November 14, 2013 at 12:33 am #614
Just wondering about what Alana’s feedback is also before I continue with a more challenging outdoor hide. That means changing from the sliver of a back garden into the wildly overgrown rampant front English garden. So out of control that it will present great hide opportunities. Hopefully will be able to find and film the dog!November 14, 2013 at 12:33 am #615
Hi Launie! Sorry I watched videos but have been traveling with limited internet. So, couple of things to know:
In reference to the beginning of the first video: most dogs when working outside in new or just distraction filled environments often take time to engage in the game. That is completely normal, AND expected. If all she did was eat grass for a few minutes you might want to move away and play some other training games and come back and try again, but notice as soon as you started to move forward (I am guessing you took a step based on how the camera moved) she engaged. What you don’t want to have happen is have her walk right past the target odor and not tell you! She didn’t do that though!
As Kristin suggested, this is a good time to start phasing out the clicker as you ideally won’t need it in the field. I do bring mine sometimes if I am trying to work on targeted or specific behaviors- such as precision, but realistically you’re not going to have it with you. It is a secondary reinforcer, and she knows the game by now- we call that behavior chaining. We can use it again later to hone fine motor skills and to create more precise behaviors.
In Part Two re-watch your video and notice how even before you give your cue, Fancy is already at work. If she is already working, it adds no value to say the cue again. In fact, try to avoid doing that so she doesn’t learn indifference to it. She finds it, quickly- but also notice that you clicked “Before” she alerted you to it. At this stage you want Fancy to tell YOU where it is. She has the ‘game’ well cemented thanks to your diligence in training, so now you need to expect more from her and give her a chance to shine.
Her re-alert, and your cue to it and timing, is FANTASTIC, and I am just thrilled (as is Kristin).
Also yes, I think Fancy would do well in your English garden. Also, if possible you can start hiding more than one target at a time. After she finds each one- pick it up and remove it from the game. Remember when moving to a harder level of difficulty to always start slow and small. Don’t make it too difficult at first.
Couple of things we would like you to work on:
Practice and try to be cognizant of when you use your verbal cues. Don’t over use them.
Also practice only rewarding Fancy once she has alerted with her chosen alert- a paw or scratch yes? This is really what we would like you to focus on for the next week or so.
If the target is in the bushes and she locates it, wait for her to paw it before you say “Yes!” and then reward. You can ask her to “show you” after the initial reward (You have been doing this already) and only reward when she either nose bumps (nose targeting) or paws it again. We want to work on her showing YOU where it is. Try not to jump the gun! Easier said than done, but it will be critical in the long run. So focus on that skill and timing. And I would say get rid of the clicker for now. We can bring it back in later if we need to.
Let us know how that goes!
Also- just fyi the wonderwalker Fancy is wearing is on backwards. The colored part should go on top. Good color choice though Fits her very well.November 14, 2013 at 12:34 am #616
Thanks for the powerful feedback, Alana & Kristin: I’m almost afraid to show the above video to you as it is full of MY mistakes. Obviously I am the one suffering angst worrying about my wildly overgrown English front garden gone Jungle so I only hid the scent tin within easy reach. But it is a wonderful challenge to do subsequent hides in as the area directly behind is full of huge shrubbery. I am the hesitant one since I began years ago with a lot of exotic shrubs and I’m not convinced I want to be impaled yet going into the recesses of the rampant botany! I re-watched this one & cringed at my many errors, bad timing while still using clicker & over-use of the T-word! Realized too I actually parted some grass for Fancy & practically pointed out the hide spot thinking she would be off the trail…duh! Bad human! I am grateful for both your
continual training of this Lagotti owner!
Forgot to add, Alana that I do have the pink part of the harness on top but sometimes when I attach the leash from the top, Fancy kind of swivels it around. At her doggie daycare, the owner Heather thought I had it upside down when I had it correct so I watched the WonderWalks video to get it proper. Thanks (do you think it’s too loose? I adjusted it when she was in sitting position like the video demonstrated)November 14, 2013 at 12:36 am #617
The garden looks fantastic! It is a great place to practice!
