from her (2:48). Even tho’ you are facing her she chooses to leave. Now look at the second approach – because your gut said there might be something there – you keep walking and turn to the side (3:01) and as you turn back towards Bodie she looks to be anticipating a reward coming but you call “Finish.” I think if you’d waited a split second longer to call you would have realized what she was communicating to you.

            Thoughts?

            (FWIW For others who are watching this series of videos: YES, there are multiple videos here and not just one. However, because Dave had a particular question in one of the searches the others happened to be good references. Also, the overall time was not extreme with them combined. Normally we would just look at one video.)

            Kimberly Buchanan
            Joyride K9 Dog Training

          • #6954
            Dave Ellison
            Participant

              Yes, I think you’re right. I think Bodie had trained me to expect quick clear alerts, especially that day. I think she wasn’t sure at the first pass, so I walked away a bit to see how interested she was. However, that is also what I do in training when I’m ignoring her at distractors/fringe containers. So I think this started a cycle of misunderstanding. I wanted to say “are you really interested in that one?” or “make a decision!” but she might have heard “you’re wrong, move on”. Then when she came back the second time she was less sure because I didn’t support her the first time. I came back thinking she’ll give me a better/quicker alert if it’s really odor, but she was less confident, she needed more time. I stood there for what seemed like forever trying to choose odor or distrator, but it was really just a few seconds. I should have called alert there anyway because she doesn’t care about distrators much (anymore); it is the higher percentage call.

              Unfortunately, I find it really hard to practice this sort of fringing problem. Containers are a bit of a pain to practice normally. Trying to set up a good fringing problem is even harder (waiting longer, using fans or wind etc.), then a large portion of the time it either doesn’t work or it doesn’t fool my dog. She’s used to our normal set of practice containers and we are both more comfortable in practice than trials. Container searches in trials is where Bodie is most likely to show me strange behaviors, but then that’s probably what she would say about me too.

            • #6960
              Kimberly Buchanan
              Keymaster

                “Container searches in trials is where Bodie is most likely to show me strange behaviors, but then thatโ€™s probably what she would say about me too.”

                LOL! I’m sure many of us fall victim to this in trial! ๐Ÿ™‚

                I wish I had a perfect answer for you. I think maybe changing the distractor proofing to work on proofing odor this way instead? Meaning, “don’t believe” her at first and if she stays convincingly go in and pay. It’s tricky, tho’, since you also risk confusing the dog into pulling off of odor.

                What I’ve done w/ Zen is just this thing but in limited quantities, trying to get him to pull off odor with some leash and body pressure and then rewarding and having a party when he stays. I CAN get him to pull off odor, tho’, so I have to be careful how much pressure I use and how much I try this. It is only rarely, just to reinforce that HE gets to make the choice and then we celebrate when he chooses odor.

                We used to have a terrible fringing problem so then the cycle of not believing him vs him being confused started to happen. So I needed to reward faster with coaching or know where the hides were while still trying not to cue him. Somehow we got thru the slump and then this proofing was the last bit. At least at Elite I can risk a false call and only loose 1/2 a hide!

                To me it did look like Bodie was saying that was odor, tho’, even if you “wanted to leave.” ๐Ÿ™‚

                Kimberly Buchanan
                Joyride K9 Dog Training

              • #7044
                Dave Ellison
                Participant

                  Remember this search? Bodie knows there’s odor on that funky truck, probably a lot. I’m thinking “go around” pretty early on but she leaves it to search an unproductive area (according to me, LOL!). When she goes back I lead her around. I’m sure she would have done it eventually! She is often good at recognizing these and going around, but not always. Maybe it’s because that truck was very open underneath?

                  I’m happy enough with this search, except the part where I take her to check the back of the red car for a 3rd or 4th time, but she seems not very efficient. Is this a problem to work on, or is she just being like a Lab? She seems to search for odor without really thinking she should detail a particular car.

                  I’m starting to go back to vehicle foundation searches, like lots of paired hides on 1 car and running bunnies. I know it’s good to do, and she loves easy searches with lots of treats, but after 5 1/2 years will that make her more efficient for this sort of search?

                  https://youtu.be/sqeduTwIcaM

                • #7047
                  Kimberly Buchanan
                  Keymaster

                    You know, the sad thing is that I do remember this search, I just don’t remember where I put my copy of our videos! ๐Ÿ™

                    Ok, so Bodie figures out the station wagon quickly and then heads to the truck. Nice! Your instinct to “go around” was obviously a good one, based on her behavior. This is where you could have stepped in and insist Bodie go around to check before leaving. It is a good example of participating in the search vs. following the dog. YES, Bodie has the nose but you know there is time pressure and you know that it’s more efficient to cover/clear a vehicle while you’re there. Otherwise it really doesn’t matter. In a way, you were a good handler and followed your dog, responding to her movements. BUT, you have to weigh the value of bouncing between vehicles following her vs trying to be more efficient. It can be a fine line and an in-the-moment decision. As you head into Elite, you may not have the luxury of extra time.

