~JOYRIDE K9 *REMOTE* K9NW EDUCATION~

NW502: Sue & Blackie NW2 (Mix breed, CA)

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    • #10213
      Kimberly Buchanan
      Keymaster

        Welcome back Sue & Blackie! 🙂

        Kimberly Buchanan
        Joyride K9 Dog Training

      • #10243
        Kimberly Buchanan
        Keymaster

          Hi Sue – I know you’re back from Michigan now – looking forward to hearing what you want to work on with Blackie! So sorry that your first note went into cyberspace. But now you’re back and I’m sure rarin’ to go! 😀

          Kimberly Buchanan
          Joyride K9 Dog Training

        • #10245
          Susanne Howarth
          Participant

            Yup, I arrived home late last night, and BOY! Was there ever a doggy celebration when the girls realized that not only was I back (after being gone FOREVER, they said!), but I even brought their favorite French friends with me. YAY!

            Anyhow… yes, let me see what I need to say about Blackie and our challenges. Blackie and I have been doing nose work for approximately 5 years now, although we really only started getting serious about it ~3 years ago. Since that time, she’s done very well: she achieved her NW2 a little over a year ago and has since competed in 3 NW3 trials, coming VERY close to titling a couple of times. She’s also had good luck getting into trials, and will be competing in the upcoming Reno NW3 trial; 2 ESTs in Salem, Oregon (L1E and L2I); and possibly yet another NW3 in Salem in June. (She’s #11 on the wait list for that one.)

            That said, Blackie is an excellent little agility dog, and is used to looking to me to say what we need to do next. Unfortunately, this reliance on me doesn’t translate well to nose work, and she often gets frustrated when she thinks the problem is just too hard for her. When this happens, she’ll sit down, stare at me, and start vocalizing as if to say, “YOU know where it is – why don’t you tell me? How come you’re not helping? I can’t figure it out!” The funny part of this is when the hide happens to be right behind her, she throws her head in the air to emphasize her disappointment in me, and OH! WAIT! There it is!

            So one thing we need is strategies for me to be able to help her at times like that – even though I cannot find the hides for her. I think we also need ways to help her realize that she IS able to figure out these problems – which may mean having her work more more-difficult hides, and helping her to be successful at working them? (Although you usually tease me about the fact that I tend to make things TOO difficult for her.)

            Finally, I’ve had problems with her giving me very convincing false alerts. This started out as a consistent problem in containers: she’d run into the room, POUNCE on a random container (without really sniffing anything), and I’d trust my dog; then we’d be done. Well, I learned not to be quite so trusting in that element, and we seem to have put it behind us. However, one of our NW3 near misses was because in one of the interior rooms Blackie gave me a very convincing alert (and stuck it) where there really was no odor. (On that one, even the judge said  that she had no idea why she alerted there.) I sometimes think such things may happen when she’s tired and doesn’t feel like working too hard – so stamina?

            OK… I think that should give us more than enough to work on! I’ll try to post a video to go with all of this, but I also suspect that you can give me some suggestions even before I get a chance to post something. Unfortunately, Fred thinks I need to do some work-work now that I’m home – not just work on catching up on doggy matters!

          • #10247
            Kimberly Buchanan
            Keymaster

              Yeah, glad to have you back home, Sue! 🙂

              Yes, that frustration is comical when it’s in class. Not quite so much in trial, I’m sure. I’m thinking we may do some version of “Timmy’s in the Well” to see if this sparks any independence from Blackie.

              Let’s try this;

              Put together a simple search with a sourceable hide. Pair if you think it’s necessary. You bring Blackie into the search area and you have a seat. Release her and see how long it takes her to get to work. If it’s right away, terrific! If it takes her awhile you can decide whether to just wait her out (abbreviate your video if necessary) or put her up and then bring her back with the hide either paired or not.

              Post this video/these videos and let’s see how it goes! If it goes well, we’ll move on from there but I’d like to see her immediate response to this first. What I’m hoping to do is get her to understand that she controls you but not for the help you can give EXCEPT to reward her at odor. Plus, whether she shows her frustration or just gets to work. This may or may not work but let’s try it and see what Blackie says! 🙂

              Kimberly Buchanan
              Joyride K9 Dog Training

            • #10258
              Susanne Howarth
              Participant

                This assignment proved to be VERY interesting indeed! When I read what you suggested, I thought, “Well that will be about 45 seconds worth of video, so perhaps I’ll do it several times and post multiple searches.” Right. Silly me!

                Ultimately, the exercise proved to be perfect for what I’m struggling with – and we may just repeat this in a variety of locations, because it DID provoke that frustration response that I/we need to overcome!

                I’m going to post 2 videos: one an abbreviated version of our first unsuccessful search, which started out at 5:35 and has now been edited down to more like 3:15. You’ll see 3 places where the action breaks – in part because Blackie went out of the frame, and also just to abbreviate things at least a bit. I’ll also post a second video of our two later successful searches, which totaled only a minute and a half. Here’s the first one:

                All three searches yesterday were in our garage, which was warm and had air circulating from the furnace, plus a garage fridge, so who knows what the air currents might have been doing! I started out by placing the hide on the handle of the upside down feed container in the back left corner (closest to the camera, and facing the camera). It was just a tiny bit over nose height for Blackie, so I assumed it wouldn’t be a problem, but I was certainly wrong! She comes close to putting her nose on the hide several times, with virtually no CoB.

                I ran the search first with Biscuit, who had many of the same difficulties that Blackie exhibits, but not to quite as great a degree. Biscuit did find the hide, with a little body pressure assistance. With Blackie, I opted to sit her out for a LONG time – possibly too long, since the video was already well over 5 minutes when I decided enough is enough and put her up (without paying)! She did all the classic things I want to combat in terms of asking for help and saying she couldn’t figure it out.

                In the second video (searches two and three), I made it simpler: first, a single hide in a low and small box that had an open top, in the middle of the space. After her frustrating first experience, I think Blackie wasn’t quite as ready to work, and was already in “help me” mode even just at the start of this search. Nonetheless, it took her less than 30 seconds to find the hide this time.

                Finally, I placed the hide on the edge of the wire shelving at the right of the image and ran the search one last time. Once again, she was a bit slow to start working, and came to ask for assistance once she had covered the objects in the search area, as opposed to checking the perimeter on her own. She then tried offering behaviors, but ultimately started working on her own again, and found the hide at about the 1:30 mark and we had a big celebration!

              • #10264
                Kimberly Buchanan
                Keymaster

                  Wow! That was interesting to watch how frustrated she got! I think it was good for her to work thru tho’ I’m sure it was uncomfortable for you.

                  I agree, do this one again! And I would definitely make the hides very very easy. And let’s see if she gets to work any faster. 🙂

                  Kimberly Buchanan
                  Joyride K9 Dog Training

                • #10268
                  Susanne Howarth
                  Participant

                    OK… Interestingly enough, Blackie and I did an all-day USCSS Games seminar today, and the very first exercise that Michael had us do was pretty much this exact exercise: we were to enter the room, choose where we wanted to start (on the outside of the cones delimiting the search area), and then, once the dog’s nose crossed the cone line, we were to stand absolutely still and say nothing till the dog found the hide. Happily, I had one of my fellow students record this search, so I’ll post it here.

