Home › Forums › Recreational Truffle Dog Training 101 › Michael Whitmire (access until May 2, 2014)
- This topic has 19 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 8 years, 11 months ago by Alana McGee.
February 17, 2014 at 4:22 pm #1333
Welcome to class Michael!
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.
*to be notified by email of replies in this forum topic please check the box below your reply.March 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm #1461
Your quiz for Lesson 1 has been graded. To view comments hover over the grade for each question.March 23, 2014 at 10:37 pm #1641
Now that Jazz and I are about mid-way through the second lesson, I wanted to check in. The first lesson went pretty well, and I think the clicker training actually helped improve the quality of some of the other commands we were working on, especially ‘down.’
As part of the clicker training, we practiced the exercise in the video where she touches my hand with her nose. It was an easy transition from that to the first step in the second lesson, ie with me holding the scent button. We practice it a few times each day, and she immediately knows what to do. She did so well with it from the start of the lesson that I thought it would be an easy transition to the indoor box hides, but she has not really taken to it. I am using small clay pots, and sometimes she will walk past all three of them. Sometimes she will smell each one. Sometimes she will smell the first one, even if it’s not the one with the scent button inside, then get bored and ignore the other two.
So I was wondering if you had any thoughts on whether this is normal progress, and I should keep at it or if I need a course correction. Sometimes I wonder if in the exercise with the scent button, she is more focused on the object than the scent.
A few other questions include:
– I am using the solution in the starter kit, about 3 drops on a cotton ball. Is this too much? too little?
– how long does the scent last? Do I need to reapply a drop or two every day?
– Jazz is not quite 5 months. What pace of progress should I expect for a puppy her age relative to older dogs. Is two weeks per lesson enough or should I adjust?
Michael and JazzMarch 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm #1649
As for Jazz paying attention to the scent button in your hand versus actually using her olfactory capabilities, don’t fret. It is okay that she is using the scent button as a visual cue at this stage. The boxes, in essence, are also visual clues that provide information to the dog on where to concentrate efforts.
Something you could try:
After warming up with a few hand targets of the scent button in your hand or on the ground, then, with her watching, place the garden pot overtop and ask her to repeat the behavior. Try it, and see if you can get her to target that.
Stay with it. We are looking for that A-ha! moment.
Watch the videos of Heidi’s intial box hides closely. You’ll notice Heidi does’t show interest in several of the walk bys. Don’t be discouraged, just keep practicing and reward for even the slightest interest in the correct box. It also will help if you keep the same pot as the “hot” pot (the one where your scent is under). If you are struggling for a success at this stage it is ok to encourage success by drawing Jazz’s attention to the correct box- we just don’t want her to rely solely on you for information.
It would be helpful or us to see a video of it, so we can assess where there may be a disconnect, or things you can do to improve the likelihood of a desired response. Are you working her on or off lead?
As for scent source. A couple of drops is plenty and will last for several days.
As to her age and the amount of time per lesson:
Every dog is different and we suggest you don’t move to the next lesson until you and your dog are confident in what you have learned previously. We practice basic targeting games even with our advanced dogs as review. All of the ‘games’ you learn in these lessons are applicable throughout the course and are great to play as review or just for fun.
Progress for puppies will really depend on their focus, and how much time you have during the day to play the games. Remember to always end on a positive. If you & Jazz are struggling on the boxes one day, end the session with a couple of easier hand (or ground) targets. Always start a session with a review as well. Consider it warm up. Get her excited about the more fun games to come!
What you can do is remove the box (pot in this case), allow her to see the target and then go to it and reward! Success, she found it! If you are working her on-lead it will be easier to guide her past the pots (you can even point out every one so she starts to get the idea to check them all- and then praise & reward when she shows interest in the correct pot).April 6, 2014 at 11:12 pm #1996
The above was very helpful. Just lifting up the pot to show the scent button underneath seemed to create the aha moment.
One thing I have been doing, which I’m not sure is correct, is that after she identifies the correct pot, I click and reward her, then I let her do it a few times (rewarding each one) before moving on. This repetition is similar to the when I use the scent button in the hand. It seems to reinforce the correct behavior, but I wanted to make sure it’s not creating problems.
MichaelApril 9, 2014 at 11:06 am #2002
That is absolutely the correct behavior Michael and very good for establishing a re-alert sequence as well.
We want to reward/ praise any and all indications on the correct odor in the beginning stages.April 10, 2014 at 7:49 pm #2020
Do you know when the section 2 quiz will be graded? I think I am on hold until that happens.
MichaelApril 10, 2014 at 8:03 pm #2021
Hi Michael. Your Lesson 2 quiz has been graded. Do you have some video footage to submit?April 13, 2014 at 11:12 am #2101
Here are two videos I took this morning. It will give you an idea of how she is progressing, especially with the current lesson of developing an alert. For her, this seems to be pushing the pot with her nose and also being vocal. In one video, the scent is under the middle pot, and in the other one it is the left pot.
Let me know your thoughts.
MichaelApril 13, 2014 at 2:03 pm #2102April 13, 2014 at 9:21 pm #2103
In reading more of your comments on alerts, I noticed you include the dog looking at me as an alert. Jazz does that as well, but I’ve noticed that it’s less reliable than the other alerts she offers. By that I mean, she seems to be asking me for confirmation that it’s the right pot when she looks at me, but when she pushes the pot with her nose or gets vocal, she is telling me that she has found the right pot.April 13, 2014 at 11:05 pm #2104
Those videos look great Michael.
Her pushing the pot, knocking it with her feet, and even the vocalization are preferable as alerts to just visual contact, but you are right, she seems to be more questioning for confirmation. Notice how she also noses the other pots but doesn’t vocalize.
You are doing a great job. good timing and great impulses on when to wait.
Alerts constantly evolve and eventually you will get to the point where she will only be rewarded for a vocalization and a physical movement engaging the odor, but keep doing what you are doing! You also notice at one point she bows down in recognition of odor. This can also eventually be turned into a lie down at source. These are all great. Keep it up.April 26, 2014 at 11:40 am #2166
Hi Michael. Your 10 week forum access will expire in 3 days. I’ll be closing this topic April 29, 2014. Please let us know if you would like to sign up for the Extended Support forum where you can continue to post video and questions for feedback. You can purchase access to the Extended Support forum HERE.
You may also wish to consider our new Monthly LIVE Online Training where you can get live help when you need it.
It has been a pleasure watching and helping you and Jazz begin this new adventure together!
KristinApril 26, 2014 at 10:04 pm #2176
[/video]April 26, 2014 at 10:20 pm #2177
Here’s the latest video of Jazz. Before doing this, she seemed to have no problem with an increase in the number of pots or a change in the configuration from a straight line or in spreading them out over a larger space. She always alerted to the correct one. In this video, I added the complexity of putting the scent button in a different container, a small cardboard box. She passes over it at first, then comes back to it later. We’ve done this a few times with different containers, and it’s indicative of how it usually goes.
You’ll notice that I used the verbal cue “truffles” in the beginning but forgot to use it once she found the correct container. I am trying to get better at this.
You reference in one of the videos the importance of her developing her own search technique, what you called cast and quarter. I live a block from Buena Vista Park, which is very hilly and woodsy. We go for morning walks there every day and I was wondering if there was a way to encourage development of these search techniques on these walks. Or should I just leave her alone and it will come naturally?
Finally, do you think she is ready for section 4?
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