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Tagged: Sue and Biscuit
10/04/2016 at 12:32 pm #7767
I see the usual suspects are once again assembling, including Biscuit and me. Biscuit just turned 6, and has been doing nose work for about 5 years, although we only began training consistently about two years ago, when we were introduced to both Kim and another instructor. Since then, Biscuit got her NW1 title on her first try; completed her NW2 in Alaska earlier this year (third try); and was fortunate enough to get into a local (LA area) NW3 trial last month, where we bombed — but had a lot of fun! At the end of this month, she will have her second shot at NW3, this time in Northern California.
Biscuit’s and my main challenges relate to her search pace: she is very slow and deliberate, which means that I need to keep things moving, without taking away her autonomy to lead the search. It’s an interesting balance, and one at which I’m not very good so far! To try to get her to work faster, we’ve been doing a lot of pairing, and I’ve been trying to discipline myself to work with her every day — or at least every other day!
Based on our one NW3 attempt, I discovered that Biscuit can be environmentally sensitive at times, and that I can misinterpret that sensitivity to mean there’s no odor present. Based on the judge’s comments from our interior searches (combined with the fact that we missed 2 of three hides in the first two search areas), I realized that she was uncertain in the large pole barn where those two searches were located. However, at the time, I read it as “There’s nothing here to find — what are we doing here?” after she had found only the one hide in the first area and nothing in the second. Therefore, correctly reading “nothing here” vs. “I’m a bit intimidated” vs. “I’ve found it all — let’s go” is a challenge for us. (I realize this need may not be “basics,” but it is a skill on which we need to work!)
I’m also interested in a number of other very basic topics — e.g., care and maintenance of my (homemade) odor kit; whether to store Qtips in their search containers (tins, straws, etc.) or out of the containers in jars; whether it makes a difference to use a tin for one odor today and a different odor tomorrow; whether it’s OK to leave one dog in the car while searching that car with my other dog (Blackie! Poor girl, who — of late — hasn’t gotten to make an on-line appearance in Kim’s classes!); etc.
10/06/2016 at 9:00 pm #7777
Welcome back Sue & Biscuit! 🙂
Really good topics of discussion for the Classroom forum, too!
Joyride K9 Dog Training
10/13/2016 at 3:03 pm #7845
For our first lesson I elected to set up two search areas, both of which have three hides and similar challenges: different heights (high, medium, and low), corners (inside and outside), and converging odors. My original intent was to use only one of the two for this lesson. However, because Biscuit rocked both of these searches (barely 2 minutes total for the two searches), I have combined the two videos and am posting both:
In the first search (in front of our house), the low hide is in the dirt by the corner of the house on the left; the medium hide is under a little ledge just to the right of the stairs, and the high hide is in the corner to the left of the front door.
For the second search, the low hide is tucked under the gutter pipe on the corner to the right of the image, the high hide is in the corner between the two doors, and the medium hide is in one of the potted plants on the left.
I chose this combination of challenges for this first lesson for several reasons. We have been doing a LOT of accessible, paired hides lately, in hopes of speeding up Biscuit’s searching. Thus, one objective was to see whether this strategy has paid off, and I think this video shows that it has. I also wanted to see Biscuit work the problem of 3 moderately close/converging hides, at different levels. Again, she did a good job of working this out, only having a bit of difficulty with the high hide in the corner of the sliding doors. I’m going to guess that the very light breeze must have been carrying the odor onto the left hand door, since that is where she initially alerted. Finally, now that we’re at the NW3 level, I know we need to cover all corners of any search area. Hence, all hides were placed near corners that could easily be skipped.
In rewatching the video, one thing that is interesting in both searches is that she acknowledges the high hide relatively early in her searching (~:19 and ~1:10), but in both cases leaves it to last to figure it out. Instead, in both searches she first finds the medium high hide (which is at nose level), then the ground level hide, and finally she works out the high problem. No doubt, she is using information from the two lower hides to help her resolve the high one.
I’ll also mention that another search idea that I did not incorporate into this lesson would be to have her work through environmental sensitivities – different surfaces, strange areas, etc. She was VERY slow searching the large pole barn where the interior searches were located at our first NW3 trial, so more exposure to unusual locations like that is another aspect on which we need to work.
10/14/2016 at 12:32 pm #7879
This was a great challenge for Biscuit! She solves the problems easily and your leash handling, tho’ more leash than I would normally recommend, works for you and is very smooth. 🙂
The only suggestion I would make is on Search #2 where Biscuit commits to the high hide in the middle of the glass door to the left (1:31+). There was odor dropping down in that spot so I would likely have recommended accepting that decision. You could always pay from source and down to her but she’s pretty sure it is where she is saying and got a little bit confused when she didn’t get rewarded. She did eventually look up at the corner and was paid but was less sure there IMO than where she initially said it was. Sometimes our expectations of where the dog SHOULD be indicating can confuse the dog when the odor is stronger somewhere else. Just something to think about! 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
10/14/2016 at 12:58 pm #7888
I hear you! When she went up on that screen door, I considered that I probably should have paid her, but by the time my thought processes reached that point, she was down and I had to wait. It’s also interesting because IF I were to accept that middle of door alert, she actually went up in that location very briefly at 1:12, but then moves on to get the right hand (low) hide. And you’re right: she was very insistent that it was in the middle. With hind sight, I suspect I didn’t support her continuing to search as well as I might have: I placed my self right next to where she was saying it was, and then ignored her repeated alerts. Assuming I wanted her to continue searching, I’m guessing I should have instead placed myself in front of the other sliding glass door.
