~JOYRIDE K9 *REMOTE* K9NW EDUCATION~

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    • #6236
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Greetings! Blackie and I just successfully titled at the NW2 level in April, and are now getting ready to try jump into the NW3 world. Although I don’t really feel prepared, we went ahead and entered the upcoming NW3 trial in Dana Point, CA, and we’re only #15 on the wait list, which means we might actually get in on our first attempt. We’ve been doing Nose Work for about 4 years now, but it’s only in the last couple months that I’ve felt like things were really coming together for us as a team, due in large part to more at-home practice and on-line courses to make me more accountable!

    • #6243
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Welcome back Sue & Blackie! Congratulations on your recent NW2 title! 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6249
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Thanks! As you saw last weekend, she’s really rocking it thanks to the classes and practice we’ve been doing, but there’s a whole bunch of new skills we’re going to need to succeed at this next level. Looking forward to working hard 🙂

    • #6273
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      NW301.1 – Part A

      This was an interesting exercise! Containers have been a bug-a-boo for Blackie and me, as they are often the final search of the day, when we are both tired. At that point in the day, Blackie seems anxious to just get it over, and has a history of racing in and pouncing — with great determination — on a random box/container and insisting that it’s HERE! After a couple bad calls, I learned NOT to trust my dog’s immediate response, and at our NW2, friends who were there were impressed with how I was able to distinguish between her suggestion of a couple of boxes (distractors and/or guesses) and how I then called the appropriate ones. I won’t say I feel confident on this element, but I’ve learned a lot!!!

      Anyhow, in regards to this first exercise, you’ll see on the video that I have a total of 20 boxes in our driveway, three of which have hides. The odor boxes have large yellow post-its on them — which unfortunately aren’t all that visible in the video! One is on a brown Amazon box, towards the back (garage) center/left of the pile (Box 1 – Anise). Another is on one of the higher profile white boxes, towards the front left (Box 2 – Anise). And the third is on a USPS lower profile box on the right side in front (Box 3 – Birch). There was a fair amount of breeze — as can be heard on the video — blowing from the street towards the house.

      As she approached the start line (the edge of the driveway), Blackie was clearly working and sniffing. So I paused her for a moment there, and then let her decide when to cross the start, without cuing her to search. She fairly immediately raced to what I labeled above as Box 2 (hitting it at :07), ignoring (but perhaps cataloging?) Box 1. She then proceeds to Box 3, hitting it at :14, and finally acknowledges Box 1 at :28.

      Once she had hit all three hides, it is interesting to watch, because only then does she begin to check all of the other boxes. I rewatched and plotted her course through the box field. She explicitly hits 19 of the 20 boxes in the next minute and a half (i.e., before I endedthe search), not necessarily in any particular pattern — although, I just drew the pattern of her search, and it actually goes more or less in a counter-clockwise circle around the search area. The only box I did not see her explicitly touch is one directly in the middle of everything, so she probably “checked” it adequately on each of her passes near its perimeter.

      Also, once she has found the three hides, she “guesses” on at least a couple of blank boxes — looking up at me briefly on a white box to the left at ~1:09, then standing on a brown box to the left at 1:12. She returns to each of the odor boxes multiple times: hitting box 2 three times (:26, 1:21 and 1:31); box 3 three times (at :12, :54, and 1:14); and box 1 twice (:33 amd 1:40).

      I also noticed that after she had found all three, she started deviating out of the official search area, onto the grass, as though she were looking for an edge that she couldn’t find — because it didn’t exist. Ultimately, I’m curious about this exercise and what it might look like if I try this with only one hide in 20 boxes. I may have to check that out tomorrow, just for grins!

    • #6282
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Really interesting to see her hit on the blank boxes with that “hopeful” look! She does it rather quickly into the finding more phase of the search so it is definitely something to be aware of. Since you do read her so well, it’s a very good thing! It seems for her, paying her for going back to a hide is helpful. She didn’t spend a lot of time searching w/o getting a reward but I know you are headed to AK for a trial soon! So don’t mess up your training for the sake of the lesson! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      The good news is that she does get to all but one of the boxes AND she was very determinedly searching from the beginning so it was actually a very pretty search. What are your thoughts now about going into trial, Sue?

      OH – and yes! Watching her range out of the search area looking far and wide for another hide is a big clue!

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6284
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Actually, she got left behind — this will be Biscuit’s NW2 trial on Friday, so no pre-trial worries with Blackie.

      As far as how I felt about the search, I guess I saw that she really had covered the entire area, and was starting to give me what I recognized as guesses — wanting to please me by “finding” something. Given the challenges we’ve had in the past with me accepting her random guesses in Containers, I didn’t want to overdo it and potentially reinforce the guessing behavior.

      Airplane door is closing — I’ll post our Part B video later tomorrow.

    • #6291
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Got it! I was thinking Blackie was getting to play NW3 in Alaska. 😉

      I think with what you saw it is good information. To recognize the “guesses” as well as the OTHER clues like ranging outside the search area to the perimeter, etc. You two are getting there!

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6328
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Thanks, Kim. Yes, containers used to be a major weak spot for us, so it feels great to be understanding her behaviors better.

      Before leaving town, I was fascinated enough by Part A, that I redid it, this time with only one hide, in a tall box very much in the middle of the pack:

      With this video, Blackie hits and is paid for the odor at :12, :24, and :42. She returns a 4th time at 1:00 and is not paid. Interestingly enough on this one, although my sense was that she had pretty much covered all boxes, only failing to put her nose on the Zappos box in the middle, she actually skipped the two white boxes at left as well as a couple of others on the right, where she did kind of a “drive-by.”

      Ultimately, I suppose that not explicitly nosing all blank boxes isn’t a problem — but I may set up some searches when I return where those outlier/corner boxes are “hot.”

      As for her behavior when kept in the search area too long, her first hit on the hide was at :12. By 1:00, she went to the grass for the first time. By 2:00, she gives me a definitive guess — pawing a box near the source and looking at me like, “Is this what you want?” That start of guessing is the main reason that when she again hit odor at 2:09, I paid her and ended it.

      Oh! And I almost forgot to mention that when we did this search, our neighbors’ son was wrestling their trash can from the curb back to the side of the house. That’s what Blackie is barking at to the right at the start. I thought that overall, she did a great job of working through a fairly significant distraction.

    • #6329
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      I love that you adapted part A with a single hide. One thing that amazes me is that Blackie *does* look at you on a couple of occasions but either you are very good at reading her or because you know where the hide is (you tell me) she moves on. I see this at the same box at (:39)(1:29)(1:57). The last one is where she paws. With the odor box higher than that box or some of the adjacent boxes the odor could be drifting over there tho’ it seems like the wind is blowing up the driveway, not down. Curious. But it is something to note that after the first time she then went to the odor box. The second time was about 45 seconds after she had gone to the hide and gotten paid and the last time it was almost a minute after “finding” and NOT being paid at the only hide. So there appears to be a time threshold where Blackie is willing to keep searching but will offer other things, even if it’s near odor.

      One thing to take note for anyone watching is that you ACKNOWLEDGE Blackie found the odor again around the minute mark, even if she didn’t get “paid” the traditional way, the praise is a form of payment.

