Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
NW1, NW2, L1I, L1E, L1C, RATI, RATN, RATO, RATS, L1V, L2C, L2I, L2E, RATM,
R-FE/N, PKD-TL, PKD-N, ADP-L1, ADP-L2, TD, UWP, ADP-L3 and NTD...
23 and counting...

Friday, September 11, 2015

Nosework (4/12)

We are doing a series on containers again.  Dorothy must be on vacation because its just been the co-instructor.  For this class, I'd forgotten we were supposed to bring a million treats, so I only had some cheese and my peanut butter.  We ran out of cheese early and the PB wasn't very effective so I used some popcorn I had in the car.  Unfortunately Gimme gets itchy if she eats much corn, so she's been paying for my forgetfulness ever since.  Poor baby.

The videos aren't all that good and some of them show more floor and wall and etc., than they show Gimme, so I'm not including those for you. I still get value from them, but I don't think you'd want to see them.

Our first search was five open boxes with odor and paired.  There was nothing else.  While I understand the value in returning to basics from time to time is great for maintaining enthusiasm, I didn't like these instructions.  If the dog grabbed the pairing treats and moved on without waiting for treats, we were supposed to go with them.  In my mind this only teaches them to not stick to odor and wait for treats from the handler - which is exactly what I got.  We were supposed to do the boxes again on the way out, when they would not be paired - here again I saw a tendency to check for treats and move on.  About halfway through the exercise I was calling her back to the box to get my treats.  She was happy to get more treats, but by then the damage was done and she continued doing hit-n-run on the boxes into the third search.  <sigh>

For the second search, the same five open-box paired hides were there with five more boxes added.  In this search I continued to call her back to boxes to get more treats from me.  Finally at 1:20 she got to a box and finding no paired treats, turned back to me to see if I'd make it right.  I want this every time, even when she finds pairing treats and you'll see I had to call her back to the box at 1:55.  This is fun and exciting for the dogs, but I disliked the sloppy training aspect of it. 

For the third search, they added five more boxes - these being the white ORT boxes.  Fortunately Gimme didn't feel compelled to trash them, probably because she'd already searched twice.  Gimme was a bit better about waiting for my treats here, though I did remind her a couple of times.  The other dogs in class were doing the hit-n-run thing.  At one point Gimme was sniffing something near the boxes for a couple of seconds and the instructor wanted me to take her out because she wasn't sniffing boxes.  I moved her away, but made sure she had access to a couple boxes with hides on the way out.  I'm not the one with the nose, so I don't know what she might be doing and I'm not going to "correct" her for it. I might have thought different if I'd gotten the sense she was shopping or crittering, but I didn't.

For the fourth search, she added even more boxes and placed them in four lines of six.  Our instructions were to keep the dog on a 3' leash and direct the search, taking them down one line and then another and another.  If the dog caught odor from another line and drove to it, we were to go with them, then return to where we were and continue.  Gimme is used to me letting her blast into a search area and then reeling myself into her before starting to direct her search.  We've done this many times with good success.  Directing the search from the startline was just annoying to her - she cooperated, but was frustrated, turning to give me the "what is wrong with you" look a couple of times. I think it would have been much worse if I hadn't switched to the peanut butter go toob and made sure she knew this is what she'd be getting.

Of course the instructor went on and on about how much better Gimme searched on the short line.  I'm inclined to think it was because of the peanut butter.  I also think it looked more controlled than the other students because I actually thought about what pattern I'd use for the search.  The other students all started with their dog on their left, but went over to do the right side line.  I kept Gimme on my left and started with the left-most line of boxes, then turned to come up the second line of boxes.  At the end of it, I did a front cross of sorts, while moving over to take her down the third line of boxes and back up the fourth line of boxes, still all on my left.  If I'd been tripping and fumbling over her like the others, Gimme would have been VERY annoyed.

Our fifth and last search was off leash.  I thought Gimme was much more efficient with this search.  She was calmly finding all the hides (a couple more than once), gobbling the paired-treats and then waiting for her peanut butter.  I'm glad we got to end with this after the frustration of the short leash directed search.

Next week for class I'll have a million pieces of cheese for pairing and I'm going to use peanut butter chips for treats.  I think it'll be easier than the go toob in this case.  I don't use the peanut butter chips in trials because the one time I did, they stuck to her flews and then fell off later, earning us a fault for contaminating the search area.

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