Shannon & Cricket (DRTDT)

Home Forums Best Of Forum – Developing a Reliable Team Shannon & Cricket (DRTDT)

Viewing 12 posts - 46 through 57 (of 57 total)
  • Author
  • #3359
    Alana McGee

    OMG snow! WOWZA Well, it?ll be fun! Snow is fine by the way, just more challenging for you! That?s a good few inches already! Odor will travel differently in snow, but it doesn?t impede it at all. Just know that 🙂

    [quote] She does have a good retrieve with her ball and frisbee, but I didn’t ask for that here – I was thinking that just rewarding at source was ok – thoughts?[/quote]

    Rewarding at source is GREAT, and correct yes. IF she offers a retrieve tho- take it. If you get a retrieve out of it- the game changes but it does solidified it to foundational fun games she knows- and we always like that. Build upon the building blocks you have already established! We aren?t necessarily wanting the retrieve though in of itself. It’s not wrong though. Just get there fast enough so it isn’t about retrieving. But if she brings it to you- super party- that’s good too.

    LOVE the tossing. Enthusiasm for the toss tame is great! Keep building on that. Try keeping Cricket with you until it lands so she knows the general vicinity but has to use her nose to locate it. This will be easier when it is tossed a bit farther.

    The snow is actually awesome for another reason, and that is digging! It is a great medium to practice in for that reason alone as it is kind of a segue to buried hides. (extremely light fluffy white dirt!) They are snow buried, even when just tossed!

    Don?t dig in the frozen ground- it?s going to be an exercise in futility, and just not a good idea for scent transfer- but the snow actually is just fine :), and will work great- even as you get more of it.

    Cricket likes this!

    You can play this inside too if you toss the target into a pile of blankets or a pile of toys. Or start with a Sit/ stay or hold harness or a gate. Let Cricket see you lift a blanket up and toss the target under it. Then let Her go search for it and you dig through the blanket together. You’re also building intensity that way.

    We would like to see the enthusiam continue to rise using variations of this game…building up to Cricket getting to see the toss but not take off WITH the toss.

    Blind hides inside, yes. That is a a good progression. Start with one and then do multiple- but see how it goes for you! As blind hides are more about the handler.

    One outside as you described is good too- and keep building the play with the frisbee back and forth and the tossing games.

    Eventually if Cricket is amenable to the sit/stay starting gate routine, you can play the tossing game with multiple teaballs, and you can build to playing the toss game with say 1 hot and 3 cold. Toss them all, release, and then let Cricket search.

    Her enthusiasm is good and what’s nice about the snow is even when she finds it I saw her doing pinpointing maneuvers over source to be precise to really get at source. really great!

    I think the snow is actually going to be your friend in this, and build in some new dynamic. So it?s good- because you?ll probably have a lot of it this winter!

    Alana McGee

    Funny story. We were doing sit-stay & throw three targets (one hot two cold) in the living room. Crick alerted so enthusiastically that she jammed the tea ball under the couch. She stuck with it, lots of persistence to show me where it had gone. I had to flip the couch upside down and find the target. The tea ball had broken in two and the qtip had fallen out but it was all between the bottom couch liner and the couch itself (it’s a 30 year old couch, it is tired & falling apart) She basically showed me the location of the qtip through the fabric liner. Unfortunately, the underside of the couch must still smell like truffle because I have to keep saying “Good girl Cricket, the truffle WAS there, let’s do something else please).

    Edited to add: She loves this game, and it is an easy way to kind of do blind hides. If we both sit with our backs turned and I roll the tea balls behind us neither of us knows which is which.

    Alana McGee


    THAT is fantastic. I use CAPS because I am so excited by that. How awesome 🙂

    Grinning from ear to ear and giggling. 😀

    The fact that she was on the Qtip and not the tea ball itself is even more awesome. GOOD CRICKET.

    The behind the back blind hide is creative. I like it.

    Well done you guys.

    Alana McGee


    Very nice idea with the behind the back strategy!!!

    Alana McGee

    We’ve been doing lots of practice. Simple hides outside and even one with the tea ball mostly covered in a pile of leaves. Cricket has been doing really well with that.

    Last night we did blind hides inside – Wade hid three hot targets. I’m going to post the first of the two rounds we did because I see [u][b]many[/b][/u] places where I can improve.

    The lesson on precision alerts was on my mind when we were practicing last night, and that was my downfall in this case. I was waiting for Cricket to do more in her alerts, but I think because there were multiple targets this made her confused as she thought she wasn’t on the right source.

    When Cricket is really sure of a source she offers both nose touches, a look at me, and paw touches. Since she often nose touches things I thought I’d wait for the paw touches. That was a mistake – when I review the video she is clearly alerting and showing me the targets and I am not supporting her -crap. She actually alerts on all three targets in the first 50 seconds of the video and I did nothing. I was trying to do too many things at once: multiple targets, blind hides, and trying to build a stronger alert chain – bad bad human.

