We had two different exercises for class. The first was set up in the front of the training area as an interior search (cordoned off with expens and sheets from the rest of the room). There were 3 hides, one of which was supposed to be hard. Dorothy said based on the prior class, two of the hides had been hard. Gimme didn't find any of them hard.
The first she found was under the pedal of the trash can. It was funny when she hit the pedal with her paw and the trash can lid flipped up. She startled and stepped back. Then boldly bapped the pedal again. Glad I don't have any of those trash cans at home or Gimme would always be playing with it. On the other hand, Candy and I came up with a cute trick for RallyFrEe - where you have a small flip top trash can set up for your free choice exercise - the handler pretends to wipe her brow with a kleenex, gives it to the dog and who then takes it over, steps on the pedal and drops the kleenex in the trash. Just us being silly.
The second hide was in a small box on the shelf. Gimme found it readily. The third was in a cap on the end of the rod for a contraption they had expens stored on (vaguely like a bicycle rack). Many dogs apparently found it challenging because it was about 3 feet high and they only had the expens to put their feet on. Gimme didn't mind it at all, but it did take her a little time to get into the corner. I was pleased with her efforts.
Then we did the other exercise, which was 26 boxes and egg cartons and 6 black plastic flower pots (like the kind you get with large plants from the nursery) in four rows. We did three searches. The first search 1 hide, the second 2 hides, and the third 3 hides. The first search Gimme did a pretty reasonable indication on the box. The second search her first hide she did well (egg carton), the second one the box was flimsy and the top crushed in when she put her paw on it, which set her off. For the third round, she just went into box-killing mode.
I don't consider this a valid test of where she is at with her indicator. For one thing, its unlikely she'd run into a test with mostly boxes at NW2 level - its possible, just not likely. Usually there has been quite a mix of different types of items. Second, any boxes they used would never be flimsy - it has to withstand the action of up to 40 dogs, so it'll be more sturdy. And third, we won't keep going back and doing it again and again, getting her more and more excited.
Today I set up a two exterior hides outside my store and then worked for 3.5 hours. When I came out I set up containers (9 bags and 3 boxes), putting one hide in a box and the other in a bag. I had her PB tube in another bag right next to the odor bag. After her potty break we did the exterior search and she found both of them much faster than I expected. They were in between two walls forming an L shape - one on the AC unit and the other on the ground behind the edge of a step. I didn't think there would be much airflow, so expected her to take her time. Not so - I didn't time her, but it was under a minute for both.
For the container drill she bypassed both hides as she scanned the twelve containers. Then she came back and snooped around the food distraction bag, but left it when I kept moving and immediately alerted on the odor bag next to it. Then went down the row and quickly found the odor box, she stepped on it and it "gave" under her foot, but she didn't paw. I rewarded her a LOT and should have walked her directly away from the search area. Unfortunately I didn't and when I passed by a box, she decided to trash it. I don't know if it was the idea of having another box... or because I gave her so many treats for her calm indication of the box. So clearly a lesson learned for the trial - once I've got our containers, leave the search area without passing by any boxes.
In any case. I think the container exercise in class worked against us, because we ended with worse behavior than we started with. I'm guessing this will be the case for awhile. Class exercises are not set up for our individual training, its the whole one-size-fits-all mentality. So I've concluded, in some ways, classes will sometimes work against my goals for her indicator. Which simply tells me, I have to work harder at it outside of class to compensate. When I do 150 good repetitions over two days in our training, it will overcome 4 bad repetitions in class. Not an ideal way to train, but it is what it is and I'm sure we'll get to what I want in time.
BTW the last search in class was to simply to do the expen holder again, but paired. Gimme found it instantly. She didn't need it paired, but it was nice to work a corner again, since I don't usually get to do corners when training on my own and it could come up in a trial.
Another BTW - even if we do get faulted for trashing a box in containers, its not really a problem. The NACSW rules say they can only give us one specific fault per element. So we would have to get a pawing fault in every element (or with a combination of other faults) to not qualify in the trial. What this means is, even if there are several boxes and she trashes all of them, she can only get one fault for pawing and possibly another for disturbing the search area. If we get all of our hides and no more than one other fault, we'd still title. So, while this is an training exercise I'll continue to work on, its not the end of the world. I'm just sayin...
Well, luscious Gimme is certain she needs my attention, so this is all for now...