Reply To: Lois & Monza (DRTDT)

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Alana McGee

Hi Lois

First off, I don?t know if we have mentioned it, but I want to say thank you for providing the conditions and run order in which you are running Monza. It is certainly helpful when analyzing footage.

Also think it?s great that you are shooting for 3 out of 7. If Monza feels good when you are out there running scenarios take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves, it can make for great teaching moments- but we commend you for setting your goals as such.

This sounds just like one of ?those? days. It happens!

It?s great she had no problem with the deeper buried tin! Victory! which also was a Pecan truffle- which is newer to her!

The fact that Speed has learned the cat door, certainly does say you have built value up, and while not as you planned- does make me chuckle. Way to go Speed. Someone does NOT want to be left out of the fun!!!

A good call to put Speed away, but glad you reinforced the party. It would be not a surprise if this threw Monza off as well, as it was, just one of ?those’ days.

This is a GREAT exercise and example in the unexpected!!!! And it sounds like you really did handle it well! Despite what you, yourself may think. We actually do talk about situations just like this in FE530, because it happens. That?s life.

For manufactured hides, it isn?t critical that the hide be buried. Ideally Monza wouldn?t see you toss it, but frankly, it doesn?t really matter- and in situations of stress, what matters is that it is a game, and she just won the prize! WOOHOO MONZA. It?s about the success, even if it?s a gimme. Next time- don?t worry so much about placement. Yes, she?ll know it?s an easy one, that she?s didn?t have to search for- but here?s to betting it?s relatively the same on the pay scale for her.

Your commentary Lois, even when written makes me smile.

It?s OK! it?s a learning experience. Just shake it off. We ALL have days like this.

It sounded like a tough session with the interruptions, but that?s life. But it sounds like you handled it well. You never know when things like this will happen! Wowza! It?s a doozy.

Remember also that while Monza feels the presence of the moment and what is going on, she?s not necessarily going to feel short-changed by not going out again.

It?s us humans who have expectations in these scenarios. Sure, I bet Monza would love to have fun cookie chicken truffle time for a long while but It is us as humans who feel pressure in these circumstances and a sense of fair play. It may not be obvious, or an outwardly physical manifestation on Monza?s part, but Monza can sense your stress in these situations, and it will effect your team dynamic. That?s not said to pressure you (pun not intended) or scare you, it?s just an aspect of sharing life with emotionally & socially intelligent creatures.

It?s a tough lesson to learn, and a good life lesson. It can take while to be absorbed, but sometimes it is better just to let go. I know you know this, it?s just tough to do! (I personally have this exact same issue with one of my dogs)

When you free yourself from expectations, the pressure to perform is off, things start to flow more naturally, and you develop a rhythm, and you are living in the moment. Responding to your surroundings and your connection with Monza, in the moment. When that happens, something magical takes place and it is super fun to watch teams who have worked through those moments.

I think it is really good you took a break though.

When this happens in the field- just –take a break. I have literally sat down on muddy wet ground with one of my dogs for multiple minutes when things were going like this and just realized, it ?whatever the pressures are?don’t matter. Breathe, center, breathe again. If we don?t find truffles, if we don?t make that order, oh well. That?s not what’s important and the world will keep spinning!

This is one of those brilliant breakthrough moments however, where once you can get past this feeling of anxiety or stress over the situation (doesn?t mean you won?t have moments like it again), you can really start to deepen your communication skills and bond and understanding with one another in a situation. While it certainly may not feel like it, it really is a big growing moment for you as a handler. [b]And you are doing a superb job.[/b] We could not be more sincere if we tried. **You really did seem calm and collected for the most part- but we can tell by your written commentary that may not be the case.

Pressure, internal or external, is killer in truffle hunting. If not managed it can ruin your day. Don?t let it.

And it differs with each dog as well, as I am sure you have noticed. With Speed you have different focus and concerns than you do with Monza. There is always something to be learned from experiences like this.

This is one of the hardest parts of truffle hunting (I think personally), is managing your own expectations in a scenario. It can make a big difference in outcome- and when in doubt, just take a break. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that or going slow. At all.


The first video hide (actual 2nd hide) was really nice. I do so love your commentary 🙂

You?r recue to work is beautiful and she pops right to it!

The third hide- where Speed pops up, was actually fabulous as well (I really do LOVE that a) he has figured out the door b) to join you on the hunt!!!).
What?s great (beside your startled reaction), is Monza. She alerts, looks at you, alerts/ sees speed, continues her alert behavior chain with a full down it looks like. Really really really nice. Again this eventually bodes well to you (if you want) possibly being able to work both dogs simultaneously. Again- a ways off- and always a challenge- but they do respect each other?s space really nicely. Good job on your excited exit 🙂

When you come back Monza doesn?t skip and beat and she is insistent on her nose touches and showing you. Love it.

I can tell from your ?whew? that you?re still releasing stress from the unexpected Speed arrival! What we would suggest is, (if time allows of course) take a longer break before coming out again to give you as a handler and chance to relax a little. I can see, what I think, is you scanning the street looking for other unexpected phenomena to present themselves. Not a bad thing, but it does mean YOU are at a heightened state of alert and not as relaxed. Even though you aren?t physically connected by a lead in this situation, that may translate to her. I interpret your ?whew? as a bit of a shake off. there goes some of the stress. Which is good.

At 1:49 it very much looks like she?s eating chicken, not an alert, so I wouldn?t be concerned by that. What happens after that does look like she has disengaged a bit- hence her not staying at the hide by your foot (right after you present a target)- which is very atypical for Monza. She seems stressed by the situation, and it is a confluence of factors to be sure.

You did a really good job getting her over there, and trying to encourage. The only thing apart from moving away and resetting/ or removing, which you then did, would be to get down closer to the ground and start patting the ground around the target to try to keep her attention there. Unfortunately right as she was just about to reengage with you at source, she saw the neighbors dog?.

That became a teaching moment too though- so it’s good! Good moza, Great Lois! [b]GREAT JOB dealing with the unexpected.[/b]

So I would say you had a very busy day!!! Lots of lessons. Whew. Exhausting- you did and [b]AMAZING JOB. [/b]Really Amazing. Well done Lois. Your composure and quick positive thinking in this situations is a testament to your training, your wonderful character. We can all learn positive lessons from you in how you handled these situations with composure and grace.

Well Done.