Bev Maahs & Wolfy

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  • #5483
    Bev
    Participant

    Here is todays video for lesson 3-4. I did this inside, however this is a bunch of picked bits of 3 sessions.
    First, I was a little frustrated with Wolfy as he was more interested in picking the box or tin, to get his ball reward. This became a problem for me, as he was then just smashing the boxes with his paw. So, I decided that I would put the ball up high on the fridge, you can see him look there a few times. Finally, later tonight, I thought I would just hide a few in different places. I think he did very well finding them without any boxes. I also just used chicken for his reward instead of the ball. I think that earlier he was too aroused to really work at scenting.
    His indication is a paw pulling to him mostly, hope that is a good indication for truffles.
    Look forward to your feedback.

    #5499
    Bev
    Participant

    Okay so this is the official week 4 video, I know I posted before the comments on the previous video but I did not want to get behind. I did not video the whole room in the first part of the video but set it up differently for the second hide. The first hide had a lot of time to ‘cook’ where I hid it. So there might have been strong scent on the first hide place. I did question whether he was searching from memory or scent residual? I do not know for sure, but when he finally goes and looks in the other area, he does find it quickly, so maybe there was a lot of scent pool there. I did do some directing, which is fine in sport scent competitions, but not sure for here, but I do not think it interfered with his searching.
    Look forward to your comments.

    #5503
    Bev
    Participant

    So this is to answer the questions from Lesson 2 on locations for beginning training.
    First one is in my back yard, it is low down, and if there was a wind the scent would probably move off the fence and move in an eddy off the fence.
    The other locations are in the front yard, which is kinda wild at the moment and low down with shelter from a large hedge, the scent would again, probably move off the walls and hedge depending on the direction of the wind, it is rather sheltered there. I chose the wood chips as this would be a great place to bury the scent tin for searching.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by Bev.
    #5522
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Bev

    On your first video:
    We know you may be frustrated with his “tin” behavior, but as we’ve said about boxes, also is true with tins… Truffles don’t grow in Tins. He looks like he’s trying to offer a whole bunch of behaviors to see what will get reward- and you are correct not “scenting” in the way you are thinking, which is a good self- analysis. Based on your cue for the re-alert however he clearly understands ‘that’ part of the game. We are curious to see if this behavior extinguishes when visual cues are no longer available (and we think it likely will).

    0:16- Really nice use of the ball toss/drop near source here. well done.

    1:14 that as an excellent choice to lure him out of the scenario to reset. You could see both of you needed that.

    1:47 GOOD on the now touch inside the box. After a few trials of success he seems more confident in the exact behaviors you are looking for in regards to the boxes and how to intact with him. Just something to note.

    2:45 GREAT on the re-alert. That part of the sequence he seems more confident displaying than the initial.

    #5523
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Bev:

    Your 2nd video:

    Directing is a skill we use at later stages, particularly on orchards as you want to approach an orchard formulaically. Here, it is ok, you are assisting when he needs support. As long as it doesn’t become a signal he relies soley on for searching, it’s okay. We prefer dogs to have independent search patterns not necessarily dictated directly by their human counterpart, but that also takes some confidence building and reward history in new scenarios. You are doing well. Support is perfectly acceptable however, and that is what you did here. You supported and directed him to an area where there was a greater chance of success and so you also are building a positive reward history with him understanding and looking to new, larger areas and expanding his field of search. This is perfectly okay, and expected at this stage. We’d much rather have you support you dog than have them go through frustration and possibly confusion/ extinction.

    The first find- very good!

    Because it is inside and cooked the targets for a while, yes, he likely is noticing the fact that odor is lingering. At 0:40, now you are at a stage where if he exhibits a behavior like this we want to acknowledge and support this. (Which you do- but we’d have you come in a hair sooner). We want you to investigate with him.

    Overtime Wolfy will learn that if he alerts, you are going to come in and check. You do a good job of encouraging him and rewarding him on the second one. We would say jack pot right away on that one as it will reinforce that opportunity and scenario where there is lingering odor but no source. Then you can ask for the re-alert.