      I love this exercise and all the ways to adapt it! 🙂
      (And BTW, you adapted it for good learning, not just to add harder challenges! 😀 )

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6334
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Hah! Your last comment above has me rolling on the floor, because you and I both know how many times I’ve “adapted” exercises — often unwittingly — and made them not only harder but often darn near impossible! Maybe you CAN teach this old dog new tricks!!!

      Anyhow… you’re right that the wind was blowing from the street to the house, so theoretically, odor should not have been drifting onto that box on which she semi-alerted repeatedly. But that’s theory, right? So I would have to agree that some kind of drifting (or swirling? because the breeze was somewhat strong?) had to be in play. As to whether I read her or just knew she was wrong because I knew where the hide was, I do think I read her looks as guesses: you’ll note that at least the first couple times she alerts on that box, I take an additional step away from it and she immediately comes off the box, which in a trial situation I would have read as her admitting that it was only a guess.

      In her successful NW2 trial, we passed the same two or three boxes probably 3 times before I called the final alert: she kept showing some interest in what turned out to be a distractor box next to the odor box, and then more interest in the odor box (but didn’t stick to it), so we went back and forth a couple times before I sorted out which one had the “right” body language of interest.

      Finally, yes: I think perhaps a good lesson for me from this exercise is that Blackie works very quickly: it took her 4 tries to get her NW2, and we have LOTS of element placement ribbons from those first three no-Title trials, because she DOES decide very fast. A skill I’ll need to develop is to know when she’s adequately covered the search area, and then to call Finish, before she starts offering behaviors and guesses.

      Also an interesting comment regarding praise/acknowledgment being a form of payment — somewhat lower value payment, I would guess? In any case, it’s only recently that I’ve started repaying her for returning to a hide she has already found. When we were first learning, she got paid (fed) once for any given hide. Period. Then, I heard from others, that repaying can be a good strategy. And Ron, in the one and only seminar I’ve attended with him, even said that you should ALWAYS repay. Of course, about 30 seconds later he told me NOT to repay Blackie when she returned to the same hide for about the 6th time 🙂

      Anyhow, she does seem to respond well to just the verbal acknowledgment that she is right, and request that she continue searching. I’ve never had difficulty with getting her to leave a hide and keep working.

    • #6339
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      I think your payment schedule is a wonderful balance for Blackie. Acknowledging she found odor but ok, now you really need to keep working. And then finally at the end. I think Ron may have been responding to a continual “you already got that one” response, maybe? Anyhow, great search. 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6347
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Ron’s comment actually was in the context of his lecture. Then, when Blackie was working, she kept pretty much staying at source (move away a foot, return immediately), and that’s when he said, “Don’t repay her.” Will post our part B video in a few minutes.

    • #6350
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Before Biscuit and I left for Alaska, Blackie and I completed Part B of Lesson 1:

      Unfortunately, neither the yellow post-its I used to mark the odor boxes nor the light blue ones I used for the distractors are very apparent on the video! From left to right, odor is in (1) the USPS box that is closest to the grass on the left side — sort of in between two brown boxes on that side (birch); (2) the Amazon box that is closest to the grass on that same side of the driveway (anise); and (3) the high profile box that is between two brown boxes on the right side of the drive, towards the back/street (anise). The distractor boxes contained a small container of gravy (checked at :28) which I had heated to expand the odor, an open jar of peanut butter (checked at :45), and cut up “Happy Howie’s” treats (checked at 1:10).

      Once again, Blackie works this search very quickly: within the first :35 seconds, she has identified all three hides — at :04, :23, and :35. Interestingly enough, the first 16 boxes that she hits (or “drives by”) are pretty much perfectly in a clockwise circle, and leave only two boxes outside that circle (as well as a whole bunch of boxes in the untouched middle of the circle). At 1:01, 1:15, and 1:29, she hits each of the hides a second time and is paid. From then on, each successive hit is only paid with praise — no treat (until the final hit at 2:52).

      At 1:09 she checks the grass on the left side of the area, and at 2:04 she checks the grass on the right. In between times she guesses on several of the distractor boxes — but comes off easily each time, when I just keep moving. Of course, as time passes, she becomes more fervent with her guesses — batting at the boxes as time goes on. Perhaps a clear sign to me to call it?

      Also, in this search, she does ultimately check every single box out there, before I finally have mercy on her and end the search.

      I’m thinking that in a trial situation I wouldn’t have called finish at the :35 mark — although I could have — but I probably need to learn to trust her to check those containers VERY quickly and to accept that once she has cruised around the area once — maybe twice? — she is done… Given her history of guessing on containers, this may be a real challenge for me! But after all, I’m now working with the new and improved Blackie 🙂

    • #6378
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Nice job! It is very hard to call finish that quickly (tho’, with 3 hides you could have. LOL!) But knowing she finds things pretty darn quickly, you can begin to feel more confident. I might even enter some Container element trials to work on that exclusively a bit. After she stops getting paid you can see her frustration rise. Plus, the fact that she went back to each of the hides is another signal that there is nothing else out there.

      Blackie looked hopeful with the peanut butter! You might want to proof off of that distractor a little bit more. 😉

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6497
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Yesterday, we videotaped two iterations of Part A of lesson 2. We did it twice, because I managed to mess Blackie up on the first round, by questioning her about an alert. I’m going to go ahead and post both versions of this search in one post – I think the learnings are relatively similar in both. Here’s the first video:

      You’ll see that I have 15 large boxes, suitcases, recycling bins, coolers, etc., arrayed in 3 columns of 4 each and one (on the left) with only 3. In this first search, the hides can be found (1) tucked under the flap of the plastic bag in the white recycling container in the left hand column, at the front of that column; (2) in the upper handle of the tall black suitcase that is the only luggage in column 3; and (3) tucked in the upper flap of the large cardboard box at the back of column 2. All three hides were clove, and there was an intermittent breeze blowing up the driveway, towards the garage.

      Not surprisingly, Blackie does a nice job of running almost directly to the black suitcase, hitting it and alerting on it at :18. However, I thought about a trial situation in which I would have questioned such an immediate alert from her – so I stepped back from it a bit, and she immediately came off and – just as immediately went to the brown box, which was kitty-corner from it. I reward her there at :25, but instead of going back to the suitcase, she decides that I have “told” her it’s not there and from that point on almost studiously ignores it.

      She continues in more or less a counter-clockwise circle around the search area, hitting the white recycling bin at :44. From there, she continues on around, leaving the search area with a look like “we’re done, right?” at about :58 and then hitting the box for a second time at 1:04. At 1:24, she ventures onto the grass, and at 1:47 she knocks the second white recycling bin over while checking it. (I like the fact that she wasn’t fazed by the noise it made when it fell.)

      At the 2:04 mark, she tries to exit stage left, and when brought back into the search area, starts guessing: sitting at the upside down feed container (blue handle on top) at 2:19 and asking about the blue laundry hamper at 2:24. All of this would have signaled me that she had found everything there was to find.

      Finally, at 2:42, she hits that black suitcase again and alerts. I reward her, and we end this search.

