May 29, 2015 at 1:26 pm #5067
That was fantastic Lois, from you & Monza.
This was a very nice set up, and again, great as it is a room she is familiar working in. Well done. I really like how you are giving her space and allowing her to problem solve. She was on her A game, and watch closing and you can see her narrowing in on the scent column on the hide that is in the life jacket. Really nice to watch. We really like to watch her staying at source! Yay!
The saw horse hide was also good because it provides physical barriers (think tree branches- this will be a common hazard on orchards you may work) and shows us she is generally very comfortable alerting in tight spaces.
We are going to be interested to see moving from one target to the next in the next lesson in succession to see if she returns to the site of previous hides. You can see in the final one how she checks out the location of where the tin was behind the saw horse but it doesn’t slow her down.
Now try practicing in unfamiliar rooms for the truffle game. We suspect it won’t pose much of a challenge, but will be fun to see!
Some dogs are very impacted by contaminated space. We would suggest you try working her first and see how it impacts both dogs. Knowledge is power.
A smaller tin/vial would be good if you have it. She is not using visual ID at this point, but yes, smaller would be good to practice for YOU as later we will be working with small targets and real truffles and handler skills (in terms of extracting the truffle) come into play more and more.
As you switch rooms, just be aware of other distractions that may be present and that may pose challenges to focus. Also be aware of open windows or doors and how that may change how scent pools in that particular room.
Fun to watch! Great work!May 29, 2015 at 1:26 pm #5068
BRILLIANT “on the spot” thinking by dropping your target as a means to re-connect and engage with Monza!!!May 29, 2015 at 1:27 pm #5069
Holiday weekend, so we’re going to submit our 2nd video of the week. Had to go do my volunteer cleaning at kennel club and decided to do some hunts there. It’s hard to get good video a large room so 2nd video is from GoPro (forgot to turn it on in 1st hunt).
Monza was 1st dog in for both hunts. What’s interesting is on her 2nd hunt she entered the room in same direction as Speed and checked out the pile of mats and the same corner that Speed checked when he did his1st hide.
1st session: I assumed she would hone in on the chairs and she did. I enjoy watching her whip herself around at the far end of the chairs and move nicely back to the source.
2nd session: I was concerned this one might be too difficult with the panel blocking odor so I pulled panel away from wall so she could walk behind it. I was surprised to see her go over the panel to get to the source. I assumed she might go around both sides and eventually hit the scent. I’m still surprised at her downing at the source. It takes me ~4 seconds to get over and deliver reward after she downs, and I thought about doing the delayed reward where Kristin wants me to pick up the tin and move away before delivering treats; however, since we were in a new, large building I decided to not mix the 2 into one session.
I will likely not be in town next weekend and know you are doing a workshop. My plan this week is to do 2 days where we do short 1-2 hides in different rooms in the house. I may try a small room like the bathroom or furnace room and then the other large room in the basement. I will do a delayed reward from a small room.
Have a great workshop! Thanks again for your coaching.
And in case you think Monza looks different…I groomed her yesterday and removed all those wonderful curls for chigger/seed tick/everything-sticks-to-Monza season. I tell her it’s her Tomboy Princess look.May 29, 2015 at 1:27 pm #5070
Monza is still a cutie shaved! Kristin is also used to seeing Lolo in various states of curl for similar reasons…
The fact that it took you time to get to the source very much mimics real world application. Real truffle extraction takes quite a bit longer than even this most times, but we LOVE seeing Monza stay at location while you make your way over to her and then offer you the nose targets. “Here!, It’s HERE mom…” excellent timing, and mechanics on your part. Also fabulous to see Monza go over the obstacle. Confidence 🙂
It is great you (and She) are comfortable working at a distance. Just keep in mind that when she does offer alerts like that in the field, ideally you wouldn’t be too much further than you were away as it does take time to get to the location of the alert. Play with distance from her and see if this is a good fit for you both.
This is great Lois. Good sized rooms too! Do practice in the smaller rooms you mentioned as well, and if you have a chance, allow the target to cook for multiple hours. I think it would be interesting to have you work on pooling odor in these scenarios.
How long are you cooking the hides for now?May 29, 2015 at 1:28 pm #5071
At home, the hides cook 20-30 minutes. At the kennel club, not very long although the target sat in the glove box of the car (in multiple Ziploc bags) so it wasn’t frozen. I will set out the hide in the morning in the furnace room and then we can work it in the evening. Pooling odor sounds interesting to see how she works it.
To be honest, I still can’t imagine Monza working off leash in the woods. I’m still convinced being a free dog will trump truffle hunting. I’ll ‘keep the faith’ so to speak and work methodically.
Any tips on transporting truffles to new locations. Is storing in multiple Ziploc bags in the glove box okay?May 29, 2015 at 1:28 pm #5072
We will see on the leash issue. It may come with time and practice, and it may be that you feel more comfortable with her on lead and so that is how you will work! Both are ok. No one right or wrong way and the environment or situation may dictate how you work. Personally, when truffle hunting myself, I do both, sometimes even during the same session depending on the dog I am working with and what feels appropriate for that day and time and place.
As for truffle transportation and samples taking them to sites:
Since you are using frozen- if you’ll only be gone and out for a matter of say 3 hours, yes that is ok BUT:
It is going to be HOT in your car where you are this time of year so that will cause your pieces to decay faster. Luckily frozen aestivum holds up better than most species for this, so you can get away with more. But yes, absolutely double bag it (so odor doesn’t permeate everything in your car!) It isn’t the fact that the piece is unfrozen that is problematic, it is the process of decay. But like I said, Aestivum holds up fairly well to this.
