Reply To: Alyssia & Spring (DRTDT)

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Alana McGee

[quote] This morning, did only 4, had been raining again and it was much cooler and wet and her energy seemed down, she found them all, just took her longer then usual.[/quote]

Longer than usual is ok. There can be a whole host of factors as to why a dog behaves or offers behaviors with more enthusiasm one day vs another. Also, when things are wet, odor moves differently. It clings, and saturates an area. When odor is in a dry environment it is localized (generally speaking).

We often use this analogy of a wet dog vs a dry dog. You know why a wet dog ?seems? to smell more than a dry dog? They actually smell the same level of whatever that ?wet dog odor is? it is just that when a dog is dry all those odiferous vocs are bound up in the hair and trapped. When a dog is wet, the vocs hitch a ride on water vapor and hit your nose sooner. So, by comparison, in a wet environment, odor is more dispersed. (It is obviously a complex scenario- but that gives you an idea of what your working with.)

The first hide is great. Do know that her initial alert is a look to you. This however is also what she does when she asks you a question, so that will be something we suggest you practice, and confidence is coming along nicely, but you are going to want to keep practicing this level of hide and really build up that positive reward history for the stronger alerts. We even would suggest you do this indoors (occasionally), where the target is obscured. We want to build up success and slowly increase your criteria for what is deemed an acceptable alert. To do that you want to try to not make the game overly complicated. Again when working on particular skills where you are demanding a higher level of criteria, something else in the environment gets easier. For example, indoors. You certainly don?t HAVE to just be indoors for this drill, but we do want to you, in addition to what you are doing and starting more obscured hides and blind hides, play sometimes with easier targets, but make your criteria for what gets the reward tighter. When this happens though, if she leaves the scenario, a) try to bring/ guide her back- and get a re-alert (on which you would reward immediately for the not as stringent criteria) or b) manufacture a success with the extra target you have on you. Does that make sense?

GREAT job on having her re-alert in your hand.

In the area she ?checks out? but doesn?t commit, you did a good job allowing her to check the space, but also know that if she continually goes back here but doesn?t alert think about if the hide is accessible to her? Some dogs don?t like pushing through physical barriers. Depending on how it was hidden, she may not want to get under those flowers. That is not uncommon for dogs to be apprehensive about alerting where there are other physical stimuli present, or the anticipation of such.

This may not be the case and we?re not entirely sure it is, because she does find it later? (which leads us to believe it is scent column/ confidence in odor related ) —but we mention it anyway, as it is important and may come up later— think about this in other scenarios if this happens again: The pink flowers pose a different kind of hide than the ones under leaves or along the fence line. The pink flowers provide a vertical obstacle, overhanging head carriage stimuli, and she may not be confident venturing into them to alert just yet.

If this is the case (you could test by doing a similar hide again), you could try to build to it to see if she responds to slowly decreasing the distance to the stimuli which is overhanging.

as an anecdote: One of my dogs is this way and dislikes things overarching and touching the top middle of her back- like a curved branch with droopy leaves. We?ve worked on it- to push through and not have it completely distract, but her alert sequence does change if she perceives that to be a possible issue. The first step is in being aware that your dog may be sensitive to it.

The sequence at about 1:30 is Fabulous. I would even when she gives you that first look, ask her, did you find something? We know we want to hold out for the more pronounced alert of the paw touch or other, but you could start to go to her at that point as she has thrown you the big ?stand at attention? look (and did actually paw it before that too). This will just take some practice. Great though. Very nice re-alert in your hand again.

2:08 GREAT, both of you! See how Spring?s body language is getting very confident after a couple of hides. Those bows, and that Tail! Do you guys warm up at all with any basic games (truffle or otherwise) before starting into a search area? If not, we would suggest you do- because throughout the video, notice the change in her confidence level and body energy when she does alert. That was a VERY excellent reward sequence. Her little tail! Love it.

It looks really nice overall. Nice rewards, just keep building confidence.