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Monumental A to Z High On Liberty

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Oakville NW3 Pictures

Kristy Strunk took pictures of the container, vehicle and exterior searches and made them available for free.  I selected these pictures to commemorate Gimme's two new titles NW3-V and NW3-E.
Vehicle search
Here's Gimme blasting off the start line.  She has always leaped into searches.
She loves to go fast, which is why she overruns hides (and corners in tracking).
Here she's dutifully checking the front bumper of the big truck, even though there's nothing there.

Exterior search

This is right at the beginning of her search and she's on the walkway just past the pipe and the end of the railing.
Here she is at the end of the walkway on the little pad.  I didn't even notice the bleachers until I saw them in the pictures.
She did a lovely job finding the hide on the table.

She checked out the trash can, but was a good girl and didn't try to fake me out.
The piece of wood was a bit suspicious sitting out in the middle of the grass, so we checked it out just before calling "finish".


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Oakville NW3 trial

I was really hoping we'd do it this time on our fourth try. The trial was close to home, about a 40 minute drive. The elementary school they used was a great site. There was no reactive dog parking, but there were a few places available out of the crush, so it worked well anyway. The potty area was a big flat open field and even though everyone was using it, since I could see from one end to the other it was pretty easy to maintain adequate space.

Container search - We had 2:30 minutes, 1-3 hides and on leash. Gimme started out really well. She went up the left row and whipped back to get a hide in the second box. From there we checked the rest of the boxes in that row and arced over to the right row. Gimme was about halfway down the row when she turned back to the second box and alerted. Again right.

From there we came up the center row and Gimme stopped to sniff the last box. I stopped with her, she alerted and I called it for a false alert. Gimme received 4 faults: false alert - 2, pawing 1 and dropped food 1. I can't imagine how there was any dropped food since she inhales her chicken nuggets with great rapidity. It's a moot point in any case, since we could no longer qualify for the NW3 title.

I was responsible for this failure, since I didn't work my plan. When Gimme stopped to sniff the last box of the row, I stopped with her, which encouraged her to offer an alert, just to see if I'd pay. If I had continued moving around the box, I think she would have left it. My bad. I have no real sense of time, so I often feel rushed in trials. In this case we had plenty of time since I'd only used 42.13 seconds out of 2½ minutes.

Vehicle search - We had 3:00 minutes, 1-3 hides and on leash. There were two white pick-up trucks and a red compact sedan. Even though I had her pointed toward the middle pick-up, Gimme turned right off the start line to go up the side of the red car. She passed the hide briefly, then turned back to it, detailed a few seconds and alerted. After a "yes" from the judge, we checked the trucks. Gimme spent a bit of time on the front bumper of the furthest truck, but never detailed or alerted.

While she was happy to go around and around the trucks, she did try to lead me away from the vehicles. The second time she did this, I called "finished". Our search time was 1:40.46 and since this was our third leg, we completed the NW3-V title.

Interior searches - We had 2:30 minutes for each of three searches, 0-3 hides and all on leash. All three search areas were in small, cluttered classrooms.

Interior 1 search - It didn't take Gimme very long to find a hide under a small stool. From there the searched and searched. She showed some interest in a bookshelf by the wall, but moved on. There was a person standing quietly nearby and I noticed Gimme looked at her. Since she didn't seem to be finding anything I called finished at 1:36.58.

As it turns out there was a second hide in the bookshelf (red circle) where Gimme had noticed the person (smiley face).

Interior 2 search - Gimme worked this area really fast. She seemed to overrun her nose a lot, but finally settled on a hide under a chair against the wall. She searched a little more, but seemed to have lost steam. I called "finish" at 2:09.76 and was right.

Interior 3 search - Gimme entered the room and turned immediately to the right, then scooted up the right wall. From there she came back to the corner and found a hide deep in a box of blocks. She scanned around the room and sniffed the ladder laying flat on the ground. The videographer was standing right at the head of the ladder and Gimme noticed him. There was also a fish tank on the shelf above where the ladder lay, but I didn't see any sign Gimme noticed the tank or its noises.

She went over toward the door and found a hide on a chair at the table near the threshold. She scanned the room again and ended up back over at the ladder. She sniffed it again and twice looked at the man nearby. She didn't stick it and her search behavior was losing intensity so I called "finished" at 2:18.21. Turns out there was a hide on the ladder.

