Reply To: Annie Ingersoll & Dottie

Alana McGee

Ah, the protest barking of other dogs. I know it well! I typically remove my others altogether. Personally, I’d be thrilled to hear how you go about training the calm quiet behavior for Tuesday 🙂

A tripod will make things much easier for you next session!

0:24 THAT FACE! What a happy dog! It’s hard to see what the reward sequence looked like but everyone was staying put so no complaints. Dottie was very persistent in telling you about that target! EXCELLENT 😀

The second find was fabulous! That reward sequence made me want to come work for you. Annie, your ability to really connect with your dogs and bring out the best in them is wonderful!

1:18 Well done acknowledging her distraction (site of the previous find and some items you left there). Nice verbals to validate her attempt and let her know you want to search elsewhere.

1:31 she shifted to being more handler focused. That isn’t a surprise since she lost a little confidence with the distraction. You do a great job of keeping your intention on the next find and inserting encouragement when you know she is on it (but she is showing uncertainty). Very intuitive. Good for you! Great party!

The last find was a very confident one!!! That shows us that you read your dogs very well and can adjust the demands of the alert appropriately. You offered significantly less encouragement here and Dottie was telling you with absolute certainty where that truffle target was! The party reflected her awesomeness 😀

All of your points are spot on. You should be very proud of the work you and Dottie did here! She is a little firecracker. Looking back at the first video and now, your progress is wonderful!

As for moving targets, they will get dislodged in the field so, within reason, you can reward her for staying with the moving target. Just be careful that she doesn’t think moving the target is part of the game.

A side note about using baskets:
Take a mental note of what her alert looks like when the target is in a basket. Essentially, that represents a truffle that is inaccessible to her and she can’t offer you a paw target. Often the obstacles in the forest will prevent dogs from offering their ideal alert so make a mental note of that behavior. Truffles do grow between logs/ stick piles that she won’t be able to access.

Excellent work this session. Keep up the great training but do be sure to take a break before the next class. Those periods of down time often yield great advances in understanding. Set yourself up for a massive learning moment and then take a break for a few days or a week. Come back to the same training subject and marvel at the improvement 😉

Continue to work on her endurance for multiple searches. She is on her way. If you have an end cue for other training or play, this would be a good time to start using it. This will help her understand that you are finished with all the hides and help her confidence in knowing that she has the opportunity to do another if you didn’t give the end cue. Start to make a ritual out of your ending as well. Perhaps she keeps the toy or there is something different about the last reward. Practice gathering yourselves together and leaving the search area together to help signal that you are all finished. Bring the attention to a more handler focused reward and ending behavior. Often walking briskly out of the search area while talking/ rewarding your dog become a very clear ritual for the dogs. Use a word, change your movement, change your intention and bring your focus on her instead of the search space. She was amazing! Tell her that all the way out of the space 😀

We look forward to working with you and Dottie next session. Registration for Developing a Reliable Truffle Dog Team (level 2) opens July 26th. Class starts August 9th.