Alert: True or False

Some terrific insight in this blog!

Training Matters

A recent discussion on a Yahoo group has brought to light something I’ve been struggling with for a while. If you have ever trained for Nose Work or gone to a Nose Work class, ORT, or trial, you have probably heard the phrase, false alert. Handlers say things like, “He lied!” or “He wanted the food distractor” or “But he looked at me.” There are no two ways about it, saying a dog “falsed” puts the blame squarely on the dog’s shoulders.

But instead of worrying about why a dog indicates odor when not at source, maybe a more useful use of time would be to think about what the human half of the team was doing when the dog “false” alerted.

Sometimes a handler stands stock still—or stands too close—as the dog works. When this happens, a sensitive dog may react to the handler’s stillness and closeness and interprets…

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It’s Time to Play

If you keep up with us on Facebook and Instagram than you have seen plenty of pictures and short videos of dogs playing, let me be more specific…..dogs playing with humans. Usually in the video a toy is involved and a human. We try to only show the dog as many humans are reluctant to be on video or in pics. I understand, trust me I do. Incorporating play into group classes and individual training sessions is a crucial component of our training sessions. Play with toys and humans is also part of the homework given to clients.

In my experience, play is very useful in changing problem behaviors and acquiring new behaviors. Why is this? Play is incompatible with many stress related behaviors. It is physically and mentally stimulating and a bonding opportunity that is built with trust. The game does not matter…..I am not talking about a perfect retrieve here……just you and some toys and your dog. Let them invent a game. O’Riley like to place a ball on me and watch it roll off and then he chases it. I just have to lay on the floor. The goal seems to be find a place to lay the ball where it does not roll off , or that is my limited human interpretation based on my goal driven outcome oriented though process. Oh my…another lesson to be learned from our dogs…..just be…in the moment…in the game..