Reply To: Lois and Monza (August 2014)

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Alana McGee

TDC Instructor:

Because the room cooked for so long this is similar to an exercise we run later specifically designed to mimic heavy production areas. It is harder because odor is everywhere and dogs can have a difficult time pinpointing to source in this scenario. So yes, ideally (if you don’t forget! Happens to all of us), less time cooking, and gradually increase, like you would in tracking.

Are you carrying a target with you? If you thought/ realized the scenario was difficult for Monza, ideally you would have ended it (or provided a success) by conveniently exposing a target, ending on a success (possibly two), if you had a chance to place it down again in an easy fashion, and be done. It is TOTALLY OK to manufacture a success. We want confident happy dogs who like playing.

We also think that you should build value for this new game of no visual ID (like you did with slightly inaccessible/ or difficult hides) with just one target a few times before adding in multiples again. We would say work towards the distraction of cold targets, but first build to one with no visual help, then several, then you can add more distractions.

In all honesty, the cooking of a target for a long period in a warm environment, is difficult, and you may find a slightly different result if you tried again in the same scenario with not as much odor permeating the space, and less stress from Monza.

The frozen truffle pieces won’t ‘lose’ all their volatiles by sitting out, don’t worry. They will continue to off-gas until they decay, and then they will off-gas that (joy! more than you wanted to know). So no, they are not done necessarily. Just because you can’t detect them, doesn’t mean Monza can’t. Summer/ Burgundy truffles can be slight in scent to us anyway. I have a couple fresh ones right now that I can’t smell at all pretty much anything until I break them open, but the dogs find them, no problem. You can also try that: Split your frozen piece again (it it isn’t too tiny- I’ll try to find a photo how small some of the stuff is we use in training is- it’s pretty itty bitty sometimes). Also, put some cotton in with your frozen truffles and use that sometimes too!

I like your own commentary “Lois, I’m trying to concentrate”. That Monza 🙂

Your comment about lack of confidence is accurate, but take into consideration the location of the hide and its inaccessibility to her. Behind things she has to kind of stick her head through to get at (good to practice- but just be aware), and she’s not quite sure how. You do a good job of going over to her when you see her give that look. Encourage and praise that look, which you did! This is all around the 1:39 mark. That is an alert, but yes, you are correct I think in your analysis that she is less confident about it. Entertain that though and you can build on the alert chain in those situations but helping her access it together. Good you notice though. That “Look” may be what you get in some situations in the field. She is trying to figure out how to access it.

You can then ask her the “show me”. I actually LOVE that she is being pushy on the target once you pull it out and nose bumping it over and over. HERE MOM, HERE, IT’S HERE, give me COOKIE. I really liked that.

At the 2:30 she does the same re touching under the mini laundry table. Good Monza 🙂 Really nice persistence on the last one as well. Staying at source is in INCREDIBLY valuable skill.