~JOYRIDE K9 *REMOTE* K9NW EDUCATION~

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    • #7126
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Hunter and I are back again for more coaching! Hunter is a 9 year old mixed breed who spent his early life roaming the streets of SE Missouri. I have worked extensively with his reactivity issues and now he is able to compete in agility and work as a therapy dog at our local hospital. He has been playing nosework since about 2012 and earned his NW1 in December 2014. He has his NW2 and we passed 3/4 elements in his first NW3 trial in December 2015. We have not been able to get into another trial (currently wait listed for 2 trials in the fall) but I want to be ready if we ever do get in!

      Hunter is a strong searcher, but he has had problems with blowing and pooling odor in container searches. He always alerts on odor – but sometimes he picks the first hint of odor he gets to and does not follow it back to source. He is pretty reliable with vehicles and exteriors, but in some interiors he will miss a hide in a deep corner or if the odor is trapped and just not moving much. He is speedy, which sometimes causes him to blow past hides, so I need to remember to be sure he was actually searching the whole area before we leave a search.

      Looking forward to getting started on some problem-solving!

    • #7127
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Hi Kathryn & Hunter – welcome back! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7136
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Ok! Mr. Hunter is going to work some AGED HIDES in your basement! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      What I’d like to do is have many containers – open box/container – spread throughout the large-ish search area of your basement. You’re going to PAIR each hide so he can self-reward. Place containers in strategic locations where you think he might miss something (corners, niches, etc.) as well as a few in the middle. Let this set for several hours so the entire area is full of odor. Hunter will need to work this “big odor” in order to find his rewards. (You can place the rewards just before searching so those stay fresh and the cat doesn’t eat them. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

      This will be an off-leash search and you can stay back as if he’s on a 10-foot line since he will be able to self-reward. Once he finds a hide, go in and pat/praise if needed to keep him hunting for more. If Hunter goes back to one he’s gotten already you’re NOT going to pay. Praise off, ask him to find more. Work until he gets ALL of the paired hides. IF he keeps going back to the same ones you can pick those up but I’d try to not pick them up so he has to work thru it.

      Let’s see how he works the problem; How fast he finds all of them, whether he repeats hides, which ones he gets first/last, etc.

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7138
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      This sounds like fun – I should be able to set this up either Tuesday or Wednesday. Just to be sure I understand my role – this is all Self-Rewarding for him on this exercise. The only thing I should do is encourage him to move on if needed – no extra food from me?

    • #7140
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      For this exercise, yes. Try to keep him looking for more. If he’s insisting, pay once more and pick it up but think about moving him on first.

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7166
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Okay, here is lesson 1:

      Setup in my basement, not a lot of air flow and probably about 70 – 75 degrees. The cold containers were set out overnight and odor containers added at 6:15 am. There is a mixed clove/anise at the threshold, birch in the egg carton on the right, birch in the black briefcase in the middle, clove in the far corner by the laundry sink and anise in the deep corner at the top left (where the bike used to be). I loaded all the hides with multiple small pieces of food and gave Cas (cat) some chicken on top of the storage containers. I forgot to lock up the old man cat, so he gets in on the game a bit, too. I ran this twice – the first time at 9:45 am (3.5 hours of cooking) and the second time at 1:15 pm (7 hrs of cooking). I stayed mostly out of the way and really did not need to do anything – Hunter moved through the area and from hide to hide pretty well.

      On the first run, he gets the threshold then moves through the center of the search area – at 20 seconds he almost bypasses the hide by the laundry sink but catches it just before he starts to miss that corner. At 33 seconds you will see Spock saunter up to the egg carton and start enjoying chicken. I moved over there just in case there were to be an altercation… Hunter comes back thru the center, finds the briefcase at :37, checks more blanks and returns to the threshold. At 1:00 he finds the egg carton and finishes off what the cat was eating (no altercation?). Then he returns to the briefcase and the laundry sink hides but leaves both of those quickly. He finally works the far edge of the search area and is drawn into the final corner hide at 1:28. I think the only container he never checked was the shoebox on the near right side.

      On the second run he finds all the hides within 30 seconds. I did let him continue searching for another minute – not sure if you wanted that or not, but he did not really want to leave the search after all the chicken bonanza out there! He finally checks the shoebox at 2:15. He certainly looked happy with this exercise!

    • #7175
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Great learning for Hunter!! I recall several searches in the past where he just never got deep enough to those corner locations! You can see after the second round when he continues to search that he lingers ever-so-slightly at a couple of the other containers but nothing that would sell you. And he’d already been bouncing between hides at that point. ๐Ÿ™‚

      So the next round(s) I’d like to try is another container search with similarly placed hides in boxes but NO pairing so you’re going to CLOSE the boxes. Choose different containers and move around the non-odor containers so the picture is slightly different. You will go in and reward and then STAY there while Hunter goes off hunting for more. ๐Ÿ™‚ Once he finds a hide, you will only then leave the previous hide to go pay. Ideally Hunter will stay at the hide waiting for payment.

