April 11, 2011

Steve and Jen White seminar

Over this past weekend, Dazzle and I attended a 3-day seminar presented by Steve and Jen White.  They are incredible people and I felt like I really learned a LOT!  Friday was the scent work seminar and while it got a bit off-track and we didn't really follow the planned power point, I do think it was very helpful and Dazzle and I made progress.  After the seminar, Dazzle had a chance to play with the new scent wall at Posidog in Columbus:
The wall has 3 holes per panel connected to pipes on the back side that hold the scent item and allow a tennis ball or thin tug toy to be delivered to the dog when the dog finds the hole with the scent.  Distraction scents can be put in the tubes as well (one had a tennis ball in it).  The tubes can be moved around so that the scent can be placed at different holes/levels.  Dazzle did well locating the target scent and thought the ball dispensing wall was awesome! 

We had working spots on Friday for the "Reliable Scent Work for the Real World" and on Saturday for the "Raising the bar" session.  I have SO much to work on now :-)  I was reminded of just how much a behavior can get broken down into smaller components.  And that several other factors (like accuracy, speed, latency, etc.) need to be worked on separately along with the usual 3D's (distance, duration, distraction) when raising criteria.

Sunday we had an observer spot for the "problem solving" session and Dazzle got to spend more time in his "convertible".  Here is his typical pose when people were practicing- resting his head and watching what was going on: 

When it was just lecture, he laid down and went to sleep.  The top can be zipped closed, but he prefers it to be open.  If there was anything that caught his attention, he would "meer cat" through the top to check it out :-)

I worked on some new training plans and found Steve is right (big surprise! :-) "The training plan only lasts till first contact with the dog" because once we started working, I found I needed to modify my carefully laid out plan to meet Dazzle at his level (either easier or at a higher level than I thought he would start).

There was a big group photo taken on Sunday, but I don't have it from Chad/Sarah yet.