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Monumental A to Z High On Liberty

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Nosework (1/5)

Gimme continues to do superbly at nosework.   The class on Wednesday night was an exercise designed to help us learn to read our dogs and see how they responded to ever increasing difficulty.  We were also to focus on keeping moving no matter what the dogs were doing - so that our movement or lack thereof doesn't become an unintentional clue to the dog.  Doing this is much harder than you might think.  The first session started with four boxes and by the last session progressed through the three sets to ten boxes with ten other things. 

Gimme did great.  She continues paw whacking her finds and has never tried to use a look-at-Mom as an indicator since that one class.  That I'm very happy to see for the reasons I discussed.  A couple of times early in class she started with a drive-by indication of the right box (a quick sniff while still moving) and she'd get about four feet past it, and then check herself and go back to it and whack it.  It was like she was moving so fast with the fun of the hunt and it just took her a few moments to think, "oh yeah, if I go back and really tell my Mom that's the one - I get peanut butter!" 

As class progressed there were less drive-bys and her indications were stronger and stronger.  Visualize my girl assaulting a cardboard box and you'll have the picture.  That's my Gimme - totally loving having yet another way to tell me what to do.  I fully expect some day to get assessed a box replacement fee. 

Joyce would still like me to restrict Gimme from checking out other things during container and vehicle searches.  I told her I'm not inclined to change anything in the last two weeks before our ORT (next Sunday).  That's a rule I've always adhered to - no changes right before a trial/test, etc.  After the ORT I'll start gently encouraging her to get back to the search area sooner.  Sooner is a matter of a few seconds, since the longest diversion she's ever taken is a mere ten seconds (time we can easily afford at this point).  Still, no diversion is the goal, so I'll start nudging her in that direction after the ORT.  I'm going to ask Joyce to give me blind hides this week in preparation for Sunday.

Yesterday Gimme and me met Mary and Grafton at the training areas and had a nice long walk.  Those two are just the best of friends and their unbridled joy at seeing each other is a real pleasure to behold.  Both were quite tuckered out afterward and Gimme slept soundly through the evening.

Today I needed to go to Home Depot, so I made it a nosework field trip too. I set a couple nosework hides for my girl and let them cook while did my shopping.   She found the first hide right away and indicated it just like she's learned. While paying her, I pocketed the odor source and then encouraged her to move on. Gimme kept going back to the same place, insisting that there was still source odor there. She kept pawing at it until she moved the box - lo and behold - she was right. Two q-tips had fallen out of the hide container I used. So I paid her again.

LESSON LEARNED trust your dog when they tell you things. In this case she was right.  I love it that she is really showing the courage of her convictions.  In time she will need to leave a hide that she's already been paid for, to look for another.  That isn't an issue until we are ready to ORT for NW2, so we have plenty of time.

After working in the yard and clearing a spot we started working on 2x2's for weave poles.  Naturally she picked up today's task verrrrrry fast.  Bad on me - I got started trying to make that learning task into something it wasn't supposed to be.  Good on me - I realized it and stopped. 

Later on I started teaching her the flatwork of rear crosses.  I could have taught them any time before now since its not physically stressful; I just knew there was no hurry, so didn't bother.  It took about five minutes for her to get the basics of the arm and motion cues in BOTH directions. 

She is sooooooo smart.  Gee - now where have we heard that before?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nosework (6/4)

Last night was the last class of the fourth set.   We started with an outdoor search, which was challenging because of the way the wind was whipping around the building.  Gimme found the first hide easily, but wasn't catching the drift of the second one and so kept wanting to return to the first so she could paw at it and get paid again.  I had to keep her away from it, which put us in a spot where she could catch the scent for the other hide.  Then she was able to work through finding it, but it wasn't easy because of the wind and where it was located.