                    Blackie did a nice job on this search! There’s only one hide, on the desk at the back of the camera view. One thing that intrigued me was that Blackie seemed to check the “stuff” in the middle of the search area first. Then, she worked out to hit the desk, which was on the perimeter of the search area (and find the hide).

                    It was also very interesting to me that when we repeated more or less this same exercise, with the hide in a different location, it took Blackie a LOT longer. (Unfortunately, I don’t have a video of this second search.) The second time, the hide was on the edge of one of the chairs on the right side of the search area, and again, we could choose the point from which we would start our dogs. I started Blackie directly opposite that point, she went into the actual search area, and then proceeded to deviate outside the area and check out most of the rest of the room before finally returning and finding the hide. Her time on this second search was more like 50 seconds!

                    Happily, on both searches (and throughout the day) she worked willingly and without getting frustrated. We tried some things that were outside our comfort zone (i.e., working on leash for an interior search, and attempting to think about a pattern), so it was a good learning experience!

                     

                  • #10272
                    Kimberly Buchanan
                    Keymaster

                      She did great! I wonder if she’s just naturally drawn to objects in the middle of the room first? Even at 50 seconds, for a dog to evaluate a roomful of stuff is not bad! But this does make me wonder about a big open space instead of a room with stuff!

                      BTW, so incredibly rude of the person in the room asking questions of Michael while you’re working your dog!

                      Kimberly Buchanan
                      Joyride K9 Dog Training

                    • #10275
                      Susanne Howarth
                      Participant

                        In regards to rudeness of someone asking questions while we were working, that was kind of interesting, because at the start of the day, Michael said, “It’s OK to ask questions at any time,” and he specifically encouraged us NOT to keep a church-like silence when the dogs were working. His theory: the dogs are less wigged out if there’s normal conversation going on, whereas at a trial, when everyone is so deathly silent and afraid of distracting dog or handler, that silence can actually be even more distracting.

                        Also, it was amusing to me to watch the video afterwards, because I had not even heard the question or answer while searching; I heard it for the first time on the video. Clearly I was focused! Ultimately, while this was a different way of working from what I’m used to, it didn’t particularly bother me/us, and one good thing about taking classes from different folks is that it does stretch me and can force me outside my comfort zone, which can be a very good thing, since by definition, trial conditions/energy/anxiety tend to be outside the comfort zone!

                        So, I think I’ll get the camera out this morning and do a couple more rounds of this exercise just for fun. Any suggestions for additional or other exercises?

                         

                      • #10276
                        Susanne Howarth
                        Participant

                          Blackie and I repeated this exercise 5 times this morning: twice in the garage and three times in the living room. Since our second garage search proved very difficult (based on hide placement), I’ll post these as two (still somewhat long) videos. Here’s the first one (the garage searches):

                          The first search in the garage was relatively simple: I removed most of the stuff from the middle of the space, and left out only a step ladder and wire crate, both of which were slightly restricting access to the hide, which was on the wire shelving at the left. This proved no challenge whatsoever for Blackie, who decided there was enough space between the crate and step ladder for her to push through and put her nose on the hide in only about 13 seconds.

                          For the second hide, on the other side of the garage, I just couldn’t restrain myself: it was on the tennis ball that hangs there to tell us when the car is far enough into the garage to close the door. I knew this would be challenging and that I’d need to accept less in terms of showing me the hide. However, when I ran the search first with Biscuit, I felt like I rewarded too fast, and should have expected a bit more. Not surprisingly, I over-compensated and waited perhaps too long with Blackie. About 15 seconds into the search (:33 on the video), I noticed that she threw her head up and looked at the tennis ball – but I elected NOT to accept that as an alert/acknowledgment. In part, I wasn’t sure what the business was with pawing her muzzle after looking at the hide – allergies? Now I wonder whether she was wondering what the hide was doing in the middle of the air?

                          In any event, this missed opportunity meant that by about 1:10, she started getting frustrated and asking for help – which, in reality, was part of my objective (i.e., I wanted to give her a situation in which she had to work through a bit of frustration). To try to show some support, I moved my chair to the opposite side of the garage at 1:40, and then leashed her up at 2:25, because she was really demanding assistance. Once on leash, I had to move a bit to get her to work, but finally, at ~3:01, she flicked her head directly at the tennis ball, and I moved in fast to reward.

                        • #10278
                          Kimberly Buchanan
                          Keymaster

                            Oh Sue, you do entertain me! LOL!

                            I’m not so sure I’d have paid Blackie with the first head-flick either. It does appear that she is catching odor but I don’t know that she actually made the connection that the hide was above her head. When you did go in to pay, I suspect her head-flick was more about the leash going over her head than knowing the hide was there. But maybe.

                            So she got rewarded for being in odor. But I’m not sure it really addressed the issue you’re working on, which is the independent hunting. I know in class we talked a bit about Blackie’s need to have you closer to her for support. But at this end of the spectrum we are working on her independence which in turn brings you IN to reward. I suspect in your quest to find her frustration point this was just a bit too hard. I suggest rather than get to that point, find searches that are BELOW her threshold of frustration and GRADUALLY up the ante. The first search was fabulous! She conquered the tight space, found the hide, told you and stayed there. Picture perfect! 🙂

                            Anxious to see the next search to see how she worked the problem independently. 🙂

                            Kimberly Buchanan
                            Joyride K9 Dog Training

                          • #10279
                            Susanne Howarth
                            Participant

                              Yes, I do love to over challenge her, don’t I? Poor girly! No wonder she gets frustrated!!!

                              Actually, as I watched the video before posting it yesterday, I saw a couple other glances up at the tennis ball (:33, :49, and :58) as well as a lot of sniffing the paper under the ball. I agree that I don’t think she KNEW where the odor was, but I guess I decided to reward when I did so as to allow her to be successful, as opposed to simply stopping the search and having her know she missed it. I think I’ve heard you say that sometimes it’s just exposure to a hard problem like that, so that in the future they’ll be more able to solve similar problems. Agreed that’s not necessarily the skill we’re trying to build at this time!

                              Anyhow, here’s the video of the other lesson-appropriate searches we did yesterday. All three were significantly easier than that last hanging tennis ball search in the garage!

                              At the workshop we attended on Saturday, Blackie blew past a couple of threshold hides, even though I usually think of her as being pretty good at thresholds. Therefore, the first two searches were single hides, right at the edge of the step-down into the living room: first, next to the marble column on the left of the frame; next, midway up in the Styrofoam thing at the right of the screen. Both of these searches proved very simple.

