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- This topic has 35 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 09/07/2018 at 11:07 am by Kimberly Buchanan.
08/18/2018 at 5:41 pm #14449Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
Hi Sue! Welcome back to you – and which dog? 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
08/20/2018 at 2:43 pm #14463Susanne HowarthParticipant
After this weekend, in Maple Falls, I’ve decided to do this one with little Biscuit. As you know, my challenges with her relate to a variety of things: (1) she is a very deliberate searcher, and if she is not in odor, she slows down to be sure not to miss anything, (2) because she is deliberate, we are almost constantly under time pressure, (3) she is sensitive to unpleasant surfaces — e.g., the prickly dried grass in this weekend’s exterior search area, and (4) it’s hard for me to know when I need to tell her to keep moving and when I need to give her time to think.
I’ll have video this afternoon from this weekend’s trial, which I can perhaps use for the baseline lesson. In particular, one of the Interior rooms was blank, but I called a false alert, because I thought she had bracketed an inaccessible hide, when in fact I suspect the message was supposed to be “there’s nothing here.” I can also tell you that we missed a hide in our Exterior search, which was a large area, and as I mentioned above, she just did NOT like the dried grass she had to walk on to find the hides.
08/21/2018 at 5:41 pm #14513Susanne HowarthParticipant
OK… I still haven’t received the videos from this weekend (although emails for orders and payment were flying fast and furious yesterday, leading me to believe the video links themselves would also arrive soon!). Therefore, for a first exercise, I set up what I’m calling “Lotsa Hides” and ran it 3 times in a row. In each search, there are 11 paired hides, one on each of the chairs, tables, and ottomans and at the base of the patio umbrella. I set my FitBit to count down 1:30 for the search, and when time was up, I praised Biscuit and moved her out of the search. Of course, in the first round, I forgot to start the timer for a few seconds, so she got some extra time!
The first and third times we did this, we started close to the camera and worked around the pool clockwise. The second time, we started at the far side and worked counterclockwise. On the three tries, Biscuit found 8 of 11 (with a few extra seconds), 7 of 11, and 10 of 11. So perhaps this is encouraging her to work faster? Or perhaps she knows where they are after the first two rounds?
Anyhow, another obvious issue with Biscuit is the delicate way in which she takes the treats, even when they are right there for her to grab. She is so cautious it’s pitiful! And in at least one case, she knocked the hide container off of where it was sitting and then jumped like crazy — she did go back and pick up the treat, but once again, even in her own back yard, she is super sensitive!
I’ll try some more exercises like this after the weekend — unfortunately, I head to Michigan again early tomorrow morning, this time without any canine companions. In the meantime, if I get the trial videos, I’ll post them and perhaps I can get your comments on some of that.
08/22/2018 at 12:42 pm #14552Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
So I guess my question is what are you trying to read in her that is not clear? She’s not fast but other than that, is there something we’re trying to see?
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08/24/2018 at 12:56 am #14571Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
I think we should look at the Interior search trial video you mention. It sounds like that’s something that you need to distinguish – no odor and working extra hard to find anything OR bracketing and can’t get to source. Right?
Joyride K9 Dog Training
08/27/2018 at 4:13 pm #14676Susanne HowarthParticipant
Right you are, and unfortunately, the Interior video — now that I have finally been able to download it — isn’t terribly revealing. Unfortunately, where I called the false alert happened to be directly below the stationery camera in the room. Therefore, you see me watching her, but you don’t see her 🙁 I think you’re right, though, that my challenge is in reading Biscuit working hard vs. no odor to be found.
Not sure if the Exterior video will be useful — it’s actually two videos, because the search area was so large. There were 2 hides, and you’ll see that in this search part of our challenge is that she REALLY didn’t like walking on the dead prickly grass, and hesitated to approach the portable classroom building where the one hide that we did find was located. However, we ran out of time and failed to find the second hide.
In the first video (which is labeled Part 2), you see us eventually find the one hide.
Then, video 2 uses a different camera angle to show the remainder of the search.
The hide we miss is actually at the threshold, in a small electrical box, just to the left of the entrance we come through. The first 15 seconds of this video are intended to show that although I chose the direction for us to start our search — i.e., we headed right instead of left — I didn’t see Biscuit didn’t give me any indication of interest to the left. From about the :10 mark you can skip forward to 1:00 — there’s nothing to see there that you haven’t seen in the first video, but I couldn’t figure out how to cut out the remaining :50 seconds at the start. From the 1:00 mark on, we have just finished our reward from the first hide we found and are coming back along the building, with me choosing to have us search the portable classroom side instead of the main building side.