The second session was indoors and Joyce introduced a new concept.  The dogs are used to finding odor IN boxes, but not quite sure what to do when the tin is on the floor next to the box.  Odor out in the open is just outside their expectation.  The other hide was with the odor tin on a table that was similar to a counter top.  Gimme found the odor on the floor right away, just didn't stick it.  It was obvious she found it, but then she just went on and searched the rest of the room and finally came back to paw vigorously at it.  She really does love the hunt.  Then when it was on the table, it took a bit to find it (the air current sometimes moves very oddly in that building) and when she did she had no problem getting her feet up on the table.  Some of the other dogs were too well behaved.  Gimme has always been good about searching high up - I guess that is because I never discouraged it - I knew there was a reason I'm lazy about such things

The third session the on the floor hide got moved next to cooler on top of another box.  Gimme found that one right away.  Then Joyce had rearranged the stuff on the table so there were two boxes forming a v-shape with a gap at the back and then another laid across the top of those two.  The odor tin was in a little alcove formed by the boxes.  The idea was to extend the challenge, since the scent could drift out the back between the two boxes, but was only accessible from the front.  If they get the scent from behind the boxes, they have to puzzle through to go around the table.  Some dogs had difficulty with that; Gimme got it quickly. 

Today we didn't get to walk because by the time I got in gear it started raining and was pouring shortly thereafter.  I had errands to run.  Am still trying to locate a copy of Animal Wellness so I can see Gimme's pictures in the nosework article.   I am going to weigh in tomorrow and then if the weather is decent, will leave immediately and go to the fort.  Otherwise I'll go to work early and keep an eye on the weather for a good reason to skip out.

Our training session today was more of the listening skills stuff.  Its interesting that doing this is pointing out holes in her generalization of some of the cues.  So glad I'm keeping notes so I can know what I need to work on.  Otherwise with my crappy memory, we'd be in big trouble. 

Before I forget, wanted to share some silly girl creativity.  Gimme was in front of me and I cued her to "grape" (roll over).  She did, while spinning on the ground and coming up in a sit at heel.  I was six kinds of stunned - I just don't know where she comes up with these things.  Don't tell Gimme, but I think she's the brains of this outfit.

Beautiful Girl

A new friend from the seminar, Weimin Chen (from China) took lots of pictures of Gimme.  I received these lovely pictures and wanted to share them. 

As you can see, she is still a beauty...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Listening Skills

One of the issues I've had with Gimme is that she has poor listening skills.  She tends to make assumptions about what I am asking for, without actually listening to the cue I used.  She loves offering stuff and so would rather run through her extensive repertoire of skills until I pay for one.  Naturally this isn't particularly useful.

And yes, I am certain that she actually knows the cues I'm talking about.  She is learning 53 cues with more to follow, and just about half of them are strong enough that they should be on cue.  We've worked the drill to put them on cue and she has demonstrated before that she understands how cue attachment and cues work. 

From what I'm seeing, I think she just prefers to do things her way.  There's a reason I bought her a little train conductor's hat and its not because she ever intends to let me wear it...

So tonight I decided to try something new.  Leslie McDevitt had given me the idea to use the Gimme A Break game as a reset for Gimme's frustration bark-a-thons and that has continued to be successful.  There are times she will quit barking, and default sit in front of me "talking" to me in the funniest way (sounds like a cross between a pigeon cooing and someone moaning).  I use judgment about her attitude when she talks - is it just talking (I "get" being verbal, being a yakety-yak type myself) or is it frustration?  If its frustration leaking out, then we wait for actual silence, otherwise I ignore it.

Anyway, the thing I did different tonight was to cue a behavior and if she gave me anything other than the behavior I cued, then I go to sit down and wait for a reset (Gimme comes and offers me a default sit to ask to work again).  My theory being that if she isn't listening, then she must need a reset.  It took a bit for it to sink in, but then she was really trying. 

There were a few times I'd give her a cue and she would start to do something else, then catch herself and give me the right behavior.  I rewarded that copiously... since she was definitely trying to do what I wanted and clearly showing that she understood.

