Reply To: Mary & Salu

Alana McGee

Stumbling on a truffle while investigating something else is totally ok. Surprise find! He alerted which is great 😉

no worries on another post- but yes, getting in the habit of throwing out a manufactured hide can take some time, but it is good to do! We learn a lot though self-analysis. Good you noticed it.

As for distractions, here is what we would suggest you do: If you have that park nearby where the deer are- go grab some of the leaf litter and dirt. If you can find some of the deer scat, even better. You can order online various animal odors or sprays that might be novel- like fox and coyote.

The idea is that we want to start introducing some interesting, odd, different things into his environment for him to practice working in opposition too. If there is a dog park nearby that may provide an interesting opportunity too. You can either grab grass from there to use or if you are brave- place an orange cone (some kind go plastic object) there and leave it for a few days. No doubt it will be peed on by many neighborhood dogs. You can then go collect it and use that as a distraction as well, as that is always very interesting ‘reading’.

When you use these things at home or more controlled settings, you can put them inside containers (think tupperwear with holes in it) so it doesn’t soil the house but can still release odor. The more things you can grab out of the environment to work with the better.

You then can play discrimination games. Start very simply inside with your distraction & truffle. have then both relatively close together. when he alerts on the truffle huge party. Don’t reward obviously if he is super interested in the distraction. You ignore it. Eventually he’ll choose the truffle. If not we can take a step even farther back, but try that first.

From there you increase distance and even add in more distraction. Parties and treats only happen for alerts on truffles. Everything else is ignored. It is about getting him used to working around novel odors.

If you remember the Video of Lois & Monza from the Best of Forum where it’s in the basement of her house with the Kayak and lots of boxes? That eventually is what you want to get to except that in many of those boxes you’d have distraction odor as well.

We LOVE his alerts here. Confident, calm. VERY pretty. The two of them have such different styles it is wonderful to see.

0:54 great transition. He still seems “in it” at that point and again, it’s fantastic to see how far he has come on the transitioning from one hide to the next. It’ll continue to improve and build endurance in this behavior over time as you practice it more and more.

1:18 you did a nice job with the line there. That is exactly why it’s great to have in these scenarios as you can control perimiter of the search area.

2:27 is interesting. You do a great job there not moving in too fast. That is what we call an exploratory behavior. odor is in the area, he is still trying to locate. His alerts are very clear, that unless he flops down on the ground he is not confident about it in this session. We do think he is still working here. The digging around 3:00 is tinged a little more with frustration, so yes, this would have been good time to toss out a target. Now you know though what it looks like around the 2:00 mark when he starts to get a bit distracted. That’s when you throw out a hide. It’s okay to throw out lots of hides in a session if you think he’s being distracted. Every day is different.