      In the 3rd round, remove all the boxes and add some various items into the space. Add non-paired hides in about the same locations to see if Hunter is still working those corners/niches w/o the draw of the boxes. You’re not going to worry as much about the aging since the hides will be in the same places.

      Round 4: Slightly shift your set up with “stuff” and have the hides moved. This time they should be NEAR those corners and places where Hunter will catch odor FROM those productive areas. There will be a lot of lingering odor in the previous hide locations and Hunter will need to work thru that to get to the new odor sources.

      This series might take slightly more than 3 minutes but go ahead and include them this time so we can see if having the boxes out of the picture and with the hides moved make any difference in how Hunter works the room, now that he’s worked those areas.

      (Start thinking about a new interior environment where we might be able to take the next step.)

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7180
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Got it! I am off to agility and a fitness seminar this weekend, but I might be able to swing all this on Sunday afternoon. I can always set up in my garage when it is not too blazing hot and I have some interior options at work, too.

    • #7220
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Oh boy, Kim, I wish you had been here to coach me through the Interior search part. This video is long… Hunter did well with the closed container part – he found all the hides in just over 2 minutes.

      In the first Interior, he finds four hides in a little over 2 minutes, and he was close to finding the corner by the dresser at 2:46, but I moved too soon and he left the area. I cut out about a minute of him spinning and bouncing around the basement and when I cut it back in, he is tired – moving much more slowly and with less enthusiasm and at 3:10 he does a stress scratch, but then he does finally get that corner, and a BIG jackpot. That entire search took him about 4-1/2 minutes. I did start re-paying at found hides, since was really working hard and not finding the last hide.

      I gave him a short break and moved the hides a little. So this is when I really needed a coach! He found the two middle hides and the threshold fairly quickly, but he seemed to forget that those two corners were part of the search! He did finally find the dresser drawer (accessible) and he worked the corner but never found the hide under the laundry sink. The rest of the search I did not include, since there was a total of about 12 minutes of a tired and stressed pup not finding anything. After 6-1/2 minutes, I took him out of the search area for a break, removed all the found hides and brought him back in to see if he could find the laundry sink hide – he just ran all along the exterior wall and the areas farthest from that corner and even when I moved to that side of the room, he worked that corner briefly without finding it – after 5 minutes of finding nothing, I took him out, moved the hide slightly forward ( it was originally centered under the laundry sink) and paired it. This time he did find the hide in a little less than a minute – and he got another Mega-Jackpot. I clearly made that hide way more difficult than I intended to!

    • #7230
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Kathryn – so sorry for the delay! I will get to your video this afternoon when I return from class!

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7234
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Well darn it, the video seems to have a glitch and does not play past (3:30). ๐Ÿ™

      But let’s talk about what is happening.

      In watching what I could, Hunter is his usual energetic self, very quick to respond to odor. One *possibility* is that he does not have the skills to work that much odor effectively at one time. If you watch the video of Sarah & Angie, we see something similar but with a bit less speed and more distracted. The other *possibility* is that he just doesn’t know how to work corners and edges.

      Your decision to remove hides he’d already gotten and to give him breaks was very good. What is interesting is the deep corners issue that seems to plague him in your basement. Without objects to draw him he tends to cut those corners, which leads me to wonder more about the corners. I’m trying to recall if this has been an issue in other searches?

      I have a couple of ideas but wondered if you can concur that the corners seem to be an issue? (You mention deep corners in your initial paragraph.)

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7243
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      I reuploaded the part 4 of the above search for you. He finds 3 hides pretty quickly, works a little longer to source the dresser drawer hide and then works the laundry sink corner but never sources the hide – centered under the sink. The closest he comes is at 2:45 where he goes up on the sink. He never puts his nose under the sink. The end of the video is the last bit where I finally moved the hide to between the front legs of the sink and paired it.

      As for deep corners, this is a problem for him. When there are only 1 or 2 odors, he does seem to get the corners a little more effectively than with lots of odor present. The other issue with the laundry sink may have been the odor was trapped under the sink – he has had similar trouble in a warehouse search where he needed to get all the way under a shelf to catch the hide. He does not seem to recognize those corners/under shelves or objects spaces as spaces he can/should investigate. He is pretty good at checking under desks/tables/chairs in office and classroom type settings, but the long warehouse shelf presented a different challenge – he worked the aisle, but he just did not go under the shelf – there was plenty of space under there for him, he just never went there until I pressed him into that space.

      So, I suspect there will be more corners/niches exercises coming up! My garage is fairly small, but I have plenty of stuff in there to create deep corners/niches and I should be able to do a little work in the clinic lobby next week.

    • #7244
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      You got it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      The spot in the video where Hunter was searching the sink, he worked that from (2:17-2:53), so well over 30 seconds and still couldn’t solve the problem. That could be due to a hide that just wasn’t coming out much and your choice to put him up and move the hide was good. BUT, I think there are ways to help Hunter get a hide like that without moving the hide.

