Reply To: Chris (access until November 15, 2014)

Home Forums Recreational Truffle Dog Training 101 Chris (access until November 15, 2014) Reply To: Chris (access until November 15, 2014)

Alana McGee

In response to your question- can treats ever be too high value?

In general no- but depending on the behavior manifested by the reward there are other approaches to try to bring her energy down a little. If you want to show us a video of what that might look like we can better offer advice.

1st video: 10.14.1- She is quick & on the point! That?s great. The fact that she interacts with object is totally ok. We like the enthusiasm. We like her persistence and that she stays with it! It is perfect okay if the Teaball is a game. It just reinforces the finding & reward behavior even more.

10.14.2: What and awesome party you have with her! She responds so well to that. That was super awesome rewarding and matching energy level on your part. Well done! Nice re-alerting.

10.14.3: Your parties chris, for reward when she finds it, are awesome. Really fabulous. LOVE LOVE LOVE at the 0:15 mark how she is being pushy on your hand. We like demanding dogs in this sport saying ?cookies, cookies, cookies? The value has really benn build up in this behavior chain, and that is awesome.

10.14.4: GREAT searching behavior. Really fun to watch her work an area. She is totally engaged the entire time. If you find yourself without treats (it happens) just engage in personal play as a reward- rough house with her a little and play. Our impression, based on the party you throw for her and her amazing responsiveness to that, is she would love that too. She would still want cookies- but personal play likely will get a similar response.

10.14.5 Good job after the initial reward bringing the reward down to source level. This will make a lot more sense later when you are getting outside and working buried hides. Very nice re-alert as well.

10.14.6 There can be any number of reasons she may have passed it, the most probable being she simply did not hit the scent column. Hard to say without seeing it. When she paused at the end of the path and looked at you- that was her being slightly frustrated/confused as to what to do. She went back into working, but if she hadn?t- movement from you would likely have engaged her again in the game- as would a verbal cue from you, as she is responsive to that.
What IS really nice, and fabulous pinpointing behavior is at 0:18 when she finally has picked up the odor and then is working on where odor is coming from under the gravel. Really well done on her part to stick with it and her alert is pretty darn precise! That?s fabulous. It will be interesting to see how that translates when you are outside working in dirt.

10.14.7 You are giving her a nice amount of space to work and are note crowding her. Well done. She has a really nice, easy, clean working style, it?s fun to watch.

In this video her first alert to you is at 0:13 when she looks at you. That?s an ?I found it?. Then at 0:16 she paws which is a clearer, more active alert.

You do a good job of getting down lower (I am guessing based on camera angle here) and asking her to engage at the site of the initial alert. What we would like you to do in this scenario where you are trying to pinpoint, is not physically point it out to her (to begin with) but pat the ground around near it and actually help her look for it. (you do do this at about 1:30) By being engaged and setting inattention at the site where the truffles is you are bringing her there will you to be engaged.

At 0:37 she scratches once and that is ok. Often dogs will do a few scratches like this to investigate odor. Any time a truffle is either under debris like this, and even more so when under the soil, scent moves around differently and dogs will interact with odor in a different manner as it isn?t as easy to get at source. That is why we incrementally increase depth. Some dogs don?t understand how to alert on an odor that isn?t readily accessible, so we must teach them how to go about getting at it.

She does a REALLY good job of sticking with it.

At about 1:30 you start moving your hand in and helping her, and that really is pretty darn perfect chris, and a really good instinct. Together you do find it- and that is ok! If you didn?t in that scenario, this is one of those time when it would be good to place your extra target in the hole and have her alert on it and manufacture success. Well done though.
She does a great nose touch at 1:50 unsolicited. YES. that is really great 🙂

It may seem like that was painful (you say that) but it actually was really good. You had very good communication with her on when to increase your level of encouragement and assistance.

10.14.8 Great. Again, we LOVE the unsolicited nose touches.That will be really helpful later when trying to pinpoint inside a hole. very well done. And you?re right, she does do a bird dog point. Interesting. Will be fascinating to see if that develops when she is on odor later and close proximity.

10.14.9 You do a good job of encouraging a more precise alert through withholding which is basically asking for more precision in her alert. It?s a fine line though at this stage. Just be aware that if you start to see her pull away from a hole like that after she has alerted it means you should deliver her the reward faster for less criteria (aka not as precise). You are still building value outdoors in this lightly buried/ obscured environment and we want to keep the confidence building up. She didn?t seem like she was going to break away, but if you do see her do that, aka disengage with you and odor source, bring her back and try to engage her at source and reward. Then you know in the future you?ve pushed the threshold of fading/delaying the reward just a little too far and you would then keep working on building value and confidence without asking for such strict precision.

–You say you see her find the target, look at you, move away, and then come back with encouragement.–
We don?t see it as testing you, we see it as asking. *note-it is different than a question of confusion and being unsure about what to do. Try this:

When you see her do that head look- she did it in video 10.14.7 at 0:13, ask her if she found something. What you are doing by having a verbal communication at that exact moment is acknowledging her alert. You aren?t there, but it is a confirmation that you are coming to her. It make take a few repetitions of you doing this in this scenario and then showing up and still encouraging her to find it again with you, but eventually that head look (which is essentially a subtle alert) followed by your acknowledgment will then develop into her offer her full alert behavior chain if a truffle is actually present. Does that make sense?

It is coming along so well Chris. You and Daisy look great. You seem very in-tune and matching energy levels which is fabulous. It really looks really good! Good work. She?s is going to be a very fun dog to work with. It is fun to watch!