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...

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Nosework (6/14)

As always, Dorothy had a great exercise lined up for us.  This time the results surprised me, though they probably shouldn't have.

Our first search had the setup as shown here.  There is a circle of 16 chairs with one in the middle.  The one in the middle is for the handler and the arrow indicates the direction the handler is supposed to face.  The handler can turn their head side to side, but if the dog goes into the area behind them, they are not to turn around to look.  The hides were placed in each of the four chairs, one at a time, so there were four searches back-to-back.  The handler would get up to reward the dog at source and then take them back to the center chair while the instructors switched chairs around, moving the hide chair to the next location.  The purpose of this exercise was to completely remove the handler as providing even unconscious direction to the dog.

For Gimme's first search, she just wouldn't work.  The moment I let her go she was over shopping at the shelves with the toys and other stuff, but not working.  Of course the co-instructor (who I mostly ignore for obvious reasons) announces this is because Gimme is trying to tell me she's bored with peanut butter.  Seriously?!  Is there anyone else on the planet who thinks Gimme will EVER be bored with peanut butter?  Her goal is:  PB-PB-Pb... all day, every day, always all PB...  Ever since Dorothy convinced me to reward Gimme's nosework with peanut butter, the co-instructor's been trying to talk me out of using peanut butter.  I don't understand what this is about, but suffice it to say its a big part of why I ignore her.

Since Gimme wasn't working, despite multiple tries, I decided to end her search and return her to the car.  On the way to the car she dragged me to the grass and pooped a big one.  So apparently she was too "full of it" to focus on working, but not too full of it to shop for toys.  Or else, shopping was just her way of saying "I can't work."

Later when we came back in Gimme quickly went right to work, finding the first hide.  She found the one at position 2 really quickly.  Position 3 took a bit longer.  We noticed all the dogs had difficulty with this one, possibly because the wall was close on that side and it was affecting the direction of the air flow and the scent cone.  It seemed most dogs needed to get a bit behind the chair and nearer to the wall to catch the drift of it.

It took Gimme a long time to find the hide at position 4.  I would have loved to have a mirror to watch her, but from what Dorothy said, she would pass through the area and even along the line of chairs, but she wasn't working the five chairs in the zone behind me (as indicated in purple on this picture).  Dorothy said it was as if Gimme believed the area behind me didn't count.  Actually this seems very consistent to me, given how long it has taken her to search an area behind me in barn hunt.  Some of our failures early in her barn hunt career were because the rat would be in a small pile behind me and I too was ignoring area behind me.  Gimme has learned in barn hunt to search independent of whatever nit-nod thing I'm doing, so she'll learn this in nosework too.  She finally did find the odor back there and got a big reward for it.

For our next search they pushed all the chairs aside and pulled one of the canopies to this part of the room.  It had one box with odor hanging from the center at about 3' off the ground.  We simply let the dogs search and find this.  Gimme was very interested in the area, but kept taking her nose up the corner supports of the canopy, even putting her feet up a couple times to check higher.  I'm sure the scent was collecting along the corner supports.  Its also possible Gimme had an expectation of finding source on a vertical surface.  She did finally find the hide.  I think hides suspended in midair create a different scent picture for the dogs.  I'm still pondering how to create more of these for practice, in case they don't present them often enough in class for her to get good at them.

BTW when we came in for another try at the circle searches, Gimme got peanut butter for the first through third locations.  I also brought a toy which I hid in my vest and used it to reward the fourth hide location. Gimme was really charged up to get a toy and was a total maniac about it, which would seem to support what the co-instructor said.  However, when I came back in for the last search, I again whipped out a toy and she was only little interested in it.  She was sniffing and poking it, but didn't want to latch on to tug.  Which is precisely why I don't use a toy for rewards - sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  When it does work - fine.  But when it doesn't, then I either have to work to get her to play with it - in which case its not much of a reward - or I have to immediately switch to a different reward - in which case the reward is not timely.  Gimme loves toys and is always trying to entice me into playing with her.  Still, there is no time in this universe when I could simultaneously offer Gimme both peanut butter and a toy, where she wouldn't go for the peanut butter.  Just sayin...

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