      Here’s what I’d like to experiment with;

      Set up a search (garage or basement, whichever will work best) where you ONLY have hides in deep niches. Work the search off-leash and you move like you normally do. I LIKE that you let Hunter have the space, then go in and pay, then stay there until he gets to another hide. I use this in training and in fact did this as an exercise this past weekend with several classes. Hunter DOES go out and works the area with you at a distance. This is GREAT. BUT. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Let’s do one search as I describe above and see how efficient Hunter works these niches. Don’t worry if he doesn’t get them all. See what he does in 3 minutes or so.

      Next, depending on what Hunter did/did not get, set up a similar search and you’re going to give him 30 seconds to work the deep hides and if he’s skipping places, I want you to HELP him detail. First you’ll use your body pressure by just stepping closer to the space and non-verbally asking him to check deeper by your position. If that doesn’t work, step in further and maybe use more body movements (hand gestures, etc.) to get him to check an area. If that’s still not quite enough, add some verbals.

      What I’m looking to see is what does it take for Hunter to check these deep niches? Is it merely exposure? Is it only when there are no hides that are easier? Is it that he needs you to be more present?

      SO many things can happen in a search and the puzzle pieces that get put together for each individual team can be different. Hunter may need more support from you to check those areas, for whatever reason. Some dogs don’t like to go deep due to insecurity, some don’t have the experience, some want to keep an eye on the handler, etc. They just can’t tell us but we can try things to see what will help.

      After we get thru this part, I have a next step but let’s see where this leads us first. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7246
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      So I did this search before your latest feedback, but the part I am posting here is relevant to your question about what does it take to get Hunter into those niches…

      This is the last 1.5 minutes of a 4 minute search. There are 3 hides: anise between the black aerobic bench risers and shelving on the right upper corner, birch under the broom and clove about 6″ up on the wall between the laundry sink and storage boxes.

      I cut out the first part of the search – when this clip stars he has already found the anise & birch hides and this is the first time he really works the laundry sink area. He is clearly in odor there, but when I don’t move, he does not go into the space he needs to work to source the hide. At about 1:00 he is heading back to recheck the broom and then I start to move toward the storage boxes. Hunter then works the laundry sink, gets in the niche and sources the last hide. I did not need to do much, but he does seem to be more effective at working those tight spaces if I move in a little bit.

      I may have some time tomorrow to set up something more like what you suggested….

    • #7253
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Some dogs just don’t like to put their heads in places that are “deep.” If Hunter has this much trouble in a place where he lives, it could be even more exaggerated when he is in a new place. By stepping in as he notices something you are supporting him and he will work harder. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7290
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Here is the first round of deep hides in the garage. The hides had cooked about 1 hour and the temp is about 75 degrees. There is very little air movement. The space is small, so I placed the hides fairly close together to keep them all in the video frame. There are 4 hides – 1.) clove on the left side next to the gardening table, 2.) anise elevated on the brown bookcase, 3.) birch on the floor between the blue tob and the garden tool rack and clove on the floor at the right corner. I paired all the hides and mostly stayed out of the way – the one spot where I moved a bit was because I was trying to figure out what he had stuck to his snout after finding the anise hide… I am pretty happy with how he worked this one by himself – niches are not as deep as in the basement, but he still had to work a bit for most of these.

      Should I repeat this type of search without pairing next? Same hide locations or mix it up a bit?

    • #7292
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      I think I would like to see one more round like this with paired hides but let’s see how Hunter works the problems with you closer. As I mentioned, it’s great that he is willing to work so far from you but I think there is a little bit of connection lost and I wonder if you go in a bit closer, the body pressure (push/pull) might keep him detailing an area rather than leaving it as we see him do in this video. Sure, he finds the hides but he doesn’t stay on the perimeter but leaves and comes back. I think if Hunter is encouraged to stay with detailing an area he will become more efficient.

      Two ways to do this – work it like a vehicle to use the leash and/or body pressure to keep the dog working an area or just standing by the hide previously found and working it off-leash. I think I would like to try the latter and still give him some independence. Once Hunter gets to a paired hide you will go in to pat/praise and encourage him to find more. You stay at the hide he just found and he chooses which way to go from there. Once he gets to the next hide you’ll move in to pat/praise and repeat. I’m predicting he won’t range out quite so far.

      I would change the configuration a little bit from what you have here tho’ you could use the same search area for this second round.

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7301
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Great, I will set something up on the other side of the garage this time!

    • #7318
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Here’s the next try! This time there are 4 hides on the other side of the garage – 1.) clove low on the wall under the brown table, 2.) birch on the crosspiece of the white table in the corner 3.) anise on the shorter cabinet in the middle at nose level 4.) birch on the metal trash can at floor level. It was a little cooler this morning, about 70 degrees in the garage and the hides cooked for about 30 minutes.

