Reply To: Annie & Dottie


Here is our latest training session. I went to an area that is on the edge of a forest, dominated by bigleaf maple and vine maple.

I started by playing some box hide games in this area to get Dottie comfortable, having fun, and aware of what we were out there to do.

As we’ve seen in the past, she is not as confident here as she’s been, but given that the location is new, I think she did well. She didn’t seem too stressed like she had in some of the previous videos—just a little unsure at times.

My main question is what I should have done at the first find when she did a great alert when she found it, but then wouldn’t take me back and re-alert on the target. I am glad she remained at the source. I just would have liked a second alert so that she would pinpoint the location. After some unsuccessful coaxing, I picked up the target and put it in front of her, asking her to alert—which she did. Was that a bad idea to bring the target to her? What should I have done in that scenario? She did offer great paw-alerts at the other targets she located, so I didn’t run into that problem again.

I must admit, somewhat shamefully, that I asked for too much in this session. After these 3 finds you see in the video, we should have stopped. Instead, I encouraged her to keep looking for more (I hid a total of 8, though was aiming for her to find 5). We did stop and take a break after the first 3 finds (for some water, play, scratches, and a few minutes to relax), in an effort to keep her enthusiasm up. But when we went back into the search area, she flagged and I had to toss out a target to manufacture success on the spot. I tossed it near her, and also very near another hidden target. She quickly found the one I tossed, and because it was very close to another hidden one, she found that one too. This is where we ended the session.