Lucinda & Tally (access until Dec. 31, 2014)

Home Forums Recreational Truffle Dog Training 101 Lucinda & Tally (access until Dec. 31, 2014)

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    Alana McGee

    First off, don?t worry about deadlines. Do as much as you can, don?t pressure yourself. We?re here to help you learn. It?s more important that you are relaxed as that will impact your training. Stress is our enemy.

    I tried to watch the video but it says ?Content unavailable? Perhaps because it is on FB and we don?t have permission to view it? May have ot upload it to youtube, or Vimeo- or friend Kristin & I for us to be able to view it.

    Clicker training (for humans!) takes practice. Don?t fret over the small stuff. If it happens again, just verbally praise Tally for showing interest in your truffles on the counter. Yes Tally, those are truffles, good girl, but you don?t need to reward ?perse? for that. The dogs will learn over time that criteria for a successful find is truffle in hand not truffle on the counter, or truffle on the dinner platte or in the fridge. It is situational, but we do want to mark and note the behavior, because she is not wrong. It is a truffle!

    “Also, we?re a little unsure whether she?s sniffing every box and putting her paw on it in hope or because she ?gets it??.?

    This would be good to see on video. Trial and error is part of the learning process, but we really need to see video on that to comment further. We can offer some techniques to help you, she is likely just fine, it is a matter of fine tuning and marking precise behaviors, but try to upload that to Youtube and we can take a look.


    Hi Alana,
    Hopefully this link will work this time. We’ve started lesson 4 and will send you a video very shortly…. We’ve progressed to more complicated indoor box hides and have been using some different containers and locations both on and off the lead. I’ll upload later as we’re off out! Thanks, Lucinda

    Alana McGee

    What does your start look like? Do you have Tally in a sit stay prior to starting?

    Tally is sweet! That tail!

    What are you selecting as is worthy of a ?click?? It is great to get more solid alerts in the behavior chain (and we are curious to see more where you are at now with some more complicated set ups) but we would recommend clicking the initial paw/touch. and building to what you want (you can click again for that!) but we want Tally to know that she is correct and at the truffle source. We don?t want her to get confused and leave the truffle simply because she hasn?t offered enough of an alert. It looks like you are going for a lie down behavior?

    We would suggest you reward along the way. The paw counts! Yes it is a truffle! Good tally! and then keep her there and solicit further behaviors. Each of those in succession also get clicks and treats! It then becomes a behavior chain.

    It isn?t just a lie down at source or no cookies, we want to make sure that Tally keeps a lot off value at the truffle even if she isn?t lying down. The lie down behavior can come with time. But pawing is really good too, so are nose touches.

    Alerts area chain of behaviors in truffle hunting usually, not just one. If it is easier to do it without a clicker, feel free, and just use verbal praise, but make sure you mark the moment when Tally shows active interest. She paws the box, that?s right Tally!

    Because of the Tally’s enthusiasm, we would have you pick the hot box up each time and remove it after she alerts on it. Don’t pull Tally away- she is wanting to stay on odor- that?s awesome!

    Remove the box from the scenario. Every time Tally re-alerts on the box (even if you want to move on) that?s okay, she should be rewarded for that. She is right, and we LOVE persistence. In the real world you will be removing the truffle from the scenario after an alert, so do it now.

    We deal with residual odor later if a dog doesn?t leave trace odor, but for now any time Tally indicates on the box at all, she?s right! Good Girl. But pick it up and remove it form the game after she has alerted once or twice (in the same pass- usually a couple seconds apart)

    It looks like you guys are doing well, and we are glad we are seeing some video. It helps us help you. Keep building value at odor and lengething the alert chain. Tally seems to stay at source well, but there was one moment in the sequence at 0:43 when she alerted but wasn?t getting feedback from you that she was right, so she was going to leave the truffle. This is exactly when and why you should be rewarding sooner. We can build to whatever alert you want, but first make sure that Tally knows she is right and build confidence.


