I have trained Freya for the winner class in obedience. It has lot of new tasks and some that are more challenging version of open class tasks. It has been fun to see her progress and also to see how learning curve goes up and down. When you teach a new behavior chain it usually works pretty well at first. Then follows a testing time where dogs test can they get away with different kind of behaviors. This a normal learning curve period which tests the handlers’ patience and skills to overcome the testing phase. Today Freya had her test period with controlled retrieve. She had her stocking mode on and stopped to a U-shape position to watch the dumbbell. This was the first time she anticipated the retrieve part. It actually looked really funny. So I rewarded her from healing nicely to the dumbbells and next reward point was doing nice straight stop. This is just one example of the testing of the behavior chain in ob.
Freya have had problem of being in too high drive while doing a scent discrimination. When she is in a hurry she takes the next wooden object to the right one or she runs so that half of objects are behind her and when she doesn’t find the right one she just brings the nearest. I have tried in many ways to correct her working energy but I haven’t got the results that I wanted. I wanted to find something knew to change the way she worked. I got my answer from video library in Karen Pryor Academy.
I watched a lecture of Hannah Branigan from Clicker Expo 2015 library. She had a very interesting idea how to train scent discrimination. Hanna used a cover of a plastic containers to teach scent discrimination. You start with one cover to teach a strong nose touch, then introduce second cover that has touch only from the edge. You click every time the dog touches the right cover that has touched between hands (a hot target). At first the dog doesn’t know what it’s doing but it doesn’t take too long and the dog hits always the hot target. As soon as you have more than one cover you should change the order all the time. Later on you just add one cover at the time to make this search more complex. If you dog makes mistake, you just wait it to find the right one. With these cover you can easily stop dog from lifting the wrong one and you just click for the right one. Gradually you can also introduce distraction between the cover. Also you can start using retrievable object that you make as the hot object to bring the retrieve part to the task.
With this exercise I could make Freya find out hot object even though it was behind her. With plastic covers she couldn’t retrieve closed object as panic choice if didn’t find the real hot object. I could just wait her to look for the cover that she had left behind her. All together this way of training has made her scent work calmer and I have had change reward her more during one session. I think this plastic cover technique would we super to start to whole scent discrimination work even though I only used it to improve Freya work. Here is a video of scent discrimination work right now, not the best:
Today we had our winner class competition. Freya was in low drive mood but she did the task pretty well. We could have got even 1st prize but I didn't wait her to correct her position in the box. My biggest win today was scent discrimination!!! She got 9,5 points and it was just wonderful. Really liked her work. Few homework for next time but she did really well today. I hope that we get her competition confidence as good she has in training. She could be my best ob dog so far. Love her to pieces. Here is our whole winner class:
That's all for now!!!!