Reply To: Assignments


Hi Kristin,

Great feedback.

I think the first step is to create the habit of “target in hand before reward/ball”. This can be done quickly, without hardly any delay when simple scent capsules are used. This also presents opportunities to ask Molly to re-alert on the target when in-hand. Once this habit has been started, then Molly will be ready to have a little delay before reward delivery. (Not in cases where a find was especially difficult, or if she were losing drive.) I would start with delaying the reward by about 3-4 seconds, all the while giving enthusiastic verbal praise and kneeling down to where the target is before picking it up. I visualize it like this: Molly gives her alert, Tim clicks. Tim gives enthusiastic verbal praise on his approach to Molly and the target. He continues to praise verbally to keep her excited and close by while he kneels down to the target. He can add little elements like parting the grass to “extract” the target, while he is keeping her there and attentive with his voice. He then picks up the target and tosses the ball. I envision this taking about 4-6 seconds from click to ball toss, depending on how much he adds elements to mimic extraction.

As the amount of time he delays the reward is increased, then he can work on more “realistic” truffle extractions, withholding the ball and verbally praising Molly for staying close and focused while he removes the target from the box/tupperware. Re-alert, and BALL!

I think it is important to work on approaching the work area from different angles before beginning to position the hides out of Molly’s view. If she is confident and has a good understanding of the game when she approaches from as many angles as possible, this will help her generalize and she’ll be more prepared to handle the novel approach from an out of sight area.

As Molly gets the hang of these next steps, then Tim can start combining if the scenario is right: Different angled approaches paired with slightly delayed rewards. Approach from out of sight, paired with target in hand before rewarding. The grand finale is the approach from out of sight paired with a delayed reward due to Tim extracting the target from the tupperware. Target in hand, maybe re-alert, and BALL!

With Molly’s enthusiasm and Tim’s ability, I’m pretty confident it wouldn’t take long at all for Molly to reach this grand finale!