What would be good before you ask Fancy to start searching (remember to limit your verbal cues!) is to allow her some time to walk around and smell the area- get her ‘wiggles’ out. It is good you made these hides easy in the beginning, but with time and practice you will be able to make them more complicated. Also with so much vegetation allow the container with the truffle odor to ‘cook’. That means allow it to sit in one place where it is hidden for a predetermined length of time and vary those times- and do it in different weather conditions. That can mean leave it out for 5 minutes then have Fancy go check, or an hour. All of these factors will change how the odor moves through the environment, what it clings to and eventually how it reaches Fancy’s nose. These are all important skills for her to learn how to work with and adapt to.
This is where having more than one target is beneficial. You can hide multiple at a time, find one, and move on to the next.
Around the 2 minute mark I noticed some tugging on the lead. Take a look at the video and see if you can see what I am talking about:
Try not to pull Fancy away from whatever she is doing. We want her to learn to leave whatever distraction it is on her own- or with gentle coaxing. In the wild when she does this and you don’t know if truffles are present you don’t want to be inadvertently pulling her off of a truffle scent. Grass eating is a distraction, but give her a minute to get over it before you pull her away. Allow her the opportunity to make the decision to stop eating grass. If she does, it becomes a much more salient learning moment for her.
The next hide after that Fancy is using her nose even though I know she can see the target visually. Very nice to see. Remember to not overuse your verbal cues. Keep practicing that!
You guys are doing great. Keep it up!November 14, 2013 at 12:38 am #618
Ahoy mateys from the drenched locale of BC’s rainforest where Fancy & her tailgating owner are braving the wind & downpour to do Lesson 4’s buried hides. Well I kept it simple and only buried one scent tin under an inch of rocks beside the house side pathway. I had to call Fancy a few times as I wasn’t sure if the wind & heavy rain were sidetracking her or not but it seemed not at all. I did not get to bury the 2nd scent tin in the dirt in the small patch by the recycle bins as there was a lot of heavy foliage to hide it under. It was kind of hard handling my Nikon inside a plastic bag & keeping treats ready and for this set I omitted using the clicker. Too much co-ordination for clumsy me! I did remember not to overuse the cue word “truffle” – probably about 3-4 times instead of 30 like the last video! I will do some more perhaps tomorrow from the front Amazon garden jungle which is like a giant challenging maze if one doesn’t get impaled by some of the thorn-bearing shrubs. I was angst ridden in the last shoot there because it is close and open to the front street, but I’ll try with the retractable 25 ft. leash maybe first.
Hi Alana & Kristin,
There are 3 parts to this comedy of errors in today’s shoot. This is what happens when one starts feeling confident about one’s video handling know-how. The downpour finally gave way to a brief clearing so I hid 2 scent tins, got the Nikon, set it to video, got the treats, barricaded the dog then released the hound! Once she got the scent, the battery showed exhaustion (I hate these kind of cryptic messages before it blanks out). Second try, confused the dog barricading & releasing her again when son showed up to do iPad video. Again she is on a roll when a dog walked by and mine was gone in a flash with me running like a troll in tow down the street…all panic being caught on film. Last try worked – thankfully because I realized with all the interruptions that I forgot where I re-hid the scent tins! Fancy did find them and I figured I had to call it a day!November 14, 2013 at 12:41 am #619
Sorry Alana & Kristin, this should be the correct Part 2 of 3, the exasperating segment of today’s trying episodes…that Fancy girl still did good in the end despite this interruption!November 14, 2013 at 12:42 am #620
The first video from two days ago- which was Fancy’s first Lesson 4 hide:
Launie you are doing great. Good job on keeping the cues to a minimum. She is doing a great job working and you have the right instinct on when to try and redirect her. Also good that you are asking her to re-indicate with a scratch so you can really see where the truffle (for now a tin) is located! It does look wet out there! This is exactly why it is good to practice in lots of different types of conditions. Weather is its own distraction.
