Reply To: Lois and Monza (August 2014)

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Alana McGee


To answer Kristin’s question about why I want a paw touch. I believe that Monza is only doing a chin touch in the presence of a box or tin which she uses as a target. I don’t know if she will do a chin touch/bow at source in the woods. I’m guessing I will get a nose touch. However, I’m open minded to figuring out how to gradually change the hides so that she eventually chin touches the ground. I just don’t think she’ll do that if it’s wet. I will remain open to the idea because the chin touch is great, I agree!

As for Monza looking at me for help. I don’t recall if I saw it ‘in the moment’ but did see it in the video and forgot to comment. It’s ingrained in me to never help the dog in tracking, always set them up for success and if they get frustrated because the environment has caused them to lose the track, simply remove the harness and walk off the track. Never help the dog. The mantra has been to be irrelevant to the dog and to not create a behavior chain where if things get difficult for Monza, she looks to me for help. Cheerleading can be annoying when the dog is really concentrating.

I know I personally want to throw things at people who start cheering/encouraging when I’m at the peak of concentration/effort. It’s annoying and I can completely lose concentration.

However, I see your point with the replay/slow motion that if I can identify/read the behavior that occurs BEFORE she gets tense and offer a tiny bit of encouragement, it could help keep her going as long as I offer a little ‘light’ encouragement and not true cheerleading.

It’s kind of like the whispering you commented on in Week #1 instead of being cheerful/excited while rewarding at the source, again residual from tracking be quiet and irrelevant to the dog. However I have started back to being cheerful (but not cheerleading) when rewarding at the articles and Monza has been a making wonderful progress tracking. She’s doing so well, I’m taking this week off and given us a break.

This is great feedback! I will move to a new room and should be able to post a short video in 1-2 days.

Thank you!