Reply To: Annie Ingersoll & Dottie


I used the containers that Dottie is familiar with to expand the search area to the adjoining room. It only took one repetition for her to bolt straight to the other room to start her search, so I mixed in a couple reps where the hot container was placed back in the original room. Just to keep her on her toes. 

She still spent a lot of time playing with the containers, so as in the last video, she did much better without the visual IDs.

I think she did pretty well with these searches. Because I had to hold the camera, I didn’t show much of the reward sequences because it was too hard to reward her and hold the camera at the same time. (Those of you who have helpers to videotape you—you don’t know how lucky you are!) I did make a point to lengthen the reward and to include more tug/toy play when she wanted it. I apologize that this can’t be seen in the video.

Part 2 of the Assignment: Environmental Factors associated with the Images Provided

Scene 1

I would try to work back and forth perpendicularly across the direction of the wind. I would think that the scent would be pooling in the trough down the slope, so that may be confusing for my dog. If my dog were to keep searching in this scent “pool”, I wonder if it would work to encourage her to leave the pool, working upwind to find the source of the scent. I am a little confused about the effect of the rain/wet ground. You mentioned that it could be diluting odor or causing it to shift, but I thought that cool, wet ground caused odor to stay more localized and not dissipate as much. So I need a little help understanding how that works. I wonder if the leaf litter would help or hinder… I could see it helping by allowing scent to escape through the air spaces between the leaves, but if the leaves are so wet that they are matted down (no air spaces) then they could create a layer that effectively seals off the odor.

Scene 2

This area might be very difficult for Dottie to navigate with the high density of branches under the grass, given her small size. If she were able to traverse the ground without much trouble, then we would work back and forth perpendicular to the wind and slope. The strong gusts would definitely present a challenge by making the source of the odor much harder to locate, though I wonder if the matted grass may help the odor stay more localized at the ground level. To combat the ticks and mosquitoes, a sleek, form-fitting jacket for my dog would provide good coverage over most of her body. (like the Ruffwear “cloud chaser” jacket) Given the gusts, the grass-covered branches and the ticks/mosquitoes, I would probably not search this area with Dottie.