Reply To: Lois & Speed (DRTDT)

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Alana McGee

As for the dogs finding the metal by odor? I wouldn?t be overly concerned. Most metals actually don?t give off odor in the same way organic matter does- but you can be adventuresome and try just burying a real truffle! We do cover this in FE530 because dogs can respond differently to physical truffles in the ground vs targets, but I wouldn?t be overly concerned about it Lois.

If a tin is closed, odor still has leaked around the outside- but I wouldn?t make a habit of using closed tins.

What happens more often is a stage earlier where the metal is still partially visible and a dog will learn- find truffle odor column, look for shiny object.

So yes, you can test this- but as you are already burying targets, I suspect this isn?t an issue. But yes, if you have tea balls, vary what you use to house your scent source as you may find Monza & Speed interact with the articles differently.

As for your question about leaves and scent. There are so many variables in exterior environments that a lot of times it is conjecture what exactly is happening, and usually it is several things in tandem. That being said, yes, loose leaves, like mulch (different from forest floor litter of leaves which are packed down usually) may cause the odor to disperse more making it more difficult to pinpoint.

The video looks great. Speed is working really well, and this isn?t posing much of a challenge. 0:44- again, nice relart as he comes off of odor after the initial alert. This was really good, and I like that you ask him for it. Also how he grips it with his right foot cracks me up.

The 3rd hide was interesting as it looks like he scratches nearby (ish) and then keeps looking. You can see when he finds the column he is quick to track to source.

What is great that you are doing- and with Speed I would keep encouraging this behavior on your part?is after his initial alert, he comes off odor. You are doing a great job of asking for a re-alert before you reward, and then multiple rewards after that. Very good. If for some reason this breaks and changes we will have to adapt and try something new aka rewarding sooner at source, but right now the value seems high and he is driven for that reward and will repeatedly show you. Keep that up. Keeping a dog at source (I know we say this a lot), and engaged with you in finding the truffle in the ground is an incredibly valuable skill.

He?s pretty pushy and determined on that 3rd hide (which we LIKE!), but I might have come in a little bit sooner. And then continued the re-alerting rewarding down at the source with him instead of at distance (aka you standing up).

You do do an EXCELLENT job at the 1:40 mark-ish doing exactly what I described, and he does stay at source, which is awesome, and keeps nose punching it. Superb.

This will be interesting to see how this evolves as you go deeper.

Something to try:

If you have a way to make your targets smaller, that is also something we?d like to see- The tins are pretty big and easy to interact with. When you are dealing with a) a round or roundish object that rolls b) something more buried in the ground or smaller, Speed may interact with it slightly differently.

When the target is smaller and he is doing his re-alerts, watch out for precision (we talk about this more in week 6). As always, it?s a spectrum, and we increase criteria over time. But with the way he initially comes off of odor and then goes back to it, you?re going to need him to be more precise with either his nose or his paws in order to locate the truffle in the dirt.

Right now he?s putting it right in-between his feet when he does his down at source, but it?s a little off kilter and not as precise. He offers the alert with excitement and that is part of it, but asking for the nose touches is what helps here.

He does do a GREAT job of backing up a bit and nose touching it- but with a smaller target we can more rule out that he is re-finding through visual cues as opposed to olfaction. He can see it easily and so doesn?t have to engage the nose.

At 1:37 when you say ?where is it? he does an AWESOME slam down at source- but notice how he is actually almost overtop of it. YOU do a great job of delaying until you see him do a more accurate nose touch- which is nice.

Same for the 4th hide. Well done. Very well done, but we are curious to see interaction on re-alerts with slightly smaller targets if possible for Speed.

When (and if) you start using the smaller odor vessels, start at this depth of buried. With the Tins as is, I would increase the depth and start building experience and reward history in those scenarios. You’re doing awesome!