      I’m not sure what to think caused such great difficulty in this search! Perhaps the fact that I had close converging odors AND they were the same scent? Perhaps the odor on the suitcase wasn’t all that strong or was being absorbed by the fabric, such that when she found the odor on the box next door, she decided that there was only one hide? In a trial situation, I suspect that we would have failed on this one: I probably would have accepted one of her assertions that she’d found everything. In reality, I suppose that the best course of action (in a trial) would have been to bring her back to the suitcase to inquire explicitly whether she was sure that there was nothing there after all.

      In any case, for the second iteration, I left the hides in the same containers and simply moved the containers around to position the hides slightly differently. In round two, you’ll see that everything has shifted to the right, and the third column is now the short one. The hides are (1) in the black suitcase that is closest to the camera; (2) the white recycling bin at the back of column 2; and (3) the brown box at the front of column 4.

      What is interesting in this search is that Blackie notices the brown box at :17, but doesn’t immediately commit, working around it a bit until she is willing to commit at :24. Then, working in her typical counter-clockwise circle, she goes to the back, works the breeze off the garage, but in the process, bypasses the hide on the white recycling bin back there. At :52, she alerts and is rewarded for the black suitcase, and then continues on around – checking a few things in the middle of the circle and returning to the brown box at ~1:10. Interestingly enough, she almost immediately comes off that hide with only a minimal cue from me that we already found that one. From there she goes fairly directly to the missed recycling container (at 1:19) – perhaps having used the brown box to triangulate?

      This time, I elected to keep her in the area after all 3 had been found, and she circles around, checking most of the containers a bit more carefully, including causing one of the black bags to roll – again, without any consternation on her part. Finally, around 2:14, she notices a couple of neighbors walking up the street, but alerts on the box at 2:16. She then barks at neighbors and returns to the black bag at 2:29. At that point, I decided the distraction of the neighbors was a good reason to reward one last time and call it quits.

    • #6505
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      It was pretty clear that Blackie was DONE searching in the last video! She was slower, looked at you a little more, barked at the neighbors, etc.

      In the first search, I’m thinking she did react to the odor on the black suitcase at the onset but might not have been convinced that’s where it was coming from. You see her later (1:46) work it off the garage doors and then she checks the recycle bin, knocking it over. So I’m thinking it’s just skipping along the tops above her head and when she got closer she might have “lost” it so wasn’t certain. Hard to know for sure, and you gave her ample opportunity to come back to it.

      I do think having all the scents the same is harder for the dog, for the very reason you mention; the dog needs to decide if it’s a weak odor from source or pooling from somewhere else. So when you have the same odor doing the same thing, overlapping, I imagine it can be more challenging than if they were different. Something to work thru, tho’, if you ever get to Nationals, the hides will likely be all combo odors.

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6506
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Thanks, Kim. I’m glad my instincts as to why Blackie struggled so in the first search with that black bag were on track. She’s usually VERY good (especially for a little girl) at figuring out high challenges, so it really took me by surprise when that one proved so very difficult. Will go on to post our “low” search in a few minutes.

    • #6508
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Yes, your instincts are good and you’re doing a great job! 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6509
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      We actually did the Low search immediately after our High searches the other day, but we set this one up in the back yard, using an eclectic combination of plastic containers, Nespresso and Toothpaste sleeves, and random small cardboard boxes. There wasn’t a lot of breeze in the back yard, but from some of what I see Blackie doing, I think a bit must have been getting past the house to affect the search. In our High searches, the breeze was blowing up the driveway; in the back yard, that same direction would be from the pool towards the grass. In this search, all three hides were anise — I was playing with whether it mattered that I used the same scent for all three hides on these two parts of the lesson.

      Looking at the 3 columns of 5 containers, the hides are located (1) in the white styrofoam takeout container in the 4th position of row 1; (2) the black bottomed Costco chicken container in position 2 of column 2; and (3) the Crest toothpaste sleeve in the first position of column 3. The searches were set before we did either of the two High searches, so they had well over an hour to “cook.”

      In this search, Blackie did something unusual for her: she seems to catalog all three hides before alerting on any of them — sniffing the Crest sleeve at :13, Chicken box at :16, and takeout container at :23. Those are three of the first 6 containers she explicitly sniffs! Now, there’s a possibility that she would have alerted on the takeout container when she first sniffed it, except that I let my leash drag the container next to it, thereby distracting her. She wanders a bit, and then comes back to alert on the takeout at :33. Then, at :41, she considers the chicken box, but pulls off and semi-alerts (guesses) at the Kleenex box beside it. (This is why I suggest that the breeze might have affected things — probably blowing odor from the chicken to the Kleenex box.)

      When I step back to question her weak Kleenex box alert, she immediately comes off and returns to the takeout container (:48), to triangulate off of it — and then goes fairly directly to the chicken box and alerts (:53). Finally, at 1:02 she alerts on the Crest container and is rewarded.

      As of this point, not only has she found and alerted on all three hides, she has also explicitly sniffed each and every container out there — nice to see how thorough she is! At this point, her behavior also changes: she nose taps and looks back at me more, exits the search area (1:20), and returns to known hides. At 1:44, we call it.

    • #6533
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      She’s quite enthusiastic with this search. 🙂

      I wonder if having all the same odor is why she wanted to check all the containers first? Meaning, she was catching the Anise from different parts of the search and maybe she wanted to round up and make sure she got the strongest source before committing?

      You do a nice job of stepping out of her way when she is bouncing a bit between the kleenex box, the first hide and the chicken container. 🙂 Again, with all 3 odors the same it’s possible the air currents were taking odor from the hides to the kleenex box so she had to go back to the hide she found to determine there was in fact another source of the same odor.

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6535
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Interesting thought regarding the effect of having all three hides be the same odor, especially given that the containers were relatively close to one another. I suspect you’re probably right about why she cataloged everything first and then committed.

      As for her enthusiasm, yes, she is VERY glad to have me home and to have me doing things with her again! She was positively screaming inside the house when I took Biscuit out to do each of the searches first, before giving her a turn!

    • #6536
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Here is our Lesson 2, Part C search, which had a highly amusing twist for me!

      I intentionally set it up in our back yard, which is a prime pee/poop area. I figured that if I took the girls for a nice long walk while the hides were “cooking,” the urge to pee/poop would be minimal – which proved to be a valid assumption – and this would be good proofing of the idea that odor is more important than anything, including peeing or pooping. However, what I forgot was that we have had some gophers in our back yard recently. Theoretically, our gardener had exterminated them and filled in the hole. However, after setting and cooking the hides, when I went to the back yard to position the videocam, I found myself nose to nose with one of the gophers – peeking out of his newest hole! Uh oh! A totally unanticipated distractor, and no option of resetting the search area!

      Anyhow, for this search, the four hides are located (1) in the Crest tube at the far right – row 1, column 4; (2) the tall black suitcase in row 2, column 2; (3) the white takeout container in row 4, column 1; and (4) the blue suitcase in row 5, column 3. Two of the hides were clove; one each of birch and anise. (I forget which odor was where.) There was a bit of a breeze, blowing left to right in the search area.

