Lois Martin & Monza (Example)

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    Alana McGee

    This forum topic is an example of a Full Student thread. Lois Martin is a new instructor for Truffle Dog Company and will be sharing some of her previous work as we move through the course.

    Welcome to class Lois! 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.


    Hello from Lois and Monza in Oak Ridge TN. In 2014, we worked through all the Truffle Dog Company classes. Originally I wanted to train Monza for truffle hunting for the tradition, but while taking the beginner class I realized hunting truffles at an orchard or in the wild could be a real possibility!

    Welcome to my basement! You will be seeing a lot of it throughout the classes! As an assistant to Kristin and Alana, I will periodically post examples from our original class experience for reference.

    Here is an example post from one of our 1st sessions.
    This is our 2nd session with fresh summer truffles. Monza is clicker trained and I will progress to boxes at our next session to make sure she’s recognizing scent and not just nose touching an object. She’s downing at the object which is interesting to me because she doesn’t down at her tracking articles! She stands and nose touches them.

    My biggest problem when I 1st attempted to train her on truffles without an instructor was deciding on an indication behavior. I thought I wanted a sit, but then I realized I wouldn’t know where to dig! So we’ve settled for a nose touch since it’s what we settled with for tracking since she found a down aversive….except for today…when she offers downs. 🙂

    Thanks Alana and Kristin!

    Alana McGee

    Hi Lois!

    (As an example to other students: we will let you know when your Week’s Lesson Quiz has been graded here so you can continue on to your next lesson!)

    We graded your quiz Lois. You can hover over the questions to see our comments on your answers

    Great Session, Lois! We LOVE Monza’s happy attitude 😀

    Below is a link to the video analysis for this lesson

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 3 months ago by Alana McGee.
    • This reply was modified 9 years, 3 months ago by Alana McGee.

    Yes you are pronouncing Monza correctly.

    Wow having the voice-over video analysis is really cool! Thanks for the compliments on mechanics, 6-months in Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) and a weekend at Chicken Camp helped a lot. For the benefit of other students who may be new to a clicker, early on in my clicker journey I was rather uncoordinated. If I haven’t picked up a clicker in a while, I will put the dogs outside and practice click then treat, delivering treats to the individual spots of an egg carton or a deviled egg dish to get warmed up.

    As for Monza’s toy drive….you’re spot on about wondering about her interest in toys. Monza went through KPA with me and in that 6 months I used food with a clicker and toys came out after training. Hannah Branigan was my KPA instructor and we talked several times about this and she suggested using a different marker (verbal) when the reward is a toy, and use food with a clicker.

    I didn’t properly end today’s session. I normally clap and say ‘all done.’ I was thinking about the camera and turning it off so I don’t have to edit the video and I saw the toy there and decided to toss it. I know better. If I still have a clicker out, Monza is not interested in toys. My bad. She looks so disappointed when the truffle and food went away! Poor thing…

    Monza’s highest value rewards are food. At the top of chart is raw liver, followed by cooked meat, cheese, and dry dog food. She’ll work for kibble too. Today we used cooked pork loin since this is a different scent.

    Monza does love toys and we’re working on toys as a reward with known behaviors. She LOVES to play ball and tug on plush toys. She’s a strong tugger when in the mood. She loves to steal socks. I use a lot of socks as articles for tracking……


    This is from our class in 2014. I had watched a video of another dog where Kristin/Alana had talked about opening the box as well as transporting the dog away from the source. Here is a composite: 1st session morning was before watching a different dog’s video and then we did a short session this evening after watching the commentary on the other dog (his name was Vidoc) attempting to incorporate some concepts mentioned: open box, transport dog. Hopefully that was okay for me to try.

    A few things:
    ? Monza thinks boxes are props and will do a chin target and she also loves to bow
    ? This morning, we started with only 1 box to re-introduce her to concept of the scent is in a box (not in video)
    ? I had a few uncoordinated click/treat/move or remove box, but it doesn’t affect Monza. I’m rusty working with boxes! I saw a couple times where I move treat hand before clicking….
    ? When you watch the segment titled “after watching Vidoc commentary” you will see Monza go over to a shelf. There is a bag of treats over there and it’s also where I placed the hot box after I worked my other dog, Speed, but she gets back to work.

    This felt a little sloppy trying to open box, put scent tin back in box, close it, and transport dog, but awkward videos lend themselves to valuable feedback! It was also a bit of a stretch for Monza. You can see her check all the boxes in the 1st segment, and start to offer a chin target or bow because she thinks it’s a prop, but she keeps moving as she thinks hard about this being a scent game and not about tricks with props. At least that’s my impression.

    At this point I think I can fade the clicker and use a verbal marker. I think she needs a couple more sessions with this same setup until she’s a little more efficient and I settle down. 🙂

    Thanks Alana and Kristin!

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