|Barked: Wed Jan 30, '13 10:54pm PST |
|I agree with Sarah, when beginning Nosework you're helping develop the drive or to help further strengthen a dog's natural desire to seek out things with their nose. Using high value treats or at least moist treats that are smellier than your average dog kibble/treat will be easier to find, and for a dog that's hyper and easily distracted than a small room with few distractions is a great place to start. I also had Lenny on leash, and just tucked him away in a bedroom or bathroom when I had to rearrange the boxes each time (you use the same box every time so as not to contaminate any of the clean boxes) and then once I moved them around I went and brought him out to search. Which also mimicked the way things worked in class since after each search the dogs were put back in the crates until it was their turn again.
I'd use more than three boxes, maybe 5 (you don't want to use too many, but too few also takes away some of the challenge). When she finds the food, praise her to high heaven and give her more reward (feed her in the box). When she's easily finding the box with the food, start using boxes with lids (but that she can still smell the food easily through... so plastic lids with small holes poked in them or loosely closed cardboard boxes work well too). This way she has to stay by the box with the food in it and wait for you to come open the box so she can get the reward (and don't forget to give her additional rewards to those that are in the box/container) Once she seems to have the idea start changing up the hides. Put them in corners, up on chairs or low on the ground to make her THINK about how to follow the scent to where it's going. Again, don't make it too hard too quickly. You always want her to be successful.
After about 6 weeks (maybe longer) she should be showing signs that she gets the idea of the game and should be ready to introduce the odor (birch oil is usually the starter scent). Then you're gonna spend a lot of time just pairing food and odor to make the connection. Always reward the dog heavily at the source of odor (feeding them right beside or above the odor is best). After another at least 12 weeks with food and odor paired if she's finding them reliably, then you can go and start just using odor alone. But you don't want to make that jump too soon.
With Lenny I found some physical exercise before hand also helped, and we'd play the game for a little bit then put it away and take a break and then bring it out and play again. Always change up the number of times you play and how many boxes you use. Keep it interesting, and keep it at a level where she can succeed. Especially in the beginning keep the hides easy to build her confidence and desire to play the game. No one wants to play a game that's too hard or that they can't "win".
I hope that kinda helps, definitely keep us updated on how she's doing and if it helps with her focus in the house and with her training in general.
Edited by author Wed Jan 30, '13 10:56pm PST
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