Not sure what I could have done differently — we used 2:48.73 of 3:00, so we really didn’t have time to finish the search. The only thing I do wish I had done differently would have been to put Biscuit’s booties on her: I had them with me and knew she didn’t like the grass, and knew there was a lot of it in the search area, but just didn’t think of putting them on.
Do you see anything I’m missing in terms of indications of interest in that other hide? Did I misread her? Or is it just slow search pace once again? And what other exercises should I try to set up?
08/28/2018 at 11:10 am #14696Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
I’m assuming you mean the “left” of the threshold when you walked thru, opposite of where the timer was standing? I’m thinking, gauging by the movement of the flag in the foreground that the odor was being blown away from you when you walked into the search. Had you had 30 more seconds I’m betting you would have found that hide.
These are the things I did see and I hope you did too;
At the very beginning, Biscuit starts to head towards the grass. In fact she cuts behind you. GREAT clue that there is something in that direction. Then we see her head and nose lift to catch scent on the wind at about (:15+). I’m curious, since she goes directly to where the hide is at the corner of the building, if you’d turned towards her instead of getting her to move along faster if you’d have finished that problem and found that one? She’s definitely deferring to your body language. I will agree with what I *hear* you saying right now, that you’ve got to get her around the search area faster. BUT, in that moment, had you maybe moved towards her (supported) to see what she’d found, perhaps? She also catches it on the pipes at the side of the building. Again, your body language says, let’s move on out. Not, Hm, what are you catching?
Those two concepts – listening to what she’s subtly telling you and getting her around the search area faster are in direct conflict. I know. BUT.
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08/28/2018 at 12:13 pm #14707Susanne HowarthParticipant
Yes, on the wall just to the left of the threshold as we entered the search area. You can see the electrical box on the wall — a little silver/grey blip just above the second row of bricks (or above the first row of wide bricks, depending on how you want to count. Yes, I think you’re right that the breeze was blowing away from us. Did I not turn towards her adequately? When she goes behind me, I did semi-stop and redirect, but she then kept moving in the direction I had chosen.
Also, I’m not sure I understand what you mean when you say, “I’m curious, since she goes directly to where the hide is at the corner of the building, if you’d turned towards her instead of getting her to move along faster if you’d have finished that problem and found that one?” We DID find the hide at the far corner of the building… did you mean that if I’d turned more toward her when she “rear crossed” me that we might have gotten the electrical box hide?
Finally, at the time, I recognized that she didn’t like the grass. On that basis, I suspect a better choice for searching after we found the first hide might have been to come back up the sidewalk, recognizing that she’d move along more quickly on the concrete and IF there were odor on or beyond the grass, she’d take us in that direction. In this case, doing so also would have taken us directly past the electrical box hide! Oh well 🙁
08/28/2018 at 12:22 pm #14708Susanne HowarthParticipant
OK… Pending lesson guidance from you, I figure I’ll also post our Container search from Maple Falls. We left one hide behind in this search: the 2nd black tool box in the back row also had a hide in it — no distractors anywhere. (The box we missed is actually just to our right in the video thumbnail — just behind Biscuit’s butt and just in front of me.)
At ~:15 she cuts the corner and heads directly to the first black box (2nd box in that row), and then gives me a bit of indication that she wants to continue on to the hot box. However, because she had completely ignored the corner box, I called her back to check that (empty) box first. Then, when we did continue along the back row, she completely ignored the second black box. 20/20 hindsight: should I have allowed her to continue on in the direction she was going and simply have planned to make another pass up that row to check the corner box, since I knew she had skipped it? She was moving along pretty nicely when I called her back. As you know, that’s usually a sign she’s in odor and/or working. So should I have deferred to her?
What lesson(s) shall I set up to work with her?
08/29/2018 at 11:15 am #14722Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
Going back to the first video;
What I meant about finding that hide is finding it when she first showed interest in the area (:24) and spent about 10 seconds between the corner and the pipes on the wall. You did actually turn towards her but your body position didn’t move towards her but kept your distance. This is when we talk about taking a SMALL STEP towards the dog in support. My curiosity is about whether Biscuit would have solved that problem then and there if you’d moved towards her at all rather than keeping your position on the far right. Or even moved to her left when you saw that interest? Was there enough of her body language to clue you in that there was something there? Yes, you came back and got it but in the interest of speeding her up maybe spending some seconds at that time would have resulted in a faster search.
