Bev & Wolfy

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  • #5819
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Welcome to class Bev!  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 (and what you have been working on during the break).

    Class begins August 9th but you already have access to the first lesson so go ahead and check that out!  You can begin posting video homework and questions August 9th.

    #5860
    Bev
    Participant

    Hi: We are joining from Vancouver Island BC. I have 3 photos all in my backyard. There is grass, and some wood chips to work in. I did some exercises with Wolfy (GSD) today, and he did great. I am only going to post the pictures of the areas first then post some searches.
    It is still unusually dry here, and a little more hot than I thought today. Will post video later in the week.
    We did a search with boxes, and then in the wood chips and then in grass.
    He was successful each time.
    .

    #5890
    Bev
    Participant

    Hi: Here is our first video for Developing a Reliable Team. I had Wolfy on leash to practice leash skills, and hid two tins one of Oregon Truffle and one European. In the first one he found the Oregon first, then the European. There was a little drift on the scent as he did follow it away from the source. In the second hunt, he found the European right away, then the Oregon scent. The scent again was moving. It is good to note, it is still extremely dry here, in a drought, for a rainforest area and the wind was blowing a little bit, but not terribly windy. There is also smoke from a fire on the the mainland, so there were plenty of distractions. I know my video is 15 seconds longer than you like, sorry about that.
    I could not edit it and show you the important stuff.

    #5901
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Welcome back to class Bev and Wolfy!

    Great job here! You and he are very well matched in energy here. At first it looks as if you are slow with the treats, but he is happy to patiently wait at source for his reward. He is solid as a rock there.

    He does look like he needs some help with the transition between consecutive hides. Trying moving him out of the scenarios slightly and then back in to give him more information with your movement. You may find it beneficial to have a ritual or a word that you use when you will continue searching. This will help Wolfy differentiate between continuing the search game and the end of the hunt. It could be a ritual as part of the reward or even a verbal. Is there something you do or say when you begin a hunt? An example would be “ready”. Observe if there is something you already do initially that can be inserted for consecutive searches. You likely already have a cue he picks up on.

    Those are difficult environmental factors to work in and you both did well! He looks happier in the second scenario by the evergreens.

    Your pictures look great. Those will be nice training spaces for you to work in. We recommend working in that wood chip areas when there is shade for now.

    #5906
    Bev
    Participant

    HI: What you did not see, because I cut it out, is the rewards. Most of the time he is waiting for the ball to come out. It was in the pouch, I had in the back of me. Each time I was getting food out, he wanted the ball. I did not realize when we started the temperature, as it was not as hot as before, but it turned out to be warmer than I realized. The wood chips are terribly dry and dusty, which did not help, but he did great there. Find me another one, is what I say, he was a little disappointed when the ball did not appear after the first hide. But, he did what I asked of him, so I am very happy with it.
    When he finds the second one, I took the harness off and let him play with the ball. Which is the ultimate reward.
    We are happy to be back and hunting!

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by Bev.
    #5919
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Ok. Thank you for explaining what we don’t see on the video. It would be nice if you could find a way to reward him each time with the ball (or a reward that is closer in value to the ball). Will he play a game of tossing the ball into his mouth for a short reward after each find?

    #5921
    Bev
    Participant

    I will try the ball for a short reward next video, and I will do the hunt and reward so you can see.
    We won’t know until I try to see how that works for him.
    Thanks,
    Bev

    #5926
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Test the play style away from truffles so you know before trying to put it all together. The key component would be that the game happens at the location of the find. We don’t want you throwing the ball away from the harvest site.

    #5963
    Bev
    Participant

    HI:
    Here is video 2. A little background on this video. This is todays hunt for truffles, we have practiced at least 2 on Friday and Saturday with Wolfy on leash. The average time was 6 minutes for three blind hides. On the last hide, 3rd he is consistently taking more time finding the hide. (My husband, the behind the camera dog trainer/assistant in hiding the finds) 🙂 Yes, I told him I wrote that! 🙂 was helping with hyping him up. I had to say that finding truffles and chasing deer are totally different. My indications that Wolfy is still hunting is the position of the tail, which is more horizontal than his usual tail carriage, this indicates he is working and his overall demeanour. The wind is slightly blowing, and it is incredibly dry with no measurable levels of rain for 4 months, unusual conditions for us. I think the scent must have been eddying off the fence as he never jumps on the fence, and he went along the fence to find the last hide as well. Anyway, interested in your comments. I worked him off leash to have minimal contact with him except for rewards. He is not keen on me touching him with the ball, as it is his ultimate reward, and liver was the second reward.

    #5977
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Bev!

    We love when friend’s and family can help out with training 😉

    “My indications that Wolfy is still hunting is the position of the tail, which is more horizontal than his usual tail carriage, this indicates he is working and his overall demeanour.” Good. Very good you are recognizing the differences in various different types of scenting activities. Keep watching for more subtle clues.

    The dry conditions are hard. We think you are correct that Wolfy was using the fence as a guideline or clue as to where scent was catching and pooling, making it easier for him to navigate where the odor source was coming from. The jumping up also we might attribute to a frustrated behavior because he is searching really nicely (and HARD) for odor, so he’s checking elevation.

