Reply To: Lois & Monza (DRTDT)

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Alana McGee

OK I’m going to feel badly about posting knowing y’all have a lot going on; however, I’m out of pocket the next 2 days, so NO HURRY on feedback. I will only post Monza’s blind hide from Monday, because it was a bit interesting.

[b]Assignment[/b]: blind hides, outside.
[b]Location[/b]: backyard ? mixed vegetation and leaves.
[b]Hides[/b]: 3 blind hides. My assistant lost track of one hide and ended up placing 2 hides fairly close together. She thoroughly enjoyed the task and I know she?ll help again. I will give her some tracking flags so she can flag her hide placements to ensure proper spacing, and then she can pull up the flags when she?s completed the hides.
[b]Run Order[/b]: Monza was 2nd. Her hides were in different places than Speed?s but the same area was used.
[b]Conditions[/b]: It was windy when we set out Speed?s hides. I set out a couple tracking flags to see if wind was blowing when we ran.
[b]Aging[/b]: ~30 minutes.

What an influence having another person around had on ME. Speed went 1st and then my assistant reset the hides. It was getting dark and I was feeling a little rushed and I completely forgot to use the long line with Monza.

Monza was brilliant on the 1st find. I realize I forgot the long line, but decided to not disrupt her because she was so efficient on the 1st hide. In the moment, I decided stopping her after she was brilliant, going in the house to get the long line and restarting her with the long line would have been demotivating.
In hindsight, I could have ended the session after the 1st hide because it was so brilliant, taken a short break and returned with Monza on the long line. I?m still not sure how that would have effected Monza. Having an assistant watching us and running out of daylight for videoing were factors in the on-the-spot decision.

2-3 times I thought she was either headed to her friend?s house, look for critters in the woods, or look for kitty truffles. Since her safety was not at risk, I decided to try and remain calm and continue. Like in tracking, if things start to go wrong, I simply unclip her from the harness and walk off the track and remain neutral and that?s what I would have done here if things got crazy (except for the unclipping part?.).

Because it had been windy, there?s no telling what that did to the scent which may be why she was hither and there. What surprises me is this session felt like it took twice as long as normal, but it didn?t. This is good information for me as the handler about that little bit of stress. I can tell I was distracted thinking about what to do because I can?t get the right words out when I?m praising Monza. When I see how distractions affect me, I totally empathize with dogs and the importance of slowly introducing distractions.

It was a bit unfortunate that this session was off lead and that 2 of the hides were so close together. I got a little lucky that it went so well.

I look forward to your comments on how Monza worked off lead and how I could have handled it differently.