Adam and Blu (access until April 10, 2014)

Home Forums Recreational Truffle Dog Training 101 Adam and Blu (access until April 10, 2014)

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  • #1249
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Welcome to class Adam!

    This is the forum topic where you will post your questions and homework videos for feedback from the instructors.

    Please take a moment to tell us about yourself, your dog and your interest in truffle hunting.

    *to be notified by email of replies in this forum topic please check the box below your reply.

    #1259
    Adam
    Participant

    Looking forward to it….

    I live on Northern Vancouver Island where I work as a Forester. Mushroom hunting is one of my favourite past times. Sometimes, I’m even lucky enough to be able to do it at work.

    Here’s Blu.

    He’s an 18 month old silver Labrador. He currently has a bum knee (possible ACL tear), and there’s a chance he’ll require surgery. I was hopeing to take him to a workshop in the US, but he’s on strict vet orders not to run around at the moment. Hopefully this course is a good way to keep him occupied. His favourite past times are fetching, running and sniffing things ( in no particular order).

    -Adam Hockin

    #1264
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Adam!
    I’m very happy you joined us for class! Learning to hunt truffles is a great way to give a dog on restricted activity some stimulating “work” because much of the foundation work can be done indoors or on leash. Please don’t hesitate to ask for modifications on any of the exercises assigned. We can easily adjust any of the assignments to accommodate your veterinarian’s recommendations.

    Welcome!

    #1265
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Your quiz has been graded. You can view instructor comments by hovering over the grade. We are looking forward to seeing your first video!

    #1326
    Adam
    Participant

    Hi,

    In your feedback for my first quiz, you mentioned that I should let you know “early” if I’m interested in having Blu alert on mushrooms as well. I’m defintely interested in teaching him to find mushrooms (chantrelles, matsutake, etc.). What do I need to know?

    Thanks

    -Adam

    #1327
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi.

    So what this means is you are ideally going to want to teach a ‘Passive’ alert as well as an “active” alert. We do cover this in Lesson 3, but it is good for us to know you want to do this. A ‘passive’ alert is something like Sitting to indicate your dog has found the scent source. An ‘active’ alert is your dog pawing at the ground directly indicating the exact position of the truffle.

    There are plusses and minuses to passive alerts in practical application for truffles- which is what you, Adam, want to ideally do.

    But when starting, go with Blu’s natural tendencies as that will be what he reverts back to first when working in the field. I would actively think about (and pursue) having Blu sit to indicate he has found the truffle, and then have a second alert which is the more active alert such as nose targeting or pawing the exact location.

    The only trouble with having ‘just’ a passive alert with truffle hunting is a passive alert tells you that Blu has found a truffle. You as a handler know he smells one. Great. You have no idea where it is around him, so you will still need him to indicate an exact location. You could also teach a stare.

    So let’s see what Blu does naturally when you get there and we can help you work on a passive alert, a sit or lie down, followed by a more active precision pinpointing alert.

    The reason for this?
    You don’t want Blu to smack the Chanterelles or matsutake and damage them with his feet. It really will depend on Blu’s natural style though, so here is where even a very short video will be extremely helpful in us guiding you through the process.

    #1351
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi, Adam.
    Do you have some video of Lesson 2 to post here for Alana and I to review?

    #1353
    Adam
    Participant

    I’ll take a video this weekend.

    #1356
    Adam
    Participant

    OK here it is…

    Sorry for the poor video quality……

    Originally I was hiding the scent under plastic yogurt containers, but Blu thought his job was to run in and knock the first yogurt container over. Then proceeding to knock the next one over, until he found the scent button. I changed tactics a little, and am simply hiding the scent button somewhere in the room.

    I’m also working on a “show me”. We do work on lead sometimes. I’m not sure if on-lead vs. off is important at this stage.

    I’ll try and post some lengthier videos next time.

    #1381
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    That is great Adam, and that you are hiding them under things in the house, behind objects etc.

    When Blue gets close to the location, you can hear and see him using his sense smell for detection, which is exactly what we want to build upon, which is the original reason (one of them) for the boxes/containers, which is to act as a guide in larger physical spaces. That was a good move to improvise, some dogs will just ‘muscle’ through them- that may come into play later though when we start proofing against ‘cold’ targets, it may end up being a skill you would want to revisit. It may, it may not, we will see how the indoor hides develop.

    Your timing is great, as is your asking him to re-alert. On the first hide he looks at you after you clicked. Just mentally note that. He looked at you ‘AFTER’. That’s is great, and fine, and then when prompted he re-alerted. My guess is had you not clicked he would have persisted. Keep doing exactly what you are doing, but, like I said, just mentally note it. He seems to already be developing an alert, which is also great. And he is persistent, as you can see when the target is in the blanket. Love that.

    The only thing I would mention is after ‘you’ place the target, walk around the room for a minute. We don’t want to just teach Blu to follow your scent to the truffle source. I do not think that is the case here, but you want to be cognizant of where you are walking, leaving scent trails. He does follow your trail directly towards the object in both of those videos, and the truffle hasn’t been in either of those locations for more than 10 seconds. You can even walk around the room with the truffle in your hand for a few seconds. We just want to proof against him following you to the source.

    Also we would encourage you to elongate the reward/ praise sequence at the end of your hides. We’d love you to show slightly more enthusiasm towards Blu on a job well done after the hide is found. Instead of telling him he’s awesome for just a few seconds, try to make it closer to 10 seconds. This will build his levels of confidence/ excitement so this really will be ‘THE MOST FUN’ game ever. You don’t need to work him up necessarily, but aim at drawing the sequence out. This will be important later.

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 7 months ago by Alana McGee. Reason: added content
    #1384
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Your Lesson 2 quiz has been graded. You can view instructor comments by hovering over the grade.

    #1434
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hey Adam, Let us know how its going.

    Well, we hope!

    #1847
    Adam
    Participant

    Hi,

    Phew, work got very busy on me and I’ve been out of town most of the last month. The good news is that Blu has been continuing his training with my partner, and is doing very well. He is still doing the basic box hides, is doing multiple boxes (up to four) and we have been using frozen truffles. He’s even more keyed in to the real thing then he is to the scent solution. So, the scent solution works.

    The bad news is that Blu is scheduled for a knee ligament surgery April, 22nd. He’ll have a long nine month recovery, so this season is out for getting into the woods. But, we’ll keep up his training and I’ll rip through the last three lessons shortly over the next week.

    Some videos to come of lesson fournd lesson five….

    #1880
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Adam.

    I’m sorry to hear Blu will need surgery. Your scent training will come in handy for some mental stimulation during his recovery.

    Looking forward to seeing some video!

    #1989
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Adam.
    Your Lesson 3 quiz has been graded.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 30 total)
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