                              For the first seach, she was a bit slow starting to work, but I think that was because we had a minute or two of video difficulties, because my assistant couldn’t get the camera to start recording. Thus, we spent perhaps 90 seconds hanging out at the start line – with that threshold hide right there – and only after that delay did I ask her to work. Then, when she did start working, she moved first into the dining room. However, the odor was obviously moving behind the marble column, such that she was able to work it from back there around to the actual source.

                              For the final search, I set two hides, just to see how that would work for continuing on after finding the first one, without me coming to help. Again, she did a nice job, finding the threshold hide at 1:00 (barely 5 seconds into this search)! However, she then got a little bit stuck in that same area, returning to the threshold hide twice before finally moving further into the search area and finding the second hide at ~2:08.

                              I wonder whether the need to continue working and find ALL the hides – not just the easiest one(s) – is also something we need to work on? Or do I need to completely back up and just keep it simple?

                            • #10293
                              Kimberly Buchanan
                              Keymaster

                                Interesting! I think this also leads into what we talked about the other day and her need to have you near her when she gets frustrated. I do think she needs to work thru it but this is a good way into the next transition.

                                I would duplicate this type of search where you release her at the threshold and have one hide relatively near. (Your choice if you sit or stand.) Go in to pay, then you stay there and ask her to find more. Only move forward when she gets to the other hide, then go pay and celebrate! If she revisits the first hide, it’s up to you whether you pay her again at the hide you’re standing by or just ask her to find more. I think it will depend on how hard she tries to find the next hide or how long. Maybe don’t put it TOO far away at first. 🙂

                                Rather than adding more hides, let’s see if we can’t get her to work this kind of a search effectively first – with as little frustration as possible.

                                Kimberly Buchanan
                                Joyride K9 Dog Training

                              • #10294
                                Susanne Howarth
                                Participant

                                  OK: two hides, reasonably small space, pretty much like what we did in that last search. Glad to know that for once I didn’t overcomplicate things when I added a bit more challenge!!! Getting the odor kit and camera out now 😛

                                   

                                • #10295
                                  Susanne Howarth
                                  Participant

                                    On Wednesday, we ran three searches, totaling 4:13. The first one was the longest at 1:55, so I’m going to post only that one to start and then will post the other two together. All three had 2 hides in a relatively small area, off leash, with me moving VERY little. Blackie solved all three quite well, with a little frustration showing in the second search, but hardly any in the other two. Although there were several instances of looking at me as if questioning why I wasn’t joining in on the search. Here’s the first video:

                                    This search was outside our front door, in an exterior area that was reasonably well contained. A few minutes earlier, when I ran the search with Biscuit, the breeze was fairly strong and was blowing towards the house, causing the air to swirl along the front path and sidewalk. I’m guessing it also blew a lot of the odor into the bushes at the left of the screen – at least that’s what Blackie’s actions tell me! For Blackie, the breeze was mostly still, and it was relatively warm, given sun, walls, and sidewalk to heat things up.

                                    It’s interesting to me that twice in the first 25 seconds she cuts a corner and misses both hides: first at :04, when she enters the search and cuts off the corner of the little garden (where the first hide was located) to head further into the search area. She snaps back around at :06, but then continues to the bushes and works along the wall ALMOST to the second hide (at the left of the steps, in the corner, above the first step) before turning at :20 and coming back to find the first hide at :25.

                                    Then, it takes her almost a full minute and a half to work out where that second hide is. She again ALMOST hits it at 1:05, but cuts the corner early and spends time investigating those bushes before finally getting all the way back to the second hide at 1:48.

                                    It was also interesting to note how just a quick “good girl” from me at 1:35 broke her concentration and got her to back out of the bushes instead of pushing back in there again. That was my intent this time, but it’s also a good reminder of how talking to our dogs can disrupt their searching!

                                    Ultimately, this search proved difficult, but she worked consistently and found both hides without complaining about it.

                                  • #10299
                                    Kimberly Buchanan
                                    Keymaster

                                      I would have sworn the second hide was somewhere near the bushes. Blackie was working really well and not getting frustrated. *Yeah!* I think when you called her out of the bushes she was working odor but maybe got sidetracked as she went deeper? Then when you said “good girl” the second time maybe she assumed you were calling her away again? Hard to say. But she was working odor and even tho’ her concentration was interrupted she found the second hide fairly soon aftewards.. And interestingly enough she didn’t go back to the first hide. 🙂

                                      Kimberly Buchanan
                                      Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                    • #10301
                                      Susanne Howarth
                                      Participant

                                        Yes, I’m sure the odor had to be blowing back into those bushes. As I mentioned, the breeze was fairly strong when Biscuit worked less than 30 minutes earlier, and the nature of that space is such that any breeze tends to swirl a bit in there. Based on that, I think both hides could have been traveling back that way. Yes, I said “good girl” specifically to get her to leave that “out of bounds” area and not waste any more time in the bushes. And also yes, I was delighted that although I intentionally broke her concentration and diverted her, she immediately got back to work without any frustration!

                                        The second and third searches were both interiors: first in my bedroom, and then in the “theatre.”

                                        The start of the bedroom search was rather amusing, because Biscuit (who had already run this search) can be heard barking outside the door. Not sure if that affected Blackie – I almost felt as if her big sneeze just before she found the first hide (under the lip of the table at the left of the frame) was a matter of shaking off Biscuit’s interference. Either way, she found the first hide reasonably quickly at :23.

                                        Then, there ensued a period of frustration – evidenced near the corner of the bed (at :50), and again at the window (at 1:04). This total period of frustration was reasonably brief: she continued working and found the second hide (under the bed, next to the leg) at 1:12. Not bad!

                                        The theatre search starts at 1:20, with the first hide found (on the floor between the blue chair and the end table) at 1:31 — i.e., an 11-second search time. As in the exterior search, she bypassed the other hide, which was near the start line, to go to that first find. After finding it, she continued to work further into the room, and I was worried she might give me alerts on the back side of the chair and end table – surely the odor was traveling back there – but she knew enough not to do so, and instead turned and came back to the front of the room reasonably quickly, finding the second hide at 2:17.

                                        No frustration on this third search of the day.

                                        So: where do we go next? More of the same (i.e., double hide searches, no help from me)? Make the hide locations a bit more challenging? Keep the hides simple, but add a third hide?

                                        What do you think?

                                      • #10308
                                        Kimberly Buchanan
                                        Keymaster

                                          Yeah! I like these two searches because we see the progression (I think) of her getting over herself. LOL! She does get a tad frustrated in the first search but gets over it relatively quickly – realizing that you are NOT going to help her! – and in the second search she does it all by herself. 🙂

                                          I think it would be good to stay at this “level” of hides for a few more days, just to solidify things and make sure we don’t accidentally jump beyond where she is now and create some unnecessary frustration. So why don’t you do a couple more searches with two hides each (post and we’ll review) and then do a couple searches with three hides each (post and review after that). Keep them sourceable and not too close to each other but so she has to work away from you and by finding them you come in to reward.

                                          After that we can explore making the hides a little more challenging by backing up to a single hide, etc. But let’s reinforce just the mere act of moving away from you and you not being too close.

