November 14, 2013 at 12:20 am #599
Do not worry about camera shakiness- trust me, we all have that problem. It is hard to video tape this stuff and we know that!
Try to pay attention to her sneezing if it continues. Some dogs actually alert a scent trail this way. It can also be they are expelling air from their nostrils to clear it of unwanted odor as they search (I think that is what is happening here). So I will be curious to see if this continues. Her searching behaviors are fantastic, and you are doing an excellent job of letting her work. She is one determined gal!
What you have her doing in Part 2 is actually pretty advanced as indoor hides go, as it is such a large area she is working. I am very impressed! Also excellent work on having her drop it after she finds it. Practice has paid off
PS I only saw part 2 of 3- the others seems to be the same link to part 2! Not the end of the world, I see lots of good things- when you have time- do post the other ones though so we can see.November 14, 2013 at 12:21 am #600
Hi Alana, Here is Part 1 of 3 that was missing. We did not practice tonight but when I play the video she starts whining. Also – see how much she is sneezing. It is a bit worrisome to me. I don’t know if it’s an alert, if she has a cold or if she’s allergic to the truffle scent. However I was shampooing the carpet the day before the video. I will also post the missing Part 3 of 3 (hopefully I can find it again).
Yea, Alana..I was able to locate Part 3 of 3 concluding with more of the Drop It practice. She whined & groaned when I did playbacks on the videos. She knows they are the training things we’ve done but I can tell, to her it is fun with hide and seek and she wants to “play” it again. I am so happy she is enjoying this and that her eagerness is not waning. Does Lesson 2 come very soon? I am in no hurry and hope I am establishing the correct patterns…just curious. I was a little worried she would not catch on and suddenly the next lesson would come along!November 14, 2013 at 12:22 am #601
Don’t worry about the sneezing in reference to her being allergic to truffle odor. It really does appear as if she is clearing her nostrils either because she is in working mode, or because of some foreign unwanted smell wafting around. Her searching patterns are gorgeous. And as I said previously, you have her working at a pretty advanced indoor stage at the moment. Good work. Keep it up.
Also another thing to note: you are doing an excellent job waiting to say “truffle” until Fancy breaks focus. This is a very hard skill to master as we all have the tenancy to say it over and over again, and it begins to just be noise for the dog instead of a cue. Re-watch video 1 and notice how you say it right when she is stretching…
Make sure after she finds the truffle (such as in part 1 behind the guitar case) to try to reward her quickly (at the source) after the click with her desired reward so she knows that’s what was right! She is a very determined girl, and she keeps at it- which is fantastic- but we don’t want to lose that enthusiasm.
You and fancy are doing great though!
Also, what lesson are you currently on?November 14, 2013 at 12:22 am #602
Thank you for the ongoing encouragement, Alana…I feel like a stage mom (hey, wait a minute, I am ) I only see Lesson 1 available to me whenever I check which is daily, but I’m fine with getting habits deeply ingrained in Fancy (I signed up around 1st week of Aug). I know it will be a different ballgame out in the open. Like at the park, it is me retrieving whatever she runs away with and drops far away. At that time, it’s a chase me game which no treat can entice and she runs away as soon as I get close! Hence the consistent practice for a short period each day with “drop it”.November 14, 2013 at 12:22 am #603
Fancy is doing great!!! Good job, Launie! I agree with Alana’s comments above about the sneezing. I wouldn’t be concerned about it a this moment. There are several behaviors that you will learn along the way so it is important to just be observant of these things. Some behaviors will simply inform you that the dog knows there are truffles present but hasn’t located the source yet. Or those behaviors will give you the opposite information. For example, I have learned over time that when one of my dogs starts eating grass, that means there are no truffles here. Just keep observing. You are doing a great job.
Regarding drop it, would you be open to trying a different approach? Because truffles are fragile, you may not ultimately want her to pick it up at all. I think it is valuable to work on your drop cue but I’d suggest doing that with other objects and not your truffle scent…we don’t want the truffle itself to become the reward. Instead, try teaching her to nose target the tin. Use your clicker and do several “touches”. then when you practice in the house, you can add some “touches” to the party for finding it. She finds the truffles…click & treat…then once you have the truffle you can do a few touches for more clicks and treats. This will also work in your favor down the line when you have to search in the dirt to find a truffle.November 14, 2013 at 12:25 am #604
Hi Alana & Kristin,
Did a long weekend (Canadian Labour Day weekend) of offleash dogwalks and little practice with container exercises. Here is today’s video Part 1 of 2 (to follow) trying to shape or practice the alert. It was counterproductive as when ready to start, I spilled the truffle oil, then lost the cap to the scent tube. Luckily scent sniffer dog on hand to locate the clear cap! Trying to clean myself & spill area made the scent waft everywhere and it seems Fancy doesn’t zone in on it as quick as usual as the smell is all around but she’s still trying. I find it hard to identify additional alerts because she’s so intent on getting the little tin. She seems to do everything so fast, there’s little delay time to wait for it to sink in. By now she is memorizing the routines so I will have to try outside container hides soon. Part 2 of same day video coming up next.
