While dogs do experiment with different ways of meeting criteria, I think this is simply Daisy finding LOTS of enjoyment in the game. Here enthusiasm and confidence just made a major leap forward! Pouncing on boxes is not a big deal for her. It’s pretty common in the training process for excited dogs to get to this point. It’s ok BECAUSE truffles don’t grow in boxes! The important part here is her enthusiasm and how much fun she is having. So, now it is time to change the game. Progress to the next stage by changing the containers and configuration. Let’s see how that goes. We also think that “priming” her will tame down the pouncing (but if not, no big deal).
Using visual identification is perfectly acceptable at this stage, and until her alert behaviors are somewhat more solidified we would encourage you to continue using them. Batting around the boxes is ok. Some dogs do this more than others. She is not rewarded for that behavior. The visual Id acts as a learning tool and guide for the dogs and is useful when transferring environments as it allows you to transition successfully into new environments and practice alert behavior skills while providing a guide to follow in heavy distraction (or large areas), which the outdoors and especially the forest is considered.
If we could see what you mean by hitting the other boxes we may be able to offer other advice. For example, if she is just knocking/ slapping them once in play that is one thing. If she is offering an alert indication at the other boxes, indulge it. Go to the box and open it so Daisy can see that there is in fact something missing in this picture? the truffle smell. Then happily carry on to the next box. This will help Daisy begin to recognize ?what is different about these identical objects??”
The next step in an alert behavior chain sequence for YOU is once Daisy alerts, reward her, but then get down on the ground with her, open up that container (or lift up the box with the truffle odor) and see if you can get her to nose target inside the container (or on the ground as the case may be). Getting truffles out of the ground can take a few minutes of work, and we want to start building in not only duration in Daisy?s alerts but also precision.
I will try to upload a video (or link it) which may or may not work here as I am posting from 30,000 ft in the air for you to see an example of another team doing this.
As for frozen truffles:
We can send you frozen samples (Currently in stock we only have Frozen Oregon black truffles), but since I am traveling I would not be able to do so until Oct. 1st when I return. You would order that directly off the website. If you would like to order whites from other sources, or would like them sooner, I can provide you links to possible retailers. Let me know if you would like this information.
Shipping costs for Frozen and fresh truffles tend to be high as they must be sent overnight in insulated and chilled containers.
Again, you may not detect much odor from the solution, but it is fine as a training source. Keep in mind as well that truffles in the wild will have a variety of different concentrations of volatiles, not everything is going to be as stinky as the frozen pieces, and we want Daisy to alert on the array, so it would be good to practice with some cotton you have kept in with that frozen truffle as well. I wouldn?t be overly concerned about this at the moment as you are still in beginning stages, but eventually you will want to practice working her on various levels of concentration of odor.
- This reply was modified 8 years, 4 months ago by Alana McGee. Reason: typos