January 22, 2015 at 4:13 pm #3855
Welcome to class Jenny! 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 February 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 February 1st.
*to be notified by email of replies in this forum topic please check the box below your reply.February 1, 2015 at 8:49 pm #3897
Welcome Jenny, we are excited to have you on board!February 2, 2015 at 6:48 pm #3904
I’m looking forward to getting started. My dog is Baxter and he is a one year old mixed breed. We both love to be outdoors. I’ve done agility training and general obedience training with other dogs in the past but truffle hunting sounded like something fun and new to try. It seems like a great bonding exercise as well.
Baxter is a fun little guy (about 18 pounds) and is very social. He is very curious and smart (but don’t all the mom’s say that). I’m sure I’ll have a harder time with the training than he will.
JennyFebruary 2, 2015 at 11:44 pm #3924
Can’t wait to see!
Don’t forget to check out the links above via the discussion forum. We’ll be posting other material there for you to view as well.February 3, 2015 at 3:02 pm #3934
We have graded your Lesson 1 Quiz. You can hover over the questions to see our comments.February 4, 2015 at 7:17 pm #3953February 4, 2015 at 11:07 pm #3954
Super cute 😉 I like his split level coloring 😉February 5, 2015 at 7:53 pm #3956
Here’s our first video. This was the first day we tried the scent imprinting. This was the last training session for the night and I could tell he was a bit tired so I kept it short. Let me know if you see anything I can improve upon. The earlier session he interacted with the target a bit more. So, I’ll try to encourage that in our next session.
Some questions on the scent:
I put about 3 drops of oil on a cotton ball and put in the container, is that about right? How long should that last before I refresh it?February 7, 2015 at 1:06 am #3976
HI Jenny we will post specifics on how to handle scent & odor, but yes, what you are doing is just fine. You do not need to re-apply it each for each training session.
For those of you who are students who have taken Canine Nose work classes, you often will find that you have been taught (and this is totally fine!) to use Q-tips and store them in a glass jar with a drop or two of odor solution (in NW that is Birch, Anise, or Clove as target odors) in the bottom of the jar. After training you will replace your used Q-tips in this jar, and every so often you will add more of the odor to the jar. This works for truffles too if using an oil, but you will need to add more drops to your ?odor? jar more often as some of the critical volatiles dissipate with exposure to oxygen. You do not though need to reapply new drops to the cotton for every session.
With truffle hunting there is no one set way, and actually variety is best. We will talk about how Truffle hunting is an Odor “messy” sport. When we train for truffle hunting, the amount of VOCs present will vary in the wild, and we want the dogs to alert on higher concentrations as well as lower concentrations of these compounds- and proof for that fact so we can be as clear as possible with the dogs on what criteria we are looking for them to locate. So we practice that principle of varied concentration.
Having the scent solution on cotton, in a varying concentrations is good.
Again, if applying it to cotton, it does NOT need to be reapplied for every training session. In fact (as we mentioned about alerting on lower concentrations of VOCs) you might consider having a separate jar to store q-tips you have used once or twice with no additional oil/truffle piece/odor in there so the VOC content can dissipate.
Good job rewarding at source at 0:07. Pretty good timing too!
One thing you are doing, and this will come up periodically in the course is at 0:17 look at your body language in reference to Baxter?s position and where the odor tin is. Note it. You are not quite blocking him here, but my guess is you are looking at him. Try not to make eye contact during this initial sequence. He?s looking to you for direction. As you mentioned, he is likely tired. The fact that you recognize this in self analysis is excellent. Keeping it short is the right thing to do!
At 0:41 (and this happens in the sequence at 0:17 too) is he is somewhat unsure (it is a new game after all) and questioning, and looking to you for direction. Instead of allowing this to continue on for extended periods, we want to encourage confidence and success. If it had extended on for much longer we would suggest you pick up the target, pause, and then re- place it slightly closer too him.
The other thing to consider is, is baxter motivated by moving objects? This is where round containers can come into play for some dogs. Many dogs are often stimulated by movement and so if the target rolls when you place it on the ground it encourages further investigation, upon which you can click and reward.