Hi again A & K,
This 2nd video followed within 15 mins of the previous part 1. More of the scent search then “trying” to end with alerts but she still treats the scent tin like a toy. Does it look like she pauses to you? She does drop it but then goes for it real fast again. She seems more than happy to drop whatever she’s doing once I do any of the truffle related matters, like putting the clicker on, getting the scent baggie from the fridge, picking up the 3-set containers. I avoid regular conversation with the t-r-u-f-f-l-e word so she doesn’t get indifferent to it. BTW, did you notice the cat horned in on the video to get her Andy Warhol 15 seconds of fame?November 14, 2013 at 12:25 am #605
Oh, Fancy was trying! She really was. It’s tough when oil gets spilled. I have had the same experience. When you do spill oil (and it will likely happen again), abandon training for that day or at least move the game somewhere else completely.
Fancy showed some signs of frustration during that session and I’m curious to watch the next video but wanted to comment here first. When there is unexpected difficulty, it is good practice for you to find a way to manufacture some success. There are so many variables that come into play when the dog is truffle hunting and you won’t always know why they are having such a hard time in a specific scenario. If you can learn to gauge her frustration threshold, you can strategically manufacture a success before that point. By “manufacture a success” I mean, manipulate the environment so the dog has a successful find (for example, moving the scent to a more obvious place when the dog isn’t looking).
Another thing to consider…do you have any fans running in this area of your house? Always turn fans off when practicing. Otherwise the scent just moves all around the room and is very difficult to locate in an enclosed structure like a house.November 14, 2013 at 12:26 am #606
FANCY DID FANTASTIC!!!
That was a beautiful find Very nice work.
Yes, she does enjoy playing with the tin when you start working on leave its/ drops/ touches. I think SHE thinks you are playing with it WITH her. The actual search was very nice.
My suggestion would be to do more hides like this one and pay attention to her alert. Next time, get into the action sooner…like when she starts digging around. THAT might be your alert. For example. She locates it and starts digging…you recognize the digging as an alert and go to her…”did you find one? Show me” (or something similar)…root around with her and click when she touches it…immediately treat and pick it up…put it in your pocket and praise some more and drag out the treats (or play or pet) “That was brilliant. Good girl!”November 14, 2013 at 12:26 am #607
Good points noted & stored. I almost cancelled the entire exercise because I myself could smell spilled scent looming about since I ran to a couple of sinks washing it off frantically. No wonder she was going in circles…she usually hones in and does one direct search and finds the target quickly. I felt guilty watching her getting mixed signals knowing I was the culprit. In video 2, you’re right – I should have clicked earlier when she was digging through her pile of toys. It was unfair because the scent tin was actually under her former doggie bed which now serves as the crate for the toys. Don’t know what I was thinking watching her pawing away at the correct spot which was a complete layer below! There should be an appended course called Training Dog Owners Who Don’t Get It Thanks for the constant reminders for me to get more involved when an alert happens..I forget that it’s OK for me to get right in there and I definitely have to get past feeling like I should not interfere. Alana notices the same thing. That’s why I repeat Lesson 1 a lot. The issue I foresee a lot of work ahead is ‘shaping’ the alert. That will be a lot of try & try again because she’s so much faster than me!November 14, 2013 at 12:27 am #608
I just had to chime in!
You and Fancy are doing in great! You are doing an excellent job of letting her work a search pattern and not calling her off of it. That is a tough impulse to fight, but well done!
When she goes for that Blue solo cup she is getting frustrated/ bored. That’s okay. You did the right thing to take it away and see if you could re-engage her. Do take Kristen’s advice in such a scenario and manufacture a success for Fancy if you see this behavior starting to happen. That could simply be, you dropping a truffle tin on the floor right near her and then clicking and rewarding when she alerts on it- which knowing Fancy, will happen. She is drawn to movement in her environment.
After you give her that success, it’s okay to try again to see if you can re-engage her in the game- but in this scenario she went back to playing with the other cups. What I would suggest is offering her another easy target and win, and then stopping for a while. Play, do other training tricks etc, something else, come then back to truffles later.
Regarding the 2nd Video:
I would like to state Her amazing attitude right out of the gate. She likes this. What a pleasure to watch.
Also on alerts. She’s doing great. She basically has a touch/ scratch alert already in the works which can be reinforced by doing exactly what you did (and what Kristen suggested)- which is hiding it under things and encouraging her to show you by hitting it with her paw and then removing the target/ playing with her etc and timing.
Eventually you will want Fancy to be very precise. If this starts to be too easy for her you can begin to practice precision. After she locates and alerts on the target, and you have clicked/ rewarded for her touching it, not just near it, or above it, but when she actually makes contact, you can ask for her to repeat the behavior. Such as “Show me again” or something similar. Often in the wild dogs will alert and you may not know exactly where they alerted. It is very helpful if the dog can show you again. Precision is a long process (I still work on it with my dogs daily), so don’t fret, but it is never to early to start
We call this a re-alerting. The ability to show you again where the target is. Very very useful in the field. It is not the same as searching and finding. It is the dog repeating a desired alert behavior. But, Fancy basically has an alert already, just keep working on getting in there and rewarding when she does.