      Interesting to me in this search is that Blackie was much more random in her search pattern than for the first two searches in this lesson. First, she found both of the low hides, and then both of the high hides. By :52, she had found all four. At that point, in part due to her very random search pattern, I elected to “present” each of the containers to her, to be sure she had considered them. So that’s what we do, until about 1:58, when she makes a beeline to the back of the yard, to inspect the gopher hole. That was a very clear indication that she was done with odor, and had better things to sniff!!! But good girly for finishing her work first 🙂

    • #6537
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      HAHA! Those darn gophers!! 🙂

      With the hi-lo, I’m not surprised that her search pattern seemed a bit more random. With the low hides more at her “nose-height” level, she seemed to follow that odor stream from one to the next. Then she got the tall luggage on an adjacent low container which tells me the odor was likely blowing slightly towards the camera and to the right? The last item you held her there to check so then she noticed it.

      Great job Blackie, working the containers first and then the gopher! 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6540
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Yup. Wind direction was left to right. As for holding her at the final bag, yes, I suppose that in attempting to redirect her back into the search area, I did kind of point out, “check this one.” Of course, since that was my next step anyhow, perhaps that’s not a bad thing to do? Making sure all bags were checked?

    • #6541
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Yep, I’d have done that, as well!

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6564
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Poor Blackie always gets the distractions! When I first ran this exercise with Biscuit, the cul-de-sac was empty. Five minutes later, when Blackie and I came out, the neighborhood kids and Dads were playing basketball. So you’ll see Blackie having to work through that – FWIW, she HATES small kids and large balls; she considers both to be very dangerous.

      Based on the locations of the hides, I actually used two cameras for this video: the first 1:38 of the video are focused on the driver’s side of my X5, where the hide is under the running board in the middle of the car. The remainder of the video is the second camera, which focuses up the middle of the two cars. One hide is in the rear wheel of the X5 and the other is in the front wheel of the MBZ.

      It’s interesting to me that Blackie races into the search area and actually has her nose almost on the hide at the :03 mark, but decides to chastise the basketball players instead, and then circles out to the grass, barking at :11. From there, she makes a beeline directly to the hide and is paid at :14. From there, she works around the back of the X5 and as she makes the turn, she actually almost puts her nose on the X5 rear wheel hide, but instead turns towards the MBZ and moves forward to the front wheel hide, which she finds at :32. (You’ll see the near miss on the X5 at ~2:05 in the second half of the video and the payment for the front wheel hide at 2:12.)

      After finding the front wheel hide, she ranges out in front of the MBZ – this is most easily seen in part 2 – and eventually comes back at ~2:24. At that point, she checks the X5’s (blank) front wheel, and then returns to the MBZ front wheel to restate that find (2:35). From there, she moves back between the two cars, alternating between MBZ and X5, but when she gets to the middle and catches the odor drifting beneath the car, she works back forward to the front wheel hide at 2:53. (This is more easily seen in the first half – at 1:15.)

      I repaid her once for that (in part based on her working through the basketball distraction), and then – when she stayed at that hide, I praised her to get her to leave it and move around to the back of the X5.

      As she leaves the side hide, you’ll hear one of the kids saying to his friend, “Get it! Get it! Get it!” which was just too much for Blackie, who decides to act on his request and attempt to get the kid 🙂 After she lunged a couple times, I was able to refocus her and get her back to work.

      Fairly soon after that, at ~3:16, she finds the hide in the rear wheel of the X5, and I end the search, figuring that it doesn’t make sense to ask her to work when all hides have been found and the kids are playing basketball.

      As an epilogue, based on having made her work through the distractions, I opted to rerun the exercise a bit later, when the kids had left the cul-de-sac. So I moved the hides to the opposite wheels and put the side hide on the MBZ instead of the X5. The only problem this time was that I forgot which front wheel had the hide, and insisted on rewarding her for a weak alert on the residual/drifting odor on the front wheel of the MBZ, only later realizing what I had done and going back to reward on the X5. Thank goodness it’s not possible to “break” our dogs!

      As if that weren’t enough of a screwup, I forgot to remove my hides before pulling the cars into the garage. One of my tins is now flattened… 🙁

    • #6571
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      You did a nice job of supporting Blackie during this search. You did what you needed to do to let her range out a bit but keep her focused. And she did keep working despite the distractions. I have to wonder if the distractions are there all along but YOU only notice them because Blackie tells you about them? Maybe not this extreme but in other cases? Or is she just jinxed? 🙂

      So she refocuses and gets the first hide quickly. This is a good lesson about taking the dog back to the place where they lost their focus!

      The two views are interesting to watch. My favorite part is from about (3:16-3:26) when she locates the 3rd and final hide. You are standing between her and the kids/distraction and you can see her sorting and figuring out the problem between the two tires. Cool to watch!

      Sorry about your tin – better than having it lost somewhere inside the car, tho’! 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6572
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      In regards to the distractions, no, I think Blackie is jinxed. First the siren as her nose crossed the start line at her NW2 trial. Then I discover that the gophers are still in the back yard — AFTER setting up the search area. In this video, there were absolutely NO kids, no adults, no bouncing balls when Biscuit searched, and nothing but distractions for this video! I suppose I should be glad for these challenges, because it surely should help make her “bulletproof” when we need it!

      Yes, that end bit is pretty fun to watch. From my perspective, I notice her getting a bit frustrated and almost starting to tell me she can’t find it, it’s too tough a problem. See the way she shakes her head back and forth between the two wheels, and gives a little mouthy yip? Of course, that’s just about the moment that she realizes that she CAN do it, and commits to the correct wheel.

    • #6573
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Yesterday morning, we got creative regarding creating a third “Vehicle:” 3 large trash cans, with some white plastic chairs were used to create the pseudo-car. My rationale for inserting the chairs was in hopes of allowing more vehicle-like air flow beneath that middle section. We used all three odors, one in the arm of the two chairs and the other two beneath the running boards of the vehicles. As usual, the breeze was blowing up the driveway, towards the house. Unfortunately, I’m not sure my camera angle was the best – it’s set to get all three hides, but seems to cut off more than I would like. (I backed it up in hopes of also capturing the outer perimeter, but that reduced visibility of the individual alerts.)

      I opted to start the search from the street (i.e., upwind) and using a tiny bit of leash pressure directed Blackie to consider the outside of the triangle first. We move counter-clockwise around the two cars and at :12 (in front of the sedan) she ranges out off the sedan towards the garage briefly, returning to the vehicles fairly quickly. Finally, at the back of the SUV, Blackie pushes into the middle at :25.

      She starts by checking the sedan, but doesn’t notice (or at least doesn’t alert on) the hide. Instead, she moves to the SUV and alerts there at :40. From there, she goes almost directly to the chairs, alerting there at :49. With those two found, she returns to the SUV and alerts again on that hide, only moving over to the sedan with a bit of a suggestion from me. Once guided there, she alerts at 1:17 and we end the search at that point.

      It was interesting to me that she had challenges acknowledging the hide on the sedan, even though she almost hits it even before she first hits the SUV hide.

    • #6605
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      I’m glad you explained about the leash pressure since I wasn’t sure what happened. I have to wonder if the odor on the SUV is either stronger or blowing in such a way that it is more obvious to Blackie than the hide on the sedan? Or since she does go to the sedan first, maybe she needed to do that to decide there was a different hide behind her?

