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where the tails wag
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At the request of someone who I really admire, I am posting my recent adventures in training my Faelan in scent articles. My adventures to date with the tie down board are consistent with other dogs I have had – that is, less than stellar J .

I went to a scent discrimination workshop on Saturday with Faelan, and although I have never been successful before using a tie down board, I though what the heck? Most people have great luck with it, I'll give it a try. So, yesterday after the eye clinic I set up my article board – I could not work my dogs since their eyes were still dilated. Using a peg board that I cut a 4 inch strip from the middle for the 'bottom' when folded, leaving each side 22 inches by 48 inches with the 4 inch strip. I made handles and ties to put the 'purse' together and bought some heavy duty gardening twice (3 ply) to tie my articles. I knew florist things were not strong enough since Faelan kindly proved they were no match for his determination at the workshop. I wrapped the twine around the articles' bit twice and then tied them tightly to the board. I then put it the board away – away from any clothes yada yada.

This morning, I set it up with an untied article and Faelan actually snapped the board pulling the article he wanted off the board – such a proud boy that against all that boards struggles he managed to bring me the article <sigh> That boy can sure retrieve LOL

So, we both go to the board to retrieve the correct article and after much wiggling & wagging of tail, he finally dropped his prize and allowed himself to pick up the article my finger was on.

2nd try was a bit better. He tried tugging on a few, picked up the correct one and brought it back.

3rd try, he tried yanking the article he wanted again, then a second time and then he braced all 4 feet preparing to get that article off that board – I thought both he & the board were going backwards again or he was going to break a tooth so I finally said 'No' and pointed - he got the correct article and BACKED UP to heel position keeping an eye on the article he wanted the entire time – like he was afraid someone was about to take that article if he lost sight of it.

So, I either have to replan & use stronger ties (those plastic zip ties have been suggested) or go back to my Clicker/Round the Clock method that worked so well with both Casey & Rowdy – actually King too although it was 'yes' not a clicker. Perhaps I need to move it out of the kitchen as well, I think so far, Faelan has learned that if he yanks hard enough, he can get the article HE wants – btw; he had indicated the correct article each time, but apparently there was something more special about the other article!!

On the positive side, Ms Towhee's dumbbell went under the dining room table and she went belly crawling under the table to get it J She then disappeared and I thought I might hear a crunch, but she came around the corner happy as can be, with not a tooth mark on her dumbbell – Good girl!
 
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Thanks for sharing that. I think it really helps others who are training articles to hear what does or doesn't work about each method, and how it went when you did it.
I used the tie-down method with Tito, because he's a really sensitive dog and hates to be corrected or think he's wrong. The tie-down method removed me, personally, from the corrections; he was self-correcting and that was the best way for him. He's a slow, gentle dog anyway, and didn't try to bring back any articles that were tied down.
We used fishing line, and tied them loosely so he could pick them up and carry them about a foot before realizing it was tied. Otherwise sometimes they just nudge them to see which one is loose!
He has always had confidence issues on articles; still does, although he is very, very rarely wrong.
 
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I have found using a combo of tie down and around the clock is what has worked best for me. I follow all of the steps of around the clock, except tie the unscented ones down. So once the dog tries to grab a wrong article it will have a different correction than traditional around the clock. Because you are initially showing the dog the food and he starts off just looking for the cheese, grabbing a wrong article rarely happens within the first several weeks. By the time they get to the stage where they might start to grab a wrong one, they have already learned that their job is to search, so they seem to better understand that a tied down one doesn't mean tug harder, but keep looking.
 
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where the tails wag
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Discussion Starter #4
Grins - I am now wondering if I should quick, hurry up and teach scent articles to Ms Towhee before she becomes convinced that an article must be retrieved LOL simplest choices need not apply!
 