OK. I’ll mark this lesson complete and we’ll move on to lesson 2.
10/14/2016 at 1:00 pm #7889
Oh! And regarding the length of the leash, I find that having that extra length is reasonably handy. True, I don’t usually make use of the full length, but when I don’t need it, it’s coiled in my hand and not a bother. When I do need it, it’s readily available. I’m not brilliant enough to choose between multiple different leashes, and therefore we simply use this one or nothing, varying the length by what I keep coiled up.
10/14/2016 at 3:31 pm #7900
Re: Lesson – yep! Onward to #2! 🙂
Re: Leash length – you are one of the few who can handle the extra leash length effectively. Your paying-out-drawing-in is very smooth. 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
10/14/2016 at 3:52 pm #7902
Thanks! I’ve worked a lot on that. I have another local instructor who has beat up on me to good advantage on this topic! She’ll be pleased to hear the compliment (and I’m always pleased when judges compliment us on this topic).
10/15/2016 at 12:24 pm #7920
We decided to start lesson 2 with Interiors, and actually ran a total of 8 searches, of which 5 are included in this video. We started this lesson yesterday, and at that time, we did 6 searches, all on leash, continuing one of our challenges from lesson 1 (low, medium, and high hides). Afterwards, I realized that it might have been more interesting to let Bisky work off leash, and therefore, this morning, we repeated two of the search areas off leash, with the hides in slightly different locations.
The first three clips are from yesterday; the last two from today. We start with a low hide, next to the closet door on the left. Biscuit has NO trouble with that, finding the hide in less than 10 seconds!
From there, we moved to searching Fred’s closet, with a nose level hide on the trash can (full of umbrellas) to the right of the door. The hide was on the outside of the can, hidden by the wooden umbrella handle. Again: this one took only about 13 seconds.
Search three was in our guest bedroom, and this time, the hide is on top of the rocking chair just inside the doorway. Less than 30 seconds this time!
Search 4 was from this morning, and repeated our first search area from yesterday, only this time the hide was placed high on the frame of the closet door to the left. Biscuit struggled with this one, taking 1:40 to locate it. I, too, struggled with it, trying to figure out how to support her and give different access without telling her where it was. Clearly, I stood by the small fridge too long, because I seem to have persuaded her that the hide was on top of it!
Our final search – Fred’s closet, again, but videotaped from outside the closet this time – went much better than #4, and was a good one on which to end, since she solved the problem readily. However, it was interesting to me to note that she first checked the side of the doorway where the hide was yesterday before moving over to the umbrella can on the opposite side.
10/17/2016 at 1:51 pm #7969
Biscuit did a great job! I’m impressed she did so well with the elevated threshold. You can see the odor has traveled out of the room as she works it well before the “start line.” In all of the searches you do a nice job of standing back and allowing her to investigate w/o the body pressure pushing her into the room. 🙂
That 4th search was tricky! First of all, the hide is inset a bit so it may not come “out” as readily. BUT, I’m assuming the refrigerator is plugged in and the motor is running? I wonder how much of the odor is drawn across the hall to the refrigerator which is part of the reason she noticed odor over there? You did the right thing, going into the space and trying to support her. Hard to know where to move but I think you handled it well. I also wonder if her being off-leash affected how she investigated the space?
Joyride K9 Dog Training
10/17/2016 at 2:00 pm #7970
Interesting thought about the impact of the refrigerator fan on that 4th search. And yes, the fact that the door frame was a bit inset no doubt added to how tricky things were. As for me moving into the space, I had to move in to see where she had gone! She first made a left turn into the bedroom proper, then went into the bathroom, out of sight again. I’m sure that being off leash affected things — and that was part of what I wanted to see. It’s kind of interesting because I’m not sure that being off leash necessarily helped things — she actually did a bit better in the on leash searches from the day before.
OK. Will do a separate post, but we have our next element ready to roll!
10/17/2016 at 2:04 pm #7971
This morning, we awoke to a rainy day! Therefore, although we didn’t get moving quickly enough to practice while rain was actually falling, we were able to get out under cloudy skies, with wet pavement. This video includes clips of 7 exterior searches, using three hides, each of which had a different odor. Only one hide was out at a time and the hides varied in height, with two ground level hides, two high hides and 3 nose level hides. All in all, Biscuit rocked this element!
Search 1 is on the front lip of the trash can, just outside the sliding glass door. No problem here!
Search 2 is on the wall, just inside the gate to our side yard. The hide is actually about 15” above the low wall that runs along the garden in the side yard. However, Biscuit neutralized this height challenge by jumping up onto the low wall outside the search area. She finds the hide without even entering the search area proper, and just has a tiny bit of difficulty craning her neck around the wall to where she knows source is. I’m a bit slow rewarding on this one, because I was trying to figure out how to do it from source. I know it’s not difficult, but I was in an uncoordinated mood at the time!
Search 3 is under the front edge of the door mat. No trouble here!
