Friday, February 3, 2017

Exteriors Progress

Exteriors and Vehicles continue to be Perri's most challenging elements with Nosework.   Perri can become very "environmental" and her focus on the search suffers.   We have been slowly building up victories with very simple searches in exterior type environments so that Perri could be successful when she was challenged by the environment.  I did a lot of work with Perri's vented plastic boxes and would alternate back and forth from the boxes to actual hides.  Even then, Perri had to work hard.   It was not easy for her.   The searches were absurdly simple but just being outside, even initially in our own back yard, made the challenge intense for her.

This clip is from November, there are two easy vented-box container searches here - but in an Exterior environment.   You can see Perri start out tentatively, engage in displacement sniffing and I can clearly see she is not "all there" mentally with searching.   I redirect her and she is still stressed but is giving me effort.    The second search in the clip she is completely confident and enjoying herself.

We have been able to progress away from the boxes and I have been doing regular hides in the Exterior environment - mostly at local parks.   Perri had the same struggles with poor focus and displacement behaviors initially as seen in the containers video from November, but she is steadily working through that.    I am excited to see the progression - initially she behaved this way with containers indoors, as well as with Interiors.   I now realize that it is not that Perri does not enjoy Nosework, she just initially lacks the confidence and really need to work through the search to build that confidence.

I can't usually video our Exterior work because I am keeping her on the leash.   But today was a cold weekday in the afternoon at a fairly isolated park, so I was able to remove her leash and video!   I also run her into the search area and feed energy and excitement into her.   Perri does not do well when I just idly stand at the start line and ask her to search.    She loves when we charge in there together.    Initially in this search I see her focus is divided, but she is stronger than usual.   It was windy.   She worked very hard and I am so proud of her.   I love how she goes underneath the table bench to get at the hide!

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