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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  • #2003
    Adam
    Participant

    OK,

    Back at it after a hiatus…..

    I’ll post some videos, and then I also have a couple of questions. Sorry again about the quality.

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 6 months ago by Adam.
    #2005
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Adam.

    Glad you are picking up again. Please post your questions as soon as possible. Your forum topic expires 4/10/2014. You will still be able to read the forum but will not post. If you would like to extend your access to Alana and I for questions and feedback, we do have the Extended Support forum available.

    Hope to hear from you before your topic here is closed.

    #2006
    Adam
    Participant

    It’s not in the closet….

    #2007
    Adam
    Participant

    Partially buried with leaves….

    #2008
    Adam
    Participant

    #2009
    Adam
    Participant

    #2010
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Great to see these posted. We will review them tomorrow 🙂

    #2011
    Adam
    Participant

    OK, questions…..

    1) You’d mentioned i should be more enthusiastic. Trying to do that, but I notice that he doesn’t really want to be touched when “working”. Usally he a typical Lab and will lean all over you. But, and he’s the same way with fetch (i.e. super intense), his “personal space” seems to extend when he’s truffling. He will kind of shy away from being touched and will back up a little. Should I use “pets” at all? Or should I just use a toy/ treats?

    2) He is doing multiple hides, but he starts to get stressed after three or four. How do we work up to more?

    3) Is outdoors easier for some dogs? It seems like the hous maybe gets filled with scents after a bit (e.g. with multiple hides). He seems to just give up like, “it’s all over the place, can’t you smell it”. Anyway to work around this? Should I just focus on outside?

    4) The surgeon tells us Blu will have severly limited mobility for a couple of months, and then gradually come back to his old self aftert six-nine months. Should I keep training? Any recomendations on creative ways to keep him interested where everything has to be close proximity for a bit? Maybe multiple “cold” targets with a couple of “hot” ones. Any other ideas?

    Thanks,

    Adam

    p.s. I got a sample from Dr. Berch. Blu seems even more “keyed in” in on the frozen T. Gibbosum than the scent solution. I’ve done multiple hides using both, and the stuff must really smell like truffles because he didn’t even skip a beat when I intorduced the real thing. Thanks again!

    #2012
    Adam
    Participant

    p.p.s. the videos might be a little easier on the eyes if you go to the actual URL and maximize….

    #2013
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Good Adam!

    The closet would have had lingering scent, which is why he stayed, but it was nice to see you allow him time to investigate without pressuring him or pulling him off of the lingering scent. You have the correct impulses, and often in situations like that you do exactly what you were doing. Basically saying, “Yes, good job, it was there”, and encouraging him to move on. Once you got him out of the area it was pretty easy for him to re-locate the new target. Underneath the dresser is actually a very hard hide, you both did excellent on that.

    #2014
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Videos:

    Re: Blue & 2nd outdoor hide:
    Excellent. You give Blu the opportunity to work, and allow him to lead. Really nice- also you are doing a good job using food and the play reward. At this stage you could start fading out the clicker as it isn’t necessary to have in the field.

    3rd Outdoor Hide:
    Great. Again, but I do notice what you are observing via touch, and reluctance to it. It appears he is not so much against you touching him as it is anticipation of play. He is focused on the chain of events you have instilled in him (which is a VERY strong motivation)- which is find truffle- food- then BALL. It appears he is avoiding your touch because he is in heavy anticipation of you throwing the ball.

    If he avoids or pulls away from physical contact, that’s ok. You don’t need to physically touch him- so just go from food reward to play. Keep verbal praise, but physical touch isn’t necessary.

    4th Outdoor Hide:
    First thing I noticed- he goes back to where the previous hide was to inspect. Good! But he doesn’t alert on lingering odor. Even better! He does an excellent excellent job of pinpointing odor source, and then even re-alerting when asked. Very, very nice.

    The only thing I would point out is to be conscious of your verbal cues. You don’t say it often, but when you were at the small structure you prompted Blu several times with his start cue. We ideally want to use that phrase when a dog has broken concentration or is questioning what they are supposed to be doing. Blu was working very well in the environments and we want to try to avoid adding excess noise when possible.
    It can be considered encouragement, which is great, but perhaps consider using a different string of words, such as ‘good searching’ and not ‘where’s the truffle’- As that is the phrase you use to begin the hunt sequence.