By the time I ended the session she was doing very well.  I was even able to alternate between "finish" and "behind".  Both behaviors start in front position and are very similar - only differing in direction.  For finish she passes on my right, ending sitting in heel position; behind, passes on my left, ending sitting in side position (my right side).  In the past, no matter which I said she would just repeat what she'd done last.  So being able to alternate and/or mix it up between two such similar behaviors is a huge step forward in understanding. 

If we can get Gimme's listening skills to match her thinking skills, there will be no stopping this kid.  Naturally I'm thrilled with this step in her understanding.  She doesn't know it yet, but ceding a tiny bit of control to me will make training a whole lot more fun. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

About That Match

With the help of friends, I've been able to convert and then edit the video from our match.  I edited it into four separate videos, one for each search: vehicle, container, exterior and interior.

For starters, I don't "miss" her indications entirely, rather I need her to persist.  The goal is that she has the courage of her convictions and insists that I pay up right then and there.  We have to call "alert" to stop the clock and once we call it, there is no going back.  If I call it and was premature - then we've just NQ'd for the whole trial, because we have to pass all four searches on the same day to qualify.  So since I don't know where the hide is, I'm more cautious.  Is she sure it's there or is she catching fringe scent (scent that drifts and pools because of air currents - like what happened at the ORT) and still sorting it out?  It was my premature "alert" call that failed that second ORT for us.

I did notice as the day went on, that she was getting more persistent in the early indications.  The one on the chair during the interior search (last of the day) was really the best first indicator as far as persistence.  On the vehicle search (first of the day) she didn't do any detailing the first time she paid attention to the place where the scent was - even the judge agreed. 

I think that because in class I always know where the hides are and Joyce is always pushing us to get in there and feed at source IMMEDIATELY, Gimme is at this place where she thinks if I don't rush in to reward her - that it must not be right and she should look some more.  That is why I think its so important to encourage a strong indication and I really don't understand why they are so against that in nosework.  I should ask on the yahoo group why that is... there doesn't seem to be a bias against teaching a strong indication early in tracking training.  I sure don't want to push Gimme to the point where she gets insecure about her talent, but I think she needs more challenge than she is getting. 

I've always thought her tail wagged faster when she was in odor, but that didn't seem as clear in these searches.  It was very obvious in the video we did in her first field trip to Home Depot.  If any of you see something that is indicative of when she really has it vs. when she is just spending time on an area - then do tell me.  It won't hurt my pride if you find some tell that I've missed.

Vehicle - She paid attention to the correct spot the first time for 2 seconds, the second time she did a drive by sniff, the third time she stuck her head further in... She also spent the same amount of time (2 seconds) on the rear bumper of the blue car, the bicycle, and the front bumper of the blue car.  BTW notice the judge tilts her head and upper body when Gimme was sniffing in the grass, soooo wanting us to get back into the search area - kinda like opening your mouth when you spoon feed a baby.  This judge, Cindy, runs a delightful Bulldog who is getting ready to compete for NW3 - amazing...  Also you may notice that right after I get her out of the grass, she still seems to be distracted in that direction - its not as clear in the video's audio, but there was a bunch of geese somewhere in that direction honking and making noise.

Container - She's always really good on containers... and after she gave up on the lunchroom had this one in eleven seconds.  She either pushes them with her nose or skis across the room on them - which is why we failed the ORT the first time, since she didn't do either and only did a drive-by indication.  BTW Gimme was THE FIRST dog of the day - you'll note they closed the door to the lunchroom after her search, the lady that closed the door is Joyce, our instructor.  Another cool thing to know is - often dogs get "help" finding odor by the scent of all the previous dogs having gone through and so in classes we rotate who goes first in each set of hides.  Thus, it was nice to see that Gimme was so competent -- that's my girl, the nose that knows.