Search 4 was another high hide – on the grey electric box just inside the gate. I expected this one to be more difficult than it was. However, you’ll see that even before I open the gate, Biscuit has already started lifting her head to where the hide is located! So much for my theory that she struggles with high hides!
Search 5 proved more difficult than I anticipated. The hide is placed on a drain spout, along the wall at the left of the picture. I defined my threshold as being where the front garden (along the right side of the frame) ends and the driveway begins. Biscuit initially blows right past this hide, and tests my leash handling skills – actually causing me to pay out all of my excessively long leash :-). She soon returns to the start line, and finds the hide within about 30 seconds. However, in hind sight, I wonder whether I stayed too close to the hide and may have telegraphed where it was located?
Search 6 is on the base of the broom at the left of the image. Although the hide was tucked in the bristles on the back, Biscuit finds the odor coming out of a hole on the top side. She says, “Super easy, Mom!”
Our final search really had me laughing. I’m not entirely certain whether she might have used her eyes to find the tin, which was on the frame of the sliding glass door. You’ll see that even before I open the door, she’s already pointing to where the hide is located, and when I do open the door, she hits it pretty much instantaneously. I don’t think the odor could have seeped into the house – I didn’t go in or out the threshold door after I set the hide, so it would have only been pulled into the house when I opened the door to let her out! Pretty funny, even if she did “cheat”!
10/18/2016 at 11:16 am #7996
Biscuit rocked these searches! I really don’t think she was “cheating” on the last search but really understood that odor (that was likely coming thru your door seams) was potentially that close from the start. In each of the searches she was engaged and ready to go. In the first elevated hide search she caught the odor on the opposite side of the gate (behind you) in the bushes because of where it was drifting OVER the plastic gate barrier. She knew exactly where it was the moment she crossed that threshold. And in the search that took her a bit longer you did what you should do, just limited how far she was to go in order to continue the “threshold sweep.” It is one way to clear an area. It just happened that there WAS a hide there and you KNEW it was there, but even if you hadn’t, this is not a bad way to work a section. 🙂
(And FWIW, this was quite a bit more than the 3-4 searches of the lesson but as long as it stays around the 2 minute mark, I’m ok with it. 🙂 )
Joyride K9 Dog Training
10/18/2016 at 11:34 am #7997
Yes, I know it was more than 3-4 searches. Wasn’t sure which criterion concerned you the most: number of searches or total time. I’ll try to be a little less exuberant on our next element 🙂
As for that first elevated hide, she didn’t even wait till she crossed the threshold to alert. You can’t necessarily see it in the video, but she actually alerts before I even open the gate. What a good girl!
As I think about the drainpipe hide that took her a while, it’s once again a situation of the hide being placed in a little indentation — like our interior hide on the door frame, where she struggled. So corners and indentations like this are an area on which we can focus. Also, as she entered the search area, she checked along the right side of the walkway, went to the end (beyond the camera), and then came back up the left side of the walk and pretty much straight to the hide. So all in all, she did a good job of working the area!
On to containers…
10/19/2016 at 3:45 pm #8014
I want to get a “taste” of the threshold work with you and your dog with the different elements so I know if there is something I can say or advice that might help. The 3 minutes is to limit the length of a search, not a goal to fill. 😉 With more searches it takes me longer to go thru and analyze the videos of each one and I’d like to progress to the next lesson. 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
10/19/2016 at 11:05 pm #8048
No worries! I understand that it takes you time to watch and analyze the videos, and I also know that you are more than generous with your time — even when we exceed the time excessively (like I did in the prior course…). I had tongue in cheek in my comment above, because I also know that I have a tendency to push it with whatever you assign 🙂
10/20/2016 at 10:45 am #8059
Joyride K9 Dog Training
10/25/2016 at 9:17 am #8138
We did this exercise a week ago, and just haven’t had an opportunity to post it until now – it was a busy weekend! Anyhow, when we did it, we did it a bunch more times than what you’ll see here: I kept having technical difficulties, like pushing the wrong button on the camera and only realizing after the search that we weren’t recording anything, or aiming the camera wrong, such that the hot box wasn’t in the image!!!
It was interesting to watch Biscuit with all of these searches, because she rarely went directly to the hot box from the threshold. Generally, she needed to bypass it first, and then return. So, the film includes 4 searches, all in either our front driveway or the walkway to our front door. The first uses random cardboard boxes – USPS, Amazon, and the like – while the other three use the cardboard sleeves that Nespresso coffee comes in. One hide per search pattern.
In the first search, the box at the far right has the hide. Biscuit blows past it initially, but returns pretty quickly to find it. Of course, in this search I did NOT attempt to hold her back at the door – just opened it and let her go. It’s still a pretty good result for a slow searcher: she alerts at :08!
Search number 2 has an unplanned distracter: Fred’s driver had arrived to take him to an appointment, so when we went to the driveway, Biscuit saw Patrick in the car, and immediately headed in his direction to check things out, walking directly past the odor box, which is the white box with a greenish end at the corner closest to the garage and front walkway. She eventually came back around and worked, but even when she finally gets to the odor box and is about to alert, she first tips her head towards Patrick and the car, and then gets back to the business of alerting.
For our third search, I moved the clean boxes around, such that the white coffee sleeve would be in the middle of the start line, and we approached the search area from the garage instead of coming from the front door. Biscuit was pretty darn quick!