    I realized my error around the 1 minute mark and really try to support her more quickly going forward from there.

    Our second round I just focused on letting her show me with a nose touch and look. As long as I ask her “did you find it” as soon as she looks at me she stays at source.

    So, today I am going to practice precision alerts with only a single target. I’ll watch the lesson videos again and give it a try. I’m hoping to get something a bit stronger from her in terms of her alert. I’ll work inside for now, and then we’ll move it outside.

    It is also snowing like mad here again so we’ll probably do some more practice tossing the tea ball outside in the snow in the next few days. Winter is finally here, a month later than last year, but still too early for me 🙂

    Alana McGee

    That was an unfortunate start. Cricket CLEARLY finds it…but in the absence of your acknowledgment starts to question.

    [quote]The lesson on precision alerts was on my mind when we were practicing last night, and that was my downfall in this case. I was waiting for Cricket to do more in her alerts, but I think because there were multiple targets this made her confused as she thought she wasn’t on the right source.[/quote]
    Understandable, It happens. Just remember when you do work on more precise alerts- still acknowledge her. Don?t jump off the deep end too soon!

    We?d like to know some trick behaviors Cricket knows (if she knows anything). This will come in a bit later, but we have some ideas. What are some tricks she knows that she LOVES and finds fun just to do?

    We would like to see Cricket in the snow more. We want to see if she will continue to dig on the alert. IF you have time during this round before next class, let us see that.

    What?s great is even after those initial alerts she threw you that went unacknowledged, she did then go back it. It?s a tough one, and she probably wouldn?t have made the correlation that she wasn?t clear enough the first time around- but the fact that you could then reward at source for that is really good. And she took the chance to show you again, which is hard!, and that?s great. Good job Cricket. 🙂

    You do a good job Shannon on your rewards there.

    Good playing with your toy 🙂

    You saw all of this, which is great that you even marked it on your videos, but yes, at places like 1:48- jump in sooner and acknowledge. Then you can work on precise- but Acknowledge. ?Precise’ doesn?t have to right from the start of the alert. Ideally, sure, but that?s why we teach the re-alerts with the ?show me”

    2:04 SMART dog! She knows full well the truffle ball she found earlier, and when you ask her ?show me? she certainly does. Clever girl.clever clever girl. And a great problem solver. 🙂 Makes me smile really big. May not be what you expected- but that was really an amazing moment. She did show you 🙂 She?s using that brain of hers!

    The sequence at 2:57 is again, good on Cricket. She kept returning to it eventually, Which is really good. You have built up a lot of value in it, or she wouldn?t be offering to show you again, so major pets and cookies for Cricket on this one. She did a good job.

    Good job YOU at the 3:10 sequence practicing the alert in had and at close quarters.

    Your commentary on this video is spot on. You are seeing the gaps or breaks in your chain of behavior- like the frisbee. Self analysis is great, and you are seeing the things we would point out on this one.

    Alana McGee

    Re: The snow outside: We’d like to see her simulating “buried” targets. When hides are on the surface it may be harder for her to be “obvious”- working with a blanket indoors too (with just one target) would work well too!

    Alana McGee

    Thanks for the feedback Alana! I was so super annoyed at myself when I was watching the video to prepare it for upload – but I guess we just live and learn.

    Yesterday we did super easy and fun one target finds with tea balls and fabric. I wanted to build up lots of reward history again. She did fine – and I really get the pawing behaviour when the tea ball is under fabric.

    I will try outside tomorrow in the snow- we’ve never buried hides and then had her try to find them so this will be new and exciting. I’ll review those lessons today in preparation.

    Alana McGee

    Yeah, don’t beat yourself up too much. WE ALL DO IT. It’s ok. I can give you lots of personal stories……What’s the saying- something like a ‘one thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning’. Something like that. Not in a bad way, just, it’s how we learn! We (both humans and our dogs) are more intellectually elastic and forgiving than we as humans sometimes give the species credit for.

    Cricket showed amazing (really really awesome) creativity and resilience in your video though. Which is nothing but great. I can’t emphasize that enough. It was super unexpected, and made me laugh out loud. She met criteria you were asking, just not what we were all expecting. I love those moments.

    Seriously, don’t dwell on it though. Just be aware. We all make mistakes. None of us are perfect and hunting situations are hard to approach sometimes, and it is difficult to always be mindful of everything that comes in to play. It’s part of developing your team dynamic and you begin to learn what works, and what is not as ideal etc.

    You are going to be BY FAR your own harshest critic, but give yourself a break. You guys really are doing awesome Shannon. We certainly wouldn’t say it otherwise.