    You do verbalize, but go over and help him just a touch sooner and then be ready to party at the next one. Over all good though. A good learning experience for him.

    #5524
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Photos:
    GREAT that you notice the possibilities of may happen with the Fence. Wolfy may use it as a guide, and also as you likely have used it in NW pursuits as well, as he may track alongside it. We’ll see what happens when we get there. It is a nice sized space with a few different types of ground cover which is great and will provide nice training opportunities. And yes, the wood chips will be helpful, as will the grass. This will be great to work in outside. Nice size.

    #5601
    Bev
    Participant

    Lesson 5: Wolfy’s indication is usually a nose touch, paw touch and or picking up the item. (The latter is probably just with the tins, I hope) I was actually very pleased with Wolfy’s hunt today, I tried different places to hide the scent tin, and so excited I can actually see when he has the scent. In the first search I have him search in the bathroom under the mat, you can see him actually catch the scent and indicate. The second one was in the usual place I was training, but elevated. I can see he has the edge of the scent cone when he sniffs the table. The window is open, but the fan is off. We are in an extremely hot heat wave at the moment so he was panting, but this did not deter him. When he goes closer to the ottoman, he goes around and by the chair starts to snap back and forth, catching the scent, probably the scent was drifting to the chair. He finds it and indicates with his nose he also chewed a bit then nosed it. So excited by this one. The last one where you see the corner of the bed with the bedskirt was very dark video so I lightened it a bit, the colour is off, but at least you can see now. There he indicates with this nose, and then pulls it out and picks up the tin. I was not using a clicker, just yes.(as my marker) Also after I rewarded him with food, he ran to the place where I kept the ball for this to get the ultimate reward.(the ball) Which was always in another room, as carrying the ball with me is just too distracting.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by Bev.
    #5611
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    “Also after I rewarded him with food, he ran to the place where I kept the ball for this to get the ultimate reward.(the ball) Which was always in another room, as carrying the ball with me is just too distracting.” This is GREAT Bev,
    It is a nice adaptation on your part to leave it in another room to aid in the decreasing of stimuli the ball provides. Start to think about how you will do this outside. Backpacks are good for this, or some kind of hip belt/ satchel where the ball is completely enclosed- start to think about how you can adapt that same principle of removing the ball out of the field of play so Wolfy can focus, while still having it accessible for reward when you want. We can provide some suggestions, but we’d like to see what you think might work for you- It might be a bit of trial and error in the beginning. But it will be a valuable tool to have in the field if you can manage his level of excitement/ distraction with it.

    The first indication at 0:12 was SO NICE. We LOVE LOVE LOVE you can see him hit the scent column and do what we call a “head check”. It’s one of the most gratifying things to see in the field because it is indication of a very clear column of scent that the dog encounters and a visual recognition for us as handlers to realize the dog is on odor. Later, when difficulty is raised, this can be a good indication of when to start to provide encouragement in highly complex scenarios. Very pretty! I even love that he took a step past it and came back. This is tough to capture on video inside, so well done. Well done on re-alerts to build that value- he does of a good job of offering you a few behaviors that are eaiest for him depending on the location of the tin (meaning using his foot on the 2nd re-alert where it is by his shoulder is not practical- so he uses his nose) that’s fine. But it’s good to note now as well. Later, in the field sometimes truffles will not be easily accessible. A dog’s alert will often change or be indicative how easily they can access it. For example, one of my personal dogs will alert differently if the truffle is very shallow just below the surface, versus if the odor is originating significantly deeper. Same idea- in some instances- say if it is shallow, Wolfy may nose target more than if it is deeper where he will offer a paw/ dig. Something to be aware of is all.

    We have no complaints/ few constructive additions to add on this video- it is well done. You do a good job of encouraging where encouragement is needed. 0:54- very nice impulse (and we agree) to move into the space with it to make it a collaborative search. 1:11 was well done Wolfy. He’s not shy about obstacles! That was awesome and made me chuckle. We did not expect him to go up and over. But he determined the best way to access it, and up & over is not a problem!

