Reply To: Annie & Dottie


Thanks for the great feedback, as always! 🙂

I have uploaded the entire session—it’s just over 7 minutes. I added narrative captions because we are in the distance for much of it. (I am getting used to my new camera and still figuring out the range of vision, how far away is too far, best resolution, etc. Sorry for this! And strangely, the camera makes its own breathing sounds in the video… weird.) It is interesting that you can clearly hear the clicker, even in a distance (it’s not a very loud clicker), but what you can’t hear is my voice. Just so you know what I am doing, at each find, I kneel down, give lots of happy voice-verbal praise, and feed several treats.

I have practiced with her in this area 3 previous times, and two of those times were after the yellow jacket incident. This is partly why I was surprised at how distracted she was. But there are lots of critters in that field and that pass through it. So to a dog, it is quite different every day. Prior to the videotaping, we did our usual priming/warm-up exercises of targeting, refining alerts, and box hides with tins. She seemed excited and ready to go.

I understand what you are saying about how her distraction may be stress-related. Makes sense. At least she is coping with the stress by doing things that she does when she’s happy—face rubbing, rolling, marking, etc. (She often rubs and rolls on her toys when she is excited and playful. So I think the rubbing on the truffle target may have been a playful act.) Of course I’d rather she not be stressed at all, but coping by being goofy is surely better than shutting down.

Your input about determining if the situation is distraction or disinterest is very helpful. In this case, there was definitely distraction, but I don’t think there was total disinterest, since she would go back to searching when the distraction was over. And I feel like she found each of the targets with confidence when she was searching. (With the exception of the first one that she rolled on and walked away, of course… but as you said, even that one she confidently found at the end.) Still, you are right that I should have lowered the criteria. Live and learn!!

I haven’t been able to practice outside all weekend because of smoke in the valley. The winds have shifted and brought a lot of smoke westward from the fires out east. Was supposed to clear today, but it hasn’t, and unfortunately it looks like we still have more westerly winds to come. 🙁 So I am eager to get back outside to practice.

I’m looking forward to your thoughts after you see the video of the entire session. Thanks for taking a look at it! 😀