      Once again, you do a very nice job of giving Blackie enough space to work out the problems, no crowding, backing up when she turns towards you. It looks good. How did you feel about going around the perimeter of all the vehicles first rather than allowing Blackie to go where she wanted to?

      Of course, the neighbor’s car had to start with a rumble as Blackie is searching. 😉

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6606
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Regarding searching the outer perimeter first, it seemed to work OK. It took very little leash pressure to get her to come with me – I just barely allowed the leash to become taut and she was with me. Ordinarily, I probably would have waited to see where she wanted to go, but this worked OK and she did focus on the search. Had she wanted to enter the middle after we went along the side of the sedan, I would have let her do so, but she was willing to continue around the SUV.

      As for the sedan hide, the wind was blowing – as per usual – up the driveway, so I would have expected that to blow the odor into the center of the triangle and would have thought that should make it easier to find the sedan hide, but what do I know!?!?! That hide was placed under the running board, held by a magnet to a screw that was pretty much directly under the door seam, so maybe that upped the difficulty level? In any case, she did a pretty good job, as usual.

    • #6607
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Yesterday afternoon we did part C of lesson 3, using my favorite faux-car. Once again, Blackie had to cope with distractions – this time, a neighbor walking up the street. Each of the three hides was a different odor, theoretically making it a bit easier. However, Blackie still seemed to struggle with the converging odor on the two wheels.

      At :10, she hits and is rewarded for the hide in the sedan wheel well. She then is distracted by our neighbor, walking the street, and returns to the sedan wheel at :28. Next, she makes a counter-clockwise tour around the SUV, again returning to the sedan wheel at 1:14. By 1:20, the walking neighbor is close enough to warrant another warning from Blackie. At 1:27, she leaves both “real” cars and finds the hide on the white chair.

      Finally around 1:43, I work her clockwise around the SUV, and she finds the third hide at 1:52.

      Even with the distraction of the walker, I was rather surprised by how long it took Blackie to work out all three problems. Biscuit worked the same problem in less than a minute and a half. And even though all three hides were different odors, Blackie really struggled to differentiate between the two wheel well hides. (The sedan was birch, with fresh Qtips added just before setting the hide; the SUV was anise and a bit older, so perhaps I’ve just answered my own question?.)

    • #6608
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Good example of “paying out the line” at the very beginning of your search!

      I think when Blackie got “stuck” with the first hide, you also got a bit stuck. This is where you could have backed yourself further down the driveway so she was actively searching the back of your car. Yes, she does appear to be in that vicinity, but if you look at your position between the vehicles you’re not “supporting” her by listening to which way she wanted to go. When she got distracted by the person walking in the area, she got out of search mode. She may have been out of search mode the whole time she was in that area. Maybe. She was drawn back to the first hide which in turn you ask her to find another. She DOES go to the SUV but does not detect enough odor to tell her source is there and then you have to fix her leash.

      You still stay where you are and then decide to take her forward around the vehicle. She might be chasing odor off the SUV (:56) or just distracted, hard to say, but she momentarily loses focus. Once again, as Blackie rounds the back side of your SUV, she barks at the person “invading” her space. Blackie misses that hide but goes back to the first hide again. This is classic with this type of challenge.

      Moving her on, she’s still concerned about the pedestrian but finds the second hide on your mock vehicle. As you continue, notice that she detects odor at the front of your SUV (1:44) and this time you apply some body pressure to get her to thoroughly detail that vehicle.

      So what is happening? Could be that the pedestrian was just at the wrong place at the wrong time and Blackie lost focus near the other hide. Could be that the odor is much weaker and therefor harder to find. Or it could be that she just needed to work out the other two hides in order to determine there was a 3rd.

      Going forward, I would work close hides like that more so she has enough exposure that she automatically focuses on both sides of the aisle.

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6610
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Good observation regarding how flat-footed I was at the start of this search! I hadn’t noticed that. From about :12 to :50 (i.e., more than 30 seconds) I stood in almost exactly the same place, and Blackie barely moved as well. Only the leash entanglement actually got me to budge!

      I think I wanted to let her choose the direction, but with the clock ticking, it would have been more productive to for me to set a direction and ask her to go along with it (as I did in Part B). I somewhat wonder whether that may have affected a couple of the searches we did this morning, which I’ll post a bit later – I’ll have to review those videos in that context, and in the meantime, will perhaps redo this exercise another time or two, just for grins.

    • #6612
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      You two were in a stand-off! 😉

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6615
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Yes it sure was a standoff!!! Of epic proportions 😛

      Yesterday morning, after our Agility class, we ran several iterations of lesson 4’s different level searches, beginning with the ground level hides. (Because our agility class is at an LA City park, we had lots of options for ground level and/or higher hides.) In the following video, I’ve included two ground level searches, the first running until :59 and the second carrying on thereafter. You’ll hear sounds from the other Agility and/or Obedience classes at various point on the video. Blackie is mostly used to these things, so they really didn’t affect her at all – it’s normal background noise since we practice after agility almost every Thursday.

      For our first search, I set the hides approximately 10’ apart, along a line of ring fencing that had been set up for a rally class. (No one was in the rally ring at the time.) Each hide was at the base of one of the stakes for the fencing, although in the video it’s hard to see the fencing itself.

      As we walked along the fence, I LOVED seeing the body snaps that Blackie did as she passed each of the first three hides. She’d be walking along, and all of a sudden, she’d spin back and hit the hide two seconds later. Interestingly enough to me, at the end of the line of fencing, rather than doing this same body snap for hide #4, she enters the ring at :30, checks the storage shed, ranges around, and finally notices the fourth hide at ~:53. I’m not sure what was different at that end of the fencing, such that she didn’t immediately notice the final hide.

      For our second search, I place the four hides on white “plates” in the ground, each about 10’-15’ apart. These plates cover sprinklers and other “stuff,” and are in kind of a semi-circle about 150’ (or more) away from our initial search area. The wind was blowing more or less left to right across the screen.

      Within the first 6 seconds, Blackie finds the first hide and alerts. I then walked more or less across the semi-circle formed by the plates, and at 1:21, Blackie – who is walking at my side – notices the second hide and RACES to it, alerting at 1:27. From there she goes outside the semi-circle on the far side (i.e., upwind), but nonetheless notices the third hide at ~1:47 and – again – races to it, alerting at 1:57. Interestingly enough, here, once again, she struggles with the fourth hide.

      Unfortunately, that hide is just barely on screen in the video, so you don’t see her ranging far out to the right to find the edge of the scent cone. She spent almost a full minute out beyond that hide, finally returning to view and alerting at ~2:47. In hindsight (and without video evidence) I’m not entirely sure she was searching all that time – some of it, yes, but not all of it.

      The final 50 seconds or so are yet another distraction. One of my friends, who was in the Obedience class that was going on nearby, walks through our search area with her 3-month old puppy – who notices one of the hides! They quickly leave the area, and Blackie, who had been asked to continue searching, even though all hides had been found, mostly ignores them, eventually returning to hide #1 and being paid. Good girl Blackie!

    • #6616
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      In the first search, I’m guessing that the building and storage sheds nearby altered the way the wind was blowing so when Blackie approached the 4th hide the odor was not moving the same way as it was with the first 3 hides.

