Reply To: Mary & Salu

Alana McGee

Hi Mary

Oh Salu. Cars are a great way to give them a break. The leash chewing in half, in my personal experience with anxious dogs (which we would not qualify Salu as) is stress/anxiety induced. If this becomes a habit where he chews on leashes we’d want to take a look at what is going on in the situation to elevate stress and what you can do to combat it and alter the situation for Salu.

Great idea to shift the game to a smaller area when you realized it was going to be an exercise in distraction and even better idea when that was going well to toss out a couple fun ones in the grass. VERY smart, and well done. No point in trying to practice under such heavy distraction. It’ll be an exercise in frustration, so well done Mary on that choice to shift the game.

Salu is still very young. I’d argue Lagotti aren’t really mentally mature until around 3+ (When Lo is 6 maybe i’ll re-evaluate 😉 ). New places may be fascinating for him, so it may that in new locations with lots of distraction you may need to visit a few times before he’ll get used to working there.

As for your Question: “how is that handled when he’s showing me the second one and I’m standing there with the first one in my hand??”

You go to the second one he found. It is always more important when truffle hunting that you are present with your dog. Let the first one go (put it back, if you can so you can try to come back to it later!) and go to him where he is. Be connected with him where he is and work on staying at source with that one. You may be able to return again to the first one though coaxing AFTER the 2nd one or others. It happens.

If it becomes habitual there are some things you can do, but he is excited. For Salu, we like that.
We call it a “fly by”. It is indicative of a heightened level of excitement. Always stay connected with your dog. If the dog leaves, so do you. It is far more important you are working together and engaged with him.

0:53 you’re doing a good job trying to keep him in the predetermined area. This was a good selection of locations for this because the curb also acts as a barrier. 1:03 GOOD. very pretty. Well done both of you.

1:39 he has one there… What is that? Is that one you tossed out? he has it in his mouth and brings it with him? Or is that nut/ apple? I think it may be (because you don’t say it is a truffle 😉 ) so yes that is him starting to get distracted- so yes, that is exactly when you do throw out a target. We would suggest you do it sooner; as soon as you see any kind of this behavior, and then party, and then leave. He may just need a little break. Technically at this point he has found 4. He seems to be seeking a mental shift, so you can take a break and play with him for a minute or belly rubs and then you can always toss out another target for him easy to find, party, and then be done!

With Salu we would err on the side of under-doing it- meaning don’t expect him to find all 5. Stop after 3. Since he is starting to get distracted in this environment.

Eventually you will work on lengthening this out and endurance, but Salu is telling you right now that it is a little too much, and we want his association with the game to remain strong over time, with duration.

Remember when you first started hunting with him indoors and he would only do one or two finds and a time and then you’d reset. It is the same principle here he is working through in a more complex environment and state, but the same idea. Interesting that it is following the same pattern, but for that reason cut it short. Some days in this environment he may find five, some days three. Stop while you;re ahead.

The following idea applies…Something Kristin & I are often asked is how long can your dogs work for? Just because Lolo can work for 4 hours doesn’t mean she should. We stop long before that point for very similar reasons. There are times when endurance is pushed, but endurance is built slowly over a long period of time in incremental steps. Sometimes you hit a spurt where you can push a little more, and some days you do just a very short session. Like athletes and interval training. Does that make sense?

2:50 was really good. That is exactly right! We do that too 😉 2:57- It is great he did re- alert but be conscious that occasionally in these situations when you are manufacturing success his alerts may be truncated, and so be conscious and open to the idea of lowering your criteria for success.

That was good mary, and good experience for you to have as a handler with you so you gain more experience on how to approach those situations when they manifest.