I'm just getting started...
For the last few weeks I've been working hard on building Liesl's focused response/trained indication and learning her natural indicators. We've been playing find-it games with her favorite ball toys and I've tried to get her to rep her trained indication behavior with each meal (down/nose to source/focused response). I've been recording them and reviewing and trying to improve... Yes, I am a bit obsessed. I tend to get this way when doing foundational type training.
Yesterday, my team supplied me with my first source odor material (for HRD). Although Liesl has been exposed to source before, it was very preliminary and more of a "do you think she would mind hunting for HR?" type exposure. We made it fun, but she has never indicated on source before.
We did three short finds last night. I set up an easier set of find's with HR over her ball. Liesl did GREAT! First, she passed the source odor, and I just kept walking with her. When she came back to it, and indicated, I rewarded very quickly (I've been using a modified version of Andrew Ramsey's nosework method to reward and train a focused response, btw). The second time through, again with the source in a very easy spot, she did not pass the odor source and she did not hesitate. She indicated with a down with her nose to the source. She looked so sure, I even gave a light tug on her collar, just before I rewarded her. Same scenario for the final find.
I should mention, Liesl is VERY biddable, so it has been my goal from the beginning of any nosework to get her to follow the source regardless of what I do. And I feel she is coming along VERY nicely.
We did four finds this morning, and Liesl did perfectly! This morning, I built her focus duration (by a fraction of a second) and tugged lightly again to proof her commitment to the source odor. I'm super pleased with her performance.
I was very proud of her, and I'm very proud of how quickly we've been able to get a decent indicator on source odor. I can't wait til our next team training!! She is just killing it!
K9 Liesl vom Wildhaus - RIP