                    So Bodie goes back to where she left of on the truck and whether you took a step first or she did, you eventually make your way around to the back and she finds the second hide. Nice front cross around the (1:06) mark ๐Ÿ™‚ and at that point you took the lead to make sure she checked the white car. It’s hard to see but it looks like you needed to do another front cross to keep her on the car around (1:18). Coming up the side she darts to the truck, comes back between the two parallel vehicles and you finish out the red station wagon again, calling finish and having found both hides correctly.

                    There is, however, one place Bodie never checked. She keeps being drawn to the odor on the truck and skips it a few times. It’s a place where hide placement and wind can mean that many dogs would potentially miss a hide were it placed there. Any thoughts? ๐Ÿ˜‰

                    FWIW, I don’t see Bodie searching much differently on Vehicles than she did on Containers. She starts on a path but diverges and bounces around a lot in a search, which you support. This seems to be her natural search style. Not sure if it’s a Lab thing, my dogs do the same. Maybe it’s a high energy dog thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

                    What you might experiment with a bit is trying somewhat of a pattern on vehicles. Rather than follow her, give her the option of a direction then do a little bit of leading in the search, using your body pressure and a shorter leash to keep her ON the vehicle as she is passing along, just to be sure she covers each vehicle while you’re there. Obviously, if you see a change of behavior, back off and let her sort it out but after she solves the problem, go back to your path. See if that helps her begin to detail a bit more efficiently. This may/may not have the desired effect but you would have a chance to learn whether more management of the search might help. Knowing where the hides are located you could see if a stronger presence from you will negatively impact her. It would be an interesting thing to try. ๐Ÿ™‚

                    Kimberly Buchanan
                    Joyride K9 Dog Training

                  • #7049
                    Dave Ellison
                    Participant

                      There are 2 (or maybe 3) areas I think we could have missed a hide. The front of the white car was never detailed, she is always drawn to the truck hide. If the odor from that area is moving toward the truck she’ll pick it up in the converging area with the truck hide, if it’s moving more toward the start line, she would have to get it from her pass one either side of the car. I think I should have presented the front of that car as we passed. One of the things that I need to be more aware of is that she is likely to be drawn back towards hides she has already found as we search nearby. She is quite good about not going back for a cookie, but she is frequently drawn away from a pattern by them. I’m at the stage now where I am usually late in recognizing that.

                      The other area that I would worry about is the right front of the red car. She worked the area between the cars a couple of times, but never really detailed the right side of that car. She could have easily missed a hide there. One of the things we are working on a lot now is close together hides, she isn’t great at getting them quickly; she usually will get them after she goes away and comes back, it’s pretty inefficient and makes my life harder keeping track of what she has actually covered. However, I also need to work on my management of her search to take close hides into account. I am still relying on Bodie to get to odor too much (I just carry the cookies!).

                      That last area I would worry about is the left rear corner of the truck. She can miss hides on the back side of the outward corners because of her momentum. She’s not really detailing the cars as she passes, she’s moving past sniffing for odor in the environment. Yes she probably would have pick it up when I got her back to truck with the front cross, but there was a lot of maneuvering there with a quick pass.

                      On the plus side she can be quite good at picking up odor from far away and working it back. Unless the hides are difficult we can often get away with a sort of perimeter search approach to vehicles and containers. This can make me unaware of how I need to improve my handling since I can get away with stuff. Often she’ll skip areas in the search because there isn’t anything there, so I’m left feeling like I’m not helping her by directing the search. I need to think more about area coverage and not just getting the hides.

                    • #7054
                      Kimberly Buchanan
                      Keymaster

                        Great observations! ๐Ÿ™‚

                        The area *I* was thinking of was the front of the white car. Since every time she went near that area she was either *pulled* past by the truck hide or rushed thru the space between the red/white vehicles. With the truck hide being such a strong draw, there *would be* a convergent point at the wheel area closest to the white car where she landed a few times. I HOPE Bodie would have worked back to the white car as well as the other side of the truck but that’s one of those places where one hide might call harder if the dog doesn’t have this type of experience.

                        I think your inclination to work running bunny and other types of exercises to motivate Bodie to hoover and detail the vehicles is great! ๐Ÿ™‚

                        Kimberly Buchanan
                        Joyride K9 Dog Training

                      • #7056
                        Dave Ellison
                        Participant

                          Thanks for your help Kim! I find it really helpful to get different perspectives on these problems.

                          No more videos from me, I’ll be too busy.

                        • #7062
                          Kimberly Buchanan
                          Keymaster

                            Oh darn! Was hoping to see a 3rd. If you get a chance before midnight, post it and I’ll still review, even if it’s tomorrow. After midnight, tho’, the forums will be closed. You will still have an opportunity to see/read/review everything for a year, tho’. ๐Ÿ™‚

                            Kimberly Buchanan
                            Joyride K9 Dog Training

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