Exterior - Her first indication was three seconds, second was a drive-by (nose tilt) and final was again quick, but more pointed.  You'll notice the last time she put her shoulders under there to indicate it, instead of just sticking her head under to sniff at it.  She did two other prolonged notices of a specific area of two seconds each.  I was very pleased that Gimme worked so well, especially since people unintentionally came out of the building walking right into the beginning of our search, making noise and talking.  The talking you hear on the video after the initial part isn't as bad as it sounds, since they were standing right next to Dave who was taking the video.

Interior - She paid attention for four seconds the first time but didn't persist and based on what she did, I would not have been able to tell the judge where under the chair the hide was (center back edge).  Her indication for "real" wasn't as long... but it was more "pointed".  Do note that Gimme did not forget about the lunchroom, even though it was three hours later, the door was shut and they put a divider in her way...  Also, if you watch carefully, right after she smooched the camera, there was a blurry spot that follows her around the room - having left a nose print on the lens. <g>

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pouliot Seminar

Another great day.  Michele Pouliot is amazing.  If you have any interest in freestyle, she is definitely the person you want to spend your money seeing.  Her routines are so creative - it just amazes me how she thinks and comes up with stuff.  Her approach to teaching things is also very creative.  What a day.

And to make it even better, Gimme had another great day.  She did very well on all her work sessions.  The morning wasn't as good as it started yesterday, but then when I simplified and made it easier for her, she really got into what we were doing.  I was very pleased with her focus and attitude. 

Again at lunch we did a long session of playing look-at-that so she could just look at the things that distract her and get it out of her system.  So in the afternoon the first two sessions were really good.  She was very focused and working very hard.  There we are working just twenty five feet from the nearest dog team - and there were a dozen of them. 

I was so thrilled with how she did this weekend... with just a little bit of CU work, she was able to mostly ignore the other dogs.  Not ignore as in compelled to ignore, rather ignore as in not really interested in them, preferring to win treats from me.  That is a very huge milestone.

During the last session of the day she didn't do well.  She was well-behaved, just unable to focus.  That's understandable - there were a LOT of the teams that were pretty wiped out by then.  So I just made it all about rewarding any effort to keep her attention on me, which was about all she was up for.  I was very liberal with the treats, so it was a good experience for her, even if we didn't accomplish anything in terms of what the session was for.

When we got home she just crashed for the evening.  Today we had a nice shaping session and has been crashed ever since then.  Tomorrow we'll get to walk on the fort, so that will be nice for both of us.

BTW I met another lady with a Papillion that is working the CU stuff.  Both she and her dog were nice.  The dog was doing really well handling the distraction.  "Control Unleashed" works and I highly recommend it. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sdao Seminar

What a great day today. The seminar was just full of information... Much of which I knew, but presented in a new way or using new examples, so I am seeing different ways to apply it. Cool stuff.

The best part was the working slot I had with Gimme. Since today was basics (& more), and since there were a number of people who were less experienced, the structure of today's working sessions worked out just perfectly for us. The first session was all about the mechanics of clean clicker training. First we practiced without the dogs. Three one minute sets: how fast can you deliver treats, how fast can you click and deliver treats and then what affect do subtle changes in delivery have on your rate of delivery. Then we repeated the process with the dogs. So Gimme started by getting 26 treats for being cute. It is a system she really likes. Getting clicked and treated for really nothing suited her well too. Then the third set was clicked and treated for any head movement. Despite the distraction of all the other dogs, Gimme really was getting into this easy stuff.

Our second session was to shape a simple touch of our training partner's hand. Since Gimme already knows a hand touch, learning to do the same with someone else was very easy for her to figure out. So essentially two sessions early in the day -- easy, fun and with a very high rate of reward. During lunch we did a lot of CU look at that. That really set her up well, since I spent a lot of time on it and basically satisfied all her need to look.

By the time we started the afternoon sessions, Gimme was really primed to have fun. She had all the focus I could ever have wanted. She did really well and barely even noticed all the other dogs working on the floor at the same time (12 teams at a time). I was so proud of her. This was a huge jump in ability from last weekend. Her understanding and ability to focus despite distraction, is really just growing all the time.

