We started with a series of four hides down a blacktop walkway with grass on one side and dirt and trees on the other. One hide was about ten feet into the grass. Because of the location, a lot of dogs have been walked there and peed. Out of our five class dogs, Gimme and Grafton were the only two to find all four hides and not pee once. There was one spot where I thought Gimme was thinking about it, so I hustled her away from it. The other three dogs peed about halfway down, though on different sides of the path.
Then we did a series of three hides with one distraction in the top edge of a block wall... you know those retaining wall blocks that are slightly wedge shaped. Gimme and Maddie were the only dogs that paid no attention to the empty potato chip bag.
Then Joyce set up three hides in the grass in a straight line... one was a foot from the blacktop, the next was three feet later and then another three feet after that. There was one spot between the first two hides where all the dogs did some crittering, so I'm sure some dog peed there before.
Our last search was in the grass where there was a series of five utilities covers in a space about 10x5 feet and Joyce put hides on four of them. All the dogs did really well with that, though Grafton did pee and Joyce reacted by taking him by the harness and marching him off the search area.
Grafton is far too soft for that and Mary and I have since had a discussion about not letting anyone correct her dog - she's even very careful about it herself because he's so easy to deflate. Mary said she was just kind of surprised and caught flat-footed, not expecting Joyce to do anything like that, but she'll sure be prepared next time. I let Joyce know I thought it was inappropriate to correct Grafton and I'm sure she knows she'd better never even think about doing that with Gimme. No one corrects my dog!
In any case, Gimme, the worst marking dog I've ever known, worse than any male dog I've ever known, was the only one to make it through a whole class without peeing - with four searches on tempting surfaces, no less. Woo hoo! I think I have actually learned to tell when she's gonna mark. Three clues:
- Sniffing in one spot, with her nose still...
- Her tail goes still, and then...
- And sometimes as she is sniffing she moves so that she's over the spot, where its almost between her front feet and her neck is actually curved kinda under her.
Her tail wags faster when she gets in odor and is detailing and tonight was the first time I noticed it goes still when she's crittering. The key about sniffing is that when they are crittering, they'll tend to sniff one spot for a long time. However, when they are detailing odor, they may sniff a lot in a small space, its still moving as they are following it (almost looks like stippling for you quilters). The difference is sorta like this:
I've been studying her for the longest time trying to spot her "tells". Every dog has them and I think I've finally found them. That's a great relief since its something that has worried me about doing exteriors. I think I may have spotted Grafton's too - he doesn't always lift a leg, so can be hard to catch. Mary and I will watch him during the next walk and see if I'm right.
I know it always sounds like I'm bragging about Gimme - can I help it that she's that good... Is it still considered bragging if its justified?