    Overall, Awesome job though. You guys are doing great.

    #2015
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    As for the questions you posed:
    1) I touched on this briefly, but physical touch is not necessary. If he pulls away or is just in anticipation of the next step in the chain of events (playing ball) you don’t need to have physical contact. You are doing a great job of elongating the sequence verbally and with food/ play.

    2)You work up to more hides by practicing. It is part of endurance training. There is a fine line between pushing boundaries and frustration. They don’t have to all be extremely difficult. You can have say- three very easy hides (lightly hidden in grass) and then two more complicated ones that get his brain turning. The other thing you can do is place many hides out there (keep one with you in your pocket) and then after he has had some good success, end the session, regardless if he has found all of the targets or not. If he finds a few and then is struggling and you think you should call it so he doesn’t get frustrated, that is where the target in your pocket comes in to play- where you will give him an easy one he can have success on, and then reward/ play and then you are done. Always end on a positive!

    3) Outdoors is easier to a degree for some dogs, for a variety of reasons, one being that there are actual air currents to move scent around, as opposed to a house with stagnant air- and this may be the case for Blu. It is still important to practice indoors though (and will be good for Blu when he is recovering) as it can mimic heavily laden truffle areas- which is an incredibly valuable skill. To be able to pinpoint in a heavily laden area when scent is everywhere. That is an advanced skill we cover in 201.

    We don’t want it to become routine for him, we want it to be fun, so yes, I would focus on outside and continue to work on endurance and soon it really looks like you could start burying the targets- but remember to when you start burying to keep the area small. Set him and you up for success. Also keep practicing blind hides if possible. You guys are doing great.

    BUT do also hide things occasionally inside- maybe only 1 target or place three at a time and then after he finds all three- play- done- as he seems to key on lingering odor (such as the closet).

    4) Absolutely keep training! It will make Blu that much better come next season and you can actually get out in the field. Do respect what his body is telling you though in terms of fatigue even if his personality says go-go-go. Kristin will likely have some good ideas on training during recovery.

    Cold v. hot targets, yes that is good. Precision skills with a clicker- where he has to hit an increasingly smaller mark in order to receive a reward. Practice him nose targeting the odor source as well (this is something VERY useful later in the wild- and again, a skill we will cover in 201). All of those games can be played while lying down or with minimal movement.

    #2022
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Adam.
    I would recommend putting truffle scent training on hold for the initial part of Blu’s recovery. You can resume working on the truffle scent when his mobility returns and during his rehab. The reason for this is so that he is not practicing this new great game while he is in pain or frustrated from inactivity. You will accomplish two things by putting the truffle scent on the shelf for the first phase of recovery. 1) you will prevent him from associating frustration with truffle hunting and 2) you will allow latent learning to occur.

    That said, I would DEFINITELY continue doing scent work with him during his down time! It is a great way to keep his mind happy and if you do some work with a different odor (or even just finding food), you can help him cope with the inactivity. Work on targeting an object the same way you did for the target to sharpen his skills at telling you exactly where the object is. Or, teach him to find something that could be handy in the future, like the remote or your keys! You are simply playing the same game with a new object. He gets to do something he enjoys but you are using an object or odor that you don’t care about for future training. Does that make sense? Don’t worry. He won’t forget the truffle scent.

    Pick some new tricks to teach him too 🙂

    Then when you get the truffle scent out again, I suspect he will be jazzed to go. You can pick up training when he is allowed leashed activity and you can safely allow him to show his normal enthusiasm.

    #2023
    Adam
    Participant

    Thanks so much. Looking forward to 201! I’ll be there once Blu is all healed up. Do keep me in the loop for workshops and any other truffle dog related stuff you’re up to.

    Really enjoyed the course. The videos+feedback thing really works. Best of luck.

    -Adam

    #2026
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Our best to you and Blu for a speedy recovery!

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 30 total)
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