Wednesday's class was held at a park where we used the individual public restrooms. Most dogs did 3 searches then rested and did 3 more. Gimme did all 6 back to back to teach endurance. The endurance wasn't a challenge for her, since I've done practices with 8 hides before.
Mostly she did verrrrry well. Two searches presented difficulties. For one the hide was on the side of the toilet between the toilet and the wall and she alerted on the near side. The space was very tight. It was about 9 inches, so not too tight to get in there. That is something I'll have to set up and practice so Gimme gets into those tight spaces.
I don't think she was worried by the tight spacing, just didn't see any reason to get into it when she could indicate from the near side - which is only 3 inches away. Inaccessible hides could be a couple feet over the dog's head or many inches away behind a barrier. So I am left wondering if doing a lot of inaccessible hides teaches the dogs that they really don't need to get to source.
The other one she had problems with was two hides in the same bathroom and only about 18 inches apart. So definitely converging odor and even the strongest parts of the odor cones would have been overlapping. That's another problem I can set up in practices for her to solve.
Then we did two hides outdoors around some enormous utility covers. Gimme found those so fast it almost wasn't any fun. She went from one directly to the other as if she'd seen them placed.
I had another pondering the other day about motivation. Joyce has been saying over and over and over again regarding Gimme's excessive pawing that I should fix it. Its always bothered me that there is never any mention of how she's improved AND that the only solutions she gives are punishment, which I'd never do. Her plan to motivate me is to mention repeatedly the possibility that Gimme could fault-out (more than three faults) at a trial and cost us a title. Of course, that is unlikely to the extreme and until this last weekend we'd never received any faults for pawing... so the threat was vague and unbelievable. Thus it had no motivational value whatsoever. If anything, I was almost determined NOT to do anything.
Then I go to a trial and Gimme gets her first fault for pawing. It was annoying and no more, since I've been prepared all along for the occasional fault. The reason we didn't title was solely because of my dunce-head mistake. In our last trial we were a couple minutes behind the HIT Aussie (the same dog that beat us by over a second on that exterior) so it never occurred to me that we could be in the running. However, in reviewing the trial stats... it becomes evident that had I
not screwed us up and had there not been a fault, Gimme would have been
High in Trial by a comfortable margin. Now suddenly I'm motivated to work on modifying (de-excessifying) her paw indicator.
Just goes to show that reinforcement, even one that could easily never happen, is far more motivating than the threat of punishment, that is also unlikely. Hmmmmm...
Well now I really must get to work... and when I get home, quickly pack up for our weekend seminar in Oregon...