      He comes in and finds hide 2 right away, then really works hard to source and locate hide 3. I do think my presence nearby helped him work that one to completion the first time. He then peels off and circles back around, goes in for hide 1, refunds hide 2, passes hide 3 and sources hide 4. Hide 3 was the tough one for him – lots of objects in the way, but he figured out how to get his nose on it pretty quickly.

    • #7322
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Super!! I think your presence makes a big difference for Hunter! It’s not SELLING him on a location. You’re still keeping enough distance so he can freely work an area. But you’re SUPPORTING him and especially with these deep/tight hides I think it helped a lot!

      I would say to take the next step either to a new Interior location or an Exterior location. IF you can do it off leash, that’s great. If it has to be on-leash, give him lots of room and pretend he’s off-leash. Don’t direct, but support.

      ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7341
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      More niches and corners at the clinic this evening. Three hides cooked about 30 minutes for the first part, then I moved the two easier hides and ran the second part about 10 minutes later. On the first part, the hides are behind the blonde bookcase against the wall, about nose height on the back of the plant bucket and elevated on the half wall.

      He finds the bookcase hide quickly and shows his first interest in the elevated half-wall at about 11 seconds. That one turns out to be a challenge for him, though. He finds the bucket next then starts ranging out of the search area. He spent a lot of time going up in the window on the other side of the half wall. I cut out about 2 minutes when he is out of camera view. When I cut back in, he refunds the two hides and then works that half-wall but doesn’t quite source the hide. I did not really support him at all and he left the problem for a moment – back to the other window and then comes back in and finally puts his nose on the hide and the hot dog!

      On the second part he quickly works out the plant rack on the right side and the far corner under the treadmill and this time he sources the half-wall much more efficiently. I think he learned a good bit from that first effort!

      I am off a few days next week, so I should have time to go find some exteriors to work next. Should I continue with pairing or try some unpaired searches again?

    • #7349
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Great learning by all parties! ๐Ÿ™‚

      It does seem that Hunter does better with you near when he’s trying to solve a problem. Staying at the previous hide allowed him some independence but I think next you should try going in just a little bit closer when you see him trying to narrow down a hide. As if you’re asking him a question, “What is it that you’re saying?” Not too close to crowd or sell him on a spot but to encourage him to continue working that problem.

      I think you could pair or not pair but I’m still wanting to see more connection between the two of you as he tries to problem-solve. It’s definitely getting better! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7375
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      We went to the park to run some exteriors this morning, and I added all 3 searches, even though the second and third were not quite part of the current lesson… About 75 degrees, 65% humidity, 9 am. Search 1 is paired hides, 2 & 3 are not paired but all are accesible hides.

      Search 1 is my effort to recreate the “niches and corners” problem outdoors. I think the converging odor problem that I created for him was more of a challenge than the niches. There are 4 hides, and he sources the 3 hides on the building within 45 seconds. These were all paired, but he pushed the hot dog back into the crevice on the high hide in the middle, so I had to help a bit so he could get his reward. The ground hide in the bushes was the last hide he sourced, but he showed brief interest in that direction several times earlier in the search (16 sec, 29 sec) so hopefully I would in a blind search think to encourage him in that direction. I did try to point him in that direction after he found the high hide, but he chose to return to the doorway, which I repaid after he had worked so hard to self-reward on the elevated one! When he left the doorway the second time, he chose to head into the gap between the bushes and quickly sourced the hide – he appears to be just trotting along until he gets around the far plants and then catches the odor and goes to work again.

      On search 2, I placed 1 hide elevated (but accesible for Hunter) on bleachers. This is a scenario that he sometimes has trouble with, and this 1 hide search took almost as long as the previous 4 hide search. He nearly sources it on his initial approach but cuts left and works around the left side of the bleachers, then he climbs the bleachers and again is nearly on top of the odor but cannot get his nose on it from that angle. He chooses to come back down off the bleachers, works the fence and then works around the bleachers clockwise and sources the odor as he comes at it from the right. He solved this one a lot faster than he has this kind of search in the past, and it has been several months since we last worked bleachers. I do worry about letting him climb the bleachers, though he was clearly chasing odor up there and Hunter is agile enough to get away with it, but for a lot of dogs that could be dangerous, so do you advise preventing that? The dog should not “need” to climb the bleachers to solve the problem.

      Search 3 was a 2 hide search with one very straightforward hide on the tree and a second under the picnic table bench. I put that one in, because Hunter had recently been alerting a little early on this kind of hide – catching the odor on top of the bench and not working to get his nose on the source underneath the bench. I had to wait him out a bit, but he did put his head under.

    • #7381
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      I really liked this first search w/4 odors. I think the converging odor was a challenge but I like that you supported Hunter w/o leading him. He chose which way to go but because you were near he stuck with the problem. I see that your shoulders at (:28) would encourage Hunter to check the greenery but when he chooses the building you open up and allow him that freedom. Then at (:58) you again turn your shoulders towards the bushes and Hunter chooses the door. Good independence but as a handler, don’t discount that there isn’t anything in the bushes (were it blind). Then you use your hand/arm motion (1:05) and Hunter then agrees to search the shrubbery. It doesn’t take much but he turns his focus and finds the last hide. Nicely done.