    I hope you’ve been having a good Christmas? We have been trying to upload our latest videos but it’s not working very well! Attached is hopefully a link to the latest video -it was Tally’s first outdoor session – she gets a little distracted towards the end by a treat that had slipped between the paving stones earlier. We did a few more – much better -sessions later but didn’t video them. We will try to film again later today. Best wishes, Lucinda
    Hopefully this is a link that will work…..


    Hi Alana
    Here is today’s video link – I hope it works. This was Tally’s first attempt off lead by trees. I also had her usual yellow margarine pots as dummys as well as one with truffle in it. After this we went into some deeper woods and I hid the truffes under leaves (in pots) and she did really well. We are going to go back to lesson 2 and re-enforce the alert so that she gets better at lying down and waiting. Our course expires tomorrow and we desperately want to read lesson 5 before we are denied access…. Paul Thomas says our truffles should be ready for harvesting next season (we didn’t have Tally trained for this season) so we are keener than keen to complete the course. I look forward to hearing your views. Thanks, Lucinda


    Hi – further from my post above- we have tried to work with your pointers – removing the truffle after alert and clicking at each sign of good behaviour / persistence. We are going for a lying down alert as we thought that when she’s out in the field it will be the most obvious to me…she nose touches everything! She’s really enjoying the training so we are getting out twice a day at the moment (it helps that my husband is off work these 2 weeks). Today’s session in the wood was very encouraging – the hidden boxes (different shape to before to test her nose!) went really well and she’s ignoring the dummies almost every time. I’ll do the quiz in a moment. thanks, Lucinda

    Alana McGee

    Hi Lucinda. Your quiz has been graded. Taking a look at the video now…

    Alana McGee

    You?ll be able to read the lessons & forums for a year a believe- it is the access to comments from the forums from us which will stop after this?. but you?ll still be able to see all the material.

    The video form 12/17:
    12/27 video

    0:28- great! Good job using movement to reengage Tally there when she was asking you a question. Great job on the 3rd Repetition on the hide at 0:43 of getting down yourself and ?getting your knees dirty?. Being involved and engaged down by the source will be handy later, so try to start doing that more when you reward. Be genuinely invested in the reward. Eventually you?ll be looking in holes with her and you?ll have to be down there anyway, start practicing it now. Good job picking it up!

    1:08 GOOD. Your delivery at source, and her response to it.

    She is a smart cookie 🙂 and that tail. Love that tail.

    What?s nice at 1:29 is though she interacts with it, it really isn?t a full alert- see if you can see the difference in her behavior between that interaction and the previous one.

    Alana McGee

    12/30 video

    Tally really has a spark!

    Consider instead of asking Tally to sit after each successful find to instead draw out the reward sequence and keep Tally engaged with you at source that way. You can do this with your butter/margarine containers, but after the initial alert/lie down, open the container and ask for a more precise behavior or nose touch on the truffle inside the container! It kind of mimics the amount of time it takes to dog some of these things out!

    We understand the obedience cue and having it be a start routine (which you do do at the beginning as part of your hunt sequence when commencing) but asking Tally to sit in-between each one, after the finds, and after reward is an added command and is actually a more complex behavior and isn?t really necessary.

    As you can see she is keen to continue on, ONCE she knows the reward sequence has finished. She is not a hyper literal dog who will need a cue each time to commence a hunt. She knows the game! She?s is also one focused pup, and as you can see in that video, has a tremendous amount of drive and skill for this, and asking her to stay put takes a lot of mental control for Tally. It also takes her energy level up as she is fighting impulse control, and for Tally we actually want her energy a tad down from that state, ideally.

    Tally naturally works very fast! So work on keeping pace with her. It is looking really good though. Your connection and response to tally?s finding has improved over these weeks dramatically, and it is evident, especially in your reward sequences. You are doing a good job of marking and delivering treats at source 🙂

    Again, Tally is very smart and will be an exceptional truffle dog just keep working on being more involved in a genuine reward and drawing out that process, and getting your ?knees? dirty.

    It looks good though, and we are SUPER excited to see Tally progress. She is really fun to watch, and we really think she will be superb down the line.

Viewing 9 posts - 16 through 24 (of 24 total)
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