Mary & Lola

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  • #5814
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Welcome to class Mary!  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 (and what you have been working on during the break).

    Class begins August 9th but you already have access to the first lesson so go ahead and check that out!  You can begin posting video homework and questions August 9th.

    #5840
    MARY
    Participant

    Hi Kristin/Alana – I’ve not been doing box hides with Lola for a couple years (last class) – we’ve just been practicing where we left off then… Hiding scents in bushes and burying them in the yard and in the house when the weather is bad.
    Question – would there be value in re-visiting the box hides at this point? Or, continuing with what were are currently doing?

    #5841
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    I doubt there is any reason to revisit the box work. Let’s see some video of where you are and then we can decide.

    Welcome back!

    #5873
    MARY
    Participant

    Here’s a short video to show you where we are. This is our backyard and this is where we have done 90% of our practice hides. It’s early morning and pretty damp from yesterday’s rain. There are two hides, one in some tall grasses and one buried about 1″under a tree.
    I started to record another short video of a couple searches in the grass but the neighbor decided to weed whack along the fence line while she was searching so I stopped recording and turned the search into a truffle treat party as Lola tends to be reactive towards noises/people along the fence.

    #5887
    MARY
    Participant

    2nd video to give you an idea of where I am with Lola at this point. This is only the second time ‘truffles’ have been in the grass/open area. In the past they’ve been hidden/buried around the perimeter. It does give you a good idea of her seach patterns though.
    It’s interesting that in both videos show very abrupt turns towards the scent as she passes it. That’s not something I’ve observed in the past. It also looks like we could work ‘fine tuning’ her alerts – I’ll be curious to get your thoughts..

    #5899
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    FANTASTIC work Lola and Mary!

    Your voice always makes me smile! Lola is doing fantastic. Her second search on the most recent video was absolutely brilliant! Does she always come get you and take you to the truffle? That is a fabulous skill to have so be sure to keep that as an option in your training scenarios. I found out on our last hunt of the season how valuable that was when the brush was so high I couldn’t see Callie. I called out “where are you”, she came out of the brush enough to make eye contact with me and then led the way back to the truffle.

    Her alert on the last find was very precise between the paw target and the multiple nose targets!!

    Well done! You are going to have a lot of fun working with Lola in this class 🙂

    #5905
    MARY
    Participant

    Thanks Kristin – actually I’ve never paid attention to her coming back to get me but I think a good percent of the time she does – I’ll pay more attention and reward that.
    This is my son’s yard – Lola and I will be doing searches here as it’s new and unfamiliar, not many distractions and it will be easy to do blind hides.
    We will also be working in our yard and the nearby park – same as Salu.

    #5911
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Your son’s yard looks great as well and will provide a nice protected space for her to work in as well as some other heavier distractions. Even mundane distractions at home, now in new a space can be challenging. Are there other dogs on either side of either of those fences? Does your son have other dogs/ pets that frequent the area? Before you send Lola out, because of her reactivity along fences (even though we know she LOVES nose work), be aware if possible as much as you can of other stimuli in the environment, so you can set yourselves up for success, whatever the training scenario 😉

    PS also LOVE seeing Lola in action again!

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by Alana McGee.
    #5914
    MARY
    Participant

    Hi Alana – Matt (my son) does not have animals. He does have a 10 mth old son – who Lola is fine with and he won’t be outside while we’re searching.

    No neighbor dogs/cats but lots of chipmunks. Lola has never shown interest in those however.

    In the second video I posted a neighbor of mine was using some loud equipment while Lola was searching – I almost stopped the search but decided to play it by ear since Lola was so focused. In the past that would have been a problem but she did fine. And, even after we were through She never seemed to notice. 😊. Yay for clickers and treats.

    #5922
    MARY
    Participant

    This should be the last video of the week for Lola. It’s a few seconds over the 3 minutes, but she was SO close the finding the third scent I had to let her finish.

    A few things… We took a video earlier and after reviewing I wasn’t happy with her passive alert (nose touching) so we worked with the clicker for 10-15 minutes on alerts and did a retake – thus me using the clicker during this video.

    There are two times she was a bit distracted. Around the dried grass/weeds I had placed a scent ball and moved it thinking it was too noticable – I’m sure it left some scent. The other time she lost focus at the back fence. My neighbors came out with their 2 y/o to play soccer. I thought she re-focused very well though and found the remaining scent.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by MARY.
    #5928
    MARY
    Participant

    I should add that I know Lola tends to be a bit of a “free spirit” during her searches. I tried to keep the scent area pretty small but she still was all over the yard.

    I haven’t used her leash (6ft) as I think it would cramp her ‘style’ so I’ve ordered a 20ft long line to try with her. I think she will still have the freedom she needs and but remain in the area at hand.

    #5941
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Mary!

