December 1, 2013 at 4:26 am #929
Welcome to class Denise!
This is the forum topic where you will post your questions and homework videos for feedback.
Please take a moment to tell us about yourself, Zoey and your interest in truffle hunting.December 4, 2013 at 10:34 am #990
To be honest, I never had any real interest in truffle hunting before I met Kristin. Didn’t really even know what they were….except chocolate truffles! Yum. Anyway, after Kristin started finding them in our back woods, it became quite intriguing to me. Zoey is the dog I have chosen to train for truffle hunting. She is an almost 6 year old Lab/Pit mix, is stubborn, sometimes crazy, and has a lot of trouble with focus. But she also has a good nose and needs something fun to do besides rodent hunting. I am not sure I will be able to keep her on task, but it will be interesting to give it a shot.December 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm #991
It will be fun! And I can help you when I’m over to visit 🙂December 6, 2013 at 6:15 pm #995
This should be a fun journey. We are excited to help you and Zoey find all those truffles that are right in your woods… Not everyone has truffles in their back yard!December 12, 2013 at 3:47 pm #1027
Denise – Are you able to post a video?December 12, 2013 at 4:47 pm #1028
I haven’t tried to post a video yet. I am planning to post either tomorrow or Saturday. I had planned to post one earlier, but decided that clicker training wasn’t too interesting to watch. When doing a box hide, do the lids in the boxes have holes punched?December 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm #1040
Imprinting the truffle scent using a tea ball. I think Zoey may need to move on to the box hides as she seems to just be focusing on the tea ball rather than any scent. Maybe that’s the way they all begin.December 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm #1042
In answer to your question about holes in the lids of boxes: Yes. There has to be some way for the scent to permeate the plastic/ glass/ wood, etc, whatever material you are using. If using Tupperware, honestly, it is low tech, but I punch a hole with a screwdriver through the top several times. Seems to do the trick!December 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm #1043
You look to be doing great. Many dogs do focus on the object of the tea ball because it is a visual indicator. That is perfectly fine at this stage, and expected.
I also see her already developing an ‘alert’ (which comes in lesson 2) which is looking at you after she finds the target. Yes, she is waiting for her treat, but it is a distinct change in behavior, or as we call them, COB.
I would say, yes, go ahead and start with the boxes. Because you feel Zoey is using visual cues as opposed to olfactory senses, I would like you to watch the video with Heidi doing the basic box hides a couple of times. Notice how Stacey walks Heidi down the line. If she doesn’t inhale or hit in any way on the correct box, that’s okay. Do the circuit again. I suspect that may happen with Zoey the first couple of times. It is completely fine, and normal.
This is where the connection between scent and the desired behavior really solidifies.December 18, 2013 at 11:40 am #1060
First attempt at box hides was a total train wreck. The very first time I walked her down the line, she stopped at the proper box and looked at me. Yayyy…. After that, she seemed totally confused and disconnected. She started pouncing on the boxes (all of them) and, when I kept walking, she started totally ignoring them and wouldn’t leave my side. Then she checked out. So, I got out the tea ball and let her be successful again. Guess she’s not ready to move on yet. And…..I will need to get more sturdy boxes when I do the box hides again. She is not a dainty girl. I will also start using different items for the hides, so she doesn’t just focus on the look of the item. She thinks the tea ball is a ball, I think, and keeps picking it up. She is going to be a challenge. Oh well, she always has been. 🙂December 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm #1062
Don’t be too concerned about the pouncing. She is trying different behaviors to figure out what you want. It is very common for dogs to start physically interacting with the objects at first. With multiple identical objects she will begin to try and figure out why the “hot” one is special. If she pounces on the others, just ignore. As she problem solves she will be narrowing down specifically why one box gets rewarded and the others don’t. This will help her start to use her nose to find the correct box instead of relying on the visual cue of the boxes. At first, you may find that you need to capture the correct hit instead of waiting for any particular alert behavior. Most importantly, only ignore the incorrect box behaviors. We want her to interact with the boxes…she will learn HOW to interact with them by seeing which one gets rewarded. This will require some experimenting on her part.
Begin with the teaball and let her be successful. Then allow her to watch you put the teaball into a box (just one). Begin holding the box so pouncing isn’t an option. Let her be successful at this point with a high rate of reinforcement. Gradually bring the box down to the ground. Then set the box down and reward her for targeting the box (before she can pounce). If that goes well, add a second box but keep your motion to a minimum. You won’t be walking past the boxes at this stage. This is way to play a transitional game to help her understand the boxes.
With regard to her stress behavior and checking out. Did you have her on her collar and leash? When she stayed at your side, she may have been doing the thing she knows has been successful in the past (good leash behavior). When THAT didn’t work, she checked out. Do you have a harness that she is allowed to pull on? If not, this is something to consider (something different than any other equipment associated with certain behaviors). In the meantime, you could try playing the game off leash in a small controllable space.
Let us know how it goes and post a video if you can.December 18, 2013 at 6:35 pm #1066
I was thinking that I should have a harness that she can pull on, but I sure hope I don’t end up being a sled. I’ll have to get one for her. The only harness I have for her is a front connecting Easy Walk harness. I will back off and let her play a little without a leash on with the boxes until I get one.December 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm #1069
Expect sled dog 😉
Yes, allow her more freedom. You want her taking initiative with this game. When you get a harness she can pull on, she will be allowed to lead but will eventually associate it with that piece of equipment.December 30, 2013 at 7:22 pm #1104
Your quiz for Lesson 2 has been graded 🙂January 7, 2014 at 11:56 am #1165
Your quiz for Lesson 3 has been graded. To view comments hover over the grade for each question.
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