Reply To: Bev Maahs & Wolfy

Alana McGee

Hi Bev:

Your 2nd video:

Directing is a skill we use at later stages, particularly on orchards as you want to approach an orchard formulaically. Here, it is ok, you are assisting when he needs support. As long as it doesn’t become a signal he relies soley on for searching, it’s okay. We prefer dogs to have independent search patterns not necessarily dictated directly by their human counterpart, but that also takes some confidence building and reward history in new scenarios. You are doing well. Support is perfectly acceptable however, and that is what you did here. You supported and directed him to an area where there was a greater chance of success and so you also are building a positive reward history with him understanding and looking to new, larger areas and expanding his field of search. This is perfectly okay, and expected at this stage. We’d much rather have you support you dog than have them go through frustration and possibly confusion/ extinction.

The first find- very good!

Because it is inside and cooked the targets for a while, yes, he likely is noticing the fact that odor is lingering. At 0:40, now you are at a stage where if he exhibits a behavior like this we want to acknowledge and support this. (Which you do- but we’d have you come in a hair sooner). We want you to investigate with him.

Overtime Wolfy will learn that if he alerts, you are going to come in and check. You do a good job of encouraging him and rewarding him on the second one. We would say jack pot right away on that one as it will reinforce that opportunity and scenario where there is lingering odor but no source. Then you can ask for the re-alert.

You do verbalize, but go over and help him just a touch sooner and then be ready to party at the next one. Over all good though. A good learning experience for him.