    We do LOVE how clever Cricket solves some of the problems presented to her. It is just always a fascinating perspective into the minds of canines (and into individual minds of canines) when they problem solve. She is a clever cookie and very very capable. It’s just REALLY fun to watch the two of you develop.

    AH note about the “buried snow hides” Don’t actually bury them- but do types like the tossing games. The snow itself is going act like fluffy dirt (and remove visual ID)- we don’t want to have you actually “burying them in snow”. We will eventually- but not yet.

    Alana McGee

    Thanks Alana – we definitely are our own harshest critic. Thanks for reminding me how resilient she was in that video, that was good for me to see from your perspective!

    We tried doing some tossing games outside, but it is just too cold to spend any amount of time out there today. We did a few rounds outside then moved inside to tossing to a pile of blankets – I thought it was still too much of a visual ID, so I then partially buried them and had her find them. She did great. You’ll see all three things in the video.

    Cricket loves the snow but is having a hard time with cold feet – she doesn’t want to come in, but she is trying to walk on two or three legs. I’m hoping she will tolerate boots – the brand “Muttlucks” seem to be the most recommended in a Facebook group I belong to, so we will try those out. I am also working with her to try to get her to tolerate wearing a jacket since she doesn’t have a thick double coat. I am hoping to have this all sorted out by next class.

    One other thing I’ve been wondering about before the class ends – should I be able to smell the truffles in the truffle training oil? I have never noticed any scent to the oil, but it seems like the other students are mentioning truffle smell. Just curious.

    Thanks for another great class! We’ll keep practicing so that we are ready for the next class. Is there anything specific we should work on? I’d love to get a more precise alert, so I will definitely try to do that over the next few weeks.

    Edited to add – you asked about tricks. Cricket doesn’t really have any solid ones, but we are working on spin, twist and backing up

    Alana McGee

    Hi Shannon

    As for smell in the training solution: Not necessarily. The volatiles are there, but ask Cricket.

    It is a distilled mixed concentrate, that is in a airlock via the dropper bottle so it shouldn?t decay, but you all have solution from the same batch.

    If you do a test and Cricket doesn?t respond to it, we can definitely send you a new one, but just because you as a human can?t smell it, doesn?t mean it is not there!

    I?ll see if before the next class we can?t get our Canadian colleagues to send you some fresh ones.

    Keep working and building on your toy transitions back and forth from finding, and keep working on multiple targets in doors, and the singles outside with the tossing game in the snow if she?ll tolerate it. And work on coat and bootie conditioning 🙂

    Just keep building value in those things and keep making it fun.

    You?re doing a great job with it right now, and Cricket is a hoot, but just keep solidifying the game and varying locations in your house and keeping sessions short. Which are doing now, which is great, We just want to build value, build value, build value.

    What does ?twist? as a trick look like? (If those forum freezes let us know via email.

    Nice priming! YAY! Good work 🙂 Sometimes it?s even just the little things!

    It looks mighty cold!

    Great work on the throw and release. nicely done 🙂 She LOVES that frisbee. I think the toy is really the way to go here!

    We REALLY like the blankets inside. Watch her nose in that part- it is VERY realistic to truffle hunting in dirt and watching the nose for location. You did a GREAT absolutely GREAT job of getting down with her and asking for a re- alert and looking with her. Perfect. She stays with it and is super persistent. yes!!!!!

    At 1:55 she is almost giving you a bow as well which can turn eventually into the down at source. Don?t push that though right now.

    The hide ay 2:13 is awesome. The paw smack, and then nose rooting!!! LOVE. She keeps poking it with her nose. That, is frankly, fantastic in the best of ways.

    2:40 Also, her anticipation on you for Frisbee reward is perfect.

    Well done guys. It has been really fun to watch you progress.

    If it is too chilly outside, I would say keep doing blanket hides like this, as an option, because it encourages the digging. You could start to due multiple hides in this fashion too and move from one to another and keep building value in that! If she starts hovering over a source but slightly unsure, go to her and encourage her to stay persistence in that area. Don?t force her to stay, but if she is unsure over a set of blankets (when you?re doing multiples) if you get down with her, I bet she?ll offer you an alert on source there. Build on that.

    Well done guys.

    Alana McGee

    Thanks Alana!

    I’m not super worried about the training solution, I was just curious. It would be great to get some fresh truffles to work with if at all possible – it would be very interesting to see if and how that changes our game.

    It is supposed to warm up here again next week to about the freezing mark – that should be way better for working outside rather than the 20 below nonsense we have now.

    Twist is just spin in the other direction – nothing too fancy 🙂

    Thanks to both of you guys for a great class!

Viewing 12 posts - 46 through 57 (of 57 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.