Reply To: Alyssia & Spring (DRTDT)

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Alana McGee

Hi Alyssia!

To your question: [quote] Do you ever “present” an area to a dog to search that they may have missed or you want them to check again? I know this is probably easier to do with a room or a car and not a stand of trees 🙂 [/quote]

If you?re going to ever work on orchards (which by you is a distinct possibility if you want to!) The answer is, absolutely, yes. We do this in other areas in a forest too if we have cause, so that skill, yes, is useful. We call it ?directionals’ and we cover it in FE530 as a more advanced skill as it is easier to teach situationally. It?s not as defined a space always as a car or a room, but yes, it is a valuable skill and one that transfers well from nose work for those with that background.

As for your plan, and question on how to bury hides?. frankly we don?t think Spring is going to have trouble doing larger areas.

We would suggest both.

You?re at the stage where both of these things are useful and neither one is really more important than the other. They both are skills that are gateways to transitioning. We?d like Spring to feel confident about slightly deeper hides before we attempt to do that in another setting. We also want her to be able to start to practice in new locations with obscured, or lightly buried hides- so that means working on increasing the area. They are complimentary skills, but not mutually exclusive.

I would say try burying the targets a little deeper in a small area. Not a lot, just a little! Try it. If it doesn?t go as well as we?d like, then switch over and spend more time solidifying confidence on the lightly buried hides and increase the area. Working on confidence building while increasing the area will be good progression and building in those new fun behaviors we saw in the last few videos that got her so excited! and from there you can even throw in one that is slightly deeper. When you do that, you may need to offer more encouragement, but we?ll see.

Both are kind of parallel skills and we won’t know which way to focus until you try it. So try the slightly deeper ones. When you do this remember to keep the area smaller to set her up for success. I would intermix a hide just like you have been doing into this scenario though too so she can have an easier success if she seems to having a harder time with the deeper hides. We don?t suspect she will (have a hard time that is) but we always want to set her up for success.

Spring already covers a pretty decent sized familiar area.


She is responding really well to your communications with her- it?s really nice! I love watching as you approach and the helicopter tail! Really nice verbal communication on your part for that first hide. Very good timing on when it was offered.

On the second one we love how much more insistent and confident she is when she finds it. She looks like she?s having fun! You did a really nice job here on the first two hides of encouraging more instance (and holding out waiting for the bark to be offered) but you move in and reward within a nice amount of time. It?s a fine balancing act sometimes between pushing for those desired behaviors to be offered, and setting up scenarios in a positive way so that they can happen, while still building confidence, but you did an excellent job here in regards to timing and reading Spring.

I just want to comment that she?s doing a really nice job transitioning from one hide to the next in terms of searching behavior, much more confident in this outdoor environment than a few weeks ago.

The hide at 2:07 we really LOVE. She doesn?t wait for you to confirm, or give you the look- she just excitedly goes for it! and then as you approach her excitement grows even more and you can watch her pivot around the hole trying to show you. Really fabulous. LOVE see this one. Getting her to vocalize was fabulous, and it was a nice balance, because you didn?t push it much beyond that first little grumble. Eventually you can build on that more when she offers, but you have a really good read on her body language and energy level when it comes to this (reference the First hide) and when to move in.

The excited jumping on you is okay and the re-alert is even better. We LOVE that she is now so super excited by this game. That?s what we were building towards in part. That sequence for that hide is really wonderful.

As Kristin mentioned previously, it?s also awesome to watch her energy and enthusiasm grow throughout the session and she is finding target after target. Building up the game and the fun as time goes on!Really really awesome. I know I say awesome a lot, but I mean it. It is a wonderful progression to see, and it is so clear it just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and excited for you guys!

Again on the fourth one, just- way to go- really nice, on all accounts!

A note to her digging style as well- because I mentioned it in Esprit?s thread and it will come up later, and it?s just interesting to note and will be curious to see if it alters as the targets go deeper. She has a similar style Esprit as I described over there? aka her digging is a relatively precise forward motion, on the tips of her nails and tops of her toe pads. Meaning if a target/ truffle does pop out (she has much smaller feet than Esprit so she?s less likely to dislodge it) it will pop out to the sides or directly behind her depending.

Looks fabulous. You should be really proud of hard work you’ve put in. Looks wonderful and like yore having fun!