Humble Pie served up.

Ravenbird

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I went to the club trial this weekend - did not enter the RH due to Ashas awful performance the the Mock Trial a few weeks ago. However I *knew* the STp1 Article search would be a cakewalk. Find 2 articles in an area (not tracking, just find & indicate), you have 10 minutes, it's all off-leash. We've been doing this for almost a year. We've done it at home in different areas, we've done it in town in 3 different parks, PLUS, at the club where the trial was! I trained using 3 articles, knowing there would only be 2 in the trial. Asha has NEVER not found them. EVER. The longest search took less than 5 minutes and usually she found 3 articles in less than 3 minutes. On Thursday we took a short hike up the mountain, I put Asha on a down stay, walked out of sight and tossed a wooden article in the grass 20 feet away, so ZERO human footprints or wafting odors, skin cells or anything close to it. Just my human scent on the article. Continued our hike and on the return about 20 minutes later as I approached the area, I had her heel a bit, faced the area where I tossed the article and released her with the command to find it. 30 seconds and she downs on it. I have never gone into anything with more confidence. Saturday I was assisting help in the other trials with BH's and RH trials - Asha was very good, crated in the car all day. When the trials were done I took her out to the field and played with tug and heeling and running for about 15 minutes and she was happy & upbeat as always.

Sunday morning was Ashas STp trial, she was 2nd of 4. Asha went into it pretty much normal making a few big circles before getting down to business, but took much longer than usual to find the first article - about 2 - 3 minutes, then went running again - out of bounds, I had to call her back several times, she looked some more, then really started getting out of work mode by 6 - 7 minutes, then when I would repeat the command to search, she started barking back. Me: "Find the article!" Asha: "BARK! YOU find it! It's not here!" or "BARK! I've looked! Don't tell me what to do!"- I could have melted into a puddle by the end of the 10 minutes. For the first time in her life, Asha shut down, quit. 😢😭 I did ask the judge if he could show me the article so I could show it to Asha and he did. When I pointed it out to Asha she instantly downed on it, I praised her, leashed her up to check out with the judge.

I have the 11 minute painful video to watch & rewatch but I still have no clue why this happened. I went into it with confidence, no nerves because I - LOL -*knew* we would pass. I was sure we'd get points off for the excessive running/circling, knew that sometimes she downed on top of the article instead of between her front legs, so possible points off for that. A little worried about big points off if she mouthed the article. But she couldn't fail if she found them both so I had no real worries. Humble pie served up. No whipped cream to help it go down.

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I have the 11 minute painful video to watch & rewatch but I still have no clue why this happened. I went into it with confidence, no nerves because I - LOL -*knew* we would pass. I was sure we'd get points off for the excessive running/circling, knew that sometimes she downed on top of the article instead of between her front legs, so possible points off for that. A little worried about big points off if she mouthed the article. But she couldn't fail if she found them both so I had no real worries. Humble pie served up. No whipped cream to help it go down.
I can totally understand! For me it has been teaching an advanced class, bringing Dauntless or Candor into the ring as a "demo dog", only to have them ignore me and act as if they have no clue what I want them to do! There's nothing like your own dog shutting down when you have worked and trained so hard with her! If you figure out why this happens, please let me know because I don't have a clue! :pullhair:
 
maybe she was just having an off day?

My dogs have literally done everything and anything imaginable in an agility ring so I got over being mortified in front of other people a long time ago :rofl: I would just remind yourself that (almost) everyone has been there with their dog. Hold your head high as you're still putting yourself out there when so many others don't!
 
There's nothing like your own dog shutting down when you have worked and trained so hard with her! If you figure out why this happens, please let me know
For sure!

everyone has been there with their dog
True, for sure.

Recently making rounds on social is this quote referring to coming out of the ring:
"My dog never did that before!"
"Yeah, she nevered like she's never nevered before!"
 
During an Agility Trial back in 2014, our male Elkhound, Stryker, decided he would stop at the top of the A-frame and look over the crowd like he was king of the ring! He totally ignored me no matter what I said or did. It took me almost 5 full minutes to get him to come down and when he did he proceeded to run the rest of the course while I stood there dumbfounded. Nothing like showing me that he had a mind of his own! It makes me laugh now, but I wasn't laughing then! :rofl:
 
Oh Asha...