Joyride K9 Dog Training
08/29/2018 at 11:37 am #14726Susanne HowarthParticipant
Good question. I definitely noticed the interest, because I made a point of bringing her back there. But I wasn’t confident enough that the odor was there, as opposed to somewhere else in the area, and I think I kind of figured I should give her a chance to finish along the building — and the furthest corner of the area — and then come back to it. You’re right, she might have worked it out quicker had I moved in instead of continuing on. What you don’t see in the video is that there was a border of about 12″-15″ of gravel immediately adjacent to the building, and Biscuit seemed very hesitant to cross that space for whatever reason. That’s why I did my little loop-de-loop at about the :48 mark — to try to show her it was OK to step on that. Of course, immediately thereafter I dragged us both into the outer portion of the search area.
So: still no guidance from you as to what next?
08/29/2018 at 11:52 am #14727Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
I’m trying to assess where to go…. I wanted your feedback on what I saw. And as you’ve posted the next video I now will review that. Since I’ve been working with you and Biscuit for a couple of years she’s still a puzzle. Sometimes so honest and at other times so subtle that the honesty gets lost. I’m trying to figure out if there is any consistency in when that happens and how to test or train to see if we can evaluate this more.
Let me review your next video and I’ll be back shortly with some input and direction.
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08/29/2018 at 12:08 pm #14728Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
Ok, regarding the container search; it seems Biscuit was on a mission and perhaps if you’d let her continue forward she’d have found that hide. She never even checked that container when she actually did go by it. Did you notice that when you went by them? She did a great job checking those first few containers at the beginning but after she got pulled back to check the corner box (which she did and ruled it out) she only gave a slight “boink” to the next tool box and totally skipped the others until the corner. Then she continued to work those containers to the hide at the other corner. Oh – and what was it to the far left that made her look (:21) or was she just trying not to get stepped on?
It seems that Biscuit either (a) speeds up when she detects odor and/or (b) changes direction. Being the sensitive girl that she is she is unlikely to forcefully tell you that she’s working odor and instead comply with your wishes. Your handling is fine, nothing wrong, for a dog who is willing to tell you “no.” I just don’t think she will do that. BUT, maybe there is a way to convince her it’s ok if she does? With all of the dogs, this is going to take some tricky “reading” of her and you’re going to still have to keep up the pace and make sure you cover a search area. BUT, maybe by listening to her signals you won’t have to interject as much as expected.
I think we should look at a searches with a single sourceable hide, exterior location with limited distractions. No prickly grass or gravel that she won’t walk on. YET. Set up 3-4 searches in a variety of environments and let her totally lead the way. Obviously keep the search areas relatively small-medium. What we’re looking for are her signals to when she’s noticing odor. will she take you to it and how quickly? Does she hesitate anywhere? Does she ask for help anywhere?
In the meantime, scope out locations where we can find things she would normally avoid like icky footing and other things that bother her to see if she still gives signals you can pick up on. But let’s get this neutral baseline first, without stacking challenges…. 🙂
Edit: I think these searches should be away from home since that is her comfort zone. Choose some place that is new or not used a lot so she’s not necessarily uncomfortable but having to do this without that sense of home.
Joyride K9 Dog Training
08/29/2018 at 2:40 pm #14736Susanne HowarthParticipant
You’re right that I did NOT notice that she wasn’t paying attention when we finished that back row of containers, nor had I noticed that she was really on a mission to get to that odor box that we missed. So perhaps what I need to learn is that if she skips a box and is MOVING, I need to allow her to continue in whatever direction she has chosen, and just remember to come back and catch the missed box later.
We’ll head out to the park to set up some searches as per your instructions above.
08/29/2018 at 3:21 pm #14737Susanne HowarthParticipant
OK… We did four searches this afternoon, three of which are included in this video (not sure what happened to the 4th, but I seem not to have caught it on video). I’ll also apologize for the bounciness of the video. I left home without a tripod or other device on which to set my GoPro, and therefore wound up holding it in my hand and attempting to juggle camera, leash, and treats. I hope it doesn’t give you motion sickness!
All three searches were in parks where we don’t usually practice. The first two searches were in a park that had a LOT of activity, so we changed locations to go to a different park, with lots of cars driving by, but fewer people. In two of the three searches I intentionally set us up to start downwind from the hide. The first is the only one where we started upwind: the hide is on the middle of the bench to the left in the screen, and you’ll see a change as Biscuit goes behind that bench and catches odor — we had a pretty good breeze blowing toward the bench and into the bushes.