                                          Kimberly Buchanan
                                          Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                        • #10316
                                          Susanne Howarth
                                          Participant

                                            Sounds like a plan. However, remember that these last two searches were actually searches 2 and 3 in a sequence: we did the outdoor search that took 2 minutes first, then the bedroom, and finally the theatre. She didn’t get frustrated with searches 1 and 3, but did on #2. No clue as to why that middle search was problematic but the other two weren’t…

                                            Will see what we can set up tomorrow, and the girls will be VERY happy, since I was gone all day today and am too tired this evening to even think about doing anything tonight!

                                          • #10322
                                            Susanne Howarth
                                            Participant

                                              This afternoon, we set up three searches, each with two hides, same as before. Unfortunately, I didn’t position the camera appropriately for the second one: I cut the first hide out of the image entirely – boo! So I’m only including the first and third searches in this video. (Lucky you, Kim! An even shorter video to review!)

                                              The first search is in the hallway that leads into the theatre. I had Blackie enter from the theatre, and used boxes (at left in the image) to block off the long hallway leading to the front door. The hides were (1) in between a couple of DVDs on a low shelf at the right of the image, near the entrance; and (2) on the upper edge of one of the boxes along the left.

                                              Blackie blazed into the search area and completely blew past that first low hide, finding the hide on the box reasonably quickly – but totally bypassing the threshold. Then, an amusing surprise for both of us: she discovered that one of her stuffed toys had somehow ended up on one of the shelves at the left of the image, and pulled that toy out! (I had no clue it was there – we were both caught by surprise!) What turned out to be very good with this is that she spent only about 8 seconds on the toy, and then returned to searching.

                                              The second search was outside on our patio. One hide can be seen sticking out of the patio light in the corner of the garden and the other is on the tall grey post. Blackie impressed me with these two! We entered from the dining room, and I had the screen door to the patio open. I went out one door to start the camera, leaving Blackie at that screen door, and she obviously paid attention to the odor coming in the door! When I released her, she went DIRECTLY to the hide on the light – and almost as directly to the one on the pole.

                                              So, bottom line, if I was trying to create frustration, I failed entirely — not even any frustration in the missing middle search. But if I was looking for successful searches, we did pretty darn well!

                                            • #10339
                                              Kimberly Buchanan
                                              Keymaster

                                                Yep, I know these are multiple searches but you want a track record of a few days – not just searches – of no or limited frustration before adding complications. We don’t want to jump too far ahead and then have to “fix” something. Remember, this is troubleshooting, so we want to get things relatively solid and Blackie comfortable. In the end, you may still need to follow her closer than you have traditionally but if we can stretch her comfort zone – and help her to be more comfortable you will have a lot more flexibility when the going gets tougher. 🙂

                                                Ok! So reviewing these two searches she’s not getting frustrated at all and that’s great to see. She did have a little “detour” with a stuffy head in the first search. LOL! But she’s working nicely!

                                                In the next searches, let’s do 3 hides – again, relatively sourceable, not too complicated, but a bit more spaced apart. And still keep your distance so she has to work away from you with each hide. You could stay at a hide after you pay her and let Blackie decide which way to go.

                                                🙂

                                                 

                                                Kimberly Buchanan
                                                Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                              • #10342
                                                Susanne Howarth
                                                Participant

                                                  Sounds like a plan — and I wasn’t lobbying to up the ante. (I’m sure that’s a surprise, since I usually up it without realizing I’ve done so!)

                                                  Also, regarding individual searches vs. multiple ones (and/or multiple days of success), one thought I have had is that it’s good for Blackie to be asked to do three (or maybe even more) searches in a row, since her day-long stamina is sometimes suspect. By the last search of the day at a trial, she often seems tired and that is often when she starts guessing instead of really working.

                                                  I’ll set about creating some 3-hide searches this afternoon, and will probably try to set up 4 such searches, so as to push her in regards to working repeatedly. I assume that with 3 hides each, I’ll need to choose only a couple of those searches to post, but let’s see what happens!

                                                • #10345
                                                  Susanne Howarth
                                                  Participant

                                                    Well, now! Just when I thought Blackie was willing to search independently, we had a couple of totally frustrating searches (for her, that is)! Therefore, I elected to do only these two today, and to post each of them in sequence. Here’s the first one, in our car-less garage, with not too much stuff in the space where the car would go:

                                                    There are three hides: (1) at the threshold, on the floor beside the EZ-Up that “marks” the start line; (2) under the little white plastic step stool in the back left corner; and (3) under a metal brace on the garage door, about 2 feet off the ground, near where the fan is on the right (not turned on).

                                                    What was fascinating to me is that Blackie entered the search area and virtually put her NOSE on that threshold hide, but gave no indication that she had noticed any odor! I was getting ready to go in to treat when she just moved on. That surprised me, to say the least! The hide had been there for at least 20 minutes, and Biscuit had worked the search area first, going directly to that hide without any problem (and approaching it from the right side, as Blackie did here).

                                                    In any event, Blackie found the two back hides within the first 25 seconds, including spending about 6 seconds inspecting and ignoring the EZUp/threshold hide. After that, she searched for perhaps another 40 seconds before starting to ask me for help, and returning to the step stool hide. Finally, at about 2:35, she returned to the area by the EZUp, approaching it from the left side, instead of the right, and FINALLY noticed and alerted on the odor.

                                                    This was a tough challenge for the little girl today – not sure why – and the second search was probably just as tough. As you warned, this is clear evidence that we need to NOT go too fast, and also that I need to continue to have her work these threshold hides till she remembers on her own to check that area every time!

                                                    I’ll post the second search once you have a chance to comment on this one… The second one also proved to be a surprising challenge.

                                                  • #10351
                                                    Kimberly Buchanan
                                                    Keymaster

                                                      So interesting!!!  The fact that she checked the EZ-UP area TWICE and didn’t indicate odor is really interesting. And it’s not like she “blew by” the threshold, she stopped to sniff – ??

                                                      Yes, I think this is the level we should explore for a bit before moving on. Simple hides….

                                                      I am curious if the threshold hides are something she will usually miss? I agree, keep putting them there. In a trial situation you might need to walk her back there to check again at the end of your search but in training, make her tell you. 🙂

                                                      I also do think it was a good idea to stay back with a hide previously paid. AND great that you paid the stool hide one more time after she “tried” to find the last hide but not when she just kept going back to it. WISH it was a clear indicator that there are no more hides but we know it’s not….

                                                      Kimberly Buchanan
                                                      Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                                    • #10353
                                                      Susanne Howarth
                                                      Participant

                                                        Yay! Glad to know that I’m starting to get the hang of when to repay and when not to! My logic was exactly what you state above: she had been working without success.

                                                        As for her threshold problems, if you’d asked me two weeks ago I would have told you she was very reliable on thresholds. Then we did Michael’s workshop, and I noticed that she kept missing them there, so I started working them here at home, and yup, she definitely needs a refresher!

                                                        Here’s our second search from Sunday afternoon. A fairly strong breeze was blowing from the start line down the side yard.

