Reply To: Annie & Dottie

Alana McGee

Hi Annie

Really nice, long reward with Dottie here on the first find under the big bark slab. Her energy does seem to be more controlled.

The next find…
1:24 she is in odor. right here (bc you know where the targets as well!) start to use those words of encouragement. It is generally soft in tone (much like you do at 1:29) but start some of that if/when you realize she is in odor. We highly doubt she will break focus because of it thinking it means reward at this stage. It is supportive. Then when you get to odor source, party!!

1:36 good job getting down with her. Start to rummage in the grass yourself like you are looking for it too… Be genuine. 1:41 it looks like she does a really really nice nose touch alert! YAY. followed at 1:44 by the double paw! you can see here her energy shift. It became more ‘fun’ at this moment.

2:03 notice the difference in how she moves through space. More confident, excited. More willing to engage. There was a distinct emotional shift there, and it changes the entire game you are playing.

It does start to flag again but after the shake off at 2:11 improves again a bit.

2:25 PERFECT example of encouragement.
Take a look at 2:35. See how Dottie is emotionally at the moment? THAT is our goal for the search.

Based on the last couple of videos (and that is not everything!) Dottie seems to need a little more time not only to become accustom to an area when searching but to build confidence in what she doing. No doubt she understands the game as soon as she arrives, she’s just a little shy or timid, or unsure and is careful until you build her up. That is ok! That is what you as handler have the joy of doing.

Nice rewarding on your part.

Do not stress yourself or worry about her “not working the area” in a particular fashion. Take note as it is an indication and something we can collectively analyze and learn from, but that isn’t what is important at the moment. What is important is that it is FUN for Dottie. We completely understand what you mean, but in order for Dottie to be that Dottie we have seen previously be so confident in scenarios, it has to be fun, so we want to break down the scenario and see where the disconnect is happening. ***The fact she isn’t interested in the toy (when she normally loves that thing!) is an indication of stress and that she doesn’t feel comfortable.

This is not necessarily that “difficult” of a scenario for Dottie right now. She can certainly find them. But we think she needs more condensed success. You don’t need to find all the targets, but we would encourage you to put out way more than you expect to find, in a smaller area. When Dottie stumbles on one… YAY DOTTIE. We think (for right now anyway- for whatever reason- she may just not be feeling well too!) smother her with success. SUPER High rate of engagement, reinforcement and return. Basically everything she does in that kind of scenario, she can’t be wrong. And then after finding just a few (say 3 and you put out 10), exit with a Huge happy heart and fun.

*Indeed you can do this with boxes/altoid tins too- and if you do that and Dottie Loves it, then YES! Build up a strong reward history with that game in these areas. That is your goal right now. Dottie confident, and having FUN- with all capital letters.

You can work on other things in these kinds of scenarios eventually (while still keeping insanely high success rates), such as the alerts you were talking about, but the distance between targets and initial rewards should be greatly reduced both geographically and temporally (in terms of from one find to the next). But for now, just focus on HIGH success rates by setting up scenarios that improve her chances of that happening. Rapid Success and confidence building. SHORT sessions. 2 minutes. Set your team up for success. That does mean an even smaller area and more tins.

  • This reply was modified 8 years, 10 months ago by Alana McGee.