      In the second search, the first two hides were noticed from the right side quite quickly. She got distracted a bit and then noticed the 3rd hide from the left (1:48) so there was some wind shifting. She was also a bit more distracted during this search so maybe she was multi-tasking on her way to the 4th hide. 😉

      With the 4th hide she starts to pass it from the right but has a nice head-snap almost immediately after passing it to the left of the hide.

      I’m not sure if you noticed it, but Blackie goes directly to hide #3 as the puppy approaches (2:59). She looks back and you, then back to the hide but without payment she leaves it and of course gets out of search mode. Good job letting her go back to a hide and getting paid. 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6617
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Yes, I did notice that when the puppy went to the hide, Blackie was at #3, and as the puppy exited, she went to #2. Frankly, I was rather pleased that she didn’t seem too upset about it — went back, but wasn’t in attack mode and more or less took the puppy’s interest calmly. And yes, knowing she’d found everything and knowing she’d dealt quite well with the puppy distraction, it seemed appropriate to give one final reward and call it quits!

    • #6629
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      On Thursday, after our agility class, we also ran the mid-level search at the Park:

      Four hides are on the seats of three of the picnic tables, with one hide on the stand for the BBQ grill at the right (same height as the picnic table seats). Temp was comfortable – not too hot, not cool – and a breeze was blowing from the foreground to the background.

      As Blackie enters the search area, she almost puts her nose on the first hide at the right – gives a bit of a head flip at :03 – but continues on without acknowledging the hide. Instead, she goes fairly directly to the hide on the BBQ stand. From there, she seems a bit lost for a few seconds, but then seems to be in odor at ~:25 and heads at a trot towards the furthest of the hides. However, she continues past the hide and only finally works back around to it at :46.

      From there, she again almost hits the left foreground hide at :55, but instead veers off just before it and goes fairly directly to the right foreground hide at 1:06. After that, she gives a very soft alert on the left at 1:19, which I didn’t notice at the time. Because I’m not racing in to pay, she goes to check the BBQ hide, then back beyond the one she found at the back, and finally coming back to find hide #4 at 2:16.

      As usual at the Park, you’ll hear other classes and training going on in the near vicinity, but Blackie doesn’t pay any attention to it – it’s just typical background noise for us when we practice there.

    • #6632
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Interesting Blackie “notices” the odor on the seat at the beginning of the search but doesn’t tell you. I wonder if this is one of those cases of “I’ll be back” and the hide on the BBQ was calling loudly. 🙂 Sometimes with a hide that has even some elevation in the distance, if the wind is just right it will pull a dog from the start line.

      Once again, we see either a swirling or shifting wind and I think it has to do with the trees. Blackie picks up speed around a minute to go to the hide she skipped at the beginning.

      Sometimes the best you can do in a search like this is just make sure the dog has covered everything and leave the rest up to them. If they’re odor obedient they should locate odor if it’s there.

      On that note (and not necessarily what the lesson is for) I love seeing what the dog offers when there are known hides but in a blind search, it might be helpful to be sure you cover an area while you’re there. It would be an interesting experiment to see if Blackie does indeed work an odor with a little more influence from you to keep covering the area. NOT saying that’s what you should switch to, but experiment to know if it’s something you could potentially use down the road if you needed it. Just a side thought ~

      It’s great to see Blackie at ease in an environment that might be hard for other dogs. 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6633
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      This is an area where we have had agility classes for 4-1/2 years of her 5-1/2 year life, so this is almost as much “home” as our back yard!

      In regards to your comment about covering the area, that concern was pretty much exactly what I was getting at in my Silver thread comment about how do we define the search area. It’s all well and good when we know where the hides are and how many we have set, but in a blind search, I’d likely have behaved much differently — not sure I even would have noticed that head toss towards the first hide on her way into the area!

      And yes, I’ve kind of wondered the past week or two whether Blackie might be developing a habit of “cataloging” the hides first, then telling me about them. Is that a bad habit? Anything we should do to elicit more immediate alerts, without the cataloging process?

    • #6635
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      For our “high-level” search, we went down the hill to St. Matthew’s School, and used an outdoor courtyard between two buildings. All four hides for this search are 4’ off the ground. Two are on the left, are just beneath the red fire boxes (in the foreground and back just before the stairs). The other two are on the left side of the area: one on the column to the left of the double doors and the other on the column further back, between the windows and the cement column. All three odors were in play – one each of two odors and, two of the third.

      The interesting thing that I didn’t consider when choosing the locations for my hides was that the wind was blowing towards the back of search area and clearly was carrying up the stairs. I had explicitly – in my mind – defined the stairs as “out of bounds,” but available for searching. It’s also obvious from Blackie’s search pattern that the breeze was swirling around back there – there is nothing in the alcove to the right where she disappears, nor are there any hides in the area on the left, past the back column hide, but she has to check both of those areas due to the odor traveling there.

      Although I let Blackie climb the stairs at the start, at the top of the first flight, I restricted her ability to go any further. At about :39, after coming back down, she comes around to the left and clearly follows the odor back around the recycling bins and column to source. I waited to pay her until she solidly commits at :45, but probably could have paid earlier – she goes up to it at :42, and is obviously working on it at :39.

      From there, at 1:04, she catches odor drifting and pooling on the pink canvas backpack that is sitting beside the building and works very quickly to a decision at 1:08 on the left front column.

      She then continued in her counter-clockwise circle: around the front steps (my chosen start line) and across to the foreground fire box on the right (1:23). Finally, she takes one more trip up the stairs – this time, I used a bit of leash pressure to keep her from getting all the way to the top. From about 1:39 on, I love seeing the way she follows the odor down the staircase, going up at several places to see if the source is there, above her head, and finally finding it at 2:02, after one last comparison with the hide across the courtyard.

    • #6644
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      What a great problem solving video for Blackie! Very cool to see her chasing odor up the stairs and showing us that yes, odor does move outside the areas we view as the boundaries.

      Another thing that is really good to see is how Blackie uses the objects and corners of the walls to sort out the edges of the scent cone. Sometimes people restrict their dog from going down that hallway, rounding that corner, going up the stairs, etc. because they know it is outside the search boundaries. But dogs NEED those structures to make sense of how the odor is moving, especially multiple odors! This is why it’s ok to let the dog go reasonably outside those boundaries because the odor is not stationary. 🙂

      I like that you allowed Blackie to figure out the first hide. If she’d struggled I’d have said yes pay earlier but she was really working it and did make a pretty fast decision. All the others, as well.

      This looks like a super fun area to search! Good job to both of you! 🙂

      p.s. To reply to your cataloging question, no, I don’t think so. Blackie is not “slow” so it doesn’t really need to be a concern. It’s how she works things out. That may change as she gains more experience. I’ve actually seen her work faster than she used to (it seems to me) so she’s kind of in her groove.

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6679
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Thanks! It was a fun search area — and I’m glad you think she’s “in her groove.” I’ve felt that way ever since she got that NW2 title — which may mean that she knows I think she’s doing well and she therefore is doing even better as a result.

      Now that we’re home from last week’s CPE Agility Nationals, I’ve finally found a moment to analyze and post Blackie’s multi-level search for lesson 4, which we actually ran before leaving last Tuesday.