Was there any wind and what direction was it blowing from the article?

I only recognize the BH! What are the other titles?
 
Was there any wind and what direction was it blowing from the article?
Zero, nada, nilch. Beautiful weather about 45 - 50 degrees, still as still could be. And again, she has found articles with 20mph winds, and changing directions etc. - Actually no wind could make it harder as no wafting cone to follow back to source? Articles have so little scent compared to essential oils, so it's harder. My head-scratching is due to the fact that it has not ever been hard for her before. :scratch:

Oops, sorry, forgot to use the reply button: "I only recognize the BH! What are the other titles?"

RH1 & RH2a (there is also RH2b, but no entries) are the SAR suitability trials. I should have entered the RH1, but after Asha did an ugly bark at her Carry & Hand Over in the mock trial a few weeks ago, plus she did an army crawl on her long down, I opted not to enter. If she had repeated the mock trial in the real trial, I think she still would have passed, depending on the judges view of the ugly bark. I could have gotten points off if he liked her or I could have gotten DQ/human aggression if he chose. I didn't want to risk that. So yeah, worked almost a year on all that to just not enter. 😣

The STp1 & STp2 are the article searches I'm referring to that Asha didn't pass. Another German word, Stoeberpurfung - think translates to something like "looking" or "browsing". The articles are same as the ones in IGP tracking - pieces of wood, leather or wool, about 1" x 4" x 1/4" thick, but instead tracking them by following footsteps the dog can roam the area however they want (it's off leash) to find them. Some comb the area in a dignified manner, Asha air scents in big circles (at a gallop) and *usually* gets tighter and tighter in her area until she finds them. There is a set area search with an imaginary center line. The handler can walk the center line back and forth, direct the dog, commands can be repeated, but you can only go off the center line to retrieve the article after the dog has found it. Dog downs, go retrieve article, show the judge by raising your hand, return to center while dog stays, then re-start the dog for the next article. STp 1 has 2 articles, one on each side of the center line, STp2 has 4 and STp3 has 6. The area boundaries get larger with each level as well.

Probably more than you wanted to know :rofl: but I'm so passionate about training, I love explaining the challenge!
 
I had taken a video of the team that went first (high score of 99 - most excellent job!). Then I handed my phone to a friend and she filmed me & Asha. I watched our video half a dozen times, picking it apart to see what I could see. I still have no answers.

BUT - one really interesting thing is that about the time she was beginning to get frustrated, she plopped down, like an alert, but she didn't look quite right - she didn't look hard at the ground like finding the actual article. I instantly thought she was making it up, but I held hope, went to her, looked around, told the judge I thought it was a false alert and he agreed (he knew it wasn't there) and I sent Asha to keep searching, at which point she really started going south, barking and arguing with me at each command. So the INTERESTING thing is that when I looked back at the video of the dog that had gone just before us, this false alert down was exactly where one of his articles had been 20 minutes prior. I'm not big on coincidences. But what are the chances? She couldn't find the real deal, so she settles for residual odor? And of course that doesn't explain why she couldn't find the actual article. But interesting, for sure. Here's screen shots of the two videos. Videos were taken at a slightly different place along the fence, so a smidgen different angle.

Screen Shot 2023-02-08 at 10.40.04 AM.pngScreen Shot 2023-02-08 at 10.41.48 AM.png
 
that is an interesting point!

In Barn Hunt, they rotate the location of the real rats and the ratless tubes between blinds (so pretty quick turnaround).

Dealing with live animals, there is bound to be urine and other strong residual smells. It's not unusual for dogs to get stuck on a urine smell whether there is a tube there or not. The benefit to live rats, though, is that a dog sorting through what is and isn't live has the benefit of being able to listen to determine the presence of a rat. In training and trials, they can also engage with the tube (to an extent) as part of the reward of alerting to the 'right' thing.

If you're doing an article search, how does the dog associate that the smell they're looking for is tied directly to 'something?' Like do they know they're expected to find an actual article? I'm asking because I honestly don't know! Please educate me!