                                                        The initial challenge in this one was that our neighbors – father and young daughter – were in their front yard, shooting hoops and talking. The nerve!!! The video actually started out to be almost 4 minutes long, but I edited out roughly 50 seconds at the start of the video, during which time Blackie was completely ignoring odor and barking at the neighbors through the fence. At the start of what I have posted, she’s still not settled down, but I wanted to include what happens at about :04.

                                                        We thought the first search yesterday was bad, because she ignored that threshold hide on the EZUp? Here, she clearly puts her nose on the odor, sees me start to come in to pay, and then chooses to ignore the odor in order to bark some more. CRAZY dog!

                                                        After a 30 second barkfest, I reset her and she started working – but she blew completely past that threshold hide! She does find the other two hides fairly quickly (7 seconds from the restart to the first alert and about 10 seconds from end of payment to the second one).

                                                        Then, things slowed down and became frustrating. She got stuck in the space between the two AC units, right next to the furthest hide. I think the breeze was carrying the threshold hide back there, and she was confused as to how to get to it, especially with me continuing to stand right next to the AC unit hide. Therefore, at 2:43, when she finally returned to the middle hide (on the wall), I took advantage of that to repay her and thereby give myself an excuse to move away from the AC hide. That proved to be just the little bit of extra help she needed to go to the long forgotten threshold hide.

                                                        I’ll set up some more of this kind of search for her. Yesterday, I really thought both searches would be easy. She’s done 3 (or more) hides any number of times, and yesterday I intentionally used all three odors and placed the three hides at different heights, in hopes of making it easier for her to sort them out. I guess yesterday just wasn’t Blackie’s best day! We’ll see how she does today 🙂

                                                         

                                                         

                                                      • #10361
                                                        Kimberly Buchanan
                                                        Keymaster

                                                          Wow, that was tough for her!  What would have happened if you’d put Blackie up in the beginning instead of getting her to work? Would that be too punitive for her? (Not saying you should do that, just curious?)

                                                          You can hear lots of wind creating problems with the odor and watching Blackie it’s clear there is a lot of swirling between the AC units. This is also a great example of a dog getting stuck and the handler not doing something! (Yes, you did the right thing for what we’re working on!) Once she broke out of that vortex and went up above to the next hide and was paid (=you coming in to pay) it was WAY easier for her to get back to the threshold hide. Interesting to watch and “see” what’s going on in her mind. Super happy you paid her again at the middle hide. I think that helped to support her.

                                                          Yep, distracted at the threshold, even when she initially “got” it sure made a difference in this search!

                                                          Kimberly Buchanan
                                                          Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                                        • #10366
                                                          Susanne Howarth
                                                          Participant

                                                            Interesting idea to put her up when she failed to work — especially when she went to bark instead of being paid for the threshold hide! I suspect she might have gotten the message, “We’re here to work — if you don’t want to work, then we’ll just go back inside.” If we manage to set up a similar distraction for her in the future, perhaps I’ll try that method. I’m going to bet it will work.

                                                            And yes, I could tell the wind was making it difficult for her between those two CA units. My dilemma was how to come up with an excuse to move from where I was without “violating” the rules for this exercise 😛

                                                            OK… here are a couple of videos of what we did yesterday:

                                                            We repeated the same exercise 4 times today – with some amusing results due to handler mistakes. For the first search in the dining room, I wanted the camera to be a bit further back from the search area, so I placed it outside the sliding glass door and left that door open, with a barricade in front to keep Blackie inside. However, I failed to notice that I had also left a second door to the patio open and unblocked. Oops. Happily, Blackie elected NOT to exit. However, the camera battery ran out halfway through the search! Oh well — so much for that one!

                                                            On the second search, outside on the patio, I left my odor jars on top of the patio table, and sure enough, even though they were closed, Blackie alerted on them. Drat! Unfortunately, I had ONLY three treats in my bait bag, and therefore refused to reward Blackie for that alert. Part of me thinks that NOT rewarding was OK: with the jars closed, it would be the equivalent of residual odor, and therefore shouldn’t be the same as an actual hide. I did verbally acknowledge that there was something there, but not a payable something.

                                                            Finally, on the last two searches I succeeded in NOT messing anything up! I’ll post a combination of those two videos here, and may consider going back to the 2nd one (with the unrewarded alert on my odor kit) if I wind up not doing any searches tomorrow.

                                                            In all four searches today, I tried to hold Blackie at the start line for a few extra seconds, in order to encourage her to pay attention to the threshold hides. I think it helped – at least on the third search (first one on this video).

                                                            You’ll see in the first search that she blasts past the BBQ grill (where the hide was located high on the front side), but then turns around fairly quickly and comes back to find the BBQ hide. Yay! She then goes almost directly to the second hide (on the wall), and finds the third one (on the chair) all within 50 seconds.

                                                            For the second search on the video (4th of the day), I again held Blackie at the start line for a moment, but she blasted past the first hide on the umbrella stand, and went directly to the furthest hide, on the ottoman in the grass. However, she didn’t alert on it, even though she was right there! I’m not sure what’s going on with this… Wondering whether it may be time to refresh my Qtips.

                                                            Instead, she heads over to the chaise lounge and does find that one first. Go figure. From there, she returned to the ottoman and worked that problem successfully. Once paid, she turned her attention to the umbrella hide. While working the final hide, she returned to the first two hides a couple of times. However, I think she was using them to triangulate on the umbrella, and she did indeed find that one.

                                                            All in all, a good day’s work!

                                                          • #10368
                                                            Susanne Howarth
                                                            Participant

                                                              One additional question for you: we’re pretty much at the halfway point in the class, so I’m wondering what you think about our direction for the remainder of the class? Shall we simply continue with this exercise as is? Should I expand my horizons and try to do it with containers and/or vehicles (so far, I’ve only done exterior and interior searches)?

                                                              Any other components we should add to what we’re doing? I’m definitely trying to incorporate threshold hides, since those seem to have become an issue for Blackie. Anything else I should add in? Or just keep on keeping on?

                                                              FYI, the girls and I will be out of town next week for CPE Agility Nationals. We leave on Wednesday the 17th and return on Monday the 22nd. I’ll probably take my odor kit with me, but we may or may not have time to do any searches and/or to post the results. I always expect to have LOTS of extra time — and there generally is spare time in the afternoon, but somehow I never seem to use it for anything other than socializing, relaxing, and hanging out with friends! So we’ll be trying to get as much nose work in before then as possible, and to come home and jump right in again for the finale.

                                                            • #10377
                                                              Kimberly Buchanan
                                                              Keymaster

                                                                Blackie did a really nice job in the first search! Bravo! And in the second search I’m thrilled that she didn’t show any of her typical frustration behaviors!! I think she’s showing a lot of good progress!!

                                                                I think the “kit” on top of the table should have been paid if it was in your search area. Of course, what a search area is, is arbitrary in our dog’s mind so you could argue that they should be paid regardless. I think it’s good she did locate it! And don’t worry, we *all* make those boo-boos!

