Reply To: Tim Rinaldi & Molly

Alana McGee

Hi Tim.

Well done encouraging her on the first find. She might not need it for the initial search at this point. Start saving verbal encouragement for when she appears frustrated and needs some reassurance. When she finds it and then moves around like this, just be patient and let her be certain. She isn’t disregarding the target. She is being absolutely sure. Good girl. Remember to pick up the target before delivering the ball. 0:25 we would really like you to refrain from giving verbal corrections while truffle training and while you are working on her ball behavior. 0:38 Allow her to keep the ball and have another one in your pack (sounds like your recognized this).

0:59 was a BEAUTIFUL find by Molly! Next time allow her to show you where it is, pick it up and then deliver the ball. 1:17 THIS is how you continue the reward with her!!!! She loved getting praise and affection from you while she was allowed to keep the ball!!!! Use that to your advantage. The party is praise for Molly while she is allowed to keep her ball. Love it! Refrain from asking for her to drop right now. Just let her keep it and move on to the next hide.

1:54 Pick up the target before delivering the ball. This will put you in Molly’s picture as well.

2:14 Give her a chance to sort it out. If she doesn’t eventually find the truffle and drop the ball on her own, no big deal. It’s just information. But do try this again and allow her the freedom to figure it out on her own. If she does find the truffle and drop her ball, you will be at the truffle to give her a new ball. If not, no harm done. You have simply gathered more informations. By allowing her to keep the ball, she may settle into her searching behaviors more and you will have fewer “highs”.

I have a very ball motivated dog myself. She loves to work for her ball but when there aren’t truffles to be found and I see she is becoming frustrated, I allow her to have the ball. This removes the stress of “working harder and faster” to earn the ball and she settles down quite nicely. Molly is very similar. The true value for my dog (and I suspect with Molly too) isn’t the actual ball. It’s the game of truffle hunting or playing anything ball related WITH YOU. I suspect Molly will continue to work with the ball in her possession (or drop it somewhere) because her reward isn’t just a ball. Her reward is playing ball with you!

2:35 pick up the target before giving Molly the ball 🙂

Molly will likely dig on her own so we don’t recommend encouraging it right now. IF she doesn’t naturally dig, we can address it in the next class. Burying the ball with the target is not advised because it completely removes you from the picture.

You and Molly have made wonderful progress during the class! We look forward to seeing you in class again August 9th. During the break:
-Practice the same level hides but wait to deliver the ball until you pick the truffle up. Make observations as to how this changes Molly’s behavior at source. Is she persisting? Is she holding a position until you pick it up? Is she re-alerting until it is in your hand? All are acceptable. Just observe.
-Try an entire session allowing Molly to keep the ball. Carry 1-2 extras so you have one to deliver when you pick up the truffle. If she finds the truffle and goes off to find the ball she had (if she dropped it), calmly encourage her to come play with the one you have. Once she realizes you have more, she will likely stay with you. Start to make a routine out of it. Example: Molly alerts, you arrive, you pick up the truffle, you pull a ball out of your pocket. Be sure the be consistent with where you bring the ball out from. This will be a pre-cue to her that it is coming and will likely be important to Molly. If the session goes well, continue allowing her to keep the ball. If she completely disengages (and we mean COMPLETELY, as in leaves the search area altogether and chews on her ball), then simply make note of it and let us know.
-Away from truffle training, work on the trick of putting the ball in your back pack. I will post this here as soon as the instructions are compiled (even though your topic here will be closed for commenting).