In the second search, the breeze is blowing straight toward us, or perhaps a tiny bit toward the right, and the hide is on the “No Dumping” sign at the back of the concrete pad. I probably shouldn’t have told Biscuit to start searching till AFTER we passed the silver car. But having done so, I also suspect she may have caught odor blowing onto it. After checking out the front of the vehicle, she pauses and contemplates where to go next, and finally moves again when I start moving. At that point, her speed picks up and she motors almost directly to the hide location.
Final search is on the green trash can in the background. The breeze was blowing pretty consistently up the hillside toward us — more or less following the little concrete divider that Biscuit initially follows. She then goes over to check out the tree — pooling odor? — and from there works very quickly to the trash can.
So, all of these searches were in relatively unfamiliar territory — we have practiced there before, but not for a long while and not very often. And yet, Miss B was movin’ on out. On the one hand, that pleases me. On the other hand, I’m not sure how to evoke that kind of performance in trial situations! I’d even say that the footing in a couple of these was less than ideal, and yet it didn’t seem to phase her. Also, it was quite warm this afternoon when we did these searches, and you’ll see that she looks hot and yet she searches quite nicely.
So what am I complaining about? I dunno!!! I just wish I had a more consistent read on my little girl!
08/29/2018 at 7:20 pm #14743Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
I hear you! This is why I’m having trouble giving you direction! We’ve tried so much with her and it’s hard to gauge when things will bother her. BUT, I’m thrilled that she did well today! Happy to look at your videos? 🙂
Oh – and yes, I guess that’s what I was getting at, IF you see her make some sort of change of direction or speed or even just stopping to check something out. Respond to it. See if it’s worth spending more time. So far what we’re seeing are some pretty subtle signals that could be good indicators to pay attention to.
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08/30/2018 at 10:09 am #14755Susanne HowarthParticipant
Oh darn! I did forget to post the video… Here it is:
08/30/2018 at 2:22 pm #14765Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
What is interesting in these searches is that you have to re-cue her in every one. What do you think would happen if you just let her decide? Is she distracted or thinking? (I honestly am not sure?)
She was RUNNING in the last search! Yeah! And she solved all three search challenges in just a bit over 3 minutes, not bad!
Ok, so next we should work this similar type of search in an area where you know she’s uncomfortable stepping on. Let’s see if she goes there anyway, if she pretends it’s an inaccessible hide or if she avoids the area altogether! Again, listen and respond to her, letting her lead the way. 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training
08/31/2018 at 7:55 am #14774Susanne HowarthParticipant
I thought she was probably thinking — she’s definitely a thinker! I’ll see what kinds of yucky surfaces can find for her — I have a few ideas… And I didn’t necessarily notice that I recued her — not sure if I did so more than usual? Or is it becoming habit f or me?
And I think I’ll also work on exuding more confidence in her skills and excitement about having her search. I suspect that may make it more fun for her, and if she thinks I’m pleased with how she’s doing, maybe she’ll move on out faster. Getting ready now to go see what we can find…
08/31/2018 at 11:09 am #14775Susanne HowarthParticipant
Yup. More and more, I think I’m Biscuit’s problem. Once again, she was happy as can be today and worked very efficiently. We did a total of five searches, 2 of which are included in this video. All four searches were in areas where we have never before searched, and in all cases I had a pretty good breeze to help me, and we started down wind. In each case (both on the video and in the searches that are not included) Biscuit started working well before my imaginary “start line.” I’m at ease, so she is as well.
In the first search on the video (which was actually our 4th search of the morning), there are two hides: one on a sprinkler pipe to the left, which she finds immediately (:08), and another up the hill a ways, on a taller sprinkler thingy. Again: she goes almost directly to this hide (:38!) At this point, I asked her to keep searching, because I think another thing on which I need to work is recognizing when there’s nothing more out there. At 1:25, she returned to the first hide, so I rewarded her again and called finish. Although, I’m not sure I’d have recognized this as a “done” sign in a trial.
In the second portion of the video (which actually was the 3rd search of the day), there is a single hide, on a rock, halfway up the rock garden. She has no problem whatsoever finding it, and as we came up the sidewalk from where I had parked the car, she was working well before the video actually started, and pulled me over to enter the rocks before she necessarily needed to do so.
So, what do you think? Are we onto something in regards to my mental attitude and its effect on Biscuit?
08/31/2018 at 1:04 pm #14780Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
“So, what do you think? Are we onto something in regards to my mental attitude and its effect on Biscuit?”