      The bleachers search is tricky. No, you really don’t want your dog to walk on the bleachers due to safety reasons but you can see how challenging his search is and by letting Hunter check all around and even on top he figured it out pretty darn well. The only other thing you could do to experiment is to not let him get on top of the bleachers and work them like a vehicle with a short leash.

      The two hide search under the tree was good to work. I think trees create some wind challenges because of the way the wind moves (or doesn’t move) under and around them.

      Good job!

      So from the exercises we’ve been working on, I still think Hunter could use some more management in a large interior search with multiple hides and some deep/out of reach. It would be good practice to work some more of those. Minimize the boinging around from one side to the next. Work an area where you see interest and then be done with it. So one, maybe two passes in a space.

      Do you have access to a location or can you reuse a location with different hide placement?

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7389
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      I also want to work more containers! I set some up in the basement yesterday and even with a short leash and trying to pattern (containers set in a square) he still cuts the corners. Of course, I put the hot boxes in the row next to a corner but not at the very corner until the third search – and he missed the hot corner container on the first time round the third search… (I did a series of 1,2,3 hides in the setup, adding a hide each search and letting it sit a couple of hours between runs.)

      I might be able to work at the training building where we do agility & obedience. I just need to check the schedule and hopefully find a time when we are likely to be the only team there…

    • #7390
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Oh, and I am meeting a friend to search in another park this afternoon, so I will do another bleacher search and will try to keep him from putting all 4 paws on the bleachers! I will probably need to really choke up on that leash ?.

    • #7397
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Ok, then let’s look at the bleacher’s search first and see if there is some progress. I really expect it’s a matter of experience for Hunter. Lots of bleachers. ๐Ÿ™‚

      After that, let’s switch back to Containers and see what can work. I would say, in order to get Hunter to consider the corners it may be your position (remember, you can go outside of the grouping of containers) or just his thought process. I would do 2 or 3 searches with ONLY hides in corners. Change your containers so they aren’t always the same. If you can duplicate this in a place other than your basement afterwards that would be the next step. You can choose to videotape/discuss one or both (but one at a time) to see how it’s working. Oh – and since Containers is usually on leash, I would do it on leash, reward and then let Hunter cast out from there. Support but don’t hover too closely. Your choice to repay a found hide. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7398
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Here is our bleacher search from this afternoon. It is about 3 pm, about 95 degrees and thankfully a pretty stiff breeze. This was the last search of our practice, so he had already worked 2 other exteriors and some containers in the previous hour. Considering the heat, I am pretty pleased with how this one went! There are 2 hides (which I think were both clove) that had been set for about 45 minutes. The low hide actually fell off the bench and was on the ground (cheap masking tape…), and once he gets into search mode, he narrows that one down quickly. I then guide him a little to get him moving around the bleachers and on the far side He puts his front feet up on the riser but I don’t let him go any farther. He returns to the ground with all 4 paws, continues around the corner and works out the high hide – placed very much like yesterday’s search. Happy very hot dog and very hot handler! At least all the previous searches were consciously placed in the shade!

    • #7416
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Wow! That was pretty! Hunter was very efficient! I think just a little exposure like this and bleachers will not be such an issue. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7419
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      We snuck in a quickie container search this evening before the storms rolled in. I set the two hot boxes out about 30 minutes before running and placed the cold containers about 10 minutes before running the search. I usually do it the other way round, but I had odor in the garage and cold boxes had to be brought up from the basement, so it just worked out that way. Really interesting that he skips 3 out of 4 corner boxes on the first circuit! I intentionally set the hot boxes even a little farther into the corners, sO a little offset from the far right line, but he skipped the cold corner box on the top left of the search the first time, too. I may have to try this again tomorrow to see if he has learned anything about cutting corners…

      I should be able to get up to the training building over the weekend and can do some interior and container searches in a bigger space. There may be some agility equipment out, but we will work around that ?.

    • #7424
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      More corners! ๐Ÿ™‚

      The other thing to consider is your position. You do get outside of the cluster, rather than just inside so that’s good. But he does need lots more of this kind of search to reinforce checking the corners. Also really good for YOU to see that he does that so when you don’t know where the hide(s) are you can make sure he doesn’t miss them.

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7435
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      I am going to try to get up to the training building Sunday evening, where I can work a large interior and do some containers. I’m thinking I will do the containers first unpaired and then pick those up and set some paired Interiors. Does that sound good?

