Gimme aced hide 1, she did real well at 2 and 3. Hide 4 still took awhile, but she was much faster than before, so I was happy.
All along we've been taught to mirror the dog's body with our shoulders, then all the sudden we completely change our behavior. Its not that the dog's "need" us to follow them. I think they just find our sudden change of behavior distracting, so they only have some of their attention on the job at hand while the rest of their brain is trying to comprehend our weirditude. I'm willing to bet we could do the same exercise with the handler in a swivel chair, hands in lap, and all the dogs would ace it. Also, while I'm sure we could teach the dogs to pay no attention to us in a search, I don't see the point. There are other ways to take handler body language out of the picture without creating such an unnatural picture.
For our last search, they pushed all the chairs against the walls, with only the handler's chair left in the middle of the room and the two canopies which were still there from the week before. There were two hides. One was against the left wall (from handler's viewpoint) at about 10 o'clock and the other was against the back wall at 1 o'clock where the dogs had to move further away and pass under the canopies to get it. All the dogs found the hide at 10 pretty easily. Finding the one at 1 was a bit harder, but they all found it. I thought Gimme was a bit faster to find this one than the others.
January 12th - We had a series of container searches. These were pretty simple and Gimme had a good time. Search 1 was just one hide and Gimme took awhile to get into the game. Honestly I think she was distracted by my mental state - which is pretty stressed right now.
She was much faster for searches 2 and 3, where they added a hide for each.
For the fourth search, they moved the hides around, still close to where they'd been. Gimme did pretty good at this and was still having a good time.
For the 5th/final search, they had us bring them in and do a directed search. Gimme used to hate these - you know how much she loves to drive the train. But over time she's gotten much better about letting me drive occasionally.
Our instructions were to search on a short leash, stop beside each container and then move on. In the past I've done this by pointing at the thing/area (we use it in barn hunt too) and cue "check it". But, they didn't want me to point at the boxes or use our cue, saying she would alert on anything I told her to "check". I don't know where they get this idea, since there's only been one time since I taught her the cue where she's alerted and there wasn't odor there. That one time was a particularly weird search where odor was behind a gate and the breeze was blowing scent away from us. None of the dogs were getting it, so I think she was frustrated and just thought she could alert and make me happy. The rest of the time, before and since, she's done it like its supposed to work.
So speaking of frustration, this is exactly what I got in this exercise. She wasn't really searching, I think because she didn't know what I wanted and why I was keeping her on just 3' of leash. She finally got the hide at the very end and then found the other two soon after. Only one dog did well and he's very slow and searches this way all the time. I can certainly understand Gimme's frustration. For the last two classes, we've been doing exercises to teach the dogs to ignore our body language - then all the sudden we want them to work solely off our body language.
Needless to say, I didn't think this was the best exercise and hated to end on something so frustrating. Fortunately Gimme loves this game and will bounce back next time.
All Hail the Mighty Huntress...