    1:30- listen to him work. You can tell it’s hot but he is working the space nicely. He does a great job. When its hot not only does odor plume quickly (outdoors) but the panting can interfere, but he works the area well. Wolfy is not concerned with either tight spaces/ corners nor it seems physical limitations on boundaries. This is great and at the same time something to monitor later as you’ll be working in both the field (forest) and orchards. Since he doesn’t shy away form obstacles we can safely assume big downed logs and similar in the forest will not pose a blip on his map in terms of concern- so safety and managing his activity level in the forest (ie- not implying himself on sticks) will be something to monitor.

    Very nice reward sequences here Bev- at source and on point with matched energy. Well done all around.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by Alana McGee.
    #5614
    Bev
    Participant

    Thanks for the feedback. I was very pleased with his alerts. In the field or larger spaces I would definitely have the ball either in a pouch, pocket or other. This was not practical in the house or smaller space here as he wants me to throw it for him. But, yes, I do have places to carry a ball when working. He is usually a very careful dog in the forest, the exception being when he spots wildlife, I have had him react to trying to catch a squirrel jumping on the log, and almost up a tree before I could even react! He was safe on harness and a longer leash, but he really likes to try and get those pesky squirrels. The other would be if he saw a deer, which here is almost on a daily basis! He cannot chase them, but he certainly makes a lot of noise trying to chase and get that deer. So, I am on top of the watching out for safety, probably a lot more than he would like!
    That is interesting on the different alerts you mentioned with your dog, I will have to see if W ends up alerting different on how deep it is or not. Something to watch for in our future progression.

    #5649
    Bev
    Participant

    Lesson 6!
    Hi: This was a blind search, Wolfy and I were outside on the deck with my other dog while my husband hid the tins for us. Another thing to mention, is there is a lot of smoke from fires in BC here so it is quite smoky. My husband, the guy following me around with the camera had just finished baking banana bread so all I could smell was the baking, hence the not the banana bread comment! Wolfy knew exactly where the truffle smell was coming from, I could not even see it at first. I was totally surprised. I put the first truffle hide in the pocket in my shorts, and Wolfy did indicate that one, I acknowledged it, and then sent him off to find another one. Not sure if that was ok, but I wanted him to go and look for more. The total time, which I severely edited was 5:55 this included us coming in going to the rooms, and Wolfy after each successful find wanting his ball, so he would go and look at the ball, and I told him to go find a truffle for me first. By the last hide, he went back to counter where the ball was and he was rewarded with it. Don’t know if carrying the ball on my person would stop that behaviour or not. Last year I was using the ball for eye contact and heeling a lot, so we will have to see when we get there.
    Here is the video.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by Bev.
    #5658
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    I saw the smoke. Those fires were really close to you. Where I am currently (and especially a day or so ago) the sky was yellow. Events like that WILL change the dogs behavior. I know ours were a little off by it.

    In Regards to the Blind hide: Don’t you love those moments when your dog surprises you! Aknowledging the truffle in your pocket is ok- because yes, there is a truffle in your pocket. Over time he will likely stop being as pushy at “pocket” truffles because they do not receive the same kind of reward therefore their value drops. It is not that the behavior becomes extinct necessarily, but will happen with less frequency.

    Thank you for telling us the total time of the search (including rooms/ play etc). Valuable information.

    0:21- We LOVE his persistence here! He stays at source until you arrive and also is intent as you begin to investigate. Fabulous. This will translate well. Look at his gaze at 0:23. Nice!

    1:05 also very nice. He’s a big lad and that hide was difficult to access. We love the choices he makes (like in the last video going overtop of the ottoman). The pick up of the truffle is just fine here too. He’s making it more accessible for both you. That’s great.

    1:23- notice on the “find me another one” is already much quicker in the transition to re-entering the game form the previous hide.

    Overall this was really excellent Bev. Not much to say in terms of additional comments.

    Do continue to reward at source when possible. Wolfy knows that hand to your pocket means food so he gets very focused on it as soon as your hand goes there, so keep building that value at source, but it looks great.

    #5689
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    This topic is now closed. We look forward to seeing you next session. Registration for Developing a Reliable Truffle Dog Team (level 2) opens July 26th. Class starts August 9th.

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