      Hopefully all the Obedience/Agility folks are at trials and seminar and I can have the place to myself…

    • #7436
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Yep, sounds like a good plan! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7442
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Here is our large Interior search at the training building this evening. Hunter has a little multi-tasking to do – he is not used to searching such a large space off leash, so there is a bit of running about because he could. There are 6 hides, all paired – in the corner on the white divider panel, under the chair, on the floor along the wall behind the tunnel, in the corner amongst the mess of jump standards and weave poles, along the middle of the far wall next to the obedience jump and under the A-frame. He finds the first 3 in order, then skips the corner to catch the far wall, comes back to the corner, then goes on another runabout for a bit. I did a little whistling to encourage him to come back toward the A-frame, and once he realized there was odor there, he did figure it out – I think my whistling to him did help get him to approach and remain in the area. I did not do a great job of supporting him on the first couple of hides, but I think we got a little better for the rest. I will wait for your comments in this one, and then I have the container searches to post next.

    • #7445
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      I would agree, Hunter spends a lot of time circling the room in a big loop around the area then back to circling the cluster of chairs in the corner. You were quite some distance from him. I couldn’t tell if he found a hide there but I think so? He starts towards the line of chairs against the wall. Notice how he bends to your body pressure at (:59)? He starts to work the chairs, sniffs the ground instead and passes them, then circles back towards the cluster in the corner (1:13). I know there are times it’s good to let the dog lead the way and not do too much directing but since he already solved (?) that problem, I’d have called him back before he got back to that area and asked him to keep working the row of chairs since he skipped them by sniffing the ground. By following him you appear to give him permission to keep working an area he’s already worked. So, while you do a very nice job of supporting, I think a little more influence might be helpful in this respect.

      So he gets the hide under the chair and then in the niche near the tunnel and keeps working the perimeter nicely. When you see him skip the corner, I’d have called him back and asked him to check the area. So I think(?) Hunter gets the hide near the jump support at (2:26)? He then heads towards the teeter. That is another opportunity to get him back to the nearby corner he skipped. He does check the corner near the Teeter nicely, then looks about for you and comes back to the corner he skipped. I believe he then solves that problem – good! ๐Ÿ™‚

      You re-pay the hide near the jump support, Hunter does a Teeter (because it’s there ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) then kind of looses focus. Your whistle was good to keep him closer to you and to continue working the middle area.

      So in watching the video, I’m not sure allowing Hunter that much freedom in a large space is helpful for time’s sake. You might consider letting him do a once-around general to see if he shows any changes of behavior but then put him on leash. OR, practice working him as if he were on leash. Hunter does a grand job of working the room but he’s kind of scattered in his approach so you lose a lot of time. When you get to the Elite level, this will be a killer. Believe me, I make this same mistake with my dogs and then I kick myself for letting them bounce around too much. I’m working Zen on leash more because of this.

      What are your thoughts?

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7450
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Yes, he was clearly running amuck for much of that search! He does really well with focusing in smaller rooms, but that big space (where he is typically doing agility) is a challenge. I have a couple of times had the opportunity to work him in a large fenced outdoor space (mini golf course) and in large warehouses and he had that same “OMG I can really run now” reaction. That indoor space is larger than my backyard, so even though he is familiar with it, there is still that unexpected chance to just be a crazy pup.

      So, if I were really searching in a space like that, I probably would use the leash. He is pretty responsive to me, and the whistle seems to work to get him to come back near me without being a proper recall, but I think we both need to practice spaces like that…

      I certainly could have directed him more than I did, and I really needed to be closer to him. At the time, I was not really sure he got the first hide by the divider panel, which is part of why I let him return to that spot before finishing the chair problem. That was just bad handling on my part!

      That said, I think this was an exercise to be revisited when I can get back to the building. Because I had someone to video for me, I set up a more challenging search than I would have if I was trying to catch it all with the camera on the tripod. Next time I might just set hides in a smaller part of the room – or maybe do the add-a-hide exercise that you had Sarah & Angie do.

      I still need to upload the container searches!

    • #7452
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Yes, the exercise with the increasing number of hides and size of the space might help. The other thing you can try is to just place a single hide in the space and see how fast Hunter finds just the ONE hide. This will clue you in to what is making him run amuk. It’s possible with the room size and dynamics he’s catching odor from all over the place so it’s hard for him to narrow them all down. He’s taking a wide approach of gathering them all at first. OR he’s just happy he gets to run free. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7461
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Okay, I keep writing long detailed posts and getting kicked off before I hit submit, so here is a short post about a long container video!

      Search 1 – 3 hides (right near corner, left far corner and bottle in the center
      Search 2 – 3 hides (right near corner, left far corner and moved the bottle to the far right corner)
      Search 3 – 2 hides (black bag on near right corner, egg carton on far left)
      Search 4 – same as search 3, just moved a couple of the cold containers a bit

    • #7465
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      As long as *you* can keep track of where you’re going and where you’ve been, you’re good! ๐Ÿ™‚

      First search – I noticed Hunter skips the upper right box in the first pass. Of course there is no hide there but as long as you know to get back there to be sure in a blind search you’re. good. When you work up the middle you can see how different the bottles are than the boxes but Hunter does figure it out. Many times it’s a matter of exposure to different containers and then the dogs have no trouble.