Edit to add: I know with Rubie (who is renowned for shutting down during trials), if she was over it, it's like she would just find the closest tube and be like, "I found this stupid thing, can we be done now?" :rofl:
 
Edit to add: I know with Rubie (who is renowned for shutting down during trials), if she was over it, it's like she would just find the closest tube and be like, "I found this stupid thing, can we be done now?" :rofl:
I had never had this happen before so I was shocked at what I was looking at, but yes, that's it EXACTLY! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

If you're doing an article search, how does the dog associate that the smell they're looking for is tied directly to 'something?' Like do they know they're expected to find an actual article? I'm asking because I honestly don't know! Please educate me!
It's human scent. In STp1 it is the handlers articles and we just keep them in our pocket until handing them to the judge. In the STp2 & 3 it is the clubs articles and anyones scent can be on them from previous use or from holding them or putting them in their pocket for a few minutes before putting on the field for the search. It basically mimics a SAR dog finding a clue like a dropped glove from a missing person you are searching. And yes, Asha has found articles that someone else handled rather than me, I did it a few times in training just to see if she could.

In AKC type scent work they use essential oils and dogs must learn to not alert on residual or wafting odor, but go to the source (the actual q-tip with scent on it). False alerts are instant NQ in that venue. Should be in STp also, but judge didn't mention it in the review, he just said she was getting frustrated and talking back and completely quit working eventually.
 
Anyone who wants to see the wild child in action, here it is. A few key moments, if you can stand to watch the whole thing:

After an embarrassing first 45 seconds of getting dragged to the judge - did I ever EVER mention in the last 3 years about Asha pulling??? :rofl::bag:

times are approximate:
2:57 - found first article
5:00 - begins slowing down, looking to me for answers
6:16 - first of many barks at me (frustration)
6:48 - false alert down - no article - "I'm down, can we quit now?"
7:00 - 10:30 just painful to watch - she says she's done, I say keep trying.
10:30 - judge points out article to me - Note Asha getting up to go to it the instant he points to it (before I tell her) She is very in tune with finger pointing, I can point to the sky & she'll look for a bird.

 
By contrast here she is in March of 22, just learning to down on them, and still playing with the articles. No formality with a center line or start. Just finding them. 3 in less than 3 minutes. Also shows what the articles look like:

 
I do see her stress shake around 2:30 (right around the same time someone says She's full of p*ss and vinegar this morning! :rofl: )

couple of thoughts (based purely on my barn hunt experience so take with a grain of salt):

I do see you pointing her to the area furthest from where the camera is; perhaps she's frustrated that she is being redirected from her plan without success?

When you train at home, do you interfere much with her search (ie: indicating redirection?). Without us even realizing it, 'we' tend to feel the pressure of a timed trial environment more than when training. I know Rubie would shut down if I tried to get involved in her work (agility is a bit different and probably why she struggled so much). I needed to learn that 'clearing' an area is just as important as finding what we were after.

I see you're moving around but how much of the field can you wander through (it would appear just a center line)? If there was an area in (our much smaller ring) that I wanted to Rubie to search, I usually just had to position myself around that area and she would naturally wander over. If that corner was cleared and this stack of bales were cleared, it was easier to use my body language to encourage her to search in other areas without seemingly 'getting in her way.'

I think the frustration bark is her saying "you keep asking me to check this area but I'm not finding it!" Without knowing how far you can wander, adding distance to the search would be tough to effectively communicate to her. Do you have an "out" type command with her? Like work-further-away-from-me? It's difficult to hear what you're telling her in the video.

I'm sure you've been through all these thoughts already :D
 
couple of thoughts
All good thoughts and observations! Pretty much I've been through all these thoughts, but it's good to hear them come from new eyes watching the video!

I do see you pointing her to the area furthest from where the camera is; perhaps she's frustrated that she is being redirected from her plan without success?
Early on I was just trying to keep her in the area, so going further than the judge was way out of bounds and I had to recall her several times. We have just started on directions, and even though she will look where I'm pointing if she's interested, I really don't think she gave much of a rats ass what I was telling her when she was in high gear the first 5 minutes. :rofl: So yeah, first 5 minutes I was trying to get her to stay in the boundary area. The last 5 minutes I was trying to get her to do anything.

When you train at home, do you interfere much with her search (ie: indicating redirection?). Without us even realizing it, 'we' tend to feel the pressure of a timed trial environment more than when training.
I didn't think about this, but you are right. At home I rarely gave her direction at all. Let 'er rip, she found them, done. I was feeling pressure when she wouldn't settle into the area and really start searching. Also it was a very much instilled in me when learning scent work is to never direct your dog, especially when you don't know where it is. And this seemed to be working in training articles. She always found them without my directions.

