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Old 07-09-2013, 10:43 PM
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Laurelin Laurelin is online now
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Default How do you train an alert on odor? (plus other question)

I think I am going to need a new approach for Summer.

Mia alerts on odor very well now. What I did with her was capitalize on her frustration. She has always been a big sniffer and I had noticed when she trailed a mouse (or something), she'd start pawing/digging at it. Or if she treed a squirrel, etc. So...I stopped treating her immediately for putting her nose on the odor and started waiting until she pawed at it. Now she will go in, locate the odor paw at it pretty vigorously, then look at me.

Now Summer...doesn't do that or follow her nose much. We are still pairing odor and food most the time for her and she is definitely getting the game and developing some drive for it. I decided to try to get her to start an alert behavior. Well.... she doesn't naturally paw at things but she has a good 'touch' command. So I was holding a vial of odor out and asking her to touch it. She picked up readily that I wanted her to touch it. But when I put the vial on the ground, she started running around and trying to touch everything in the floor I don't think she's getting that finding the odor then pawing it is what I want.

So.... would you continue on the way I am doing it and only reward for pawing at the odor source? Then separately work on finding the odor source? I still don't have a huge window there where she'll stick to the source to wait her out. I need to reward fairly quickly or she's moving on.

Also, Mia kept really wanting to alert on my mop today. She's usually really reliable but she kept alerting on the brush on the mop. I had used lysol to clean the floors last week with it (it's brand new). Could she be mistaking the orange lysol for birch?
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Mia CGC - (5 year old Papillon)
Hank - (approx. 10 month old Spotty Dog)
Summer TG3 TIAD - (10 year old Papillon)
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:29 PM
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Laurelin Laurelin is online now
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Just a follow up in case anyone is interested.

I started doing some work on getting Summer to alert. I know it will take longer considering she's still not even on purely odor. I've done two sessions with her and am not asking for a behavior just yet on everything. We did the normal few hides and rewarded like usual. I am feeding her multiple times at each one to try to encourage 'stick with the source' some since she's such a spaz.

Our last hide for each round I do the same then will ask her to touch it. I reward. After that first time she will touch it again (I love having a dog that understands offering behaviors lol). Reward. Over and over and I move the odor around. Luckily Summer is easy to trick so I can point across the room then barely move the odor source and she has to sniff it out again. It seems like she's picking up that she is to paw at it. Slowly. I also moved it to it being on the wall instead of on the ground for now.

I have no idea if this is the 'right' way to go about this but I am seeing progress. Will keep you all updated.

I also asked about the lysol and the thought is from the trainers that either there is an ingredient on the mop itself or the lysol that smells similar to birch or that the smell was overpowering the birch and it confused Mia. She is no longer alerting on the mop though (I had to be a meany and keep it out when I ran them again last night).

Mia is hilariously into nosework. I need to get a video of her happy when she realizes it's her turn to run nosework.

I am having one issue with Mia (haven't got this far with Summer) where she is so excited to go she is bolting past the thresholds. I know most trials are on a leash (I think) so I can physically make her wait at the thresholds but I think I am going to try to train her to not take off like a rocket when I release her to go search. Wish me luck lol.
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Mia CGC - (5 year old Papillon)
Hank - (approx. 10 month old Spotty Dog)
Summer TG3 TIAD - (10 year old Papillon)
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