Class the other night was all about intentional distractions in containers. We were all supposed to bring a container with a distraction in it. I forgot mine so shoved some cheese into a water bottle. Sadly I also forgot my camera, so no videos.
Our first search there was 17 containers and all had food distractions, with no odor. There were also 8 empty, never-used odor tins. The odor tins were included to preclude the possibility of dogs learning to alert on the smell of those tins. No dog was interested in my boring cheese in a water bottle. Some containers were more interesting than others. Oddly, one of the most attractive containers had liquid hand soap in it. Remember, dogs are often highly interested in novel smells, not just meat and cheese. I remember at one trial a very large percentage of dogs false alerted on Irish Spring bar soap. Our job was to let the dogs explore any container they were interested in, as long as they weren't destroying it. If they started going Captain Destructo on a container or after a "reasonable" time of investigation, we were to move them on non-verbally, using our own motion and/or body language to help them move on.
Gimme got interested in a couple of containers and was mostly able to move on without me helping her. She didn't fall for the liquid hand soap. Outside was a set of warm-up/recovery boxes. So after searching this room without odor, we were able to take them out and reward them on odor. (Gimme got rewarded on those boxes going both ways on all her searches).
For the second search, they added five containers with odor. These were strategically placed near the more attractive distractions, so we were able to maneuver the dog to odor the moment they left a distraction. Across the board, all the dogs were less captivated by the distractions when there was odor available in the environment. Gimme did very well, though she had one special container which still held her interest. It was an ice-cream carton with a cheeseburger in it, a most irresistible combination, doncha know. When she left it and hit odor nearby, I made sure it paid VERRRRRY well.
Our third search they just added 7 ORT boxes. So we had a search area of 17 distraction containers, 8 blank odor tins, 7 ORT boxes and 5 odor containers. It was a lot to keep track of, so the odor containers all had a large piece of blue painter's tape on top. Gimme did well on this search too and this time left the ice-cream carton on her own. Yayyyy.
It was a fun class with a nicely designed progression for teaching the dogs. Gimme was content on the way home and snoozed all evening while I did my taxes.