Possibly! You’ve been under a lot of pressure with the most recent trials, hoping to get her Elite before Montana so I’m sure that affected your tone of voice, maybe a bit of anxiety during searches. I still think paying closer attention to her signals and where she wants to go may play a part as well.
I’m curious; What was happening at (1:05+) where she wanted to go in one direction and you didn’t want to follow?
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09/01/2018 at 9:36 am #14786Susanne HowarthParticipant
Yes, I’m sure that I need to pay closer attention to HER signals! It’s not just a matter of my mental attitude. But I do think that plays a part in how she works. She definitely always wants to be “right,” so if she thinks I don’t believe in her, I’m guessing that may translate into some of extra slowness.
As for what happened at 1:05 in the video, I think I had probably sort of checked out in the sense that although I was supposedly still having her search, I knew that she had found everything and therefore wanted to get her to return to the first hide to reward her one more time and call finish — in part worrying about video timing! But yes, if I want to ask her to continue searching, I guess I need to pay better attention to what she is doing!
Here’s another video from our work yesterday. It was our final search of the morning, and is probably an excellent example of me ignoring what Biscuit was telling me 🙁 There were two hides: one on the far corner of the park bench (the corner closest to our start line) and the other about 3-1/2′ up on the post next to the tree in the foreground. There was a strong breeze blowing up the canyon — toward the start line. So odor from the two hides — one high, one moderately low. In rewatching the video today, I think I probably could have paid her as early as 1:40. She definitely looked up at that post — just didn’t approach it as closely as I wanted.
09/01/2018 at 5:14 pm #14794Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
I see Biscuit looking up at the hide as early as (:56). She worked it off of that clump of grass to the left, went to the bench first but decided it was coming from up and looked towards the hide. She’s even wagging her tail.
She then passes under the odor cone towards the weeds to the right, glances back twice on her way and then goes to the backside of the bench where I’m guessing odor is falling.
*Note* I wonder if the first “glance back” (1:05) had anything to do with her starting to work the odor but you came behind her and body pressured her forward towards the weeds?
She heads to the weeds, says “nope” and turns towards the post/tree, wagging tail and looking up at (1:31) and then at you. Goes closer at (1:38) and looks at you again. (That’s your 1:40 mark.)
Biscuit then goes back to the backside of the bench and follows you around to the front to be paid on the first hide again. Looks up towards the hide at (2:04, 2:08, 2:20, 2:25), then steps a bit closer (2:27), looks at you again at (2:29) and you accept that and pay her.
Many moments… do you see them? I’m not sure I’d have paid her as early as the first “clue” at (:56) but…
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09/01/2018 at 5:27 pm #14799Susanne HowarthParticipant
Yes, I completely agree with what you’re saying, and in the moment, I did recognize that she was working off the clump of grass, and then the weeds and bench. I think the appropriate time to pay her probably would have been either 1:31 or 1:38, especially in training when I know where the hide is AND know that it’s not an easy one to access. So, where shall I go from here?
I do have one more video from yesterday:
This one is mostly pretty sweet — from both of us 🙂 Wind is blowing towards the start line, or more precisely, it was blowing from the bushes at the right towards the “little free library,” more or less parallel to the benches. There are two hides: one on the wooden bench at the right, near the corner furthest from the start line; the other near the bottom of the post that is holding up the “little free library.” The one thing that kind of surprised me was that Biscuit walked right past the bench hide on our first circuit of the area. She then finds the post hide, and fairly quickly brings me back to the bench, first working it off the standalone bench in the middle.
With both hides, I somewhat intentionally didn’t accept her very first indication, and instead tried to show “what are you telling me?” interest, such that she pushed in even more definitively to put her nose on the source and/or stand up on her hind legs to make the point of “it’s right here, on top of this bench.”
So, as I asked above, what shall we do next? More of the same? Any new variations? (I’ve kind of deviated from your last instruction to me, by placing 2 hides, rather than just one…) What next?
09/02/2018 at 3:18 pm #14810Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
Hm… Ok, so I’m going to pick on the little things because I think they’re important….
Biscuit first shows “interest” at (:12) under the bench where the odor is slightly further down. BUT you don’t “listen” and respond to her cues and keep walking towards the hide. What we don’t know is whether there was a distractor or if odor was actually dropping into that section where she might have worked to the source.
As Biscuit gets closer to the bench hide it seems that the wind is pretty strong so the odor is likely blowing over her head.
We can’t see Biscuit in the frame but at (:34) we see your body language saying “let’s go back towards the bench” and yet the leash tells us that B is moving forward. And you go with her. (YEAH!) 🙂 At about (:51) she picks up speed and races to the first hide. Super!!