                                                                To answer your questions;

                                                                I actually really like the progress Blackie is making by peeling back the layers and building back up. I think adding threshold work is great! I thought we might start adding in some more challenging hides to this same scenario to see where her frustration threshold is with that and how you can support her effectively.

                                                                I will leave it to you if you’d rather focus on something else? I’m happy with what I’m seeing but am ok if you feel the need shift gears. And good luck next week!! 🙂

                                                                Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                                              • #10385
                                                                Susanne Howarth
                                                                Participant

                                                                  Yes, I completely agree that the kit on the table should have been paid. However, realizing that I had a choice between paying for it or paying for each of the three hides, I elected to praise her off that alert and save the remaining treat tidbits for the “real” hides. My bad for not refilling my bait bag before beginning the search.

                                                                  On Wednesday, we did three more 3-hide searches: one in the living room, one in the back yard (on grass, in a favorite pee and poop location), and one in the front driveway. All had threshold hides, and interestingly, the only one that provoked frustration was the first living room search, and that was also the only one where she missed the threshold hide. Here’s that first search:

                                                                  The three hides are located (1) tucked under the arm cover on the chair to the left of the image; (2) on the silver gadget for turning on the gas to the fireplace — on the wall at the right of thee fireplace; and (3) on the left front leg of the Chinese table at the right of the image.

                                                                  As she enters the search, she turns to the right and therefore misses the threshold hide. However, within 16 seconds, she finds the hide by the fireplace — and then nearly knocks over the cloisonné vase that sits on the hearth — Yikes! At :35, she circles the chair, but only puts her nose up after she has past where the hide is located and therefore doesn’t notice it. By :46, she finds the hide on the table, and things start to deteriorate.

                                                                  With me standing behind the love seat, in front of that table hide, it was as if she inferred that the remaining hide was in that area, and she kept returning there, and looking at me as if I might tell her where to look. At 1:30, she goes up on the white marble entry foyer, next to the black granite stand, but when she comes back into the living room, she heads towards me instead of searching on her own. Eventually, I started moving forward to help break the dilemma — it seemed that the fact that I was so flat-footed was contributing to her frustration.

                                                                  Finally, at 2:45, she again sniffs the granite stand, and this time figure out, “OH! It’s behind me!”

                                                                  I’m not sure why that armchair hide was so difficult for her! By the time she worked it, it had been sitting there for probably at least a half hour, and Biscuit, my “Dog in [Brown],” had successfully run the search, finding that hide first. I know the fabric would absorb the odor, but still… not that much! And yes, I had refreshed and strengthened the Q-Tips, so again: there should have been plenty of odor.

                                                                  I guess the good thing is that she seemed to continue to work better than she used to do — I think she’s getting the idea that I’m not going to help.

                                                                  The other two searches were totally smooth: she found the threshold hides first, and went on to work the other hides quickly — each search lasted only about a minute. On the driveway search, my objective was to make her work in spite of the distraction of kids playing in the cul-de-sac. Unfortunately, the kids went inside before we ran the search, but we did have someone come out and go to their car, and she worked through that distraction pretty well.

                                                                  So, for our next exercises, I’m perfectly content to continue working on this frustration issue, and to keep working the threshold hides, since those seem to be a challenge lately. What do you suggest in terms of upping the ante? More hides? Higher hides? Inaccessible? (Yes, Kim, I promise not to set up a search with all of these attributes for our next exercise!) And how shall we incorporate me helping her? I’ve wondered whether putting her on leash when she starts to vocalize at me might be something to try? Any other ideas?

                                                                • #10394
                                                                  Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                  Keymaster

                                                                    Yep, you can see her start to get frustrated but she knew you were not going to help. Although not a complete objective for training, it was good to see her get frustrated and work through it. 🙂

                                                                    You are reading my mind. 😉 Yes, I was thinking of inaccessible hides but we need to scale back so we don’t inadvertently start with inaccessible AND converging. Lots of frustration there!

                                                                    Putting her on leash might help but I think you should wait to use that option. Or maybe keep it in your back pocket, like moving with her. Use only if you really do need it.

                                                                    So your choice on the next search, three assessible hides or one inaccessible?

                                                                    Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                    Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                                                  • #10409
                                                                    Susanne Howarth
                                                                    Participant

                                                                      I decided to do a hybrid of your suggestions above, since I wanted to continue to work the threshold hides. Therefore, Saturday afternoon we again did three searches, each of which had two hides: a relatively easy threshold hide and an inaccessible hide further into the area. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to choose which two searches to include, so this video – which includes all 3 – goes well over the 3:00 approved limit 🙁

                                                                      In each of these searches we have two hides: one accessible and reasonably easy hide at the threshold, and another more difficult and inaccessible hide further into the search.

                                                                      Search 1: (1) low on the table leg, near the start line and (2) in the middle of the patio chairs. As usual, Blackie blazes past the threshold hide to race to the pile of chairs and circle it, but then returns to the threshold to find that one before figuring out the chair hide. The chair hide was in the middle of the chairs, on the back of one of the chairs. When she finally makes a decision, she’s in the middle of the stack, facing the wrong chair, which caused me to delay a moment in rewarding. She was looking directly at the wrong spot at that point, and once in the middle, the hide was accessible. However, in the middle, I’m sure the odor was everywhere, so I accepted it and rewarded from source.

                                                                      Search 2: Disastrous start to this one: as she came out the door, I stepped directly on her paw. I left the yowl in the video – and the good thing is that she settled down VERY quickly, and got both hides readily. For once, she found the threshold first and then the high hide on the pole at the right of the video.

                                                                      Search 3: One hide on the BBQ shelf, and the other on the wall at the end of the pool. (In this case, the threshold hide was inaccessible and the second hide was accessible.) This time, she goes directly to the BBQ hide, looks at it (2:11), but moves on. Go figure — what’s with that!?!?! After finding the wall hide, she proceeded to check out the far side of the pool – not surprising, since there was a good bit of breeze – and finally returned to the BBQ.

                                                                      This final search is the only one on which she displays a bit of frustration, although I think that both the first and third searches had moments for me to support and help her – by moving the cushion in the first search, to afford her better access; and by slowly moving in towards the BBQ grill in the 3rd search.

                                                                      So, what do you think? I think she’s improving her willingness to search independently!

                                                                    • #10417
                                                                      Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                      Keymaster

                                                                        Ok, I know you’re at CPE Nationals this week so I’ll forgive you the extra long video. 😉

                                                                        Search #1 – She seems to use the chair grouping to work the first hide and then ranges out afterwards (not sure where/what/why). She does appear to communicate she’s found the hide at (:59). As an inaccessible hide (from her perspective) you could have paid her then. And she does stick with the problem enough so when you move the cushion she goes back to the middle of the pod and communicates again. But it would have been good to pay on the earlier side for this one IMO.

                                                                        Search#2 – Fabulous threshold find! And then a spectacular column find. Nice!!