Finally, for our last search of this video, I again moved the boxes such that the odor box was at the right side of the search area, and Biscuit hits it instantly as we start to search.
All in all, she did a good job, and I think our in-person class this weekend, where you unintentionally set up a bunch of threshold hides, showed that she’s pretty good at finding them. Obviously, since she tends to work slowly and deliberately, if we want to have success, we cannot expect to cover an area more than once, so this is a skill we really do need to master!
10/26/2016 at 10:16 am #8169
Did you note which way the wind was blowing for each of the searches? It seems clear that the odor was blowing directly TO Biscuit on the last search as she went directly to the hide. With a couple of the other searches could the wind have been blowing away from her? I think it WAS blowing towards her with the second search (body snap at :44) but even with that one maybe it was blowing more towards the garage door and she hadn’t quite caught it when she was distracted?
One thing I noticed with these videos is how much she looks OUT into the environment before getting to work. Yes, she was distracted by Patrick 🙂 for one search but if you watch her face, she’s either looking at the whole sea of boxes or something in the distance for most of them. The fact that you did NOT leave the threshold gave her the opportunity to easily swing back and find the odor.
Also note how fast her tail wags when she gets to source. You can see her anticipation of getting paid. 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
10/26/2016 at 10:29 am #8172
Darn! I started to answer your questions on this search with thoughts of our yet-to-be-posted vehicle searches in mind! For this one, I don’t recall noticing what the breeze might have been doing, but based on prior searches, I would guess that whatever light breeze there might have been was blowing up the driveway, towards the garage. I think you’re absolutely right that her head/body snap at :44 proves that point, and we seem to have a “prevailing wind” up the drive — not that there was anything close to “wind” when we did this!
Regarding the environment, although I didn’t notice her sensitivity on these searches, I’ve noticed more and more that she is very hesitant in unfamiliar and/or “scary” environments. She slows down and that tail stops doing its wag, which I’ve made the mistake of interpreting as meaning there’s no odor instead of realizing it might also mean a bit of stress.
And yes, that tail does wag like crazy when she makes her decision! That’s another reason I was originally confused as to which video you had reviewed. You’ll see another example of the Decision Wag in the video of our vehicle searches, which I’ll post in a minute.
10/26/2016 at 10:35 am #8173
These supposed-to-be-simple vehicle threshold searches proved to have a several unplanned challenges! For one thing, Tuesday, when we did these searches, was trash day and we did our third search when the trash truck was in our cul-de-sac. Happily, all that noise didn’t bother Biscuit at all (an interesting observation, considering our discussion of her environmental sensitivities). The next issue was lingering odor: for the second through fifth searches, Biscuit started by checking the places where she had previously found odor. However, she did a very good job of ignoring those locations and finding the new hides. (There was only one hide per search.)
Finally, there wasn’t much of a breeze yesterday, but there was a gentle bit of air movement from the back of the cars to the front. The first four searches all started downwind, but for our final search, we started upwind (i.e., at the back of the cars) so the breeze was carrying the high hide on the back of the BMW towards the front of the cars. You’ll see that this, combined with my choosing a very high location for the hide increased the level of difficulty significantly – my bad!
Because the search started with about 30 seconds of Biscuit rushing across the threshold and then searching in places where she can’t be seen, I’ve cut out the actual start of the search and that dead time. At the start, she headed over to the sedan and then sniffed her way up the middle to the front of the cars, checking all of the locations on the front where she had previously found odor. Clearly, she missed the threshold on this one! I started the video of this search at the point where she makes the turn and heads up the side of the BMW towards the back where the hide was located.
In spite of the difficulty of this hide, Biscuit did a good job of solving the problem, and gives and that super enthusiastic little tail wag to say, “It’s way up there, isn’t it!” Although she wasn’t PRECISELY under the hide, I accepted her answer (once she decided), knowing that the odor was drifting all over the place from that hide. (And yes, I potentially could have paid her sooner on this one, but I like the fact that she came to a decision and that I let her work it out.)
Biscuit and I will be heading up to Orangevale early on Friday morning for her second NW3 attempt. So I’m going to go ahead and mark this lesson as complete now, so as to see what lesson three holds in store for us. We’ll wait to post another video until you get a chance to review this one, but I’m hoping to DO that lesson (or at least start it) before we leave, which probably means attempting it this afternoon.
10/26/2016 at 11:21 am #8177
OMG! Simple hides, I think not! LOL! But what a good girl, Biscuit!!
Ok, so when the hides were within nose-height and downwind it was lovely to watch. The other two, well, ok I had to chuckle knowing your thought process of “We’ll just add a tiny little challenge to this threshold hide.” Sheesh! 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
10/26/2016 at 11:24 am #8178
And GOOD LUCK this weekend!! I’ll be up in the area tho’ about 45 minutes away playing at Agility Camp all weekend! 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
10/26/2016 at 3:03 pm #8187
Have fun at Camp! We’re actually nose working Saturday, then driving to Santa Rosa for one day of an agility trial. True insanity, but since we’ll already be up north, might as well.
