Reply To: Karen & Arrow FE520

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Alana McGee

Hi Karen!

Excited to get to see video!

Something right off the bat- Harness fit. It?s okay but that harness is loose on Arrow. It shouldn?t be tight restricting movement, but it also shouldn?t have gaps like that when he leans down. It?s asking for something to get caught in it. Like a branch. If you can tighten that chest strap, I would. *Looks like the back stap could be tightened?

You have a really nice hand signal to begin searching! Opening your body up to allow him access to the area. That was very good. Good job letting him lead.

At the 0:40 mark you do a good job keeping him with you at source. We can see he really would like to disengage from you there at 0:45 and move on to the next search (prior to that he was staying really engaged with you), but at 0:48 he snaps back to you for reward once you start searching for it in your pocket.

We would suggest you try to build as much value as you can for staying at source and elongating the process. It looks really good so far, but you can also do this by not fading your cookies so fast. You do do a great job in the delay of the reward, waiting until you have the target in your hand, but frankly, we think Arrow & you would benefit from more cookies, sooner, and more often. If you can get him to re-alert (even in your hand) awesome. This would look like: Arrow alerts, you come in ?Good boy? ask him to show you, he alerts- you reward, pause a second, reward again, pause a second, ask for a re-alert, reward again. Repeat this a few times. You can even do this on just a box in your house. It?s looks pretty good- but those 3 seconds where he starts to pick up other odor trails can be enough to break him off of you, so just be try to be aware of where he is and his focus when you are digging in the duff for the target. The tuperware works well for this when practicing easier level of hides, because you have to open it up, have him alert again. You may get a good 5 or 6 alerts at location out of just one find. We really want to build LOTS of value at staying at source.

This will help tremendously in the field so he doesn?t start doing what we call ?pinging? which is going from one target to the next without waiting for you to reward. It the field it is difficult to manage, so it is ideal to work on it now in a more manageable environment. It will make a big difference later.

How he nose bumps your hand in your pocket at 0:50 is EXACTLY what we want! That is great. We like pushy and that he is staying with you there. See if you can notice the difference of how he snapped back around and started paying attention to you once he knew the rewards were involved!

Nice job not having tension on the line while he searches the next hide.

When he is at the hide he already found, you did a good job of just saying, ?yup, we already found that one? but what we would like you to do is orient your body away from that hole. At 1:28 your body is positioned with intention towards that hole. If you shift YOUR focus else where and encourage him to do so as well you likely can move him off trace odor. He comes off it a few seconds later, but just pay attention to which way your body is facing.

Good job getting down on the level with and encouraging him to interact at the site of the second hide. There is a lot distracting him here, and it?s seems tough for him to stay focused. How deep was this one buried? He starts to get very distracted in what we call ?crittering mode? at 2:05. He does come back to you once your voice level picks up and re engages. What would be good at that juncture at 2:13 would not only to do what you are doing with the reward, low and at source (good work!) but hold the target in your hand and have him alert on it. Build that value! Throw more of a party than you think you need to.

The chasing bugs is him being distracted. It?s ok, but what it tells us is that this game of truffle hunting isn?t the most fun thing out there, which we want it to be!

We would suggest going back a slight step to where the targets are loosely buried and build that value- throw more of a party every time he finds one. Elongating the reward sequence we suspect will help with this, not only with food, but I suspect based on his body language that he enjoys personal play from you. Engage in that after a find. A good ?good boy! while giving him some rough housing pets? might go a long way.

If he starts doing the bug hunting- throw him an easy target for a success and then leave the scenario quickly. He?s bug hunting because he?s frustrated or bored with the game. We want him to stay engaged with you while you are looking for the target. We ideally do not want him to self reward with bug hunting play in these scenarios.

You do do a good job of showing/ helping him re focus by pointing out the target, but after he found that one and you rewarded, I would have ended the session and moved out of the area. Remember you can always come back and just do one hide later. It is better to stop too soon and leave the dog eager and excited for more than let Arrow start to feel nonchalant about the game.

You do a really good job karen, and all the elements are there we are just trying to string them together in a more fluid succession, so you remain connected the whole time. We think building out the reward sequence will help in this.

At 3:50, if you are having trouble finding the target- this is a GREAT place to throw one of those targets you have in your pocket down, have him alert, and then perform your reward sequence and then end the game. You can always come out later and retrieve the target, the import thing is we want Arrow to win and we want to keep him connected and his intention on you and what you are focused on.

At this stage, if you are taking more than about 7 seconds to locate the target yourself, you need to offer him a target to alert on so you can reward him. His attention span to stay connected to you goes in and out and that looks to be about the maximum before he starts to get distracted.The digging at 4:00 mark is play/ frustration. Yes he is at location of odor but Again, better to just offer him a target, get the alert & reward sequence and then end the game. It?s great he?s interested in the areas when you are down there searching together (it really is!) but he?s exhibiting signs of stress & frustration by that point, and we want to try to avoid that. Offering him the success of a target you present is a way to channel that energy and he is still rewarded and it is a positive game! You do find it eventually, and we know Arrow knows the odor, but it took just a little too long from the initial alert to the reward sequence.

We do want to build in endurance, and build in more precise alerts which we cover in week 6, but right now it is important that Arrows gets that confirmation form you that is he correct and so building value in the game.

Does that make sense?

You guys look good though 🙂 Good work, and practice when rewarding not only drawing out the sequence but offering Arrow a little more personal interaction. We are curious to see how he responds to that.