I see you're moving around but how much of the field can you wander through (it would appear just a center line)?
Yes, only from where I took the leash off straight (away from the judge) to the fence. An imaginary path about 2 feet wide. Points off if I get off that path except to retrieve the article.

it was easier to use my body language to encourage her to search in other areas without seemingly 'getting in her way.'
Agree - I would do this in AKC scent work trials, but honestly in this case, I didn't know if moving or being still was helping Asha. As you can see in her training video almost a year ago, she needed no help at all. Once she knew the game, I just left her to find them and never had to direct her. In SAR you do have to teach directionals to your dog. And they want to see it used. Since we know that there is one hide on each side of the center line, once she found the first one, I was expected to keep her on the other side - the judge does want to see this if the dog keeps searching the entire area, you should be able to keep them on the one side where the other article is.

Hope this is helpful - it's incredibly fun to do. I'm glad you like learning about it!
 
I had taken a video of the team that went first (high score of 99 - most excellent job!). Then I handed my phone to a friend and she filmed me & Asha. I watched our video half a dozen times, picking it apart to see what I could see. I still have no answers.

BUT - one really interesting thing is that about the time she was beginning to get frustrated, she plopped down, like an alert, but she didn't look quite right - she didn't look hard at the ground like finding the actual article. I instantly thought she was making it up, but I held hope, went to her, looked around, told the judge I thought it was a false alert and he agreed (he knew it wasn't there) and I sent Asha to keep searching, at which point she really started going south, barking and arguing with me at each command. So the INTERESTING thing is that when I looked back at the video of the dog that had gone just before us, this false alert down was exactly where one of his articles had been 20 minutes prior. I'm not big on coincidences. But what are the chances? She couldn't find the real deal, so she settles for residual odor? And of course that doesn't explain why she couldn't find the actual article. But interesting, for sure. Here's screen shots of the two videos. Videos were taken at a slightly different place along the fence, so a smidgen different angle.

View attachment 132081View attachment 132082
I bet the residual Odor had been turned and churned before. So it was easier for her to catch? But with no wind, maybe the Odor of the real source was doing something weird. I know there was no wind on ground level with you... but was there something going on higher up? I am.wondering if that Odor was fanning at the time, and Asha couldn't catch it unless she was right on.top.of it, or floating 10-15' up in the air lol!
 
I bet the residual Odor had been turned and churned before. So it was easier for her to catch? But with no wind, maybe the Odor of the real source was doing something weird. I know there was no wind on ground level with you... but was there something going on higher up? I am.wondering if that Odor was fanning at the time, and Asha couldn't catch it unless she was right on.top.of it, or floating 10-15' up in the air lol!
Good thoughts!

I don't know nearly enough on how to read "no wind". I would have thought that the odor would just pool around the article. It was AZ, cool morning, air warming fast as the sun rose, so maybe with no wind, cold air sinks & heat rises... the ground was pea gravel so very cold, the sun had not started warming it yet - it was about 9 a.m. Maybe if the odor was holding to the ground and she was air scenting with a high nose she was missing it all except when she flew by and made her own breeze? Then she may have caught a whiff but have no way to follow it to source? @Dasz88 you have by now really studied the elements of weather and air/scent flow. Does this make any sense?

@LifeofRubie was asking about training like I trialed - well just typing that description of the conditions I realized I rarely trained articles before it started warming up for the day. I may try a cold morning before a breeze comes up to see if that makes a difference. The other dog that did so well did not air scent at all, he swept the ground with his nose like tracking while trotting around.
 
Dobermans really know how to pick their moment don't they. If they don't want to do it, that's it. In addition to their strong-headedness, I think they are sensitive to the energy around them - not just you, but the collective vibe. Good on you for not quitting - by 7 minutes I'd be outta there lol, if it would be my hb, omg, I'd need to hide Kaiser! 😨

In the private video, her running is more deliberate/working mode. In the trial video, that run around the first minute reminded me of donkey times with Kaiser as a young dog. Anytime he was off leash and running like that, it was gonna be 'deaf times' for the dog lol. Something about the gait is 'wild and free' haha. And back then, we weren't using the ecollar, so the donkey times were outta control!
 

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