I ran into some difficulty this past week with getting Treasure to find odor only. She definitely knows the odor and will go straight to it, but will stop maybe a foot from it and then decide to go look somewhere else. She will do this many times. If I drop some food next to the odor, she dives right in, but if the food is not there with the odor when she finds it, she leaves. I've been trying to get to her quickly and pet as the reward for finding the odor and then feeding her actually at the site, hoping she will learn to go in closer on her own.
I love video taping my classes and training sessions. Because I'm able to go back and watch things frame by frame, I realize how much I'm missing in real time! There are many, many frames in each second of video. I am beginning to see the patterns in Treasure's searching that are too quick for me to see during real time when I am watching the whole picture. I can see and begin to predict the littlest movements that indicate that she has noticed the odor. I notice each time she licks her nose to help keep it moist so more scent sticks to it (and to wipe away the older scent so she can gather new information). I can see that she begins to spin as she gets to a certain point inside the scent cones and am beginning to be able to predict that as well. The patterns are emerging and it is fascinating!
I can see when my timing is right on and when I am really slow on the uptake getting to her to reward. Even if it seems in real time that I am getting in there quickly to reward, there is some video to prove otherwise! This may be part of the reason I was having trouble this past week. My goal this week is to anticipate her getting to the scent so I can be there and ready to reward earlier. Better to reward what I think is too early than to reward too late.
We also used a taped box with a hole cut in the top. This allows Treasure to find the odor and try to get the food out, but she can't really reach the food without my help. I am rewarding inside the box as much as possible to teach her to really get her nose in close to the odor. Hopefully this will help too. Thanks Lynne for taping!