Home › Forums › Developing a Reliable Truffle Dog Team › Homework Forum – Developing a Reliable Truffle Dog Team › Laurie Mathews
April 21, 2015 at 11:53 am #4765
Welcome to class Laurie. This is your homework thread. I will copy your previous work over to this forum topic before class begins May 3rd.May 2, 2015 at 12:05 pm #4800
Working indoors with Rudy this week for review. I think I need to have someone else set up the targets so that I don’t know where the scent is. It seems like I may be inadvertently tipping him off, I see him kind of keeping an eye on me as he is searching. We will try that this weekend and see how it goes.May 2, 2015 at 12:05 pm #4801
We do cover how to set up blind hides in later lessons– which is what we call it when you don’t know where the truffles are. It is completely possible Rudy is aware of your body language and reading that as an indication of where to check. As humans we send out more subtle clues than we often think. This is critical at later stages too for handler reasons (sometimes you don’t even realize how much you are tipping off your dog) but also for stress reasons!
If you can, film some of it, we’d love to be able to look and provide feedback.May 2, 2015 at 12:06 pm #4802
Rudy’s first outdoor box hides.May 2, 2015 at 12:07 pm #4803
You are doing a great job of working with Rudy on the leash. We like that the session is simple and sets you and Rudy up for success! Well done with your verbal marker at source. Although you are close to the source, try to reward AT the source of the truffle scent. Can you get down closer to the source so you are not pulling the dog away from it? In the first hide, you are drawing Rudy’s nose up high at your side to deliver the reward. We would like to see the reward happening AT the source…down at the container. Then go ahead and pick up the container so it is removed from the game.
0:26 is an example of why we want you to pick up the container. We want to avoid pulling the dog away from odor or, in this case, allowing them to leave it. It is best if you can pick up the hot target and walk away with it. Part of the truffle hunt is acquiring the truffle 🙂 If your setup doesn’t allow you to pick it up, you can lure Rudy away with a treat while still in reward mode.
So to recap, continue marking the find but get down at the source to deliver the reward. If Rudy comes toward you before you get to the target, that is fine. Keep your intention on the target he located and allow him to re-locate it for you. Reward at the source and then pick it up and reward more. THEN you can leave.
Keep it up. Just some simple adjustments to make that will make things a lot clearer for Rudy.May 2, 2015 at 12:07 pm #4804
Rudy searching for targets in a grassy area, without boxes. Targets were in the grass but not covered.May 2, 2015 at 12:08 pm #4805
This looks like a great training environment Laurie
0 26 27 you can see tracing odor
0:56 good job rewarding at source. You could have even spent a longer time there engaging at source. We want to build value for remaining engaged at source for increasing lengths of time. Remember that once the truffle is underground, they take more time to get at- and so you want Rudy engaged with you throughout the entire sequence of you digging up the truffle.
The hide at 1:10- watch this again- is that the same hide he finds at 0:08? I think he finds it at 0:08 and quickly comes off and comes to you looking for reward. When reward isn’t readily given instead of going back to location of odor he moves on. It takes a bit of time to get comfortable-but look again at the first few seconds of the video and notice his shift in behavior. it is subtle but he’s telling you he found something. And then I believe the sequence (correct me if I am wrong) at 0:27 looks like he is working the odor for the source that he eventually alerts on as the last hide.
Watch and notice the difference in his behavior after a successful find. Confidence!
At 1:21 good job on the reward sequence, but again, on the repetition of show me put your hand lower and reward at source. After one or two repetitions of that pick up the target (our criteria being truffle in hand) and see if you can have Rudy nose target on the truffle in your hand! (you do do this later!) You can at this point we would suggest fade the pointing at the target on the re-alert. Give rudy a few seconds to offer the desire behavior before you offer assistance. If he does offer a nose touch on this- YAY Party!!! So just be conscious of your own movements. If he needs help- sure, but allow him the opportunity to learn and make a decision which results in cookies 😉
Did you pick up the target after that find- it was a tad hard to tell.
EXCELLENT job at 1:41. Do try to elongate the sequence. Try to extend each reward sequence by 5 seconds.
At 1:51 great job walking to engage in activity.
2:22 EXCELLENT Rudy! Great job you Laurie, and phenomenal exit 😉
When Rudy is sure of the game- no problem! On the first sequence in the field watch for more truncated alert behavior chains.
Your energy levels are good and matched but try to elongate the reward sequence by a few seconds (we will keep asking you to increase it 😉 )
On the re-alert- don’t jump in quiet so fast with assistance. Give Rudy an opportunity to offer the desired behavior.