    Lola’s “free spirit” is wonderful! Sh is an active search dog and we LVOE that! I am a BIG fan of this style of searching so you won’t hear any complaints from me. The only time this won’t work is if you plan to work on orchards professionally. In that case you would just train her to work on lead so you can follow the rows 😉

    She does a fantastic job her and kudos to you for getting the clicker out to reinforce the precision behavior. Good decision!

    0:57 Love the enthusiasm!

    1:29 Did you see that? Learn to see that behavior. She caught the truffle scent and moved in with confidence! Brilliant work there. She will likely stop bringing them to you once they go underground (unless you are too slow in getting to her location).

    It’s really good that you are asking for the show me and being consistent with her. She WANTS to go on to the next search and we need her to stay with you until the truffle in in your hand. Start picking up the target before you deliver the rewards. Have your party with the target in hand.

    2:06 You both handled that beautifully! Your timing to redirect her was perfect and she responded. Well done!

    That last find was a favorite! That enthusiasm! She is certain and SO excited about what she just did. Your click was hard to identify. Not sure she actually nose touched the target there 😉
    When she searches, go with her so she knows you are following her lead. When she went into the corner, she was out of sight and out there alone. She needs to know you are following her and you need to be able to see her.

    Fantastic work! Time to progress 😀

    #5964
    MARY
    Participant

    Class 2 video 1:

    OK, some background… we went here to practice some blind hides yesterday and while searching Lola got a thorn in her foot. She was screeching, limping etc…. After going to the car and seeing that she was OK and the pain was gone I didn’t want to leave the area with that in her memory so we went back into the yard and had a “treat party”. After a few minutes she was running around happy so we left.
    Today – there are 5 scent balls – all blind hides but not totally hidden. 2 left from yesterday and 3 placed today and have been cooking for a little over an hour. These scent balls have been in the fridge overnight with the summer truffle.
    The beginning of the video is deleted to shorten it and there wasn’t much to see but Lola running around, rolling in the grass and being Lola.
    In this video she found the 3 that were put out today. She’s pretty wound up so the alerts are sketchy at best but she’s doing the best she can. :). We’ll continue to practice the alerts in our yard as well as work on hides in Matt’s yard. As time goes on this will get better.
    Well, as I’m getting the gear ready to go to the car I look down and Lola is at my feet with the two remaining tea balls!! I wasn’t paying any attention but she had started searching on her own and brought them to me. She totally caught me off guard and I’ll admit I rewarded her without them in my hand…but, I then I remembered and did it correctly. Never a dull moment…. 🙂

    #5976
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Mary

    A wise idea to go back and leave a pleasant memory in Lola’s mind. That was very thoughtful, and we commend you on that decision.

    Alerts in a new area can be truncated, and you do a great job of recognizing her energy level and responding appropriately, but boy is she excited. Love it. She is very ‘high’ here but the enthusiasm is so genuine from both of you it is wonderful.

    Good job on rewarding in hand at 0:38.

    2:04 GREAT- notice how she brought you back to it! So fun. Okay- so an interesting bit to note is if the hide is relatively hard to access (this one was under the bushes/ deep next to them)- or you aren’t fast enough to it;)– and/or you don’t see it and spend enough time in the area, she will likely manifest this behavior… which “I’ll make it easier for mom to see so I can be rewarded”. Clever, clever girl. (She may have originally found it that one behind the bushes around 1:43). *She does this again on the one behind the rock.

    At 1:58 your body is pointed in the opposite direction sending her out into the yard, but Lola is tenacious and goes back to where she found it! Persistent pup. That’s great!

    This may not hold for every scenario, but in this one it is fascinating to note she was persistent with a single odor source. Meaning she likely hit the scent column for the one on the rock (as she was right next to/ on top of) but was persistent on the odor track she was working, discarding (or mentally filing for later) the other column. She’s specific and determined. Something to watch and we’ll see how that develops as scenarios progress in difficulty and density. Two odor tracks crossing can be confusing for some dogs. Very very interesting!

    You have a great approach to tackling these specific behaviors in different venues and in realizing they can be different in different places as well!

    About at the car… How Fabulous. Our dogs never ceased to amaze us. Go Lola 🙂 We love this story.

    #5982
    MARY
    Participant

    Thanks Alana – Lola’s fun for me to work with. No surprise this is her favorite game..
    Ok, so a few questions…

    Regarding Lola bringing me the scents… what about me using ground caches and then keeping a scent ball with me to mimic the truffle after removing the ground cache – would that help? Or does it matter at this point? Lola also does this when the scent is buried. She’s VERY fast at digging out the scent and then brings it to me or “throws” it towards me. Just wondering if this is something I should start addressing now…

    Also, when using multiple scents.. In my case fresh summer truffle and truffle training oil (Oregon)… Is it preferable to have both scents out in separate containers during the search, mix the two in the same containers or only practice with one scent at a time?

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by MARY.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by MARY.
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