Reply To: Lois and Monza (August 2014)

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Alana McGee

TDC Instructor:

Hi Lois.

Just so you are aware, Kristin and I are conversing before we respond collectively to try to keep the threads uncluttered with comments from both of us.

First we want to point out (especially to other students following this thread) that this is a complex intermediate to advanced hide you have set up for Monza, with lots of distractions for proofing. Other students will not want to attempt similar scenarios until week four or five, or later depending on your own situation. For some teams this would be far too much at this stage.

We do want to commend you on your idea of practicing “digging” with all your tools indoors and that you took the initiative to do so! It is fantastic! What a good idea! Just be cautious to not over stimulate with all the tools in your box. It is great (!) to practice this, and again, very clever use when lengthening the reward sequence and getting Monza accustomed to waiting, but we don’t want Monza to get bored while we “dig”, or too distracted by the box (aka the simulated backpack) plopped down next to her.

We realize this was the first time you tried this (and we really do think it is a fabulous idea) but be cognizant of where you drop the box in proximity to Monza. In the first scenario it was close to her and did act as a distraction. We would say do this kind of scenario maybe every two or three out of ten times you practice. Build value. Perhaps don’t have the box with you always, but do have the tool and gently lay that aside sometimes while practicing digging. Also, if you have a backpack, use that instead so you can stay engaged with Monza while you ‘dig’.

We think that you should vary the dig time (some very short!) and make sure you maintain a high number of FAST finds combined with high reward repetitions. Fast and massive party after those finds. We don’t want Monza getting bored with how long it takes mom to dig truffles all the time. If you are quick sometimes (on the digging), Monza will perhaps get a bit more pushy with the nose targets, which we actually would like to see.

Monza does do a fantastic job of staying at source while you are digging. Really nice to see.

We think you are doing a great job reading Monza and using your own judgment on when to add motion or not. Monza is responding appropriately and you both are in sync with one another.

As for talking: This is completely alright, and you actually are doing a fantastic job when she finds it. It actually is good to keep a dialogue up and staying engaged with Monza while you “dig” is fantastic. When we tend to not want as much vocalization is during the initial searching sequence as it can act as a distraction. Once Monza has initially alerted, you communication with her is keeping her engaged with you. Keep that up. It looks really good! She’s very pushy on the nose targeting in the first scenario once you get her into the down, and we LOVE that.

In Session 2 we really really like this. You do a great job dragging out the dig sequence while staying engaged AND Monza was happy the entire time. Monza does a great job with physical obstacles here as well as she basically sits down on top of another box and seems unfazed by the physical stimuli. At the end of the sequence you do lose connection a tad with Monza as you gather supplies in the box and as you exit, but still, looks good! Some of that will just take time to figure out how to handle all the gear and maintain connection through trial and error, but it is great to practice it.

Also in regards to the frozen truffle pieces. You said something that slightly concerned me and I want to make sure you are aware. DO NOT “thaw” the pieces that were previously frozen and keep them in the fridge. The frozen pieces should only be used during the training sessions and then put RIGHT BACK in the freezer. Otherwise they will decay rapidly. In and out! Make sure the truffle pieces are chopped up small. You don’t need much!

Looks very very good overall Lois. Keep up the good work.

  • This reply was modified 9 years ago by Alana McGee. Reason: typos