Reply To: Rachel & Esprit FE520

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Alana McGee

Hi Rachel.

Great job.

Esprit is incredibly focused, and as Kristin pointed out in the Video analysis from your previous video regarding the dislodged truffle- this is actually very advanced, and you should be very proud of how he handled that. Repeating a search on a micro scale when that happens can be difficult as well because soil that carried odor is now more dispersed as well and so he is having to pinpoint with lots of other truffle odor contamination around!

Love watching the two of you work.

At 0:31 you do a nice job of verbally gently encouraging him to come back to the smaller area where you had intentionally buried the truffles, and he is responsive to that. Very nice.

Kristin also mentioned something in the last video analysis I wanted to point out to you and other students which is manifested here really nicely at 0:37 to 0:43 and that is Esprit?s scratch alert, and then digging. It first is a scratch ?alert’ to indicate location and then it shifts into a ?expose? location behavior.

There are many styles of digging (expose location behavior), and what Esprit is doing here naturally (in this example) is not so much of the rototilling we see from some dogs as a play behavior as well, but it is relatively precise and downwards– away from the body. Performed with his nails and the very front upper part of the toes pads. The truffle may still dislodge in this scenario and be cast out of the actual hole, but what is more common to see is dogs do is this large scooping kind of digging using the nails and toe pads in a motion starting in front of the body and then scooping backwards.

When Esprit is doing what we will call tiptoe digging- as described above, with the body force directed forwards, the truffles that pop out and are dislodged for Esprit are more likely to be off at a 45 degree angle or parallel (and closer in proximity) to the initial find, whereas with the other form of scooping digging, the targets are more often dislodged and thrown behind the dog at a much more severe angle, and possibly further from the point of the expose location behavior.

There is another form of digging which is like a less exaggerated form of the scooping dig with quick, shallower movements and that is what you are seeing Esprit doing in the hide at 4:18. In that scenario the truffle if it pops out would go behind him but at an even more severe angle (aka really close to the body) and still be not too far from the initial hole.

We mention this because if you are attempting to help him relocate the dislodged truffle, understanding your dog?s style in digging can help you help your dog on where to focus the search. If you have a dog that scoops, for example, like my dog Duff, you know better where to aid in helping your dog re-locate and build confidence in those scenarios. I know when Duff does that kind of digging and the truffle is dislodged, I need to take several large steps backwards because the truffle is usually thrown quite a distance. We have had truffles dislodged and thrown 2 to 5 feet away.

Just another tool in your tool box.

I?ll make a note to create a diagram about this when we cover training drills for this exact scenario later in FE530.

Around the 2:20 mark you do a FABULOUS job of verbal encouragement and engagement. Again to reiterate in text what Kristin said previously, how the dogs interact with odor once the truffle goes unground changes because odor is moving differently and you do a nice job of really trusting Esprit here. Really well done.

This was a great video Rachel and you have a really nice connection with him and a great amount of trust- referring to the scratching and you not rushing in at that hide in the middle at the top of the edge line where the grass meets the trees. You read him really well. He is one very dedicated and intent pup!

Very nicely done. He is very dedicated.