Reply To: Annie Ingersoll & Dottie


Thank you for the great feedback. I am feeling very relieved to hear that I shouldn’t worry about these periods of confusion too much. In the previous video, I didn’t play tug/toy games with her after each find, rather I did it about every other one.

In this new scenario, I hid the odor around the den, and she did pretty well. I am posting that video here. In this particular session, she sometimes wanted the toy, and sometimes preferred treats, so I just rewarded her with what she wanted most in that moment. But, yes, more play rewards were offered this time around. (You won’t see much of this since I trimmed it out of the video to save time.)

A couple things: The video is dark at times; sorry for that. Also, I had to hold the camera, which means you can’t see me, and you have to hear me blathering on to Dottie. Maybe it’s helpful for you to hear me, but you’ll probably want to turn it down. 🙂

A quick synopsis: I hid two targets in the room, one under the black chest, one under the hearth. The first find was awesome. I didn’t take her out of the room to start the search for the second hide–I just cued her to search again. This is where you’ll see the confusion, and even frustration on her part. (1:35-1:55) So I encourage her to walk with me a bit, and when she picks up on the odor, she goes back into search mode. So we overcame it, but not without stumbling a bit. In the subsequent reps, I took her out of the room and then sent her back in in the effort to create a “reset” so she’d charge in with more understanding. Doing this definitely helped.

I apologize that the video is 22 seconds over the limit. 🙁 I wanted to include the middle rep where she shows confusion and frustration.

I think that she really doesn’t seem to understand the cue (“find ’em”) very well. I’m thinking that she paired the cue with kicking around the targets and containers, rather than pairing it specifically with searching for odor. So I think I need to teach the cue without using things she can kick and chase. Perhaps room searches like this one may help that? Even if so, I’d like to do some more fundamental exercises to strengthen and clarify the cue without things she can kick and chase.

Lastly, she mouths (and at one point chews!) the targets (mesh tea bags) way too much, but I was too happy with the searches to be thinking about this. (Shame on me–I should be paying attention and helping her develop a better alert!) My plan is to go back to the clicker and click when she is nosing the target (or lightly pawing), so she is interrupted and rewarded before she actually picks up the target.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

  • This reply was modified 8 years, 10 months ago by Annie.