                                                                        Search #3 – Stops and does a head-lift at the BBQ hide at (2:10) but moves further into the search with another hide calling her. She quickly finds the wall hide. Then it takes her awhile – and some frustration – for the BBQ hide. And yes, you go in to support, which is what she wants. I have to wonder if you’d not moved in if she’d have worked it out on her own?

                                                                        So to summarize – I think Blackie is showing more independence. But I think there are two places where it might not be bad to work on as a handler; The first (from the first search) of accepting less with an inaccessible hide. Had you accepted her first indication on the cluster of chairs you might have given her a boost of confidence. (Just a thought – ?) And secondly, in a safe environment, it’s not a bad thing to push her a little more to solve the problem without you. As in the last search, letting her bring you in with a communication of the hide is there, not with frustration. (Again, just a thought)

                                                                        So look for the communication and reward it. With an inaccessible hide you can always pay for the communication and then ask for more precision. You can’t do anything about the frustration except pushing her to figure it out. You *always* have the possibility of your support in your back pocket. Certainly use it when necessary but not so quickly in training.

                                                                        Does that make sense?

                                                                        Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                        Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                                                      • #10422
                                                                        Susanne Howarth
                                                                        Participant

                                                                          Thanks for the special dispensation for the extra long video. I really wanted you to see all three, since each had different responses from the little girl.

                                                                          Regarding that chair hide, I think I had started to move in to pay at :59, when she exited the middle and seemed to still be working. Since it seemed she hadn’t made up her own mind, I held back. Then, it also took me a while to work out the logic that the odor was filling that entire middle space between the chairs. Once in the middle, she COULD put her nose right on the hide – and she didn’t do this – but I finally realized it wasn’t necessary for her to do so.

                                                                          As for the BBQ, I was totally surprised when she failed to alert on that hide the first time she walked by, and then again when she had so much difficulty getting back to it! The two hides were two different scents at two different heights, so I would have thought she’d be able to work it out more readily.

                                                                          OK. So, I will try to redo a couple of similar searches: pay more readily for communication on the inaccessible hide, but also let her work on the problem past her frustration point, without coming in to help just because she’s frustrated.

                                                                          We leave for Elk Grove early Wednesday morning, so I hope to have a chance to post one more (under 3 minute!) video.

                                                                        • #10423
                                                                          Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                          Keymaster

                                                                            Ok! Will look for your next video – and good luck! 🙂

                                                                            Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                            Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                                                          • #10426
                                                                            Susanne Howarth
                                                                            Participant

                                                                              Oh my! I know that you will be VERY glad that I’m not going to post the first search we did today: it wound up being 6:50 for Blackie to find two hides. Youch!

                                                                              Anyhow, I placed two hides, and Blackie did a very nice job of find the first, threshold hide – went past it initially, circled around some bushes, and then did a head snap right to it at the :10 mark. Unfortunately, that was the end of her brilliance on this search.

                                                                              She did work for about another minute, and actually might have been on the verge of solving the problem, but a loud noise distracted her, and she instead returned to the original hide at ~1:30. I repaid her at that point, because she had been searching well. However, from then on she kept returning to the first hide such that at ~3:30 I picked the first hide up and put it in my pocket. She still kept returning to where it had been!

                                                                              Part of the problem with finding the second hide seemed to be that she didn’t independently push into the far corner of the search area. She finally found it when she ran to the far gate to bark at our neighbor kids. 🙂 So indeed, I waited her out this time, but I won’t inflict that waiting on you!

                                                                              One question: was I right to remove the first hide when she kept going back to it repeatedly? And was I right to wait her out – or should I have put her up and just let her NOT find it? I did run the search with Biscuit before running Blackie, and Biscuit struggled, but figured it out.

                                                                              After this first search, the next two worked much better, and are included in this video:

                                                                              The first search on the video has two hides: one on the patio light near our start line, and the other on the chaise lounge, inaccessible due to pillows, tables, and cushions surrounding the chair. She initially blazed past the light but very quickly snapped around to find that hide in less than :10 seconds. After being paid, she ranges out from the search area a bit, and when I call her back she first goes to the light again, but willingly leaves it when I tell her to find more and goes to the chair pile. As she started bracketing the hide, I started to move forward a bit, and when she turned to look at me, I paid her and then moved a cushion so she could get to source. I had to laugh: once able to get to the chair, she went in and UNDER it, finally coming back out from under to put her nose right at source.

                                                                              The second search also has two hides: one on the back side of the little kiddy park bench and the other in a small plant in the foreground of the video. She did a very nice job of going directly to the park bench and then struggled a bit more with the plant. What I really liked about this search is that although she expresses some frustration while working the second hide, she didn’t give up and did search very independently, ultimately finding the second hide without too much difficulty.

                                                                            • #10433
                                                                              Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                              Keymaster

                                                                                Brilliant! 😀

                                                                                SO happy with her threshold finds! She may be drawn into the search area but she’s responding to odor at the beginning of the search much more than we’ve seen previously. Yeah Blackie!!

                                                                                To answer your questions regarding the previous search;

                                                                                Removing the hide: YES. After giving her ample opportunity to find the next hide and with her continually going back to the first one, I think removing it was a good way to help her focus on the current hide. I think waiting to remove it is best and it sounds like you did just that.

                                                                                Waiting her out: YES. When you are under pressure in a trial it’s highly unlikely you will wait as long. BUT, if you do not do it in training, in a safe and/or supported environment, you will never know what her tolerance is. PLUS, by stretching her with making her solve the puzzle, *she* may be more likely to move on and solve it when you don’t know where it is because you’ve then taught her that you cannot help her.

                                                                                Again, you always have the ability to step in and support her – and it’s likely you will – when you have an “important” event like a trial. But by stretching her limits and testing her tolerances – AND keeping it safe and fun for her – you will both come out the other side as a better team. JMVHO ~ 🙂

                                                                                I know you’re going to be away for your agility trial – but I think you’ve got another video to post before you go?

                                                                                Since we’ll be building on this thru the next couple of weeks I’ll add more/different challenges to piggy-back on what you’ve accomplished so far. 🙂

                                                                                 

                                                                                Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                                Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                                                              • #10434
                                                                                Susanne Howarth
                                                                                Participant

                                                                                  I’m up to my eyeballs in packing this afternoon, but will try to fit in one more video before we head out. Glad to know my instincts were right as to waiting her out and how to help.

                                                                                • #10435
                                                                                  Susanne Howarth
                                                                                  Participant

                                                                                    Indeed, we squeezed in enough time this afternoon to do a couple of searches. The first one, which is posted here, is very similar to the 8:00 search from yesterday: same side yard search area; two hides, one on the table legs near the start line, and the other on a drain pipe next to the gate at the end of the area (i.e., in that corner of the search area). I was a wee bit worried initially that I’d have yet another too long video, but Blackie did much better today:

                                                                                    The one problem I created for myself was that I changed my mind when setting the hides. Initially, instead of using the table legs for the threshold hide, I placed it on the dryer vent further along the walkway. I then realized that the vent wasn’t visible in the camera angle and moved the hide. However, you’ll see Blackie alert on that vent VERY definitively at about the :45 second mark. It amazes me how much odor remains from such a temporary placement!

