Reply To: Best of ?Fancy?

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Alana McGee

Hi Launie! Sorry I watched videos but have been traveling with limited internet. So, couple of things to know:

In reference to the beginning of the first video: most dogs when working outside in new or just distraction filled environments often take time to engage in the game. That is completely normal, AND expected. If all she did was eat grass for a few minutes you might want to move away and play some other training games and come back and try again, but notice as soon as you started to move forward (I am guessing you took a step based on how the camera moved) she engaged. What you don’t want to have happen is have her walk right past the target odor and not tell you! She didn’t do that though!

As Kristin suggested, this is a good time to start phasing out the clicker as you ideally won’t need it in the field. I do bring mine sometimes if I am trying to work on targeted or specific behaviors- such as precision, but realistically you’re not going to have it with you. It is a secondary reinforcer, and she knows the game by now- we call that behavior chaining. We can use it again later to hone fine motor skills and to create more precise behaviors.

In Part Two re-watch your video and notice how even before you give your cue, Fancy is already at work. If she is already working, it adds no value to say the cue again. In fact, try to avoid doing that so she doesn’t learn indifference to it. She finds it, quickly- but also notice that you clicked “Before” she alerted you to it. At this stage you want Fancy to tell YOU where it is. She has the ‘game’ well cemented thanks to your diligence in training, so now you need to expect more from her and give her a chance to shine.

Her re-alert, and your cue to it and timing, is FANTASTIC, and I am just thrilled (as is Kristin).

Also yes, I think Fancy would do well in your English garden. Also, if possible you can start hiding more than one target at a time. After she finds each one- pick it up and remove it from the game. Remember when moving to a harder level of difficulty to always start slow and small. Don’t make it too difficult at first.

Couple of things we would like you to work on:

Practice and try to be cognizant of when you use your verbal cues. Don’t over use them.

Also practice only rewarding Fancy once she has alerted with her chosen alert- a paw or scratch yes? This is really what we would like you to focus on for the next week or so.

If the target is in the bushes and she locates it, wait for her to paw it before you say “Yes!” and then reward. You can ask her to “show you” after the initial reward (You have been doing this already) and only reward when she either nose bumps (nose targeting) or paws it again. We want to work on her showing YOU where it is. Try not to jump the gun! Easier said than done, but it will be critical in the long run. So focus on that skill and timing. And I would say get rid of the clicker for now. We can bring it back in later if we need to.

Let us know how that goes!

Also- just fyi the wonderwalker Fancy is wearing is on backwards. The colored part should go on top. Good color choice though Fits her very well.