Mary & Salu

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  • #5817
    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.

    #5882
    MARY
    Participant

    These pictures are of my backyard and this is where most of Salu’s hides will be done. Not too many distractions unless the neighbors are out or the dogs adjacent and a few doors down are outside.
    There are many nooks and crevices on the other the side and back of the garage and lots of places to hide and bury scents.

    #5886
    MARY
    Participant

    This is a nearby park where we’ve done some parkour and it’s somewhat familar to Salu (and me). There’s lots of open grass areas as well as “nooks” to hide/bury scent. It’s also not too busy.

    #5897
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Welcome back to class, Mary & Salu! These look like fantastic training spaces to use. Well done in your selection. You have many textures, obstacles and features that will help you and Salu learn about various challenges in the wild while being able to control a significant part of your environment.

    #5924
    MARY
    Participant

    First videos of the week…

    In each video there are two hot scents and two blanks. The hot tea balls have blue tape on them. In both videos I think Salu does a good job only alerting on the correct tea ball. After the hot scents were removed I walked him around again and he ignored the blanks. 😀

    In both videos he was distracted – more so in the first video – as the neighbor decided to cut his grass. The second video I moved to the other side of the yard. Even distracted Salu did well (I think)…

    #5940
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Mary. Salu was BRILLIANT!!!! And, as usual, you are just such an encouraging handler 🙂

    You and Salu are doing great with these hides. Keep up the great work.

    0:43 LOVE that he abandons a visual ID to follow his nose!! Good boy!

    If you get the opportunity to set this up again (no additional challenges), try asking for a nose target when you pick up the teaball. If that goes well, ask him to nose target it on the ground with the following find. Then pick it up and have a party. We like that he stays at source and think it is time to start shaping a more pin-point behavior when you go to “harvest” the truffle. Rummage around in the grass like you are searching for it and let him show you exactly where it is.

    In the second video, 0:22 is PERFECT! See if you can get that as your pinpoint behavior by “searching” in the grass for it with him. I suspect he will nose target it multiple times until you “finally” pick it up. We love insistent dogs!

    Make sure you reward him when you pick up the target. Every time!

    Do you have a harness to work on. He seems to stall out when he perceives pressure on the leash. VERY good leash manners! That creates conflict for him. He wants to keep the leash slack, but we are asking him to take initiative and go search.

    #5953
    MARY
    Participant

    I know this is somewhat late but a friend of mine has offered to let me use her proprty for training. Here are the pictures and I’d like you thoughts.
    The distractions would of course be all types of wildlife, and she has 2 dogs and a cat (which neither of my dogs have met). Her animals would not be out while we were there but a distraction none the less.

    #5958
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    This is a FABULOUS space.

    It is big and eventually you can work on endurance with the dogs here. It will also get you accustomed to really understanding air currents and how the dogs operate in changing conditions.

    In the beginning you’ll only want to use a small section of it, but we see some really nice hiding spots and terrain features here.

    This is really a great spot. Tell your friend thank you!

    #5960
    MARY
    Participant

    Last video this lesson…

    Salu is getting a bit more confident working off leash. He does best in the evening when it’s cooler as his coat is VERY heavy -even short and he gets very hot. Any suggestions are welcome. He’s getting more adventuresome in his searches as he discovers “truffles” can be hidden about anywhere. It’s a process and he’s coming along.
    We are concentrating on the passive alerts (nose touching and down) and he is doing better as I’m trying to be more consistent.
    These tea balls contain the original scent we’ve been using as well as some of the paper towels that the summer truffles are wrapped in (we’ve imprinted on both scents). Also, they’ve been “cooking” for approx. 45 min to an hour.
    I deleted a few seconds in the beginning to shorten it a bit….again, he was SO close to getting the last scent.

    #5973
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Mary!

    Right off the bat, Excellent job following him around! Did you feel the difference in the energy of the search? Lovely!

    You picked up the truffle and made the reward sequence a wonderful high energy game that included nose targets. PERFECT! Impressive work while holding a camera too! Gosh, this alert is perfect!!!

    He seems to need a reset button. What do you do before the initial search to get that enthusiasm. Let’s add that for consecutive finds. He did a fantastic job locating the truffle, but the enthusiasm is less.

    For the 3rd hide…again, he needs some sort of transition that tells him you are searching again. He starts to get a little stressed by the pressure. You might even want to walk out of the area and “send” him back in like you do for the initial search. He did great and gave you a wonderful alert. Let’s work on making them all as enthusiastic as the first! bring the movement from the first search into each consecutive search. Eventually he will likely become “self propelled”, but until he has the confidence to do so, give him a little help in resetting himself to go search again by bringing more movement to the transition.

    His alerts are looking fantastic!

    #5974
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hi Mary

    To add:
    for dogs and heat- short coats, and working in the am and evening are best to avoid heat of day. Water on the chest, armpits, and groin will also help cool. Also lots of access to water to drink. Sniffing is thirsty work! Even allowing him to take a break in that Baby pool…

    #5975
    MARY
    Participant

    Thanks both of you – Kristen… He does that when we are practicing – even tonight. Right out of the gate is goes straight to it no matter where it is and then things start deflating… I’ll experiment with different things… (if only he could suck some of Lola’s energy and even things out a bit…:) )

    Alana – I’ve thought about misting him with water and getting him damp before he goes out – that might be what I try next. His coat is actually very short (less than 1/2 ” on his body) but it’s so thick that it appears much longer. I’ll also try the pool – that might work too.

    #5990
    Alana McGee
    Keymaster

    Hope you had a great weekend.

    Another thing Mary, make sure with Salu that you spend some time walking around the environment laying more of your ‘own’ tracks. Stop and linger for a few moments in places if you are not already doing so.

    #5998
    MARY
    Participant

    Well, I think we are slowly improving… I’m realizing that Salu’s personality is what it is…. (and a laid back personality is what I asked Bridget for and he it works perfectly with Lola)… When he feels rushed or pressured he shuts down (I should know this from taking the TDI and CGC tests) and he needs lots of belly rubs and breaks in the task. It’s not disinterest as he about breaks the door down getting outside when he sees me going to hide the scents – it’s just his “style and personality”. I’m going to have to be creative and find ways to work with his personality as he likely won’t be adjusting much for me.

    The first scent he found was semi buried, then there was one in the grasses and the last was a ground cache.

    I will say he’s not feeling up to par here (sour stomach etc.) but he does pretty well.

    There a 5 scents placed within a small area – my thinking is to give him more successes within a smaller area. Two scent balls, the ground cache (which I was originally using for Lola and he started finding them on his own so I’ve been adding them) and flat disc and blue tea ball is summer truffle and the red tea ball is Oregon truffle scent. He seems to do well with both scents – no real preference for either. In this video he found 3 scent vessels and after we stopped recording he found the other two. Oh, and I changed the treat to a fresh rotisserie chicken which probably didn’t hurt either (I was out of his favorite peanut butter). It’s also cloudy and cooler. The next few videos Salu will be cooled down with water as it will be very dry and 90 deg. I will be at my son’s house doing blind hides.

    I’m going to start randomly placing scents in grasses when we take walks and let them “cook” until we head back and see how that goes.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by MARY.
    #6000
    MARY
    Participant

    It’s interesting that while he’s searching for the third scent he passes by two others – both Oregon truffle and goes for the fresh summer truffle. But then after the video he goes right back and shows me the two remaining. Much like what Lola did.

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