During the 3 minute she is doing great search patterns. It is also good that you let her hunt in the new areas, even if nothing is there- we call that working in negative space. Everything is a learning experience. It is really great to see. You did not lead her to it at all!November 14, 2013 at 12:43 am #621
Next set of videos:
Great job without the clicker I might add. You are also doing a nice job of staying back far enough and not crowding Fancy as she works.
Also good job with redirecting- If she’s eating grass, she’s distracted, you just have to try and reengage her. At this level there are a lot of distractions in the environment, so it is expected. If she has a day where this is happening a lot, don’t push it. Stop. Try again later or another day. It should stay a game.
Don’t worry the forests you will be in won’t be as dense as that either! And a great re-alert in Part 2
Also- Trust your dogs. That is one of the hardest parts of being a handler for some. Trust in your training, trust in the relationship you have built, and trust in your communication. You’ll be surprised more often than not at the amazing things they can do. I have forgotten where I put targets in forests many times. If you allow your dog the opportunity to succeed, more often than not, they will.November 14, 2013 at 12:43 am #622
Hi Kristin, Was wondering if you had a chance to review the last 3 videos in above thread I sent which Alana reviewed but I wanted your comments as well. I watched Mary Hammonds & Lola’s. Are we allowed to comment in her discussion forum. I want to let her know I’m impressed with her smart and precious Lola. What a cutie! I will be taking the scent tin on our walk to the off leash foresty park tomorrow but I may have to resort to tossing it about instead of hiding it but I will try both. I just worry about shaky video if I have to bounce around hiding it. I’ll try to find someone to help me tomorrow.
Alana, I wonder if you could give me Brooke’s contact – I’ve been told she lives near me so was wondering if she wants to walk in the riverbank forest areas which I’m not sure I want to try alone.November 14, 2013 at 12:44 am #623
Dear Alana & Kristin,
There are 6 long suffering videos from Saturday’s truffle hides at the bottom which are a learning curb more for me than Fancy as I was handling the camera work alone plus minding the exercises. Nerve-wracking! So I am inserting Sunday’s 4 videos here first as I had a friend help me record. This great off-leash forest/park is the exact size of the 18 hole golf course it is across the road from. Plus it is only 5 mins drive from our home. Sorry for sending 10 in one day but sometimes I cannot locate where I’ve saved them to hence the multiple torture for you all !!
6 earlier Saturday videos (you may get bored watching these but they are more a sequential record for you to review & assess). There are many errors since I had to do the video by myself & got angst from forgetting where I hid scent tins etc. Luckily Fancy was using her nose & not her owner’s memory! I decided to forge ahead with doing several videos because the landscape was challenging to Fancy & I wanted to see if she could surpass distractions like other dogs & people in this huge off leash forest/park. Thank you for tolerating another rash of shaky filming!
Sent from my iPadNovember 14, 2013 at 12:44 am #624
Hi, Launie! Sorry for my absence. I was out of town for the past week. Looks and sounds like you and Fancy are doing great!!! You two have come a long way and are really looking fantastic! I was THRILLED to see you PARTY with Fancy on one of the finds!!! Keep that up!
I suggest remembering that each and every find is an opportunity to party. Especially right now while you are adding the challenge of all those distractions. Even if you have multiple hides, every find is a party…not just the last one. If you keep the game exciting and highly rewarding, she will eventually have greater desire to play this truffle game than wander off to visit. That party you had with her…have it every single time! If there are multiple hides, the game just continues for another opportunity to party!!! How fun is that???
I also like how Fancy will accept a re-direct from your cameraman as well. This will come in handy when you start going into the woods and others are with you. For example, while Alana and I hunt, Callie will sometimes alert on a truffle location that is closer to Alana. On occasion I can’t get to her quickly and Callie will happily dig around for the truffle with Alana.