    It also almost appears as if you are working with the wind/breeze. It eddies in yards of course, but on the second hide it looked like you were approaching from upwind side of targets. Try to be conscious of where the wind is blowing when you enter an area and work into the wind, and when it shifts. It looks like it does a couple times in the video. That also could be why he was using the fence as a guide- which is perfectly okay. Smart Wolfy 🙂

    The transition at 1:33 was good. What would be even better next time you try this when you transition from ball to treat to working again is position yourself near another hide so as soon as you ask him to “go find another one” he is right there and can have a success stumbling across it RIGHT away!!!

    This will take some positioning on your part and ideally knowing where the wind is coming from so you can position him right in the scent column, but by doing this he can have multiple successes right in a row and get to play with his ball more. This is anthropomorphizing but He’ll eventually think… “ the more I find truffles, the more I get to play with my ball— WOWEE!”

    At 0:25 you do a good job pumping him up trying to send him off on the next hide. It’s not quite the same energy level, although you are elevating your voice and body energy. 0:35 is good, and a good spot to encourage with that kind of energy. Well done.

    The reward sequence with the liver was really nice at 0:55

    2:04 Good! This was a good place for encouragement, and your husband was right on the money too for when to encourage him more. Wolfy is very responsive to this, it changes his energy visibly. He’s going to old hides because he’s on the edge of frustrated here. You could if you wanted here throw out a target for him to find to keep his successes high. If it went on much longer, we would suggest you do that. He does eventually get there, but with Wolfy we want to work on successive finds and building that confidence. Don’t be afraid to offer & manufacture success when needed. You won’t always need to, but it’ll build more confidence and provide more scenarios for you to practice transitioning.

    That was well done, you can see him thinking really hard through those dry conditions. Good job guys!

    #5980
    Bev
    Participant

    This is very interesting, having done most of the scent detection inside, never occurred to me, to think of putting him down wind….even though I know to do so! 🙂 Also, throwing a scent out there, did not think of that either. This is much better than the usual scent detection we do, where it is inside and very structured. All very good suggestions, and trying to get him excited with voice etc…after reading those comments my husband’s ego is going to be huge! 🙂

    #6058
    Bev
    Participant

    Here is Lesson 3. I have buried the hides, not more than one inch deep. Also had some nice hot pink flag tape, but not that visible. Wolfy found both truffles. We have not worked on truffle hunting for 5 days, so I wanted to get him hyped in the beginning, and you can hear his excited vocalizations. This is much louder when he spots a deer! 🙂 I also have a question on when to hype him up. Just as my behind the camera trainer, aka, my husband said get him hyped up I was encouraging him, but not sure when to encourage him or be quiet. In the other scent sports, they don’t want you talking to much, however, I won’t know where the truffles are in the future, so if he looks confused I am thinking encourage him with voice….your thoughts?

    #6095
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    HI Bev, We apologize for the delay. I have been traveling and Kristin has been unavailable. Getting to your comments momentarily!

    #6096
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Bev’s question:

    When do you use vocalizations to encourage your fogs and when should you be quiet?

    This is a great question Bev. It is going to be different from dog to dog. We certainly don’t want “noise” but there is a difference between noise and overusing cues and genuine encouragement. Cues should be reused if a dog is confused and looking for information, Encouragement often can take that place as well in many circumstances

    Where encouragement is used primarily is for confidence boosting and adding information to a scenario where a dog is already on odor but not confident or is struggling. Watch Tim’s video from this week for a good example of when to use it. As a dog starts to zero-in on a difficult hide you can use words of encouragement there.

    Encouragement also sounds a bit different. You Husband is right, it more peppy for Wolfy anyway!

    0:32 would be a good example if he was struggling on when use encouragement. (he wasn’t struggling here, but for a reference) You can see when he’s close on odor and working it out. The pumping up at the beginning seems to be working for Wolfy

    1:20- is this common? Let us know. This kind of digging can be a frustrated/ stress signal. It is handled here REALLY well, but if this common we should discuss it. It can also be an exploring signal not an alert, which appears to be the most likely case here considering your husband also said there used to be one there.

    It was a nice transition away from Ball- but remember you can toss with me for a second too- it doesn’t have to be one and go.

    1:33 was a perfect time for pumping it up. It seems to provide focus for him. You aren’t talking too much. We’d let you know if you were! The key is you also are not using his “cue” but more common words. You want to avoid using the “cue” over and over and over again when he is actually working. Which he is, this entire time!

    2:04- 2:08 Another thing to try in this scenario…”psyched up”, yes, but Wolfy is being challenged here and showing stress, so this is a prefect to manufacture success. Try it next time. Drop one for him fairly easily and let him fine it, then party! then you can keep trying to fid the other truffle. We don’t want him to be frustrated with the situation one way to do that is to provide positive reward history. He works through it here with your encouragement (husband was well timed again 😉 ) but much longer than that and we’d say give Wolfy a target to find that is easier. Then you can keep working on the buried one. Finding targets buils confidence and hypes him naturally because finding them is fun!

    #6122
    Bev
    Participant

    Thanks for the input on that…it is so interesting when you are the student, and the instructor, you get to see the difference a lot when you are doing it, and someone is observing. As for the digging, not sure the truffle was on the other side of the bush, he was digging at. The truffle that was there was over a week ago…not sure if the scent would linger that long… I was thinking of doing a new location in the front yard…I do have a forest behind us, could try there as well, he has done some search and rescue practice there when he was younger. I would of course make it very easy for him. It is also a known area for him. Thoughts?

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