Anthony Soldato & Zucca

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  • #5187
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Welcome to class Anthony!  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.

    Class begins June 1st but you already have access to the first lesson so go ahead and check that out!  You can begin posting video homework and questions June 1st.

    #5198
    Anthony
    Participant

    Here is a blurb about Zucca and family.

    Zucca is a bit over one year old. She is a Lagotto and has tons of spunk. She is still getting used to her newest family member/brother named Rocco, our first child born on 12/26/14. Zucca is very loyal and loves to protect Rocco by sitting as close as possible to him when he crawls around on the floor..

    Zucca love swimming and enjoys basking in the waters off Camano Island and Green Lake.

    Zucca and Anthony started clicker training several months ago and have done some preliminary hide and seek in our yard. Zucca loves sniffing and digging so we are excited to get her going for truffles.

    #5206
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Welcome to class Anthony and Zucca! We are looking forward to seeing you two in action.

    Congratulations on becoming parents!

    We are heading into Week 2 of class so you may want to post one video of your Week 1 homework and one video of your Week 2 homework if you find Zucca is progressing quickly.

    #5219
    Anthony
    Participant

    Apologies for the late submission, just figuring out the YouTube upload action.

    Zucca did okay today (C- level). I think she has the imprinting down because she knows and recognizes the scent. During our first session (outdoors), she was NOT at all interested in training due to heat. Our yard was not full of distractions but it was not a fun session so I ended it after only one hide session. I also had her on the leash and she really did not enjoy that because she has been frustrated with her leash recently due to the heat and perhaps longer walks in the warmer weather. She also has been doing hide-and-seek with no leash for several months.

    For the second and third sessions, I moved to the cooler basement although I realized that she does not like certain portions of the basement because she gets hosed off down there and doesn’t enjoy the water spray. So, she was a bit distracted by the environment.

    As for the video, I posted our best session. I realize there is ton of improvement needed but I wanted you guys to take a look and know where she is at. Also, please let me know if I should be using a leash on these exercises, bearing in mind that she scampers under the bed when we pull out the leash nowadays. Does Zucca sound high maintenance? 🙂

    Thanks,
    Anthony

    #5222
    Anthony
    Participant

    We had a better scent box session this morning (6/8-Monday). I think the best route is to get Zucca when she has early morning/afternoon energy. We also did the session in our front room which is her preferred room during her early morning activity.

    Zucca was much more enthusiastic. She was alertly sniffing and almost running to the boxes. She was able to locate and the marker-clicker rewards were better. I will try again tonight after work and try to post a video of this session.

    Anthony

    #5233
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Anthony, your video is marked as private so we can’t view it yet, but do look forward to it!

    We discuss it in Lesson 2 (and more detail again in Developing a Reliable Truffle Dog Team and Let’s Go Truffle Hunting) but practicing in heat is problematic and we do not advise it when possible. Even for experienced teams is challenging. That, and for other reasons, is why we recommend when at all possible performing these exercises indoors. Because also outdoors is full of distractions. We as humans realistically realize a fraction of everything going on outside compared to our dogs in terms of sensory organs. It is an interesting place! Oh to have the nose of a dog!

    “We also did the session in our front room which is her preferred room during her early morning activity.” Great you realize this- well done. Good to work with her in an environment she likes and is familiar with. She is still young too! Also VERY well done then on ending your session outside if it wasn’t fun- as that is the name of the game.

    Great to move to the basement- even if it didn’t end up working out, and also good of you to recognize that she may have negative associations with that space. You should try to make it a more comfortable and fun space for her in general if you can so you can use it. When you do hose her off/ give her baths down there, make sure to include lots of positive reinforcement and treats when possible. Bath time should be fun not scary. Same thing with the Leash and walks. It sounds a bit like something happened wherein she now has a negative association with the leash so it is going to take some extra work on your part to make that not be a negative association for her.

    If she is comfortable (AND SAFE) off leash, then working off lead is ok- but that is going to depend on Zucca and on your environment. Practicing working on lead is a very valuable skill as there may arise situations later (for safety reasons) wherein working her off lead is neither practical nor safe. If she is more comfortable off lead at this stage, then go with that, as the goal in the beginning is confidence building, making generalized associations, and having everything around truffle hunting be associated with fun.