BTW Gimme was a very popular photo subject. I think there are about 200 more pictures of her floating around the universe now. A man from Shanghai took at least half of them and has promised to email me copies. I got to hear how beautiful she is at least two dozen times. You know I really get tired of hearing that, not...

So, really looking forward to tomorrow with Michelle Pouliot. Gimme is clearly the cutest puppy on the planet -- I sure enjoy showing that this beauty comes with brains. Yah baby...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nosework (5/4)

Class tonight was great, as usual.   We spent much of class working on corners - that is getting the dogs to pay attention to the corners when they are searching and not just rounding them off.  It was interesting how much harder that was for the dogs.  Gimme did well; I can see that we need to put more effort into corners in our practices.  I did notice that she paw whacked two of the first three hides - I'm liking that.

For the last exercise, we did a thing to see what the natural indication style was for each dog.  Joyce put the hides (paired with treats) in places where the dog couldn't really get to it.  There were three hides, one-by-one.  Gimme and Grafton did the best I thought, as far as persistence and speed. 

Gimme was checking it out and then looking at me and Joyce had me reward that.  In nosework any indication is acceptable.  At the NW3 level you have to describe your indication on the trial entry form.

A lot of dogs do just turn and pointedly look at their handler as an indication and that is certainly acceptable.   My concern with encouraging a "look at Mom" as her indication, is that I've put so much effort into rewarding checking in... so she checks in a lot that doesn't have anything to do with finding odor.  So, when I know where the hide is I can see it and reward it.  However, when I don't know where it is (blind searches), then I may mistake a check in for an indication. 

She tended toward a paw whack when we did the tracking game of lining up a bunch of different stuff on a sidewalk and just clicking and treating anything she did with them.  She did a few nose touches, but quickly started paw whacking them.  So that is what I was encouraging in tracking and I'm inclined to stick with that for nosework for two reasons.  One, its consistent - find something you want Mom to reward you for and paw whack it.  Two, its unambiguous and won't be mistaken for other behaviors, such as checking in.

When I got home I set up some hides for her and she went right back to paw whacking them.  So I'm going to keep encouraging that at home and during field trips.  In classes, I'll continue to reward the heck out of any paw whacks.  I'll make sure in the future that I have both cheese and peanut butter at all times.  So if we repeat this exercise, I can reward the look-at-Mom, but I'll use cheese.  Whereas paw whacks will get peanut butter.  I think Gimme will figure that out in no time flat.

BTW got the file for the match videos and sadly they are in a format that my program says it can't use.  I've sent an email to my computer guru and hopefully he'll have a solution.  Otherwise I may not be able to put them here.  If you can access video streaming, the file is available for viewing at:   https://vimeo.com/39446932 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Gimme Chooses Mom

Today we went to a morning workshop on agility foundation with Andrea Dexter.  Didn't know what to expect from the instructor or from Gimme.  Andrea has some really great ideas about foundation work and I highly recommend her foundation seminar to anyone starting a dog in agility.

There were 8 working teams, three with were teenage dogs and the rest younger.  The first exercise was on transitions and I was sure happy that we'd already done some CU work.  The other teams were mostly learning about making the transition and how to get their dog into a thinking brain.  Gimme and I started at the car with reorienting as she got out of her crate, then again out of the car, then again entering the arena.  We walked a few steps which was enough for her to be distracted by the environment, so then I waited for her to choose to focus on me.  This happened a few times and then she was all about her Mom. 

So we did some run away games and Gimme was really wanting to stick with me.  Andrea stepped on her leash and distracted her once, Gimme chose me.  Andrea used my regular treats and distracted her, Gimme chose me.  Andrea took a bit of my peanut butter to distract her, Gimme chose me.  Then Andrea took my whole freakin' jar of peanut butter to distract her and my sweet darling baby girl still chose ME! 