10/28/2016 at 6:27 am #8202
Have fun! 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
10/31/2016 at 9:38 pm #8249
We actually did these searches last week, before leaving for our NW3/agility trial weekend road trip, but never quite made enough time in the evening after either driving or competing to analyze and post it! In any case, I’ve actually included 5 videos: two of the interior corner search and one each for the others.
In all of them, I thought Biscuit did a good job of finding the hides quickly and without too much difficulty. In the first search, I perhaps got a bit further ahead of her than I should have, and then stopped more or less directly opposite the hide, which perhaps wasn’t ideal.
In the second one, I enjoyed watching how she bracketed the corner, working back into the deep corner to find the hide. For the third hide (on the corner, along a wall), she walked along the wall, straight to the corner where the hide was – no problem there!
The fourth search – near a corner, starting from the corner – really amused me, because I expected her to have more difficulty with it. When I first ran this search with Blackie (aka my dog in white), she struggled a bit, and I guessed that it might be because the hide was just to the left of the blue door, and the black grate in the door was actually a vent, which had to have been either sucking air or expelling it. In any case, although I tried to suggest to Biscuit that she be on my right side as we approached the search, she was quite definite that she wanted to be on the left, and basically walked directly to the hide. Good girl!
The final search had the most wind impact. In all of the searches, I tried to follow your instruction that we have the wind blowing towards us. However, in the first four, the wind was light at best. For the final search, although the wind was still light, the ramp along which I placed the hide created a bit of a wind tunnel, which magnified the impact of what breeze there was. In addition, the ramp sloped upwards slightly, which seemed to affect Biscuit’s reactions. Even though the hide is on the ground, she starts out by looking up – but pretty quickly moves along and finds it on the ground.
11/01/2016 at 5:00 pm #8254
Excellent! Clearly, she knows how to work odor in each of the scenarios. If we had a strict “expectation” that Biscuit actually put her nose to the wall in search 3 we would forget to appreciate that she IS working odor off the wall, it’s just blowing out away from it a bit. Great example and nice work. 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
11/02/2016 at 1:26 pm #8274
Yes! I hadn’t noticed what you were talking about in the third search until I rewatched it. But definitely: if I’d stopped the video anytime before the 1:00 mark, you’d tend to say she’s just walking along; not working. Then she pretty much makes a beeline to the odor!
11/07/2016 at 2:02 pm #8363
Whew! Finally got a chance – and enough energy – to run lesson 3b.
I’ve actually included 5 searches in this theme:
1. 0 to 51 = inside corner at the end of a long wall
2. 52 to 1:02 = outside corner at the end of a long wall
3. 1:03 to 1:24 = edge, near an inside corner – but I forgot the instruction to start near the corner, so I redid this one
4. 1:25 to 1:37 = edge near an outside corner
5. 1:38 to 1:49 = the redo of edge, near and inside corner
For the first 4 of these searches, I placed the hides relatively high for my girls, and I was pleased that this didn’t seem to throw Biscuit off at all. In particular, the third search was VERY high, and she still found it in under 20 seconds.
For whatever reason, the one that seemed most difficult for her was the very first one. Not sure why she had trouble with it, but even so, she solved the problem pretty readily.
11/09/2016 at 9:00 am #8382
Sorry Sue, I thought I gave feedback already!
Biscuit did a very nice job with the elevated hides (not part of the lesson!). The difference between the first and second video showed clearly that the air current was moving towards the inside corner that Biscuit had a hard time sourcing. Add in the elevation and it makes for a very challenging hide!
In Search #3, is the sliding door open? If yes, I’m sure the air currents were stirring up things quite a bit.
I give you credit for practicing standing back at the threshold when the hide was relatively close! Biscuit does a good job of working these. 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
11/09/2016 at 10:21 am #8386
Interesting observation regarding that first hide in the inside corner. I was also intrigued by the fact that Biscuit went to the end of the hallway and turned the corner, but then came running back when she realized I hadn’t followed. I guess she got to the end of the rubber band!
As for search 3, no, the sliding door was closed (the screen outside was partly open, but the glass door was closed. When Blackie and I tested this search, we entered through that door, and it dawned on me that opening and closing it would cause the odor to swirl, so for Biscuit we just walked around the table to get to the imaginary start line.
11/09/2016 at 12:37 pm #8391
Ah, ok, I wasn’t sure about the door. Yes, watching the two searches back to back in the same area it’s really interesting to see how easy the second one is and I’m sure it has to do with the air current. In that corner it’s probably not moving much if at all. You could always try it again with a lowered hide. I’d use a tube that she’s less likely to see, tho’. Do you have any white straws? 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
11/13/2016 at 7:29 pm #8423
As per usual, I have demonstrated my inability to follow lesson instructions precisely: we did a total of four vehicle searches, of which only 1 was truly a bumper. 🙁 Listed in the order in which we searched:
– Forward edge of the right front wheel well,
– Inside the gas cap on the side of the car,
– Inside the trailer hitch, and
– Sitting on the corner of the left rear bumper.
Our start line was at the front of the car, and the wind was blowing towards the start line. Since we did all four searches within a span of less than 30 minutes, Biscuit naturally checked each prior hide location before continuing on to find the new spot – but it was only a relatively brief stop at the lingering odor. And yes, I realized when I came in from doing the searches that I had once again overlooked part of the directions: “These should be easily accessible for the dog.” (For someone who lobbied to get you to do this Back to Basics class, I sure seem to be rebelling against basic searches, aren’t I?)
