False Alerts - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2019, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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False Alerts

Any of you with nosework experience have any tips on how to correct false alerting behavior? Mishka was doing pretty good with scentwork practice last month, but now of course after we've signed her up for a trial, she is starting to do false alerts. Also, she is trained to down at the source, but recently when she gets to the source she just looks up at me with eye contact but no down. Should I reward this and then make her down or wait for her to down before rewarding her?

"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them." Isaiah 11:6
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2019, 11:13 AM
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There's specifics to nosework that I don't know much about, but never reward something you don't want and generally when they're offering behaviors instead of being sure about what they should do, I'd say thats not ready to trial. Whether its from feeling pressure or just not clearly trained yet, I'd say you need more training time.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2019, 12:27 PM
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I understand false alerts you check out what they are alerting to and just move on. The dogs are not rewarded in any way. They will figure that out soon enough. It is why in the beginning of training you know where the hides are to make sure the dog is not trained in a false alert. I know Max would on occasion get frustrated in a complicated hide he would not alert but check in with me a lot and I would box in the scent with my body as be was searching heavily in the specific area whether I knew the hide was there or not and that would help him or sometimes I would check myself if I was standing to close and in the way of a scent pattern and give him more space.

I never trained a down or a sit but when the dogs are focused on the hide and looking at the hide it continues to rains treats. The minute they look at me the treats stop and when they look back at the hide the treats continue. If we are done with our session- I will say good dogs all done or search to continue for more.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2019, 12:38 PM
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Some more info would help a lot.

Did she start the false alerts and not downing at the same time?

If not, which came first?

What have you done when she does a false alert?

What have you done when she doesn't down?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2019, 12:47 PM
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Agree with Steve. For me, trial nerves show up a couple of months before the trial and completely go away the week before the trial, until trial day It's highly likely she is picking up on nerves from you and making her unsure. But she has to learn to work thru that. if you feel that your nerves are affecting her, then I would go back to basics and help her. Do not reward her for behavior you don't want. I don't have a problem with helping her to a down to indicate and rewarding for indicating but no reward until she's on the ground.

For instance, in tracking, my dogs know the articles. They know they are supposed to down. They throw themselves on the article because they know food is coming. I put a ton of value on those articles and that position. If they are insecure for some reason, I will help them and reward once they are down to help build their confidence. If they just decide to walk the article because they aren't paying attention, then they are corrected. But even after the correction, once they are down, I reward on the article. I always want a high value on that. You have to read this situation and determine what the issue is.




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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2019, 01:16 PM
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I would suggest working blind hides while having the person that placed the hides there behind you to confirm that the dog is in the right spot and right position before rewarding. It's helpful if the person placing the hides has some experience so they can cue you immediately if the dog starts to false so you can move him along right away. Just a quick ah,ah and move on.

You can help the dog into a down verbally if you are sure it's no a false response. Try and time the command so it comes before he looks to you.

Are you on toy or food reward? Toy reward makes it easier to pay the dog at source from a distance, which will help with checking back to you.

It's a consistency in timing problem most of the time. You really have to concentrate on timing your rewards accurately when the dog is in perfect position.

It's OK to ask for that position until he is solid and giving a good final that you want to see. It can also help to rush the reward for a bit if you have a second between the dog is responding well and looking back to you. Try and get that reward or click in before he initially breaks focus. You can then add distance OR duration a little at a time. I typically add duration first, with me right there to correct the dog if it breaks. After you get a good 20-30 seconds of focus on the hide, you can start backing off the dog a bit and adding distance incrementally.

ETA: Only reward what you want to see. Help him down and wait for good focus on the hide before you reward.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2019, 01:24 PM
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Does this only happen at a trial? Possible you are unknowingly anxious for alert and cuing your dog in a down position. Also have someone video you at various different locations. You may unknowingly through body language cue the dog to down. They are aware of every body movement you make while they search. It is pretty wild how attune they are to you all the while in an intense search.

That is a great idea David winners has in the blind hide and having someone cue you to let you know the correct location.
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Last edited by Jenny720; 09-05-2019 at 01:27 PM.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2019, 01:28 PM
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I did something similar to David's description in tracking. I was hiding articles so he really learned to hunt for them but then I released he was indicating on the piles of grass. So I essentially laid "traps" for him just so I could teach him the difference. There was no correction, I just popped him forward so he knew that wasn't right and then rewarded for the correct indication.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2019, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny720 View Post
Does this only happen at a trial? Possible you are unknowingly anxious for alert and cuing your dog in a down position. Also have someone video you at various different locations. You may unknowingly through body language cue the dog to down. They are aware of every body movement you make while they search. It is pretty wild how attune they are to you all the while in an intense search.

That is a great idea David winners has in the blind hide and having someone cue you to let you know the correct location.
I agree that it's important to understand that nervousness from the handler can go down the leash. It is also quite possible to work through this with the dog and have it only respond to odor and not so much look to the handler for reassurance. It's all about correct repetitions and clear communication with the dog.

Bomb dog handlers can be nervous when operating in dangerous environments. New handlers get nervous at certification or a trial.

Part of solid training is getting the dog to ignore things the handler may have to do during a search such as inadvertent leash pulls, talking during a search, trying to call the dog off a hide, traffic, gunfire, aircraft, lots of stuff. The key to all this is adding distractions incrementally and one at a time while showing the dog what it needs to do to get the reward.

Think of it like proofing a down stay. You add distance, duration and distraction incrementally until the dog is bomb proof. Same deal. You are just rewarding a different behavior.

When a dog saves the life of a man, it becomes clear that partnership knows no bounds.

Fama - T.E.D.D. OEF XI-XII (GSD)(RIP)
Marshall - T.E.D.D. OEF XII-XIII (Lab)(SF EDD)
Lucian - Med Alert / Mobility SD (Cane Corso)
Pud - the old man (Pit x Lab)
Hank - DW Dog (Cane Corso)
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-05-2019, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
I did something similar to David's description in tracking. I was hiding articles so he really learned to hunt for them but then I released he was indicating on the piles of grass. So I essentially laid "traps" for him just so I could teach him the difference. There was no correction, I just popped him forward so he knew that wasn't right and then rewarded for the correct indication.
This would be called a blank hide in bomb dog speak. Just like an empty box.

It's important to recognize that the dog is capable of finding patterns that we don't see and responding to them. Therefore, it's important for us to shake things up enough that we minimize the chance of the dog finding any pattern besides find odor and respond.
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When a dog saves the life of a man, it becomes clear that partnership knows no bounds.

Fama - T.E.D.D. OEF XI-XII (GSD)(RIP)
Marshall - T.E.D.D. OEF XII-XIII (Lab)(SF EDD)
Lucian - Med Alert / Mobility SD (Cane Corso)
Pud - the old man (Pit x Lab)
Hank - DW Dog (Cane Corso)
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