Reply To: Annie Ingersoll & Dottie

Alana McGee

Hi Annie.

Dottie’s first search is BRILLIANT! She even took it upon herself to increase the search area and really target the truffle odor! Excellent! Well done getting down on the ground with her for the reward and letting her see what is inside the container!

For the second one, you do a very nice job of remaining calm and patient. It is very easy for these situations to get a bit frantic and you do a great job of staying grounded with intention on the game. Well done. That said, we are curious if you played tug with Dottie between repetitions. Let us know.

For the third hide, you are (once again) very patient. Good for you. She is confused and does not understand the game. We agree she is having a hard time understanding the “game” when the visual ID is present.

So, let’s make it easier on her and remove the visuals for a session since they seem to be a distraction. Go ahead and place the target out of sight and just see what we get. Be prepared to praise her (if it won’t distract her) as soon as you see her hit the odor and start to locate. Then start to move in to find the target *with* her but allowing her to lead. Have a party and play tug. After the first one, you probably won’t need to move in as quickly. Do 2-3 hides and finish. Go ahead and post that video so we can see what it looks like. If she appears to have no idea what you are asking of her, then simply abandon the exercise and we will try another approach.

This really isn’t a “wall” with Dottie. She is super smart and trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. She likely needs a novel set up each time she searches with visual aids. This isn’t abnormal and you are handling the situation very well. Try the hides without visual IDs as suggested above and then we can revisit this idea of teaching her how to search the visuals. We really only need her to understand that game of searching containers so you can transfer the game to different environments so not to worry! It will be just fine 🙂

Really motivated dogs (Callie included) often don’t spend much time with boxes and visual aids. This is a pretty normal part of the process.