Reply To: Annie & Dottie


Here is our video for week 2. Again, another less-than-enthusiastic performance. We had some better practice sessions earlier in the week, but this was not a great one. She did find the targets, but she spent time doing much of the same kind of distraction behavior you saw in the last video, but mostly standing around gazing. I trimmed much of this out since you saw what it looks like in the last video. She was not interested in the toy, though I presented it after each find.

(Side note: We’ve had some thunder the last couple days, and she’s been a little edgy outdoors from that, I think. Normally thunder doesn’t bother her, but she has been edgy outside lately. I’m not sure what that is about. She has been eager to get outside when she sees me gear-up and grab her harness, however, so each time I figured we’d give it a try.)

I feel like she is not “working the area” like she should be. I drastically reduced the search area to try to encourage more of that behavior, but I still feel like I need to walk her around more than I’d like to. I think this would not be a problem for orchard work, but for general forest areas it may be a problem.

I’m thinking it’s time to go back to some much lower-level exercises and build back up from there… She still loves the box hide game, and will always play the “find the correct Altoid tin” game with enthusiasm. So maybe we should just stick to that for a while. Add multiple hot tins and spread them over a larger search area? What do you think?

There were a couple of things in this session that I was very pleased with, however. First, she had no trouble finding the target that was placed under the edge of a large slab of bark—this obstruction did not deter her in any way. Second, she did not pick up the target that was a truffle in a mesh tea bag. We’ve been working on “no more mouthing” the targets, and the mesh bags have been the hardest for her. She doesn’t just pick them up, she chews on them. But in this session, she pawed at it and did not mouth it or pick it up. Yay!