Thursday, February 09, 2006

Day 203

The Six Pack is still here. Sanity has learned to deal with the idea of someone sleeping in the living room and another dog with special privileges. That part is going well, but...

She steals and she steals and she steals. She steals slippers. She steals Noxema face cream. She goes back and steals slippers. The slippers get hidden in Lucile's suitcase and Sanity opens the suitcase so she can steal them again. Now the jar of Noxema has tooth marks in it from her having to bite down to carry it around. I am doing a very bad thing because I am randomly rewarding her for bringing the stolen items to me and waiting patiently for me to notice that she is standing behind me when I am at the computer.

There really is a method to my madness where all this stealing is concerned. It is just one more way to instill not just a strong retrieve but a bring everything to me type of retrieve. After all, who knows? Some day maybe I'll want to do a Doberman Gang heist, one can never tell about such things.

Lucile's little Chinese Crested, Cougar, is holding her own with no trouble at all. However it is taking the total vigilance of both Lucile and I to make sure Cougar stays on the winning side. Sanity still views her as something of an interloper and continues to try and get in cheap shots a couple of times a day. These swipes are now completely and totally lacking in "heart" and appear to be more for forms sake than anything else. This is also the place where so many people get themselves and the dog in trouble. They think there is no longer a problem, when that is far from being the case. Lucile and I will continue our vigilance in this matter.

Scent work saw two correct retrieves in the a.m. and again in the afternoon. Next I used the small window of time before the Thursday evening group class started to get in a third session. This was a test session since it was a totally new location for this work, a new taboo scent, many dogs and people walking around or standing around watching. First time I sent her, she waffled around, went out sniffed both articles, started to return, went back sniffed again and then started the whole avoidance thing. "Maybe if I just sniff the floor all around I won't have to make a decision." is what her entire body language was saying.

That behavior always earns a correction straight to the correct article and that was that. Then next time my article was put out, I said find and she went at once and directly to the correct article with only the briefest of sniffs at the taboo article. Quite praise for a good job and we set up to do it again.

This time the article was put in a different location. She was almost on her way before I had a chance to say "find". Smallest of sniffs and she had the correct article and was back to me. So this meant for the third time I have been given 2 correct finds back-to-back. Tomorrow we will begin changing the location of the taboo article.
Footnote: I start the article part of scent work with the metal articles. The taboo article always acts as the "anchor" while the correct article is the one that moves. I use an imagery clock face to determine where the correct article will be placed. With Sanity we started with the correct article being placed at the 9 o'clock position for her first send and the 11 o'clock position for the second send. Tomorrow when we begin the change, the first send with be to an article that has been placed at 11 o'clock and the second article will be placed at the 12 o'clock position. That may not seem like much of a difference, but to the dogs it can be a major issue.


  1. Anonymous3:13 AM

    I want you to know that I appreciate you explaining what must seem like elementary things to you, but isn't to me. Your clock method of reinforcement is great. Thanks for "training" me along with Sanity. I plan to use your method when I get my next Dobe later this year.
    Stay Safe,

    Mike Crimens
    Bayern, Germany

  2. I have always had people question my slow, methodical way of teaching scent work. It isn't likely that I will ever change since this set-up has made it possible for me to train everything from Chows to Pekes and a multitude of different breeds and mixes in between. The best part of doing the teaching this way is that once the dog is solid it is a very permanent sort of solid and becomes one of the few things they never get wrong again. Wrong being a somewhat subjective word, since scent drift and mishandling of the article or item may cause the scent to wander away from where you think it should be.

    Besides which, I just love teaching it. Watching the dogs doing something I can't do at all never loses it fascination for me.