    I personally let one dog drag a line currently, and one personal dog of mine will probably always work on lead due to environmental factors. It depends on you, your environment and your dog.

    Any video you submit is fabulous for review, as are baselines, but keep in mind it often is even better as a learning experience for you when we can see the sessions where you think you need help or struggle with elements the most, as that is why we are here! To Help! Every session is different, and it sounds like (even without seeing video) you are sensitive to that and to Zucca- which is awesome, but please, don’t be shy at all (at all!) for sending us the videos of sessions where things did not go as planned, or you or her communication was off, or something just didn’t work. It is often from these experiences that you can learn the most and are the most valuable. We are here to support you in your endeavors and in the enjoyment of truffle hunting, and these scenarios can sometimes be the best to learn from.

    We look forward to seeing the video.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by Alana McGee.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by Alana McGee.
    #5235
    Anthony
    Participant

    I just changed it to public. I hope I break the internet with this one. Thanks for the quick feedback.

    I will also post a session from tonight.

    #5237
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Anthony.

    Zucca seems like a very sweet pup and we would love to see some video of her doing what she loves most. This will allow us to compare the session from your video post to how she presents when she is over the moon with joy. Could you post a short video (less than 1 minute) of her doing her favorite activity with you?

    She is presenting stress signals and is demotivated in this video. Could be the basement itself or the challenge was too much. Seeing her joyful side will help us to better understand how much of what we are observing is stress.

    You are right not to use a leash if she has a negative associating with it. Everything about truffle hunting should be fun.

    What are her favorite treats? What are you using for training? Does she like toys?

    #5239
    Anthony
    Participant

    Here is tonight’s session. I will post a general video tomorrow morning of her playing ball or perhaps a play session tomorrow night. I agree that the basement and leash seems to have some negative associations now.

    Thanks,
    Anthony

    #5240
    Anthony
    Participant

    To answer your other questions:

    What are her favorite treats? Zukes (peanut butter small bites)

    What are you using for training? Using your Truffle Training Solution: Pacific Northwest Truffle Training scent in a small metal tin with small flower paper planters as the boxes.

    Does she like toys? Yes, she loves tennis balls and fetching. She also likes nylabones and any harder chew toys because she rips through everything else.

    #5254
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Anthony.

    Your video is marked private. If you change the settings, the one you posted last night should be viewable.

    Are you using Zukes for truffle training? Have you tried other treats that might hold higher value, like chicken, bacon, deli meat, freeze dried dog foods?

    Do you think she likes toys more than food?

    #5256
    Anthony
    Participant

    Sorry, I guess that second video defaulted to private. I changed my settings so I hope that doesn’t happen again.

    She may have more success with higher value treats. She really likes chicken and deli meats so I will try those in the coming sessions. She likes her ball quite a bit but I think higher value treats may be the first attempt before I completely shift gears to toys.

    I will post today’s morning session once I get home later tonight.

    Thanks for your insight and help.

    Anthony

    #5266
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Anthony.

    Definitely try higher value treats!!! I watched the last video post but am going to save the video analysis for your next post so we don’t use up your allotted video submissions for this week. I’m very curious to see how she does with higher value rewards. She does seem more comfortable in this setting. If you haven’t done your training session yet, can you try using less obedience (sits, stays) while training. Try keeping the entire session more upbeat. To reset the targets, you can either put her behind something like a baby gate if that is something she is familiar with or toss one of those high value treats for her to go find across the room while you quickly switch the boxes (my preference). This will generate more action in the training session and should raise the energy level provided you are also keeping an upbeat attitude.

    #5304
    Anthony
    Participant

    Recent training session posted below. I will post several more videos including a recent “ball” session to show you her general play demeanor.

    My general thoughts on the latest sessions:

    Zucca loves chicken and so those higher value treats worked much better.

    I tried resetting with less commands by throwing her some of the chicken to another part of the yard. This seemed to work very well and kept a constant good vibe to the training session.

    I also tried a session last night with different “boxes” by using small soccer cones with holes. She seemed to like those so I may try to use those for a bit of a change of pace between sessions. Let me know your thoughts.

    I totally agree with the need for a more upbeat attitude. I am too keen to get this right and need to just relax.

    #5305
    Anthony
    Participant

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