      Second search – (1:06) Hunter pulls to the left but you hold the line with slight tension so he comes back to investigate the box in front of you. You release the tension and he then heads to the corner box, overshoots and has a significant COB on the corner box, even LOOKING at you (1:11) as he walks it. Would you have spent more time there had you not known where the hides were? Hunter gets the lower right corner box, checks up the row very nicely, checks the upper right bottle, leaves it the starts to go back (1:23) with your body pressure pushing him off of it. He goes to the box BELOW the corner and works the row back to the lower right corner, then back up the row. He SKIPS the corner bottle and heads to the box to the left. Fortunately your body pressure didn’t push him off the corner this time and he gets the bottle. Just something to be aware of. Good job staying to the outside, trying to stay out of his way. He gets the upper left container, works down the left row to the lower left corner and again gives you TWO looks on that box (1:53, 1:54), checks it again then goes with you back up the left row. Repayment upper left, across top row, Hunter alerts on the box next to the corner (2:10) then goes back to the corner bottle in upper right, box in lower right, back to the box lower left and leaves it.

      Were you trying to apply additional pressure by re-visiting each container and keeping him in the search longer?

      Third Search – As you approach the “start,” notice that Hunter is trying to go right, towards the lower right hide, but you’re keeping him on the left on a short leash. So you need to decide if you’re going to let him lead and just make sure he covers the search area or if you’re going to impose a strict pattern. If you’re going to give him freedom, it’s to your advantage to give him a moment at the start line and let him choose where to begin. I’m convinced he’d have headed to the odor bag immediately. He ends up cutting in front of you (2:33) and going to the wrong bag and looking at you (2:36) before you move him on. He then proceeds to show a lot of interest in a few of the bags in the right row. He gets to the left row and gets paid at the upper left. Hunter works down the row and again cuts across to the row on the right (2:55) and finally works the lower right hide.

      Fourth Search – Hunter is IN FRONT of you at the beginning and chooses to go right, hits the lower right hide immediately. He works up the row to the top and then has a significant COB on the upper bag, even giving you an indication but you don’t pay and he moves on with you. He then gets the egg carton next to it and is paid. Hunter finishes the left row, LOOKS at you at the tall bag (3:28) but moves off and back to the hide and finishes the search.

      I see a few things in these searches but curious what your take is before I say anything?

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7468
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      So I think there were some interesting things going on in these searches!

      Both search areas were set up simultaneously, so I think the interest in the lower left corner on both search 1 and 2 may have been the draw of the odor in the black bag in the other search area. I need to set something like this with only one active search…

      On several occasions in all these searches he gave me the half-hearted look on non-source containers. This is something we struggle with in blind searches. When I know where the hides are, I can ignore him and keep going. In a blind search, I am much slower to call an alert in practice – I tend to look for either sticking at the source while I continue to move or leaving a container, checking the next one and returning – so I am calling on a second hit, not the first. Hunter is pretty forgiving about that, but I wonder if that is becoming part of his alert signal now.

      On the second search, I repeated the pattern in the opposite direction for me – I know he will blow past hides on occasion, so I am trying to cover the area in one direction, turn and cover it from the other direction and then get out before he convinces me he found something that is not there…

      On search 3 – thank you for pointing out that he wanted to go to the right from the get-go! I did not notice that at the time and did not pick up on that watching the video, either! That makes me understand a little better why he was so confused (and confusing!) in that search. I usually do let him choose the initial direction, and I think that typically works a lot better. He is willing to stick with a pattern once started, but he tends to go right (counterclockwise) just about all the time…

      So after a bunch of tough container searches this week, I think maybe some simpler problems might be worthwhile – only 1 search set up, so no mingling of odor from separate search areas and go back to rapid reward for the initial interest in the source container – not waiting for formal alert behavior. I should be able to get my training partner to set up a blind search for me on Sunday – maybe not looking for definitive alerts there either, but have her tell me when to pay if I am slow to make a decision?

      Containers are still hard for us!

    • #7473
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Ok, good, I’m glad you’re making conscious decisions. The biggest thing I noticed was something probably very unconscious, however, and that’s your body language when you know where the hides are and where they are not. This is (I think) a direct result of wanting to reward Hunter quickly when there is odor. However, what this *can* result in is a change in your body language in the presence of odor. So if you take a look at the places where Hunter is “guessing” where odor is NOT, your body language is telling him it’s not there since you’re not responding to his cues. Whereas when it IS there you are quick to respond to his cues and pay him.

      SO – how to get out of this cycle? You said you second-guess him in trial because you don’t know where odor is? You wait for a second hit on the odor. WHY NOT do that same thing in training? If it’s really there, he’s going to tell you, right? I know it’s sort of “testing” while training, I prefer to think of it as “proofing” in training. You have to try REALLY hard to not cue him to odor. Because it is extra confusing for both of you when you don’t know where it is. If you practice this in training it puts the onus back onto Hunter to insist. Rather than pay early, DELAY your reward right now, and see if he more insistent. This will evolve, of course, and is counter to the communication of paying early to elicit the communication but since this seems to be an issue, I would suggest experimenting in this direction for a bit to see if it makes a difference.

