Thursday, July 05, 2012
So my homework for scent class has been different for each of the pups. Harley's homework has been to encourage him to take A STEP into the brush to find me when doing human searches. He is a GREAT searcher (at least of me), but reluctant to dive into the unknown. Phoenix's homework was to do short searches where I barely went out of her sight and then got down and "hid" from her. She is actually getting "worse" in the sense of worrying/crying/whining and expressing anxiety over being separated from me during the hides so the homework was meant to boost her confidence that she could find me and assure her that I wouldn't be lost for long.
Momma (Nanna) and Ken (Ta) helped on Tuesday morning. I did several successful hides with Harley. I didn't work so much on getting into the brush, but I took him to a new place. There were ducks and geese and several people milling about... Including children (YIKES!) , but he did AMAZING and his arousal levels stayed down. He didn't bark at one single person. Is he cured? Absolutely not, but we are building positive experiences. We did the short hides with Phoenix... Is it helping? I honestly can't tell... She still whined. She didn't whine when I had her find Ta (her second favorite person in the whole wide world!). She did exactly what she was supposed to do. She dropped her nose at his article and scented it and found him right around the corner out of sight. It was !!
Today Joe and I took the pups and went to the same place. We did short hides again with Phoenix. She cried the entire time... I'm not sure it is helping... Joe was holding them both on leashes and letting go of the searcher each time. Harley about killed him trying to get to me on one of Phoenix's searches. He did exceptionally well on his initial searches. He got to play frisbee and was well behaved with the people (and dogs) coming and going. I decided to try a more difficult search. I went up a grade and turned into the brush and squatted down after ONE step. Joe sent him to search... A couple of things went wrong... Joe didn't come with him to support the search. BOO! Also, (I didn't know it at the time...) he didn't let him watch to see which direction I went in initially. Most importantly, the search was WAY TO LONG to not provide support with. The first attempt, he went back to the original spot I had hidden and returned to Joe. The second attempt, he went up the path I took, gave up and returned to Joe and the original hide spot again. At this point, I thought I might be losing him.... I yelled his name and yelled for Joe to come with him to support the search. On his third attempt, he came up the path I took, cut back to my original hide, and turned back and started scenting me... I was about 20 feet away in the brush from the side he was on, but he was CERTAIN that he had me... He came in a few feet and backed up and started to circle the brush. Joe urged him to "get in there" and he dove into the weeds and on top of me. SUCCESS!!! I was really proud of him.
Live and learn... I have things to keep in mind for our next outing... There's always a new day and more work to do!