You guys look great!May 2, 2015 at 12:08 pm #4806
Thank you for the suggestions, we are having a lot of fun with our training! After watching a couple more times, I think he did find a target at :08 and I didn’t realize it. I had lost track of exactly where the targets were, and i did not recognize his alert. We are planning to practice this more and as long as he does well to move along to covered targets this week. We will definitely spend more time rewarding. I love how proud he is when he finds something.May 2, 2015 at 12:09 pm #4807
You guys look great and yes, you can see the shift in his body language when he finds it 😉 tiny corgi wiggles!May 2, 2015 at 12:09 pm #4808
Rudy searching in a small area near the edge of the forest. Targets are covered with leaves and dirt.
Am I jumping in too quickly with the reward?
Should I ignore when he goes back to the spot he found the last target, or should I acknowledge it somehow?May 2, 2015 at 12:11 pm #4809
At 0:27 that looked good- you were not jumping in at all! He gave a very nice and CLEAR paw alert. Good job elongating the reared sequence and it looks like you asked for re-alert as well. That looked good! REALLY GREAT job on the length of your reward. That is what we want to see.
at 1:06 did you provide a cue again to start searching? Just wondering if he is cueing off your body language or if there was a verbal there as well. We can tell by your posture (As am sure can he that the previous sequence of events and the behavior chain is complete, but was just wondering if you prompted).
Nice delivery on the second hide, and again, nice rewards. It doesn’t look like you are jumping in too soon at this point. You can slowly start to build in more delay, but Rudy’s alerts are pretty clear here. If you are comfortable identifying the alerts as they manifest now, they we think it is fine. Are you okay with his current alert?
Just interesting: Notice at 1:58 after you wipe off your hands (prior to any verbal cue) Rudy already re engages on truffle hunting.
Rudy goes back to the site of the hide but doesn’t alert. That’s okay. We consider it being thorough. He is following residual odor cones. If he did spend significant time at that site you can acknowledge that yes, there was a truffle a truffle there through verbal communication (and lure away if necessary), but we don’t want to reward for that behavior of re-alerting without source. We don’t want to create a behavior wherein Rudy thinks he gets paid again and again at the site of residual odor. (This is why you also pick up your targets after he finds them)
We want to reward at source and concentration. Sometimes truffles can ‘nest’. meaning multiple in the same area or even on top of each other and so we do want Rudy to be persistent if he indicates on that spot later (again) in the field, but at this juncture we know that you don’t have stacked odor (two on top of each other), and so it allows for you to experience aspects of this behavior with the certainty of control of environment ( as opposed to later stages when actually truffle hunting, wherein you will not know if odor is stacked or not). Does that make sense?
Right now doing just what you are doing and letting the scenario play out and ignoring it is just fine.
Would definitely say you could start enlarging the search area!
It looks great Laurie. Well done.May 2, 2015 at 12:12 pm #4810
Rudy was more distracted today, he could hear kids playing and a dog barking at a nearby house. He found the first two targets relatively quickly but struggled with the third. We took a break to play tug and then tried again, I wanted him to be successful so I put him on leash and guided him to the area. The last target was accidentally buried a little deeper than the other two so that may have been why he struggled with it a bit. First two targets were under about an inch of dirt with leaves on top.May 2, 2015 at 12:12 pm #4811
Good job getting down with him on the first find, and excellent job at elongating your reward sequence.
The sequence starting around the 1:00 min mark is fabulous. You can really seen him getting on odor and working it there to source. Since we couldn’t see this angle as well- it does look like he offers a paw alert, is that correct? You timing on coming in to actually pull the truffle out of the ground looks pretty good. You’re not rushing and pushing him off odor. It is well timed.
Putting him on lead for the last one is perfectly fine, and helping him have a success before ending. This is a good reason and reminder to always have a target on you as well in case you need to manufacture a success. If he had continued to struggle with that hide we would suggest you offer an easier scenario via the target you have possession of and then be done with the game.
This looks good though Laurie.
For other students watching:
One thing to work on which will be very helpful later, is the re-alert. Watch the sequence again around 2:05. Around 2:15 it would be helpful if Rudy could actually show you where the truffle is in the ground. Truffles are hard to see in the ground sometimes, and so the most useful tool we have at our disposal is that bundle of sensory organ of our dog’s nose.
See if you can slow build in a scenario where you have Rudy re-alert on the truffle in you hand and then slowly bring that down to soil level and see if you can have him re-alert on cue for that. It will be VERY helpful later. He does that exact thing at 2:19! Fabulous.
Excellent on your reward on the last one!May 3, 2015 at 9:24 am #4830
Welcome back to class, Laurie! Please let us know how training is going and go ahead and start posting homework here.June 28, 2015 at 10:22 pm #5570
This class ended May 3, 2015.
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