In hindsight, for both hides she missed (interiors 1 and 3) there was a person standing nearby, roughly 5 feet away. I don't think Gimme was intimidated or concerned by their presence, but I did see her look at the woman (bookshelf hide) and look repeatedly at the man (near the ladder hide). So I think they were simply distracting. In class we are pretty careful not to have people standing or sitting near hides and if anyone moves around during a search, they do so discretely. I've asked Dorothy to consider ways we might train this as a distraction challenge exercise.

Exterior search - - We had 3:00 minutes, 1-3 hides and on leash. The lines at the bottom right are stairs and the heavy line going up the right is a railing. The black dot is a pipe on the building and the larger grey circle is a trash can. The orange boxes are large utility fixtures. The two white squares are a desk and a folding table. The brown line is a big stick in the middle of the grass.

Gimme went to the right of the railing, followed the wall, then swept to the left around the border of the search area. She was quite interested in the area between the two utility fixtures, but I encouraged her to leave them. Given where the hide was placed I'm sure scent was being sucked between them. Once she got to the small desk it only took her a moment to get to the hide at the table.

From there she went up and through the railing, leaving me in the grass. I had her come back through to me and then we went around to check out the pipe, but she was not interested in it. She spent a bit of time checking out the trash can, but didn't settle in any spot, though she detailed both handles. When she was checking high on the wall near it, I was certain she wasn't going to find anything, so I encouraged her to leave it. We made sure to check the stick in the middle of the grass and then called "finish" and left. We only had 7.11 seconds remaining. This was our third leg and we completed the NW3-E title.

These are titles 61 and 62, our first titles this year. Gimme got a great new stuffed pig toy to reward her effort. She was pretty funny carrying it in the house and keeping those very long legs up out of the snow. Once in the house she immediately took it up on the couch, then used her nose to shove all the other toys off the couch. She hasn't allowed another toy on the couch in the 9 days since. I don't even try to comprehend what goes on in her mind - too complex for me, eh.

RFE practice (87)

On Valentine's Day no less  My Sweetheart Gimme was amazing.

Arms as distractions video - This session I focused on click/treats for ignoring my arm movements. I needed to experiment to know how much distraction I could throw at her. It wasn't perfect, but we made progress so I think I'm on the right track. I threw in some up-touch and only rewarded her if I gave the verbal cue "touch". These are all big changes for her to learn. Swinging my hand forward was really hard, because she was sure I was tossing a treat. I had to teach her it only worked if I said "get it". This is as much learning for me as it is for her. Naturally the next step with the "get it" game is to make the motion without the verbal cue part of the time, so there's no treat out there to get. And, of course, one can never offer too many "otto".

"West" & "East" video - I thought her parallel alignment was better. She did a better job of sidestepping to move forward with me.

"Leah" & "Diss" video - Gimme does pretty good at this, though I have to watch to make sure she doesn't move over to "Center" when I start moving backward.

Sequences video - She actually did better with the first one even though it's not her best side - possibly because she's not as eager to throw an "Izzy" at me as she is to throw in an "Otto". Any possibility of an "Otto" is good enough reason to stop listening.

Backing "Heel-Side" video - While my goal was to do the backing, I changed gears as needed to maintain better heel position. I think we are ready to use a smaller foot target. I need to take just 4 steps; so much of this is overkill.

Backward weaves video - Gimme still lacks confidence on "Beep", but you can see the improvement and the last time she realizes to actually turn her butt, so she's not jamming against my leg. I do see I'm rewarding her with the wrong hand much of the time - I'll have to work on it.

Center front pivot videoShe continues to over rotate going counter-clockwise, but it seems to be improving slowly since I started spitting treats to her. She has to be directly in front of me or they don't come.

Sidepass into dog video - I didn't have my list with me or I would have started with a sidepass into her, with Gimme in "Heel", since it's her more challenging direction. I need to print the list on a 3x5 card and keep it in the car. She's getting really good on the other side.

Sidepass away video - It just so happened I started with her more challenging direction, even without the list. She's getting better, but it's slow work.

All in all this was a very good session. I was really pleased with her efforts.