Even tho’ you’re not paying her quite yet, you LISTEN to her signals and she is insistent. Very good. And, not surprisingly she then picks up odor from the bench hide and works to that one nicely. I also like that you let her take the lead at that point. You go from stationary to moving slightly beyond her but your body language indicates you are listening. 🙂
Nice search! 🙂
Ok, so you were tasked with finding places where Biscuit probably doesn’t want to place her feet. Why? Because I’m thinking some of these subtle behaviors we’re seeing are going to be doubly important to pick up on when she’s also thinking that she doesn’t want to walk somewhere. Pokey grass, river rocks, open grates, etc. And since I know it’s hard to do just one hide 😉 you can place one within easy access for her and another that requires her to go to the icky side. BUT don’t do anything inaccessible otherwise or elevated. No need to mess with other challenges while we are trying to see her work these problems. 🙂
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09/02/2018 at 5:30 pm #14818Susanne HowarthParticipant
Good point about the wind blowing the odor over her head in that video from yesterday! I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense, because it was pretty strong. Also good point about her noticing something early on, and me not necessarily paying attention to it.
As for today… Yup. Icky surfaces was the assignment, and I found some of them 2 days ago — you’ve now seen all of those videos. Happily, Biscuit didn’t seem to have too much difficulty with any of the difficult places I chose! Today, I got a bit lazy, and had an idea for something I wanted to try with her. Since we did our practice before you had a chance to respond to yesterday’s video, I made up my own idea of what to try, which — unfortunately — forgot about the icky surfaces.
At St. Matthew’s School, there’s a relatively large patio on top of one of the buildings, with chairs and tables and a basketball court, etc. It’s a relatively large space, and I wanted to see just how Biscuit would respond in it. We’ve searched this area before, although not frequently, and it’s definitely not a scary or icky surface. However, I decided that I wanted to try a few searches in which we progressed from a single hide (located far into the search area) to 2, and then 3 hides. Each time, I asked Biscuit to continue searching after the last hide was found.
In our first search, there was a single hide near the base of the basketball hoop in the background. For search 2 (which I did not include in the video), I added a hide on the chair to the right. And in the third search, I placed a 3rd hide in a crack near the start line:
In the first search, I think part of the reason it takes so long (more than a minute) to find that one and only hide was that there was very little, if any, breeze blowing. By the time we ran the 3rd search, the breeze had picked up and was fairly steadily blowing from right to left in the video. I suspect that made it easier to work the hides, not to mention that she definitely knew where the productive spots were from prior searches!!!
In the first search, we did continue searching for perhaps a minute more than what I’ve included here. I cut that portion out so as not to go too far over your 3:00 rule! 😉
In the 3rd search (2nd half of the video) Biscuit does a beautiful job of working all three hides very quickly: finds all three in under 40 seconds! We then spent another minute checking other parts of the patio, and Biscuit worked quite willingly. Not sure she gave me any specific cues that she was done — she went to check the grouping of chairs (“could there be an inaccessible hide in there?”) and also the chair nearest the start line. Ultimately, she returned to the crack hide and I paid her one more time and called finish.
I left the last five seconds of the video in for comic relief. I learned today that I can turn my GoPro on and off via voice commands. So you’ll hear me call finish and start moving towards the GoPro, while asking it to stop recording. But Bisky has decided that she needs to be paid yet again for that last hide! I was more than willing to go back and do so, given that she was absolutely adamant about sticking it — and finally the GoPro heard and understood my command!
Tomorrow we’ll go further afield and look for some nasty footing. I have an idea of a possible location. I just need to do it early enough in the day for it to be cool out: it’s a lovely rattlesnake habitat, and I do NOT want to practice our rattlesnake avoidance training!
09/03/2018 at 12:05 pm #14823Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
Hm, I think you actually included the first two searches and not the third here?
In the first search you do a terrific job of letting Biscuit work and responding to her body language. You do a tiny bit of leading around the (:49) mark but not too much. She’s very honest and not really too slow. Works to the hide on the basketball hoop base and clearly gives you an indication.
In the second search her speed is pretty good and she goes directly to the chair hide off of the first chair. Nice! From there she quickly works to the hide on the Basketball hoop base. Also very nice!
From there, because I’m sure this is search #2 and there are only 2 hides, this is where you take over (1:52) and start leading her. You listen a bit at (1:59) but knowing there are no more hides you continue on to try and “cover” your search area. Smart to repay her at the 2nd hide, I think, affirming she is correct. (I think she worked it from pooling odor on the wall behind this time which is why she was working that back wall where you did respond.)