When we transport truffles (usually larger amounts of fresh/ frozen) we use a small cooler with ice packs. Another thing I have used in the past is a small chilled bento box type container that kept the samples cool for upto about 6 hours when training, even just left in the car. Everything helps in terms of decay.May 29, 2015 at 1:29 pm #5073
On Friday, I did a hide under towels and it went very well. Today, I placed 4 hides in the room and MEANT for them to cook for ~1 hr, but we ended up not ‘hunting’ until ~8-9 hrs later. The laundry room is adjacent to this room and laundry ran during the day, there are cycling clothes line drying, the dehumidifier wasn’t running at the time but likely ran in the 8-hrs. So this is a complex room, not to mention, I’m prepping for donating to a rummage sale.
This is a little over 3 mins, I didn’t feel like I could edit out much and this will be our final video.
Confidence/Stress: Monza found all of the hides, but it was much harder. She came over to me for help a couple times and I worked on encouraging her to keep looking without ‘giving it away’. I made a note where she yawns (stress signal). Her body language is much quieter. She didn’t look like she was going to quit, but I could tell she thought this game was a lot different.
Alerts: Her alert is less confident. She does some nose touches and looks back at me as if to say “well I think this is a truffle, but I’m not sure, what do you think?” I marked every nose touch with a ‘yes’. Unfortunately my treats were in a double bag and I fumble with delivery. I’m fumbling so badly and keep marking with a ‘yes’ at hide #4, I started thinking about the deli scene in “When Harry Met Sally” but withheld a giggle fit until after we were done with training. At least there’s humor in a not-so-great training session. I did manage to reinforce enough to get a bow/down at #4.
Ideally I would have handled this like tracking, gradually increasing the age of the scent. I’ll go back to a 30-60 minute aging and do similar hides moving to new rooms.
Question about the truffles. When the truffle pieces have sat out for hours, are they done for training? Do I use new frozen ones? When I picked up the boxes, they didn’t have much odor left for my nose.
I need to count how many pieces I have left and see if it will be enough for the next class.
I hope you had a great seminar this weekend! I can’t believe this is the last week of class.
Thanks Alana and Kristin!May 29, 2015 at 1:29 pm #5074
Because the room cooked for so long this is similar to an exercise we run later specifically designed to mimic heavy production areas. It is harder because odor is everywhere and dogs can have a difficult time pinpointing to source in this scenario. So yes, ideally (if you don’t forget! Happens to all of us), less time cooking, and gradually increase, like you would in tracking.
Are you carrying a target with you? If you thought/ realized the scenario was difficult for Monza, ideally you would have ended it (or provided a success) by conveniently exposing a target, ending on a success (possibly two), if you had a chance to place it down again in an easy fashion, and be done. It is TOTALLY OK to manufacture a success. We want confident happy dogs who like playing.
We also think that you should build value for this new game of no visual ID (like you did with slightly inaccessible/ or difficult hides) with just one target a few times before adding in multiples again. We would say work towards the distraction of cold targets, but first build to one with no visual help, then several, then you can add more distractions.
In all honesty, the cooking of a target for a long period in a warm environment, is difficult, and you may find a slightly different result if you tried again in the same scenario with not as much odor permeating the space, and less stress from Monza.
The frozen truffle pieces won’t ‘lose’ all their volatiles by sitting out, don’t worry. They will continue to off-gas until they decay, and then they will off-gas that (joy! more than you wanted to know). So no, they are not done necessarily. Just because you can’t detect them, doesn’t mean Monza can’t. Summer/ Burgundy truffles can be slight in scent to us anyway. I have a couple fresh ones right now that I can’t smell at all pretty much anything until I break them open, but the dogs find them, no problem. You can also try that: Split your frozen piece again (it it isn’t too tiny- I’ll try to find a photo how small some of the stuff is we use in training is- it’s pretty itty bitty sometimes). Also, put some cotton in with your frozen truffles and use that sometimes too!
I like your own commentary “Lois, I’m trying to concentrate”. That Monza 🙂
Your comment about lack of confidence is accurate, but take into consideration the location of the hide and its inaccessibility to her. Behind things she has to kind of stick her head through to get at (good to practice- but just be aware), and she’s not quite sure how. You do a good job of going over to her when you see her give that look. Encourage and praise that look, which you did! This is all around the 1:39 mark. That is an alert, but yes, you are correct I think in your analysis that she is less confident about it. Entertain that though and you can build on the alert chain in those situations but helping her access it together. Good you notice though. That “Look” may be what you get in some situations in the field. She is trying to figure out how to access it.
You can then ask her the “show me”. I actually LOVE that she is being pushy on the target once you pull it out and nose bumping it over and over. HERE MOM, HERE, IT’S HERE, give me COOKIE. I really liked that.
At the 2:30 she does the same re touching under the mini laundry table. Good Monza 🙂 Really nice persistence on the last one as well. Staying at source is in INCREDIBLY valuable skill.May 29, 2015 at 1:30 pm #5075
Monza must have been thinking “Seriously? Don’t you know this complex of a hide is for the next class? Didn’t you read the home work?”
I think I need the break more than Monza. I’ve watched this video a few times and keep thinking “man, I fell apart planning good training sessions.” It happens. Learn and move on.
I’ll do a few sessions “build value for this new game of no visual ID with just one target”. Then we go on vacation and we all get a break.May 29, 2015 at 1:30 pm #5076
You and Monza are well on your way! One note about breaks. They are FABULOUS learning tools! When we take frequent breaks from training (anything, human or canine), there is time to integrate. It is not unusual to come back from a break and find that training has ADVANCED, seemingly while doing nothing. So enjoy your vacation and look forward to a lot more fun with truffle dog TEAM training in a couple of weeks 🙂
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