I am misty eyed with the memory of this experience.  I mean, I love this dog crazy-like and I believe we have a great relationship.  But Holy Criminy... GIMME CHOSE ME OVER PEANUT BUTTER!!!!  And that was even knowing I didn't have any at all cuz she saw the transfer of the jar!

Andrea had a lot of nice things to say about Gimme and I was sooooo happy with all the foundation work we've done and what learning CU has brought to the table.  It adds a whole new element to Gimme's abilities.  By then I had so much attention from Gimme that we were able to heel out of the arena and to the car - whilst hearing Andrea pointing out our "lovely heeling". 

For our second working session, Gimme was really ready to go... with just a tiny bit of distraction.  I didn't have anything in particular that I wanted to work on, since we are really just starting agility.  I told Andrea where we are and what we are doing and then said, "feel free to chose something yourself,"  so she jumped at the chance to demonstrate something the other dogs weren't really up for.

So there we are free-shaping a completely new behavior in a strange place with 15 people watching and dogs in crates nearby.  At one point Gimme did notice one of the dogs and started to drift in that direction, yet she came perfectly when called.  After that I tossed her reward cookies in a different direction.  Twice Gimme made a leap in understanding and twice Andrea pointed it out, saying it was "accidental".  I just smiled as Gimme repeated the accidental behavior three or four more times.  After the second time, Andrea didn't say that again.  Gimme loves free-shaping and is verrrrry good at it. 

So it was a very fun day and even if I hadn't learned things, I'd still be very happy with the day because I could really see how far Gimme has come in a relatively short time.  It really is cool living with the smartest and the cutest puppy on the planet.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nosework (4/4)

Class tonight was very good.  I made it a point to get to class really early so I could talk to Joyce without being rushed, about what I'm doing and when and why.  She did agree with the assessment that it was a strong possibility that Gimme loves the hunt more than "regular" treats.  I think she really "got" what I was saying, so I think we are more on the same page and hope that having that conversation will be helpful in the future..

Now the report on the peanut butter as a reward.  First, for the most part Gimme did take a little longer waiting for me (persisting) at the hides.  It wasn't as pronounced as it is when I practice at home, since I don't pair them with food and Joyce pairs most of them in class.  Still, it was enough to be noticeable.

More exciting - Gimme paw whacked two hides.  The very first one, she knew where it was from the start line (the breeze was blowing right over it) and got there well ahead of me... so while I was coming in she paw whacked it.  You gotta know I loved seeing that right off the bat - clearly she retained that from our lesson on Sunday.  Then on our third search, there were two hides and one was hard for her to find.  She found one right away and got rewarded.  Then later when she hadn't found another one, decided to go back to the first one to see if she could make me pay again.  Ordinarily I wouldn't pay a second time... but when I didn't come in right away, she paw whacked it, so I rushed in and made it worth her while.  Doncha know those wheels are always turning.

I think when I don't know where they are and am slower to respond, that she's going to be more likely to paw whack them... which is great.  Likewise, when they aren't paired, she'll be more likely to persist.

I am going to have to thin the peanut butter more to use it in nosework.  Its great to have it thick when I'm using it for classical conditioning with the horses and such, but its too thick in class.  She gets a bunch in her mouth and then spends a lot of time licking her leg to get her tongue unglued from the roof of her mouth.  <G>

When I told Joyce about my mistake in the ORT, she replied that its those kinds of costly mistakes that stick with us the best and make us smarter trainers.  I told her I'd rather be dumber and more successful...

Monday, April 2, 2012


Gimme and Grafton haven't had a chance to play together for two weeks.  So Mary and I surprised them with a during-the-week outing.  They had great fun.  Sadly I was unable to get a video of the game where they play "The Lion and the Dalzelle".  Every time I stopped to video what they were doing, Gimme would turn to see what I was doing and not do her part of the game.  We'll keep watching for it and hopefully get it another time. 