He does eventually go to it, and you do, again, a good job on timing with your marking, which is great. Allowing him to to make that calculated decision is good and creates a strong learning experience. If it goes on for much longer than that though (10 seconds say) in a scenario, consider that you might need to lower your criteria for a successful outcome, and move it closer to him to help support the notion of success.
Another thing to consider and we build on it in the future lessons is elongating your reward sequence. Some of it is about matching Baxter?s energy level- which you are doing well here, but if you stay at source and praise for a longer period of time before moving on, we wonder if he might have a more positive energy feedback from that.
We talk about energy and matching levels in later lessons, but for now you are matching his level pretty well. Matching energy, simplified, means you are not going to be jumping up and down screaming with excitement at the desired behavior (a level 10 energy response) when Baxter is like this, fairly low key and calm (say a level 3 or 4). Jumping dramatically in energy levels is likely to throw your dog off more than help, and you do a nice job of matching him here.
0:56 great job placing the target and then backing away. Other students take note. Even though Jenny is ?fronting? baxter here (meaning she is facing the target and facing baxter), she allows him space to approach the target without applying pressure. For some dogs, if Jenny was a step closer to the target here, the dog would feel less confident or comfortable approaching.
*** Imagine as a human you have a bubble around you. It extends more in front of you than in other directions (*I?ll think about trying to make a diagram of this!). Your dog- in this case Baxter– would be trying to be polite and wouldn?t want to invade your space. By backing up a step Jenny has allowed Baxter easier access to the target and thus Baxter is more comfortable offering the desired behavior.
Great job rewarding AT source!
What we like is by the end of the session is he is taking a moment to think about the scenario and then make s a very conscious decision to engage. This is going to be very fun Jenny. He?s going to be fun to work with! It looks great overall! Keep it up!February 13, 2015 at 8:26 pm #4024
How is this week Going Jenny?
Let us know!February 14, 2015 at 7:23 pm #4027
We seemed to get through the imprinting pretty well. He interacts a bit more with the scent box now. I moved on to the indoor box hides. He didn’t really seem to be getting it by just walking by them on the leash. He was just as interested with the non-target containers. He was wanting to play with any of them. I decided to make a game of it and we sat on the floor with all 3. If he started playing with a non-target box I quietly took it away. No correction. If he got the target box I clicked and rewarded and I also let him play with the box a bit. Before I set him up again. I think he is getting it. I’m not sure if that was right or not to go off script but he seems more playful and himself when I’m on the floor with him. Plus it was a bit easier to do more “reps” and get his energy up. I was planning on going back to walking past the boxes after he was successful with this “game”. Do you think that’s the right thing to try or should I go ahead and go back to walking him past them? I keep him on the leash so he can’t steal one of the boxes and play take away. He’s not quite at 80% yet probably about 50/50. I’ll try to get a video posted tomorrow. We are having fun!February 15, 2015 at 7:11 pm #4031
We think what you did was perfect! Well done!
You made a great decision to create the enthusiasm you wanted. Would love to see a clip of the game with your video post.
You might want to play the game once while kneeling as a transition before you go to full standing and walking by the boxes.February 16, 2015 at 6:34 pm #4039
This isn’t the best video because you can’t really see Baxter with the target box. I’m delaying the click and reward a bit. So instead of marking as soon as he sniffs it I wait until he nudges it with his nose or paws it. You can’t really tell from the video when he does that. I’ve included both my sitting down with him as well as a few walking, which I’ve just reintroduced. He is getting it 75% of the time now. I think I’ll keep working with him this week and then move on to lesson 3 this weekend.February 18, 2015 at 1:34 pm #4045
This was a great way to create some enthusiasm and fun for Baxter! Great thinking to go the the floor and then transition back to walking! We think you are on the right track and your plan sounds very appropriate. Keep it up.
Do you have a harness to work Baxter on? We would prefer he was not working on a leash attached to his collar. When they have such great leash manners like this, it can create a bit of conflict for the dog when you ask them to take initiative to sniff out something.February 18, 2015 at 6:18 pm #4050
Yes, to the harness. I normally walk him with it. I didn’t even think of attaching it when we were inside since I knew he wouldn’t be distracted or pulling. But it makes sense to go ahead and put him in it indoors while we are working up to going outside. I’ll start putting it on him when we train. Thanks!
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