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Titan1
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Sharon,My my opinion FWIW... I would back up a step and go with him out to the pile and "help" him find the right one for a while..if you have to point to the correct one...If he tries to grab the wrong one "GENTLY" tell him uh uh find it...But you are up there with him so he can't do it wrong.. I would suggest that way with Ms Towhee.. gently help her until she can get confidence... the minute they "find" the right one on their own .. make it a huge party.
 
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where the tails wag
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Michelle :)

I will be taking several steps back but re-start at the point you are suggesting; Faelan knows there is something to retrieve but I am honestly worried he'll hurt himself using the method suggested at the workshop LOL

Dumbbell = retrieve, bumper = retrieve, bird = retrieve etc. This is what he knows. Not be selective about what is retrieved or take you time about retrieving - heck if there a pile, the faster you get back the sooner you'll be resent for the next one - not quite what is desired for scent articles LOL.

BTW: 'No' is conditioned for my dogs to mean - wrong, try again. It is non committal - not a correction, just a communication to try again. 'HEY' is their equivalent to most folks 'No' - as in Hey, you better get your butt over here.
 

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Titan1
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Thanks Michelle :)

I will be taking several steps back but re-start at the point you are suggesting; Faelan knows there is something to retrieve but I am honestly worried he'll hurt himself using the method suggested at the workshop LOL

Dumbbell = retrieve, bumper = retrieve, bird = retrieve etc. This is what he knows. Not be selective about what is retrieved or take you time about retrieving - heck if there a pile, the faster you get back the sooner you'll be resent for the next one - not quite what is desired for scent articles LOL.

BTW: 'No' is conditioned for my dogs to mean - wrong, try again. It is non committal - not a correction, just a communication to try again. 'HEY' is their equivalent to most folks 'No' - as in Hey, you better get your butt over here.
I use the command "find it" because it is different that any other retrieve. I don't think it will take him long to figure this is a different game..and this method should help Ms Towhee to not stress in the pile..good luck!
 

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That's how I was taught, too. I use "find it" for articles, and "take it" for everything else (including birds).

I use the command "find it" because it is different that any other retrieve. I don't think it will take him long to figure this is a different game..and this method should help Ms Towhee to not stress in the pile..good luck!
 
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I used the tie down method as Hotel4dogs mentioned. But I was watching my OTCH trainer friend do it with a golden the other day and she is training it very differently from how she did it with me... None of the articles are tied and she hot scents the chosen article and adds a dot of cheese to the bar. The dog is also on a short leash, so she corrects him quickly. Very different from how I learned with my Laney.
 

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Titan1
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I used the tie down method as Hotel4dogs mentioned. But I was watching my OTCH trainer friend do it with a golden the other day and she is training it very differently from how she did it with me... None of the articles are tied and she hot scents the chosen article and adds a dot of cheese to the bar. The dog is also on a short leash, so she corrects him quickly. Very different from how I learned with my Laney.
I teach the hot scent too... Your dog will never confuse that scent with some day old ones..I do not however use anything other than my hands..I train using a flexi in the beginning..but I am also right up there with them.
 

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Titan1, that sounds exactly how she was doing it.
 
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where the tails wag
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Grins - last nights session went MUCH better! Thank you Michelle. I stayed right there and quietly redirected Faelan and he got 2 right :)

I also had Ms Towhee picking up the metals - I need to move the board for her off ceramic flooring so it does not slide.

Casey of course did great, he was like, what the heck is this board? Whatever, this is the scented article :)

ETA: This morning Faelan did even better, Towhee picked up a metal and then a leather article, and Casey went 3 for 3. I have created an article maniac - Faelan has his nose stuck against the closet door where I am keeping the board (which I have to replace already - duct tape is not working to repair the split from <ahem> Faelan), and is practically drooling . I might videotape tonight so I can start chronicling their adventures..
 

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where the tails wag
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Discussion Starter #14
Stopped at Home Depot on my way home tonight to pick up new peg boards :) They cut them for me too - much nicer than my utility knife's edges. Now I just need to put the new tie-down board together and hope this one last longer than 1 day.....
 
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