      Once again, we searched an exterior patio area between 2 buildings at St. Matthew’s Parish School. There are four hides: (1) 4’ high, on the first grey post in the foreground; (2) about 2′ high on the wall to the right, near the corner of the building; (3) on the black floor mat that is towards the back of the space, along the wall to the right; and (4) on the furthest grey post, about 3’ high. The breeze was blowing towards the back of the search area, so once again, odor from all four hides was no doubt drifting back that way and collecting in areas with no actual hides.

      Of course, I also UNintentionally introduced a bit of added complexity to this search: when I originally set my hides, I placed the low hide in a crack in the cement to the left of the camera frame. Then, after letting the hides cook for probably 45 minutes to an hour, I realized that the camera angle to include that hide wasn’t good, and decided to move that one to the floor mat. You’ll see that the residual odor from the moved hide confuses things later in the video.

      One of the interesting things for me in this search is that Blackie almost hits the first (highest) hide at the :04 second mark, but instead bypasses it and cuts across to the second hide, which was only at about 2′, alerting on that hide at :10. From there, she heads back to the floor mat hide and almost noses it at :29, but instead continues on and works the area to the left – no odor actually placed over there. At :47, she works her way back to the mat and alerts.

      For the next ~40 seconds, she works the area to the left and behind where the remaining hides are located, and finally at 1:28 alerts on the back post hide, which was about 3’ high. This is the point where the moved hide/residual odor starts to confuse matters, because Blackie spends the next ~20 seconds going directly to where that hide had been located (off camera) and then coming back after a “good girl” acknowledgment that there might have been something there at one time.

      From that point on, it’s interesting to me to see her work the odor off the other posts, and also to use the first hide (on the building) as well as the residual odor to triangulate. At 2:02, she actually looks up on the correct post, but doesn’t believe herself and moves off without really alerting. She then decides to work far to the right – off camera – before finding the 4th hide and alerting on it at 2:54.

    • #6684
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      You do a really nice job of staying out of Blackie’s way and you have a good sense of where to move that might help and/or support her so nice work! The high hide on the post is assuredly bouncing off the other posts and probably dropping into the foliage below. Note how far out Blackie needs to go to finish working that last hide. Yes, it’s off-camera but it’s obvious! Good girl!! 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6689
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      NW 301.5 Keeping Up with the Joneses

      Because of the limited time remaining for this course, I’m stitching multiple lesson 5 searches together for this one. Note that although I did the “bonus” search of a textured wall, I skipped the column next to a building search, since there isn’t any such location around my home. Here’s the video for the six searches we did:

      The hides (and video segments) are as follows, listed in the sequence in which we did them:

      1. Inside Corner: Birch – no breeze :00 to :49
      2. Standalone Post: Anise – light breeze :50 to 1:29

      Break to cook new hides

      3. Middle of a Wall (the Garage Door): Birch – light breeze, left to right across the door 1:30 to 1:55
      4. Outside Corner: Birch – light breeze, 1:56 to 2:24

      Break to cook new hides

      5. Trash Container: Birch – stronger breeze, 2:25 to 2:54
      6.Textured Wall: Clove – not much breeze, 2:55 to 3:44

      This lesson has been interesting for me, because I generally think that both of my dogs are pretty good at high hides – we’ve worked them fairly often. However, Blackie initially seemed challenged by these individual searches. As a point of comparison, I always run Biscuit first (my “dog in white”) and then Blackie. For the first two hides (Inside Corner and Standalone Post) Biscuit alerted after 12 seconds on the inside corner and 10 seconds for the post. Minutes later (with no surprise distracters!), it took Blackie 42 seconds to find the corner hide and 36 seconds to find the post. Both times are just fine, but I find it interesting that it took Blackie so much longer, since she is usually the faster one on searches.

      I suppose Biscuit’s speed may be because there was one and only one hide for each of these, and perhaps Blackie’s slowness is because she expected to have more than one hide?

      Interestingly enough, as the searches progress, it seems that Blackie got a bit faster with each successive search, so learning was definitely going on. She hesitates at any number of points, giving me a look of, “Could it be here?” But when I don’t immediately respond, she moves on and seems to say, “No, you’re right, I didn’t think so.”

      Should I do any proofing of my ability to read this even on known searches? For instance, should I every now and then, instead of paying super fast, back up and question her on it? Or is that what lesson 6 will do for us, and should I avoid giving her the idea that she might be wrong?

      Perhaps the most fun example of this is the wall search, in which she knows it’s in the garden, above her head, but doesn’t move back to the wall itself until I step up into the garden with her.

      I also had to laugh at the 5th search because once again, Blackie was hit with a serious distracter, in the form of a kid and his Dad riding their bikes in circles around our cul-de-sac, right next to the trash can on which the hide was placed. She does a beautiful job of ignoring this major distraction!

      Finally, I was NOT very happy with my leash handling in these searches – the leash is frequently dragging on the ground and even gets completely tangled around Blackie’s leg during one of the searches, and while I think I do a good job of using the long leash that I have available, I don’t necessarily do a good job of controlling that leash. More skills to work on!

      All in all, I think Blackie did a very good job: 6 hides in less than 4 minutes, including start and stop time frames? Excellent!

    • #6698
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      In the first search it looks like she’s multi-tasking on your welcome mat! She’s working odor but I have to wonder if she’s not caught up in some other smells there and the steps?

      In the second search it looks like the odor is drifting quite far so the closer Blackie is, the more it’s going over her head until it bumps into objects like the bushes and when you walk thru the scent cone.

      In the 3rd search, it may not be a vehicle search but she clearly used the car to work up to the odor on the “wall!”

      In the 4th search (outside corner) she worked off the bench and realized the odor was behind her.

      Really good job working thru the distractions in Search 5!

      In Search 6, yep, you could have even rewarded her at (3:33) when she was throwing her head up “IT’S UP THERE SOMEWHERE!” but by adding a little body pressure with you stepping up onto the short wall she easily decided where source was. 🙂

      Good job, Blackie!

      I’m convinced some of her “slower” speeds from Biscuit is her need to assess the environment, which could be the cataloging and/or multi-tasking by sniffing odor+other stuff in the environment.

      I think you *will* want to do some proofing at some point since she is relying on you to tell her where odor is NOT. Much of that will be revealed with the blind searches so you will need to decide in advance if you want to work thru that, not actually say the word “alert” or just get a “pay your dog” from your helper. 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6734
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Interesting observations…

      Search 1: yes, she looks like she’s crittering a bit — not sure why she felt the need to do so. It’s a regular piece of her environment and a location we’ve searched any number of times previously, so should be one where she can get to work without a need to check things out.

      Search 2: Interesting comment that it’s moving so far out. My sense when she went way over by the pool was that she simply hadn’t yet figured out what we were doing — which of course doesn’t make sense. Makes more sense to assume that she knows the game and hasn’t yet gotten into odor; when she comes back closer and hits the bushes, the odor has been caught there at least enough for her then to follow it to the post.

      Search 3: Cool observation that she worked the odor from the car back to the garage door. Personally, I liked the fact that when we started and she saw the car, her first thought seemed to be, “This must be a vehicle search. I’d better check around this car.”