Anyhow, of these four searches, I found the gas cap search and the final bumper search to be the most interesting, because Biscuit clearly knew those hides were above her head and moved along, periodically standing on her hind legs to sniff further up. She hasn’t often done the “walk along the counter on her hind legs” kind of search, so I liked seeing her ingenuity in doing so on these two searches.
For the gas cap hide, she actually alerted on the corner (maybe she read the lesson better than I did 🙂 ) and I held out a tiny bit to see if she would pinpoint it closer to the actual gas cap, but when she continued to say it was the light, I went ahead and rewarded her from source. I figure that with the hide inside the gas cap, it could easily have been moving towards the light and emanating from there, and that since it was an inaccessible hide anyhow, she wasn’t necessarily wrong.
As for the other two hides, she pretty much rocked them! And BTW, the barking dog during Biscuit’s final search was Blackie, who was out in the side yard, complaining at our neighbors’ kids.
On to do our container corners and edges…
11/14/2016 at 4:37 pm #8434
Little Biscuit is showing a GREAT enthusiasm for finding source!! Of anything coming out of this course, it seems she is much more determined. I’m not as worried that the hides weren’t exactly on the corner of the bumper but the idea was to get the dog to find the productive areas on the vehicle. Going back to one of them is actually not a bad thing. 🙂
Now, the gas cap hide…
That is a REALLY hard hide, depending on the height of your dog and the configuration inside the cap. I would challenge everyone to OPEN their gas cap covers to see what it looks like. Mine is a bunch of HOLES so that that odor would be drifting INSIDE the walls of the vehicle. It doesn’t surprise me that Biscuit found it on the light. 😉
Yep, B2B rebel… 😀
Joyride K9 Dog Training
11/14/2016 at 5:17 pm #8437
Yes, I knew when I set the gas cap hide that it was well beyond “basic,” and that I’d probably need to accept an alert that wasn’t necessarily precisely where I anticipated it happening. So in the end, I’m really pleased with how well she did at solving that problem!
As for the final portion of this lesson: We own a rental property which is currently between tenants, so I took advantage of that to set up our container searches in a location my girls had never seen – and a location with absolutely no clutter! We did a total of 5 searches in an 8-box pattern similar to the drawing you had in the lesson. After each search, the hot box changed position (relative to the rows and columns), and the columns moved such that no clean box was ever in a prior hot box location – you’ll see the rows slowly move from right to left. The hot box positions in our 5 searches were as follows:
– Row 1, box 4
– Row 2, box 1
– Row 2, box 2
– Row 2, box 3
– Row 2, box 4
Biscuit’s searches were pretty fast and furious. Although it surprised me in several of them to see her check every single box other than the hot box before finally alerting on the hot box.
What really surprised me in all of this was the amount of time I spent trying to persuade Biscuit to accept the treat from my fingers! She’s a silly little girl sometimes, and I think the fact that I was trying to DASH in to reward quickly made her nervous about me “coming at her.” We’ve had this treat avoidance response before, and I’m thankful that the treat hesitation didn’t lessen her desire to search: she was still excited to get to each new search. I think the floor in the empty dining room where we searched may have bounced a tiny bit, or echoed slightly when I made my very fast move, contributing to her worry. Plus it was a strange location, and I know she has seemed more environmentally sensitive lately.
Unfortunately, for her final search, this treat avoidance game resulted in rewarding her well away from source. I’ll need to remember to watch for that going forward!
Of course the truly remarkable thing about this exercise is that I think I actually followed your instructions to the letter! I’ll bet you didn’t know I was capable of that 😛
11/15/2016 at 11:03 am #8443
YIPPIE! I’m impressed with both of you! 😀 😀 😀
In all seriousness, Biscuit did a fantastic job of working these boxes and communicating very clearly!! The hesitance of taking the reward was so curious!? I’ve never seen her do that before, at least not to that extent. Was there something different about the reward?? Was something different about the delivery of the reward?
Joyride K9 Dog Training
11/15/2016 at 2:33 pm #8448
I’ve also never seen her do it to this extent. Although, I can tell you that when she was a puppy, we totally bombed in a tricks course, because she would pull away from the treat and refuse to take them. That also meant she refused to offer any behaviors. She still sometimes gets in a mood where she doesn’t want to take treats from my fingers — she comes up to take whatever it is, and then pulls back before getting her teeth on it. When this happens, she usually is willing to take it if I let it sit flat on my hand, but even that wasn’t working this time.
As to what the treats were, they were the Plato Turkey treats, which she usually loves, but hasn’t had for a while, so I figured they’d be high enough value. I don’t think that was it, because she did eat them gladly, once she got up nerve enough to take them.
As for the delivery of the reward, that was probably the problem. I was hanging back to let her work and observe what she was doing, so I had several quick steps to get there to reward. And as I mentioned above, it was a strange location, and I noticed that perhaps the floor echoed a bit when I pounded across it, and may have even bounced a tiny bit. So I suspect that all of that — my dash, the odd noise from my pounding footsteps, the bouncy floor, a strange location — must have combined to create her aversion. We’ll see how it goes today. I’m going to move on to lesson 4 now.
