Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dogs Don't Generalize

Winter is here and we're not doing a lot of agility.  I was hoping to actually not do any agility for a month or two, but so far the nice mild weather keeps me going back out to the field with Willie.  We are taking a two-month break from trialing though.

I enrolled as an auditor in an online nose work class, I've been spending time every day working with Belle and Willie on the foundamentals.  One thing I really like about this class is that it tackles the dog's alert behavior from the beginning.

I'm also doing some tracking with Willie.  We hadn't done any in ages and it's not like I really know what I'm doing.  We're just out there to have fun.  Monday, I set a difficult track around one of the buildings on an abandoned campus.  Willie was absolutely awesome.  So Tuesday, I had my husband set up an easy track in the agility field and discovered DOGS DON'T GENERALIZE!  Willie was pretty clueless that if he followed Ed's track there were goodies to be had.

Since my husband is a very unwilling participant in tracking activities, I enlisted the aid of my grandnephew.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, we laid short, straight tracks in the field so that Willie would get the idea that it was possible to track someone other than Mom.  I had to resort to having Dakota drop hot dogs on the ground, but Willie did get the idea.

It's real windy today so, I took Willie, Dakota and Dakota's cousin, Shane, to the park where there is some shelter from the wind.  We warmed up by having Willie track a new person, Shane, and he nailed it!  Next, we went up (and I do mean up) into the woods, and I had Dakota lay a track with three articles, plus the second glove, and no food.  Will did a pretty good job with this track also.  He found all three articles, and did a good job of remaining on track until the last leg.  For some reason he kept going off the trail on the last leg.  Perhaps, the track was a little too long for him at this stage.  Or perhaps, the combination of wind and a downhill slope made this leg more difficult.  I did observe on Monday that the only spot on our track that gave Will a problem was when the tract went down a steep slope.

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