Has anyone done an ORT with a dog-reactive dog? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 08-14-2012, 09:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Has anyone done an ORT with a dog-reactive dog?

Frieda has made big strides in her dog reactivity... but it's still there, and it comes out at sneaky times like during nosework class, when she knows where the hide is, and totally blows it off because she wants to sniff the boxes that the new dog in the class investigated.

We are practicing for the ORT in September, and Frieda was doing really well - finding the hide in well under a minute each time. Then a new dog - a big lumbering boxer - joined the class. He likes to walk through the boxes when he gets excited, and then Frieda spent her entire 3 minutes plus trying to find every box that Patton touched, and then giving me an alert on the birch hide .

I know that there will be all kinds of doggy odors at the ORT - how do I practice for this? Give each of my dog owning friends a box and ask them to have their dog sniff it, get in it, whatever, and then use those boxes for practice? We're back to pairing the birch with food in the hope that this will increase the value of the birch scent, but I'm not that convinced it will work.

Any advice?
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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How are you rewarding the find? Is the value of reward high enough?

Personally, I'd break this behavior down through elimination. Make the find really easy. The instant Frieda even comes close to indicating (not sure if you've trained an indication yet) I'd mark it, reward, and move away from the boxes. I would simply not give her the opportunity for exploration.

Gradually, if you're using a high enough value reward, her drive to get to the find should increase. And when you see this increase, I'd start adding back in those distracting boxes with other dog scents on them. And I'd add them slowly.

Also- you might take a look at Susan Garrett's "It's Yer Choice (IYC)" which is a strategy to get dogs to maintain focus on their work. IYC generally starts through food training, but once the dog has the concept, there is no reason that you can't apply IYC to really any distraction.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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She gets a frisbee for her reward at home, but in class she is not interested in playing (too much stress, plus currently we are training on leash) so she gets food. It's good food, too, salmon or roast chicken or her fave jerky bites - she eats better than I do .

I can tell she knows the box when we walk by it, but she is not giving me a formal (or even a strong informal) indication, and she'd been consistently giving me a strong indication for months now. Should I just go back to basics like we'd never had a good indicator? What she'd really like as a reward would be to bark at the "intruder" dog - but I frown upon that LOL.

I will check out It's Yer Choice - is it part of Crate Games?

Thanks for your input!
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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No advise, just saying congrats on the reactivity. She's a sweetheart.

If you want strange dog scents, I can get Woolf to play around with a cple of boxes and have those to work with. In fact, can have Shadow do the same, so even more variety. Just say the word.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My opinion of dog training is that it's just like weightloss (which I'm currently on such an endeavor). My general trend in weightloss is down. But that doesn't mean that every single day I weigh less than the day before. Quite the contrary. I might go down, then up, then down, then down, then up, then down, etc... I don't get discouraged because today I might weigh more than yesterday- I actually get encouraged that my general trend is still down.

I think training is similar. So you have a trained indication, but your dog is too distracted in certain environments to use it. No big deal- just back up a step. Take your training on the road and start building value for the scent (I assume your onto scents by now) in ways that are obvious to the dog. Don't make the dog search for the scent. Allow the dog to "magically discover" the scent as she happens to walk by. Then party like it's 1999!

In this way, you are temporarily decoupling the indication from the search. You are building drive for the search in different locations- not just in your home- and building value for the scent. You can slowly introduce other distractions.

My opinion is that it's better to temporarily decouple the indication so that you can focus on a foundation skill that needs grown. You can then hook the indication back up.

Oh- Yes, I think IYC is mentioned primarily in Crate Games, but I think this youtube video is actually a better example:
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Last edited by wildo; 08-14-2012 at 02:15 PM.
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