11/15/2016 at 3:17 pm #8451
Just an interesting situation! And as I mentioned in the classroom forum, I wonder if the mirrors had any effect? Number one visual but also audible along with the sounds on the floor, I wonder if those steps created reverberation with the mirrored doors on the tracks? Sounds off the solid walls/mirrored walls, as well. A very curious situation!
Joyride K9 Dog Training
11/15/2016 at 11:10 pm #8464
Mirrors are mounted on the wall — not on tracks. But I’m pretty sure you’re right that they played into the response. I’m only bummed now that our new tenant moved in today, so I won’t be able to try searching in that location again! Good news is that in our in person class today and in our exercise we did for this class, this same treat avoidance didn’t recur, so it was definitely a one-off situation.
11/15/2016 at 11:10 pm #8465
Having waited more than an hour for this video to load, I can tell you the source of our problems: COMPUTERS!!! Now, with that off my chest, let’s move back to the nose work realm…
This was an interesting search, and an exercise we’ve done several times, including more than once along this same wall. I elected to pair the hides this time, in hopes of providing max motivation to keep searching, and to avoid any treat delivery issues 🙂 Of course, in selecting today’s treats, I forgot that Biscuit has had problems with these treats in the past. Although they aren’t all that gooey – they’re just tiny Fruitables Bison bits, very much like Zukes – when she eats them, she seems to keep chewing for an extra long period of time, as though she had peanut butter stuck on the roof of her mouth! My poor girl! It’s always something…
Anyhow, we had 6 hides – two of each odor – spaced about 6′ apart. Four were on top of the wall, and two were lower on the wall. Naturally, with the stacked stone, there was a lot of channeling.
I found it interesting that after finding the first low hide (which was actually the second hide from the left) quite readily, Biscuit went along the wall and got almost precisely to the location of the second low hide but instead of finding it, at the :29 mark, she jumped up on top of the wall and went looking for the high hides. That second low hide turned out to be the last one she found.
Unfortunately, my camera angle wasn’t aimed properly to include the last hide on the right in the lens AND from about :42 to 1:09 and again from 1:24 to 1:52, she is out of camera range – searching in an indented area opposite the wall. (The breeze – though not strong – was blowing over the wall and therefore probably causing it to travel into that indented area.)
Then, at 2:08, Blackie started barking at something in the house, and I stepped backwards and stumbled over the chaise lounge, scaring poor Biscuit, just as she was finding the first treat on the left!!! AND, I stood precisely in front of the camera so you can’t see her recover and take that treat 🙁
At 2:45, when she goes out of camera range, she finds the far right hide, and then turns back to look for the final one. After triangulating with one of the top-of-wall hides she had already found, she hops down, and makes a bee line to that final hide.
So, she was neither very fast in her searching, nor very efficient (what with some up and some down), but she worked out all of these problems very willingly!
11/16/2016 at 12:30 pm #8475
First of all, you are a brave woman walking along the edge of the pool with your back to the water! I was waiting for the splash! LOL!
I love the searches along this wall. It SO shows how odor moves up and over. (Something for Linda to take note of from one of Molly’s previous searches!) In this location, Biscuit knows how to work it and she does a nice job. Wasn’t Biscuit also the one who jumped up on the wall in the trial recently, to work the hide from above? 😉 It does seem, however, that she doesn’t want to walk across the place where you have the DogWalk panel (?) on top of the wall so she avoids walking further.
Good job, little Biscuit, for working out the problems with all the distractions. 🙂
Did you notice that she didn’t wag her tail like she does when she’s expecting to be paid? It seems because these hides were paired and she could self-reward she didn’t exhibit that same anticipation wag. Interesting to note!
(BTW, GLAD to hear that the previous anxiety about taking a reward around the mirrored room didn’t continue to the next search!)
Joyride K9 Dog Training
11/16/2016 at 9:58 pm #8488
Interesting comment about the tail wag. I decided to test it in our next search… And yes, the treat avoidance was mostly gone today. I had a bit of that in our first two (failed) attempts at doing part b. To mitigate that, I tried to move in a bit more slowly to give her the treat, and thought about the suggestions Kathryn gave. End result was that I don’t think you see any treat avoidance in the video we’re posting below.
So, on to talk about today’s work… Once again, I managed to add way too much difficulty into this Part b of this exercise! SHOOT! We actually did it three times before we simplified things enough for Biscuit to succeed within 3 minutes. The first time, I chose a wall along a rather busy street – which turned out to have a large and barky dog across the street from exactly where the hides were set. That was way too scary for Biscuit to focus. The dog wasn’t out initially, and Biscuit found 4 of 6 hides, but once the dog came out, she couldn’t focus any more – kept looking over her shoulder, across the street. So we ended the search (after 5 minutes) without finding those last two hides.
The next attempt was another wall, this time away from the busy street. But it was one of those walls made of semi-rounded pavers, so the odor proved to be very difficult to locate, with so many indentations in which it could pool and/or channel. Plus, I put some hides high and some low, and the high hides proved to be higher than I intended, so again, we aborted this search after finding 3 or 4 (in about 5 minutes of searching).
The third time was the charm: 5 hides along a wall that was only perhaps 15″ tall. Hides alternated between being on top of the wall and on the ground. Finally, I had a setup that proved very easy for Biscuit!
