Reply To: Tim Rinaldi & Molly

Alana McGee

Hi Tim,

I love your intros 🙂 Life is good!

We are going to make two posts, one to work with each video:

First Video:

EXCELLENT noticing (and telling us- thank you!) where the wind is coming from and how to pick an appropriate angle from which to enter the search area.

0:37 nice letting slack out on the line. Wow she is fun to watch. What an enthusiastic approach she has- but we want to be careful here too because we would say that Molly is one of those dogs who when stressed in a situation will likely get “higher” in energy level. It will appear she is working, but it becomes frenetic. You see this from her at the very very beginning of the video and again when she is behind the cans under the trees wherein you’re not sure if the target is there or not.

0:41 you do an excellent job of cheating your body to the side, directing Molly in the opposite direction. While this may seem subtle, and you may do it instinctually to a degree at this point- it is something very very good for other students to note. Our dogs are very sensitive to pressure, and Tim, by allowing his body opening up and cheating to the side, opens up the space for Molly to explore and actually provides Molly with information on where to search. You can send you dog into an area to search through the way your body is facing/ or blocking.

Question- Do you have her trained on a whistle for quartering? Is that what we are seeing there? She is doing a good job of working in front of you. Just want to make sure because the birds are so loud too, so that we comment accordingly. Well done on using that training to your advantage in these situations.

You do a great job of giving her space to work and not crowding her. You have excellent communication with her, and it is apparent you have been working on directionals in other realms because she is responsive to your cues to check certain areas. For working on orchards later in your case this will be extremely helpful.

We think this was very good practice for you as a handler Tim in how to read when Molly is or is not on scent in more complex situations. We would say it would be beneficial to back off on the multiple blind hides. We’d suggest going to marked (but not visible) simply because you both need more reward history, and you need slightly more reward history on how to read her in those situations wherein you’re not sure if she is on odor or not. Someone else can still place them- you just need to know the general area where they are. You did very well though.

It will be helpful for you to know what Molly’s behaviors look like when she is on odor when you know where the target is, so you can start to see subtleties, and acknowledge & praise her when she is in odor vs the differences of other things such as we saw in some of this video. Her alerts are very clear when she finds it, but the process of “being in odor” isn’t quite as solidified yet.

Molly’s tail when she finds that target… Wooo—eee. She loves this. Well done. Nice re-alert nose touch on the “show me”. Notice how she actually offered you one unsolicited alert very quickly before you arrive at the scene 1:04. Excellent reward and playing with Molly here.

At 1:36 that was absolutely right. Way to Go Molly. YES there was a truffle up there! Good job on your part for recognizing her trying to alert at elevation and rewarding, even though it wasn’t what you, Tim, were looking for. She was absolutely right. Luckily truffles don’t grow “in” trees, but this is likely to happen in multi hide scenarios. She is not wrong by any means. Dogs will learn context eventually that truffles on your plate, or in the kitchen (unless you ask them to find one you dropped—— it has happened), don’t count. Dogs also pick up on the dimished energy you put off on these kinds of finds and so over time they are less enthusiastic about them as well. You did great here but you’ll want to be conscious and careful about your energy in those situations.

As we say often, truffle hunting is an odor messy sport. You learned a valuable lesson here 😉 When a dog who is strong on truffle odor finds odor…. she’ll alert on it. No matter where that is. While at elevation, this hide was exposed (meaning aside from the height, it was easy to access). It’ll be interesting to see as we progress how she does when she cannot as readily access the hide. We would suggest that while you are working a search area with multiples you either pocket the truffle container, or put it inside another container and keep it with you- or if possible remove completely from the scenario. For example, in the field when Kristin & I are truffle hunting, after we find one truffle, it goes into a container and then into our pack. This is a signal for the dog that that truffle is no longer part of the game.

A lot of truffle hunting is about these routines and chains of behavior that act as transfers of information to the dog. If the truffle is in my backpack, the dog does not get rewarded anymore for alerting on it. That make sense?

At this stage if you put the truffle in your pocket as opposed to on top of the trash can she is less likely (although probably will still try) to nose and alert on your pocket. Her imprint on odor seems very solid so we would say that you can praise her for this behavior, because again, she is right, but she isn’t rewarded in the same fashion. Eventually she will distinguish that truffles in Dad’s pocket don’t get toys.

Good idea to unclip the lead as she was working behind the cans, as that was likely preventing or causing more difficulty in searching or accessing the hide around those cans. It is evident you have done a lot of leash work, which is great and we honestly would say, if safe, either work off lead or on a harness as Molly is reacting to the slightest amount of pressure on the collar.

When she does find it- oh my goodness that bum! You guys have such a nice bond and it shows. Overall very well done.

If you want to make it harder for her Tim while still doing marked (but obscured) hides increase your search area- Make sure you always have a target on you when you do this though so you can manufacture a success if necessary to keep the reward history high.

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by Alana McGee. Reason: Added content
  • This reply was modified 6 years, 4 months ago by Alana McGee. Reason: added