You both are doing great, and never fret about doing review. Always good!November 14, 2013 at 12:28 am #609
Hi Kristin & Alana,
Here’s Fancy’s 1st outdoor hide at the offleash park 2 blocks from home. We did an earlier 5 minute practice on the open field but I cut it short because she kept eating grass, then would not relinquish the scent tin. This video was done when we tried again 4 hours later and she had more focus and even ignored the other little dog that passed by. I was pleased with that as it showed she’d just rather go find the truffle tin! I have another video to load next which was shot about 5 minutes when I did some repetition work hopefully shaping an alert. She surprised me by pawing more than once to my “show me” command. Maybe she’s a mini drama queen!
Hello again Alana & Kristin,
This is today’s 2nd video taken 5 minutes after the previous one searching under the cedar tree at same neighbourhood park. While she was still eager & delighted with her under the branches find, I took the opportunity to just give her the scent tin to identify while so much was going on at the park. Surprisingly she kept her focus on the tin and didn’t try to hoard it like she did 4 hours earlier whereby I stopped the practice. It was beginning to feel like the futile early piano days with no. 1 son long ago! However I was truly a proud mom when she used her paw to “show me” the tin. Wow…progress! You know SHE knows she’s done good if she high-fives you!November 14, 2013 at 12:29 am #610
Often as soon as you start working outside it becomes harder. So many distractions. They key is just repetition, practice, and doing just as you did earlier and knowing when to call it quits. If she is eating grass and just not ‘into’ the game, better to come back later and try again.
Quick note. Try to remember, and this is a hard one to internalize for all of us, just give the “truffle” cue once unless her focus is broken. If you watch she goes into working mode right away. You want to give her the chance to work without saying the cue again as it will eventually lose its meaning if overused. There was one point when you removed something from her mouth and then asked her to work again- that is a situation where it is good to repeat the cue as you are attempting to get her to focus.
Another thing to keep in mind when starting outdoor hides: It is great you are having someone else hide the truffles. Also try to touch other things, plants, trees, walk around a bit before and after placing the truffle. I don’t believe Fancy does this, but you want to make sure she isn’t just following your scent to the source of the truffle.
Also Fancy is doing an amazing job with all those distractions! At one point she sees the other dog, breaks concentration and then after about 1.5 seconds, goes back to the game. Excellent teamwork. Good Work. And it looks like a lovely park and great place to do hides provided she continues to handle that level of distraction going on around her! Good work.
It also looks like, on that second hide, that she found it, moved off, and then when you asked her again, she went back to it (Which is great!). It takes practice, but ideally until the two of you are really in-sync try to know where the truffle is hidden so you can be spot on with timing when she finds it. You don’t want her to leave the source of the truffle once she has found it if possible.
She also was doing a great job of dropping the tinNovember 14, 2013 at 12:30 am #611
In terms of ‘Alert’ work- Fancy is doing great. Her show me- which seems to be lying down and pawing is fantastic. Just keep up the repetitions! Correct me if I am wrong, it looks like you are putting a treat right near her mouth when she paws the tin?
That’s my only suggestion is to reward right after the correct behavior (signaled by a click if you can manage it).November 14, 2013 at 12:32 am #612
Hi K & A,
Couple of days rest & time to give the outdoor hides another go altho we snuck a couple in before lesson 3 just out of curiosity. Definitely need that surrogate camera person to aid this fumble fingers incorrect coat Lagotto governess! I moved the scent cotton into a bigger tin so I could access it & to avoid the tug of war when Fancy decides to get territorial about the tin. Trying to reward & click as soon as possible without dropping camera. Original scent tin rusted up & battle ravaged now B.C. rainforest weather kicking in. Part 2 of 2 video to follow this one.
Hi again K & A for Part 2 of 2 outdoor hide for Sept. 15,
Should have prepared & structured myself better but always a bit discombobulated when I’m trying to manage the video myself. Difficult to coordinate & hop to multitasking the clicking & source rewarding combination on cue. Will try again when the current downpour halts, hopefully it is not a long lasting weather front but it is B.C. aaarrgh!November 14, 2013 at 12:32 am #613
Oh, I’m so happy to see you really interacting during the reward period!!!! Woohoo! Way to go, Launie. Yes, coordinating cameras, clickers and treats is difficult so it is best if you can have someone film or set up a tripod. That said, Fancy LOVED engaging with you! Did you notice her enthusiasm increased for the second search? At 1:12 of the second video you two were brilliant! That was a fantastic find and show me! Great job!
I’m inclined to say we might want to begin fading the clicker for Fancy a this point since there is duration involved in her alert and re-find now (which I’m still just thrilled about). She knows the scent and it would eliminate confusion about what exactly she is being rewarded for at this point…since it really is a chain of behaviors now. I’m going to put it out there and ask that Alana chime in on this subject too.
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