Reply To: Rachel & Vidoc FE520

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Alana McGee

Hi Rachel

As for the bench- your instincts are spot on in that ideally we don?t like to call them off odor. Calling off distraction is ok, but it can be tough sometimes to tell the difference. Lots of dogs need to check out their environment but in this situation that was fine.

The first hide is great. No complaints, nice rewarding, your energy level matches his.

As for the dropping the vial and moving on, this is precisely why we so highly value staying at odor. Don?t worry about it too much though.

What you did is perfect in a training scenario, by allowing him to continue scenting, as it did appear he was on something else, and encouraging him back to the space to re-alert later.

If this were to happen in a real world scenario with real truffles, if you can bring him back to the general area so he can re-find, great. If not, don?t bother, just mentally make a note to work on some of these staying at source drills. One truffle is not worth frustrating you or Vidoc. There will be more. Ideally we try to keep dogs at source, but things happen, dogs get excited, or distracted or on to another odor. We like that excitement and encourage it. Just mentally note that this may happen in the field and keep working on rewarding at source for a long time and building value & excitement there.

Instead of staying crouched down at the source were he dropped it, stand back up and treat it as he is off finding another odor. Be ready when he does (which you were).

At the 2:16 that was good, but something else you could do is very similar to what happens with a dropped truffle. Get down there with him and pat the ground, pretend like you are actively looking for the ‘lost? truffle as well! You?d be surprised how often not just ?cuing or asking? but actually actively working together and looking yourself will reengage the dog into a re-alert in a situation like this where either there is a lack of confidence in criteria, or the dog considers the find to have already happened, and criteria met.

This didn’t happen, but I say it for the benefit of other students:

If you can’t get him to re-engage the source he left (be that truffle, vial, whatever) this is when that handy extra target you always have on you comes into play. We want to manufacture a success in that scenario, so we can bring the connection back and re-establish a game. Make it obvious, make it easy, make it fun. There is a possibility after that he may be able to help you locate the missing ?truffle?. But if not, don?t dwell on that. Just leave the area. It is better to leave and move on. After a scenario like that you may need to take a break and play, relax, etc. The point is to reestablish connection and intention.

This can be a stress signal though, so if it happens repeatedly (in the field as well- and it may, I speak from personal experience) end the session and re evaluate what in the scenario may have been proving difficult/ distracting.

Also in the real world, it is rarer truffles will be so easy to get at, so his pick up retrieve to you will be a longer sequence- and he?ll be more engaged with real truffles as they will be under duff, grass or pine needles. They can occasionally be on the surface, but truffles you will be finding tend to only be an inch or two underground most times.

Good job over all though and you are read for the next lesson, which is basically what you are doing now. I would say pick up your energy level a little bit in rewards. Not over the top, as you are pretty well matched, but I have seen Vidoc more excited and animated than that about hunting.