      Just something to think about. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7477
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Oh yes, I have had the “pay early” mindset drilled into me! I know I can very much influence him even when I try hard not to! We are playing agility this weekend, so I am giving him a couple of days off from sniffing. I’ll meet up with my practice partners Sunday evening and will see what we can do ?.

    • #7479
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Excellent! I look forward to the videos when you don’t know where it is! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7483
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      The blind container search! I am pleased with this one. The setup had been sitting for about 15 minutes, and overall, I think he did a nice job with his communication on this one. We only had time to do one container search tonight.

    • #7486
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      EXCELLENT! I was so happy that Hunter stuck with the problem at the corner hide when you kept moving forward and he did some nice work with the can hide. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7490
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Yes, I really felt good about this search. He drifted out a bit coming around to the second row, but I was bad to get him to come back to the containers and he had the two quick successes. The training partner who helped me is a newbie – this is the first time she had set up and judged a search for me. I think she was more nervous than I was!

      So where do you think we should go next?

    • #7492
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      I think you should progress to working containers in the same way but with a blind search on luggage. I know you just had the luggage searches but they were known. Luggage can be so tricky and if you have an opportunity to do them blind it might give us more info about what things need to be fine-tuned.

      Other than that, what other areas do you feel you need to help with? More deep niche work? Find a park with buildings that have niches and see if Hunter can work them?

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7494
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      It may be next week before I have a chance to meet with my training partners to do more blind searches. I can definitely do some exterior niches – that one is easy to do on my own.

    • #7498
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      We only have a few days left of the course, so do what you can! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7502
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Oh no, are we really almost done! I have lost track of time! I will get the exteriors done today or tomorrow and at least have some ideas of things to work on until the next class…

    • #7504
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      I know! 6 weeks can go by quickly! But you’ve got a LOT accomplished in that time! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7512
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      So my trip to the local park tonight turned out to be way more challenging than I had planned. Every search I set up ended up with serious distractions that detracted from Hunter’s searching and my ability to concentrate on supporting him. This is the first search I set up, which turned out to be the best one of the evening. The playground was deserted when I got there – we had thunderstorms earlier in the evening. By the time I got the dog pottied and the tripod set up, the small child had arrived. I contemplated picking up and just leaving, but I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. I warned the mother what I was doing and you will hear her at one point tell the girl she cannot visit the dog because he is busy…

      Anyway, I am pleased with how well Hunter managed the distraction, but I am not happy with my handling. I kept him on a shorter leash and in a smaller area than I had originally intended. I would have let him go around the left side of the slide if the little girl had not been there, and I think that would have helped him with the third hide in the middle. I clearly dropped food at the first hide at the climbing wall – at least Hunter thought I did. He did a nice job on the second hide in the edging and I was trying to get him to go under the slide at 1:19 when he jumps on it instead – when he does get under the slide to get back to the middle of the structure he picks up the last hide nicely – and got a many treat jackpot!

      So I learned from this that Hunter CAN work through that kind of distraction, but that I am not on my game when I am trying to divide my attention between my dog and what else is going on in the area. Hunter has very limited exposure to children and only in very controlled scenarios, and I just wanted to be ready to scoop him up and away if the little girl got too close. No more public playgrounds unless I have a training partner to run interference for me!

    • #7560
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      Wow! Talk about distractions! GOOD BOY! Interesting that this lesson YOU were more affected by the distracting environment and if you were able to watch Gina & Kalli’s last search it was Gina who was also distracted by the environment. I find this is often more what happens at trials. The distractions end up being about us, not the dog. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Anyhow, very good job for both of you. It had to be stressful with the limited “area” you decided to give Hunter, knowing what lay beyond. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’d love to hear your thoughts on the progressions with Hunter with the deep niche hides, blowing by hides in containers and your overall teamwork from the past 6 weeks?

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

    • #7571
      Kathryn Dobyns
      Participant

      Thanks Kim for another great class.

      Hunter got to be Dog-in-White for the Oxford, MD trial yesterday and that was a fantastic experience! We would not have titled if those searches had counted – missed a threshold in Interiors and falsed on pooling odor in Containers. I learned something from that Container search that I need to work on – it was the same scenario that got a false in our NW3 trial last December – he hits on the box that is next to the luggage that has the hide, and when I move toward him that convinces him he is right. I need to practice moving in the same direction but not directly toward him. I think if I had moved in the direction he was going but maintained a parallel path, then he might have left the box to source the actual hide on the luggage next to it. Still a work in progress! His exterior and vehicle searches were really nice and he was spot on in the other two interiors.

      I will be looking for Back to Basics next. Now off to help with today’s NW1.

    • #7572
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

      What fun! Yes, if you recall we talked a bit about your body language with containers and the inconsistency of when you know where the hide is/isn’t vs when you don’t know. Something to practice! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Kimberly Buchanan
      Joyride K9 Dog Training

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