Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
SDS-N, ADPL5, ADPCH, ADP1(2), ADPL1(GC), ADPL2(2), ADPL2(GC) and UWPCH... 34 and counting...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Nosework (4/6)

We started class with a vehicle search - outdoors in the bitter cold.  It was below freezing at the time.  The vehicles were both huge.  One was a large yellow truck with a crane to it.  The other was a large white truck with a flatbed.  We were told there was between 1 and 6 hides on the two trucks.  

Actually there were three hides on the yellow truck and only one on the other (red dots).  As you can see from the layout, there was a strong possibilty for converging odor.  At the same time, because of the bitter cold, there wasn't much scent to follow.  Gimme was the last dog and while she used 3 minutes, she did find all four hides.  The other dogs all had difficulty with the one hide on the flatbed.  Gimme found it a challenge, but did locate it and was confident when she found it.  She also spent some time investigating the other side of the truck (blue dots), but never really settled in any one spot, so I didn't call it and went with her when she chose to leave the area.
Interior A

Interior B
Interior C
After this we went inside and Dorothy had set up another table and chair configuration, but with a very different goal.  This time the idea was to see if the dogs showed evidence of pattern searching based on a same-but-different search.  For instance when they came in the door and went to the table/chair set-up and found odor on the back side of the rightmost chair, did they then show preference for checking the same chair as they approached the other same-layout areas.  In each of these searches they did tend to check similar spots first and then not finding odor, went on to check the rest of the layout.  

I really expected they wouldn't based on a search we'd done earlier in our training.  My prior instructor set up an interior search with three hides.  We came in from the outside (main door), searched the area, then went into the bathroom.  After two minutes we came out and searched again.  None of the dogs showed any indication they remembered where the hides had been.

Upon further thought - I realize there are a number of very different things at play here.  In the search a couple years ago, the dogs were much less experienced and they approached the search area from a different direction.  I think I could replicate the same thing now and Gimme would check the spots where she'd found odor before.   In fact I'm sure I've seen her do this when I put her in the office, set up a search in the living room, and when finished put her outside.  Then I move the hides.  When she comes back in from outside, she does check where odor was before.

What Dorothy was doing was different, because the dogs always came into the search area from the same door.  Also the dogs were seeing a layout-pattern replicated four times in the search area.  It makes sense as a survival skill for a dog to remember a pattern, especially when it was productive (or scary/bad) before.  If it was pleasant/productive, they would check a similar occurrence again.  After all it would be inefficient from a survival standpoint to need to learn each and every time how to find food.  Likewise if the pattern had something scary or bad to it, a dog who had to relearn the scary outcome might not survive the next encounter.

Good news - Gimme has given up the baby, just 5 weeks and 2 days into the mothering phase of her false pregnancy.  This is very early for her.  She went from being pretty interested to forgetting all about it in one day.  She left it in the car on Saturday and since then hasn't shown any interest or concern about finding it.  And she's gone on to being very playful, as she always has after she finishes with motherhood.  In fact, she now has all her toys spread out all over the floor - its quite the tripping hazard.  

This is very exciting, seeing such a big change for the better in her false pregnancy.  This has been one of our biggest challenges and has been getting worse with each successive occurrence.  I'll be eager to see how it goes next time when I can start the two new remedies, the two which have had the most affect, earlier in the cycle.  I do plan to write a separate post about all the things we've tried, what worked and what didn't.  You'll have to wait for it though, probably until after the weekend.  

Remember we have two nosework element trials this weekend.  We have Level 1 Containers on Saturday morning (need 75% for another leg and a title) and Level 2 Interiors on Sunday afternoon.  Cross any body parts you can spare for us.  This will be our last event of the year.

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