On her first pass along the wall, she misses the #3 hide (atop the wall), and she again misses it on the way back up the wall. Then, she decides to jump up onto the wall, and goes directly to the final hide – all this in a minute and a half, with Blackie barking constantly, people walking by, and even a car or two driving past behind us! Good girl for ignoring all these distractions!
I think the two things that most impressed me in this search were (1) the body snap when she realizes that she has passed the first hide on top of the wall and turns back to get it, and (2) the fact that she knew the final missing hide was on top of the wall well before she got back to the start line and jumped up on top. She starts looking up well before that.
Finally, as noted above, I decided to test your comment about the tail wag not being there in our last video with the paired hides. Therefore, for this search I intentionally did not pair, even though the hides were all accessible. Sure enough: that “pay me” tail wag has returned.
I’m going to mark this lesson completed so as to prepare for the next one…
11/17/2016 at 1:14 pm #8504
AWESOME work for all the distractions! (I know you said it took 3x, but she worked thru it!)
You might, at some point, try the wall with the rounded pavers and just keep all hides low?
I think it’s really interesting that Biscuit really does know to work the top of the wall! 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
11/17/2016 at 1:35 pm #8508
When you’re tiny, you have to be creative! Yes, we’ve actually worked the rounded paver wall (or similar walls) on prior occasions with success. I just underestimated the wall’s height vs. Biscuit’s and failed to take into account that in this particular location there was a wooden fence on top of the wall, making it less obvious to her that she could jump up onto it.
We’re waiting for our NW525.5a videos to upload and be able to be merged. Will post that lesson very soon, and simultaneously mark it complete, so as to do 525.5b yet this afternoon. That will most likely be as far as we get in this class, since Big Bu (i.e., Blackie)and I leave for Nevada City tomorrow morning.
11/17/2016 at 1:56 pm #8512
Good luck! 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
11/17/2016 at 3:25 pm #8514
OK… I’ve been waiting more than 2 hours for the edits to trim two of my videos to tell me they’re completed. Then, I would ordinarily need to create a merged video of the three searches, which would entail additional waiting. However, nothing seems to be happening on YouTube. Therefore, I’m going to go ahead and post three separate videos for this exercise. IF the first video shows up as being 1:48 in length, know that you can fast forward to about the :40 mark before we come into view. Sorry for having to do it this way!
Happily enough, Biscuit did a really good job of solving all of these problems, in spite of the fact that we did the searches at the Park after our Agility class, with LOTS of distractions – other dogs, squirrels, people, etc. It’s a very familiar environment, so not particularly scary for her, and I was pleased that she wasn’t particularly baffled or concerned by the various barriers I set up.
525.5a part A:
In the first search, there’s a pretty good breeze blowing from left to right, the hide is on the trash can to the left of the barrier, and we approach from the right. Biscuit was in odor well before we got close to the barrier, and I love seeing how she first locates the nearest point on the right side of the barrier, then brackets the trash can, and ultimately elects to go around the barrier at the back of the image. Unfortunately, at that point, we had a bit of crittering and she ranged kind of far from the search – but it is possible that the odor had carried over there, since the breeze was blowing mostly left to right, but a bit front to back in the image. Eventually, she comes around the trash can and pinpoints the hide, which was paired, with ease.
525.5a part B:
The second search has a bit of a maze to get to the hide, which was on the center pedestal of the round table. The wind was in our face as we approached the search, and wagons and fencing and table legs were all in the way, but all of this proved no match for the little B! Again, I paired this hide, and I’m glad I did because there’s no way I could reach in there to reward her!
525.5a part C:
For our final search, I put the hide in the ground next to a big rock, and then surrounded the rock with three fence units. Once again, we started with the wind in our faces – it was blowing more or less right to left this time. Again: classic bracketing on Biscuit’s part, then a decision (for which I could have paid outside the fencing), but I elected to move a section of fence to let her self-reward. As I moved the fence, I thought it was kind of cool that she stayed put – initially – where she had decided she was closest to source. Good girl!
11/18/2016 at 11:30 am #8522
Awesome work, Little B! I love that she just ignored the barriers on the second search and went right to the hide. GREAT display of one of the benefits of pairing. 😉 Then on the third search she couldn’t get to the hide but wagged her tail at you with her “come pay me” signal, even when she couldn’t get to source! Yippie! 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
11/19/2016 at 6:32 am #8534
Yup. She has done really well on these simple searches! As I emailed you the other night, I’m excited to post our final video.
As you know, I’ve had the impression that Biscuit isn’t good at working hides with elevation. Well, this final lesson (final one we’re going to complete during this course) has proven that either I’ve been dead wrong all along, or that all the hides I placed higher than I should have when doing earlier exercises have helped her overcome any weaknesses with these types of hides. All I can say is she rocked this one: 4 successively higher hides in under a minute – including time for me to punch her in the face while delivering the final treat… This poor girly! It’s a wonder she lets me near her!
OK… Blackie and I are off to work in the score room at the Nevada City NW3 trial today, and then Blackie will get to compete tomorrow. See you all next time around 🙂
11/19/2016 at 9:59 pm #8551
Woohoo!! Nice job!! (Even with the face-punch! LOL!)
Joyride K9 Dog Training
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