Ok, now I have to be the mean online classroom ogre and ask that you consolidate the above videos to a total of 5 minutes or less of footage. You currently have over 20 minutes of video posted. We need to keep footage submissions to a reasonable length so we can review them all. You can find details in the Welcome post HERE
“Homework – Each Participant will be on a different schedule. As your weekly homework, please post one video at the end of each training week. Please limit videos to 5 minutes or less. Post video of where you are in the process, rather than old video from earlier in the week. Show us where you are and share how your team is progressing. All participants should be posting one video per week. Please indicate in your post which lesson you are currently working on.”November 14, 2013 at 12:45 am #625
Hey Kristin & Alana, Well, I was expecting a much worse tongue-lashing so thanks for letting me off light! I know there’s a way to make chop the videos but I am not sure how to tally them all together in one, which may would be too long. Will keep a single one next time to the limit & need to wait for another sympathetic camera person to appeal to. I wanted to omit several but couldn’t decide which keeper would give me the best pointers. I hope to visit one of the Langley farms to buy a real truffle & maybe beg if Fancy might be able to do a trial snoop out of curiosity. Some friends have offered to take me around the forest hiking where some Douglas-firs reside. Do you think either of these are a good idea at this point of Fancy’s trainging, K & A? The best news is a friend asked if she could drive with me to the Oregon Truffle event in January that I have no commitment from anyone on. Linda & Dorr & Faio are still pondering this. Thanks for your patience! Also, please me on the list for the next set of TH-201 lessons, do I just do it again through the Daisy Peel sight?November 14, 2013 at 12:45 am #626
If you are using a Mac, you can edit video with iMovie. It’s pretty easy to use from your computer, iPhone or iPad. If you are on PC, Windows Movie Maker does a good job.
I think it is too soon for Fancy to be attempting any sort of finds in the woods. We have an entire class devoted to that. Fancy needs a longer reward history with this behavior before asking her to search the forest. At this point, you want to be seeking location where you are certain there AREN’T truffles growing. You need to know where they are so you are certain she isn’t practicing passing over them. When dogs head into the forest too soon they often are over-faced with challenges they aren’t prepared for. We need to properly transition them into those VERY challenging environments. And we only do that AFTER their foundation is solid. I know it is hard, but patience will pay off in the long runNovember 14, 2013 at 12:46 am #627
That makes total sense, Kristin. I took her back to the offleash forest park today. It has lots of groomed open field & landscaped pockets and MANY trails – all of which are framed by thin or thick forest. There were a lot of distractions today, other dogs & children coming along, although I noticed she put herself back on track a couple of times. It seemed to take too much video time for that to happen though. Another distraction I had not counted on was Fancy suddenly taking a fancy to rolling & playing in the wild periwinkle groundcover. All of these happened before finding the 3rd scent tin. I will attempt to edit those sections of long filmed unproductivity! Just before the last ‘find’ I uncovered it myself due to forgetting its location and ‘cheated’ because Fancy was right there so it doesn’t count. I had left the 3 scent tins in a baggy in my car for a week and once I collected them back up I realized there was barely any scent left. I wonder it this had much to do with Fancy’s lack of interest or indifference once she found the 2nd tin. Is Lesson 4 of #101 the last one? I would like to continue with this onto the next round…what lesson(s) would be the next and how many would be in the series? Another thing was that she would sniff in the base of shrubs & different trees actively and even dig, but I realized I wasn’t recognizing if it was any kind of any alert! After today I think I need to go back to square 1, 2 & 3 to renew former practices she had success with. I’ll post today’s sporadic practice after trying some of those video edits you mentioned. May not get a chance until after tomorrow (Canadian Thanksgiving).November 14, 2013 at 12:47 am #628
Hi Alana & Kristin, I don’t know if this insert will work or not. It’s my last video clip of Fancy from last Sat. I used an older scent tin and it seemed she lost interest after finding the 1st two. I don’t know if it was that, distraction of eating lots of fresh grass or rolling endlessly in the periwinkle (I deleted that video!). Anyway after this episode, I went backwards and started reviewing and refreshing her with former lessons 1, 2, & 3. She was much more rejuvenated running about & successfully locating the tins again. I also remembered to put a fresh drop of the truffle oil into the worn out tins which I neglected to do for this video. See you at Van Dusen.
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