Class tonight was really good. Joyce came with an exercise designed to get the dogs to stick their nose to odor. We did it in two different ways.
The first version is that you put out one very simple hide. The instant the dog finds it, you treat - not waiting for any indication. Then you continue standing there with a handful of small treats and each time the dog touches the tin with their nose they get another treat. If need be, you can shape by treating for a nose dip toward the tin. As they get the idea, you move your closed hand full of treats near the tin (about 12") and wait. So the hand presents a distraction and the dog learns "you have give it up - to get it, grasshopper". You do about thirty treats in a row that way. Then take the dog away and let them find it again - doing this drill three times total. I've named this "Nosework Zen", since its so similar conceptually to Doggie Zen.
The second version is three very simple hides, such as, spaced along a wall. And then do what you just did with the other, with each of them. In both versions, if your hand is starting to come in to give the treat (always feed at odor) and the dog's nose comes away, your hand stops. This was easier said than done with Miss Gimme. The idea is to shape the dog to more or less hold their nose on odor, or multiple touches.
Gimme doesn't hold well in this kind of exercise (not to be confused with her stays), but she very quickly moved to tap-tap-tap multiple touches of her nose on the tin. At first Joyce was trying to get me to feed her before her paw came up, but, as I've learned in other exercises, sorting Gimme's paw out of a behavior that she thinks is paw-worthy is much easier said than done. Joyce tried to show me how to do it and was then forced to admit that
Gimme's reaction time is much, much faster than the other dogs.
Then she said not to worry about the paw, that we may end up with a nose touch and paw lift and that would be perfectly fine. I told her (again) that we'd never had a problem with excessive pawing in matches or trials, never faulted or anyone even said they thought about faulting her, and that it seems to be something that mostly shows up in class. Thus, its not something I worry about.
Interestingly, even though Gimme wouldn't hold her nose on the tin, she was very inclined to place her paw there and keep it there. In trying to get holds or multiple nose touches, we got a bit more paw action, but once Gimme started giving me multiple touches, the paw pretty much stayed still.
It was a good exercise for us, so I plan to do it some more. Probably the best class I remember having in quite awhile. Not a lot of searching, but nice, clean and incremental training to a point and strictly reward-based. And Gimme thoroughly enjoyed getting 200 treats.
BTW we did all this on Clove... Joyce said she's been giving us clove now and then for awhile. So I'm going to look for an ORT that we can go to and knock that off our list. (just looked, nothing closer than 2 hour drive this year)
Also, just learned that the rules have changed and you can enter more than one trial at one time. So we could have entered the Fife trial in June. Darn to missing that.
And, having checked the trial results for the day. In addition to Gimme getting 2nd in Exterior and a ribbon, she was also 6th in Interiors...