Here are some pictures of Grafton...  He's a real sweetie and Gimme is loving having him to play with... 

This first picture is the Lion hiding in the tall grass...
You can barely see him and were it not for the green grass in the foreground,
you'd never notice him...

"This is my puddle, but I will share with you, my beloved..."

We'd just put Gimme in the car
and Grafton was looking forlornly in her direction.

Here you can see the mix of Sweetness and Machismo
that attracts Gimme to him,
despite his obvious peasant upbringing. 

This short clip is just a bit of the silly playing and running that they do pretty much non-stop.  You'll note who has to have the upper-paw at all times.

Carla Fails the ORT

I failed our ORT today.  This one is totally on me - I called "alert" too soon, misreading her nose bump of the wrong box.  In hindsight, I think she was in fringe scent and bumped the box accidentally while trying to see if that was where the odor was coming from.  So frustrating for me.  I'm sure it was frustrating for Gimme too, having her search ended when she had just started.

However I did get to talk to someone before things started and got some great advice.  So nice to have someone who will listen to the issues we are having and respond to that.  She suggested I needed much higher power treats because from what I was describing, she thinks Gimme enjoys the hunt more than the find - at least when rewarded with her regular treats. 

This I think makes perfect sense in terms of not-persisting, in two different ways.  If its the hunt she enjoys then stopping the hunt when she finds it to reward with ordinary treats is somewhat punitive.  So to counteract that effect, we need a reward that is bigger than the hunt.  As I've said a hundred times here, Gimme is CRAZEEEEEEE about peanut butter and will definitely work harder to get it and has been known on many occasions to mug me when she thinks she's due and I'm not paying up.  So peanut butter will be more important than continuing the hunt AND it will be of such high value that she'll demand she get it, creating persistence when she finds a hide.  So its just a matter of her knowing that PB is the reward she gets for nosework from now on and I think the persisting angle will fall into place

After getting home from Oregon City, using peanut butter for a reward and several small plastic containers, I got Gimme giving me a pretty persistent paw whack on a container with odor in it.  I considered going for a nose touch/hold or a sit, but then decided to go with the paw whack, since that comes naturally to her.  Its also what I'd been training her to use for an article indication in tracking.  I have to remember not to do too many repetitions at one time, since she gets so excited she stops using her nose and starts whacking everything in sight.  I'm going to play with this game for a week or so and see how it evolves.  I may consider taking a private lesson from someone else at some point if I don't see us getting there from here.

At the very least, it will be helpful to get her persisting in place and with luck I can start getting a solid indication style.  Part of the problem is also that her search style may be evolving, which makes reading her harder too.  She used to wag her tail faster when she found it, but in the videos from the match, that wasn't the case.  I think she is getting more serious about finding odor.  I know she did pass up the opportunity to steal a cardboard middle that the odor was hidden in during one of our recent classes - she loves cardboard middles a lot.  So I was happy that she was able to focus like that.  Or, possibly the silly-fast wag may have gone away as part of her maturing, she's not as puppy as before.

I went out to a movie yesterday to distract me from my failure and after I got home again, I did one hide for her, to see what might have stuck with her from earlier in the day.  She knew I had the peanut butter and when she found the hide turned around and jumped on me.  I just waited her out, while she was spinning and carrying on right there (persisting doncha know) and just as I was deciding I'd been a dumbass by putting the hide in a place that was "hard" to paw at, she turned around and gave it a good solid whack.  I "yessed" strongly and gave her a huge jackpot of peanut butter. 
Now I'm going to resist the very strong inclination to do anything more with this for a few days.  I'm going to let her percolate on this experience.  It'll be interesting to see what she does in class on Wednesday night.

There's an ORT right here in town on 5/6 and I've printed off the info and form.  I'll get it filled out tonight.  Right now I'm going to take some drugs for a migraine and then Gimme and me are going to go join Mary and Grafton for a long walk on the fort.  I'm taking my camera and hope to get a video of the game they invented.