      Search 6: I didn’t want to pay her for the look up at 3:33, because she was looking at the tree — definitely not looking back to the wall! I’m glad the body pressure got her to move back there, hopefully without me “helping” her too much!

      On to lesson 6 for now — may yet come back to do that post near a building, since I’ve found a suitable location for that portion of this lesson. Although, remaining time is growing VERY short!

    • #6736
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Here are two iterations of our container search. You won’t hear me say “Alert,” because I was consciously trying NOT to use that. Instead, I was glancing at my videographer, whom you’ll hear say “yes.” Unfortunately, we didn’t do terribly well on either attempt at this!

      For this first search, three hides were in a diagonal path across the search area: The USPS box closest to the garage door, on the right; the brown box directly in the middle of the area; and the dark colored shoe box in the first row, furthest box to the left. The air in the garage was very still — no movement to help out — and neither terribly warm nor cool.

      Blackie had great difficulty with both the middle brown box and the shoe box. The shoe box had a hole in it, so it should have breathed quite well, and besides, the hides had cooked for at least an hour before we searched them. However, I later discovered that it had some tissue paper and stuff inside it that might have absorbed the odor and prevented it from exiting the box. The middle box had a lid that closed pretty solidly, so it may have been quite difficult — I probably shouldn’t have included it as a possibility for my assistant to choose!

      Interestingly enough, in this search Blackie does show considerable interest in the two distractors: the tall box that she checks out at :24 had peanut butter in it — when she goes back to it a second time, I gave a silent alert (you’ll hear me comment at ~:32 to the effect that I had falsed on it). The USPS box by the garage door (2nd from the left) had a half a banana — and again, I accept her indication there, when she returns to it at 1:06. Finally, I call Finish at 1:29 and initially guess 30 seconds — ! silly me! — and quickly revise my guesstimate to 1-1/2, which is pretty darn close. Too bad we weren’t at all finished: we had only found one of three hides!

      At that point, we continue searching till they find the last two hides — with me pretty much more or less having to point them out and get her to check them explicitly.

      Because I wasn’t terribly pleased with our first search and thought the combination of tight boxes and no air movement might have contributed to our lack of success, we redid the container exercise — with not a lot better success 🙁

      This time, we set the search on the back patio, next to the pool, and used a variety of containers. Blackie does a nice job of hitting the first hide at :15, and a second hide at :25. She also hits hide #3 at :35 but comes off the hide while I’m checking with my assistant to confirm. She returns and is paid at :43. From that point, she noses the fourth and final hide at :48, but moves on fairly quickly and I fail to take her back through the center. Instead, when she returns to the first hide, I call finish at 1:09 — and my assistant almost immediately stops the camera, so you don’t see her go (after my finish call) almost directly to that missed hide and get paid. I then gave my guess — again, a guess of a minute and a half, which was reasonably close. Interestingly enough, for this search, we used the same two distractors (peanut butter in one and a half a banana in the other) and Blackie never bothered with either.

    • #6740
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Back to the previous search – regarding the wall hide and Blackie looking up to the tree. YES, that is true. BUT, with the way odor moves and collects on adjacent objects, sometimes the tree would be correct. “It’s up there somewhere” when it’s out of reach, the dog will often tell us where that odor is coming from. You weren’t wrong to wait but you wouldn’t have been wrong to pay and if the search had been blind I’m guessing you’d have called it?

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6741
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Ok, I’m going to respond to the searches individually….

      In the first search, what I see is Blackie cursorily checking boxes but not really investigating. Trying to remember if this is typical? She NEVER really investigates the black shoe box. Once you point it out to her she checks it and finally notices odor. This is why it’s critical to make sure the dogs get to the OUTSIDES of your corners. Sometimes the dogs need to approach from a different angle. If that’s not possible (against a wall or something impeding the path) just make sure they adequately investigate.

      As you see, by pointing to the containers, Blackie takes that as a cue that she’ SUPPOSED to indicate odor. I might do that more frequently and proof against it. Point, move, dog stays or moves on if it’s not odor. You will also want to reward her well when she stays after you move on. OH – and I’d have paid her for odor after she falsed on the distractor.

      Also – proof distractors. She showed a lot of interest but did start to walk away from you when you moved. I would purposely work odor – distractors to really solidify that Blackie WILL get paid at odor. Also another reason to pay when the dog goes back to odor.

      I didn’t see your movement so much when she investigates a container but be careful you’re not cuing her by reaching for the reward or other mannerisms that will tell her she’s getting paid. This is one of those tricky parts of training. After working fast rewards so much it may be time to give a SLIGHT delay for her to tell you it’s odor but don’t stand still.

      So, LOTS of things going on in this video and it’s giving me ideas for our next in-person training! 🙂

      OH – and I would agree that the middle box might be holding onto odor more because of the sealed lid. Not worried about the tissue paper in the shoe box.

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6742
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      The second search looks really good! It’s good to know that you can still pull Blackie off odor, but given the opportunity she WILL go back! As for the hide in the middle, I think you need to take a look at the video and note the containers Blackie never checks. In addition to the outside corners, the middle containers often get missed because people are standing in the way and don’t realize their dog never checked them.

      I know this is sort of Blackie bouncing around in a container search but because I know she missed some and because I know she gave a weak indication on odor, being sure she checked everything might be something to consider. And did you realize she missed some?

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #6746
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Regarding the first container search: interesting that you don’t think the tissue in the container affected her ability to identify it as an odor box. It has a 1″ diameter hole in the side, plus the lid closed loosely enough that after an hour of cooking, I figured it should have been an easy one to find. Of course, there really was not air moving in the space.

      I also like the idea of proofing odor and distractors and adding a bit of a delay in responding. Blackie does have a history of randomly alerting on containers, in part (I assume) because they are often later in the day, when she is tired. I’ve gotten pretty good at NOT trusting my dog’s first “guess” and she does go back to odor when I move on and she has really found it. So yes, she does tend to do “drive-by” searching, and not check all containers thoroughly. I think I may have been rushing these searches a bit much, because my assistant (a visitor from France!) and I were supposed to go touring, and I wanted to get the lessons done and postable before we left for the day.

      Same comments regarding the second search and not hitting everything. I certainly realized (after the video ended) that I had missed a lot, since Blackie went back to that black box and hit on it within nanoseconds of my “finish” call.

      Finally, regarding working distractors, yes, I used the peanut butter as one of the two distractors — even warmed it to make it more odoriferous! — because it is a distractor that often elicits significant interest.

    • #6747
      Susanne Howarth
      Participant

      Here is our Vehicle search:

      I was pretty pleased with our work overall on this one. I did intentionally require her to take a certain path around the cars, to be sure we covered all sides, and she did pretty well at that. After we found the third hide, you’ll hear me ask Blackie, “Any more?” — to which my assistant replies!!! Ooops! Anyhow, we still finished out the interior sides of the cars and then called finish, and what you don’t hear is me guessing that it took 1-1/2 minutes — pretty darn right on the money!

    • #6751
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Nice! This search looked really good! Blackie was working well and you were confident in her indications. How fun to “show off” for a friend from another country. 🙂

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

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