Then you move her along and even point to where you want her to check, which she does nicely. Not slow, a nice pace. Of course, there is no more odor and she eventually goes back to the hide on the chair. Really nice search!
I know it’s a dilemma whether to let her lead the way or direct her to keep her moving. My question is whether she will still tell you about odor if you’re trying to direct her one way when she’s noticing odor in a different way? How much will she follow vs lead? And how much to you need to move her along to cover the search area vs paying attention to those subtle cues? THAT is your biggest challenge IMO. Aside from the icky footing part.
So let’s look at some searches in places she’d rather not go but beyond that I think adding some slight direction of where to check and them paying very close attention to her subtle cues if she says “but I’m catching odor elsewhere.” Just like we see you do at (1:59) here.
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09/03/2018 at 2:31 pm #14829Susanne HowarthParticipant
Yup. Right you are. I grabbed the wrong video for part two of yesterday’s video. Oh well!
In regards to whether she’ll tell me about odor when I’m trying to move her in a different direction, we did one search this morning that gave a resounding “yes” to that question! We searched a location at St. Matthew’s where there’s a semi-enclosed stage-like area, with prickly fake grass on the “stage”. Although this was our 4th search of the day, given your comments above, I decided to post it first:
There are 2 hides on the stage: one tucked into the stack of folding chairs along the right side of the search area, and the other on top of the teak benches in the far left corner. You can’t tell from the video, but the benches are slatted on top, making it a difficult surface for tiny Biscuit feet. This was a challenge I hadn’t even thought of! A gentle breeze was blowing from the left to the right in the video.
As we were coming across the patio (to the right, outside of camera range and outside the search area), Biscuit started pulling to the right, before we got to the “start line.” Clearly, she was already working odor! Naturally, I insisted that we go up onto the stage — i.e., into the search area — but Bisky KNEW where she had first found odor, and instead of working the chair hide from on the stage as I had intended, she pulled me around to the other side, down a ramp alongside the stage, and worked the hide from where she originally noticed it. Good girlie!!!
Once that hide was located, we returned to the stage area and she worked along the benches, surprising me by opting to jump up ONTO the bench! Where she first jumped up was further from the hide than she wanted to be, and footing wasn’t comfortable, so she jumped back down, got closer to source, and then jumped back up to show me where it was. Again: Good Girlie!!
The second search in the video was just a quickie — a single hide, tucked under the rock fountain, with water flowing over the rock. I wasn’t sure to what extent the flowing water would be a turn-off to Biscuit, and the answer seems to be that it didn’t bother her in the least. The breeze was blowing towards the camera, so you’ll see Biscuit come past the fountain and up the stairs to the base of the camera, before turning back towards the rock and working the odor off the brick wall and to the hide.
At about 2:05, you’ll see me turn totally away from Biscuit to look behind me. No, I wasn’t intentionally ignoring my dog: I had heard something rustling in the plants behind me, and wanted to see whether it was anything I needed to worry about!
In addition to these two searches, we did three searches in vacant lots that had a lot of prickly brush. Biscuit wasn’t speedy in any of those (each one is ~2:00 for 2 or 3 hides in a not too huge search area.) But she worked the odor and overcame her worries about footing. I’ll either save those to post tomorrow or will see what other assignment(s) you want to give us.
09/04/2018 at 11:37 am #14834Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
I really like that she’s showing determination and clear communication in both of these! You do a good job of letting her lead the way. I’m glad you explained about the rustling in the bushes because I did wonder why you turned away from her. 😉
Up to you if you’d like to show the other searches or work on adding more pressure (from you) in the searches?
For added pressure, I’m thinking purposely turning away from her and/or not listening to her subtle cues. BUT before she gives up on where she wants to go you acquiesce and go with her. HOPING this gives her the confidence to be more insistent when you want to go somewhere but she’s catching odor and wants to go somewhere else. The trick will be to be just under her threshold of going with you. Do you think that is do-able? I think I would avoid the challenges of icky footing in this case right now, just a simple search.
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09/04/2018 at 12:07 pm #14836Susanne HowarthParticipant
Cool! I like the idea of pressuring her a bit. In each of the searches I did yesterday she found the hides I had set, but if they had been blind and if I had been feeling the need to cover a large search area within limited time, I don’t know that we would have succeeded. I don’t know that I’ll get time to do any practice today, so I’m going to go ahead and post one of the “vacant lot” searches from yesterday.