                                                                                    I finally moved to stand in front of the dryer vent to prevent Blackie from returning to it – she was very convinced that there was a hide on it!

                                                                                    In any event, today, Miss Blackie worked through that difficulty and continued to work the problem with not too much frustration. I especially liked the way she really started detailing the corner with the hide around 2:36 (after expressing some frustration), and found the hide shortly thereafter.

                                                                                    What do you think? We’re off first thing tomorrow morning, so I may have one more search to post (our second search from today), but after that we’ll be running agility through Monday afternoon.

                                                                                  • #10437
                                                                                    Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                                    Keymaster

                                                                                      Yes, it is amazing how much odor remains with a temporary placement! Makes it hard when one teaches back-to-back classes in the same space… 😉

                                                                                      Despite the “extra challenge” I thought Blackie worked thru her frustration well! As I watched her search it made me think maybe she had to be in the area of the vent in order to work out the other hide but I now I know where it is I’m thinking she just kept skipping that area because of the hose on the ground! If you watch the video, you’ll see her avoid stepping on the hose a couple of times and then she veers to the left, never investigating that area. Definitely something for a handler to take note of!

                                                                                      Good job, Blackie!

                                                                                      Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                                      Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                                                                    • #10469
                                                                                      Susanne Howarth
                                                                                      Participant

                                                                                        Interesting thought regarding the hose… I’m pretty sure it didn’t prevent her from going back into that corner — there’s at least 3′, if not 4′ of empty space between the hose and the drain pipe where the hide was located, so she wouldn’t have to step on or over the hose to get to source. However, I can see where it might create a path that led her to skip that corner. Maybe I’ll have to see if I can find another location in which I can create such a path “suggestion” to see what impact it has.

                                                                                      • #10474
                                                                                        Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                                        Keymaster

                                                                                          Great idea! Yes, I agree, I don’t think she avoided the hose per se, but just the area was avoided because the hose interrupted the path into the corner.

                                                                                          Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                                          Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                                                                        • #10477
                                                                                          Susanne Howarth
                                                                                          Participant

                                                                                            This morning, we set up three exercises to test Blackie’s corner abilities, when there’s some kind of “barrier” – not something that prevents her from getting to source, but something that simply suggests that she shouldn’t venture further into that corner. Unfortunately, I set both of the first two searches up in the back yard, and the odor from the second search area was definitely blowing into the first area. My bad! So I had a tiny bit of a challenge to persuade Blackie to work only the first area first and to wait to work the second one.

                                                                                            One thing that is interesting to me in the first search is that at ~:15, she goes all the way back into the corner where the hide is located (just about nose level, on the faucet on the wall). However, while she sniffs the cart opposite the faucet, she never gives me an alert and really never indicates she’s in odor (other than the fact that she’s clearly working and interested in something). She then goes to the second hide, on the chair at the left and hangs out at source for a little while, but she had something stuck on her tongue – hairs? Fluff? I don’t know! – and when I come around to pay, instead of staying at source to be paid, she moves off, and then wants to go work the second search area.

                                                                                            She does come back and goes to the chair hide at ~1:26, and works out the corner hide at about 2:00.

                                                                                            Before working the second area, I removed the hides that we had already worked, in hopes of limiting back yard distractions! This time, my barrier – a pool net – proved no problem at all: she hopped over it and went to source within 15 seconds – i.e., at 2:15. The second hide proved a bit more challenging, evoking a couple of looks that seemed to say, “Aren’t you going to help me? What happened to team work?” However, she keeps working and finds the second hide at ~3:10. Good girl!

                                                                                            Finally, the video for our third search went a full four minutes – and we ended without her ever finding the corner hide 🙁 (On the wall to the right of the door, behind a little diversion of tiles and a paint can). I’ve included only the first 15 seconds of this search, which shows her going into the corner where the search is located, but not giving any indication of odor, and then finding the second hide, which was closer to the threshold. The next 3:30 of video that I did NOT include showed Blackie returning to that first hide multiple times, looking at me, and generally not exerting a lot of effort to work the search. In her defense, the breeze was blowing toward the door, which made it harder to figure out that corner hide, and we had an acupuncture and massage session this morning, which may have tired her out.

                                                                                            After calling this search off at the 4:00 mark, we regrouped and worked the search the way I would have done at a trial, since our next trial is only 8 days away! This time, with me holding her leash and providing some guidance, we checked both corners by the door, finding the hide in the first corner and nothing in the second corner. We then cruised up the wall to the ground hide she had found the first time out. If I recall correctly, this took only about 50 seconds.

                                                                                            I think the moral of the story for Blackie and me is that I need to pay close attention to corners and places that Blackie might skip and cut off. At this point, with only a week till the next trial, I think any practice we do for the next week needs to be exercises where I actively participate as her teammate, and where she readily succeeds, so as to build confidence for both of us. I also wonder whether “stay at source” exercises similar to what Terry and Taku have been doing might make sense?

                                                                                            What do you think? Any further tips?

                                                                                          • #10486
                                                                                            Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                                            Keymaster

                                                                                              I think you’re observations are good as well as your game plan before your trial. Simple sourcing exercises.

                                                                                              In general you will need to support your dog in what ever way works best for her. But I think the searches we’ve done have broadened her experiences and you never know she may end up slightly more independent. 🙂

                                                                                              Go Blackie! 😀

                                                                                              Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                                              Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                                                                            • #10487
                                                                                              Susanne Howarth
                                                                                              Participant

                                                                                                Thanks — yup! I think she now knows I’m not always going to point her at the hide, and perhaps she’ll be so relieved when I start participating again that she’ll work even harder 🙂

                                                                                              • #10493
                                                                                                Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                                                Keymaster

                                                                                                  Exactly!! 🙂

                                                                                                  Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                                                  Joyride K9 Dog Training

                                                                                                • #10501
                                                                                                  Susanne Howarth
                                                                                                  Participant

                                                                                                    Yay! Thanks for the extra day 🙂

                                                                                                    We ran a couple moderately easy searches this morning: one outside, one inside; four hides each search – 2 anise and 2 birch. I also tried to incorporate some of the things we’ve been working on: corners, thresholds, inaccessible, etc. However, instead of standing back and making her do all the work, this time, I participated and moved around at the other end of the leash to play my part. Good news: no frustration or complaining; two searches completed in just over 3 minutes total. YAY!

                                                                                                    Looks like we’re as ready as we can be for our trial next weekend and two weeks later. I know that three of you (Linda, Terry, and Kim) will be following us on FB and will see the results there.

                                                                                                    Thanks again, Kim. I always love this troubleshooting class. What will you offer next for the Bs’ Team?

                                                                                                  • #10528
                                                                                                    Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                                                    Keymaster

                                                                                                      Nice job! Looking forward to hearing how your trials go – and yes, I’ll be following along. 🙂

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      Kimberly Buchanan
                                                                                                      Joyride K9 Dog Training

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