There are 3 hides in this search: one on the light pole near the start line, another on a rock on the ground a little ways up the hill, and a third one on another rock at the top of the hill. There was a reasonable breeze blowing over the hill — left to right in the video.
I found it interesting that Biscuit almost completely ignored the light pole as we walked past it at the start. Clearly, that first rock hide was calling more, and with the wind direction, I suppose that’s not all that surprising. (Blackie also bypassed the pole hide on her way into this search.) At the top of the hill, she continues further into what she perceives to be the search area, until I stop her from going out of camera range — as I might in a clearly defined search area — and we start downhill. After a bit of crittering (~1:32), she moves on down, and this time goes almost directly to the third and final hide, willingly putting her paws up on the pole to put her nose right on the source.
So, I’m hoping that tomorrow will be a little less busy with (allegedly real) work, such that we can act on your suggestion for pressuring her. One of the things I might try to set up is a scenario similar to what happened on that container search, where she wanted to go directly to the hot box, but I called her back to check an empty box and then we just walked right past the hot box. Hard to know if I’ll get similar results, but worth a try. And the other thing I may play with is “deciding” in advance the direction we should search and trying to “cover” the search area within a specified time limit.
Otherwise, I’m starting to see a lot more confidence coming from Biscuit, and I suspect that may simply be that I’ve actually been working with her. For several months it has mostly been Blackie getting the attention and traveling with me. I think she may have been feeling rusty, and in need of attention!
09/05/2018 at 11:28 am #14842Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
Excellent search, Sue! From both of you. 🙂 You had a nice combination of letting Biscuit lead the search but then putting some slight restrictions on her when she crossed well out of the search area. And yet she still lead the way. Nice! 🙂
FWIW, I think handing two dogs and remembering the details of how each one needs to work can be challenging. Maybe you both were rusty but it seems Biscuit is gaining in confidence to tell you rather than ask you and it’s nice to see. 🙂
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09/05/2018 at 2:18 pm #14849Susanne HowarthParticipant
Thanks! Yes, little Biscuit is a good girlie, and is very sensitive. It feels good to be regaining my confidence in our mutual skills and partnership! Now to see if I can find some time to practice today…
09/05/2018 at 6:14 pm #14852Susanne HowarthParticipant
OK… we did a couple very quick and easy searches: 2 container hides in our driveway and one slightly inaccessible hide in the back yard. For now, based on length of videos, I’ll just post the container searches.
I ran this search twice, back to back, the first time “forcing” Biscuit to search counter clockwise around the square and the second time going clockwise. There are two hides: one in the far right corner ORT box (i.e., at the end of the row to the right of the start line) and the other in the middle plastic box in the “back row” (i.e., the box with a green lid, next to the one with a blue lid). There were no distractors, and my main intent was to see what Biscuit did if I was dopey and ignored some of what she was telling me.
Both times she did a nice job — went along with the direction I insisted on at the start line, and when I was super slow to pay at the boxes, she stuck them nicely. In the first search, I could have and probably should have made her go back to check the ORT box next to the odor box, because she really didn’t put her nose on it, but I failed to notice that she had skipped it.
The interesting thing in the second search is that — just like in Maple Falls, she skipped the corner at the end of the first row of boxes, heading more immediately toward that plastic box hide. Like in Maple Falls, I called her back and made her check the corner, but this time, after checking the corner, she DID go to the hide, and didn’t skip it.
So an easy day all in all!
09/06/2018 at 1:15 pm #14859Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
Great job, Biskie! Love how persistent she’s being lately! 🙂
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09/06/2018 at 2:01 pm #14865Susanne HowarthParticipant
OK… Since we have class this afternoon, we won’t get to do another new search till tomorrow, and therefore I’m going to post the other easy back yard search that we did yesterday: one semi-inaccessible hide, in between the blue patio chair and ottoman. You’ll see the fog rolling in, which gives you a clue that there was a bit of a breeze from right to left in the video — i.e., we started upwind from the hide.
Biscuit did a lovely job of working the search area — allowing me to redirect her to search a couple spots before we got close to the hide, and then finding the hide at ~:45. Thereafter, I asked her to look for more hides, and she continued to work willingly, including going out to check the small table that did NOT belong out in the grass — good girl! Eventually, a little after 2:00, she decided to return to the hide, so I paid her and called finish.
09/07/2018 at 11:07 am #14869Kimberly BuchananKeymaster
Good girlie!! 🙂
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