Odor help!

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akaspaddero
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Odor help!

Postby akaspaddero » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:13 am

So Maddie is onto Odor and having a hell of a time.

She ROCKS at food - no matter where I put it she works her nose to find it.

We started into to Odor - first week we really worked her finding food with the odor. Now just on Odor and well, we are getting a big fat F. I have gotten to the point where if she even just smells the area where odor is I reward - and she looks shocked - but last night i tried to see if she will stay - even a second longer even a sniff longer. where she smells odor and she won't - she moves on looking/smelling for the food - not the Odor.

Any suggestions? Thanks

PS - this is her search for food with Odor


This video isn't so much about search as it is the Schnauzer talking in background. She looks, but doesn't lunge/react - w00t!

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Re: Odor help!

Postby doglove » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:37 am

While I don't have an constructive advice, it does sound like the food search is a greater reward than the odor search. Obviously because she gets to smell food and get treats. Are you allowing her to eat the food on her find? Are you phasing out the food find to the scent article?

I've never trained a dog to track, but I'd try this - I'd use lower value food, like crackers or something, and hide it under mesh that doesn't block the smell but limits her ability to inhale it on the find. Then because she's not able to get the food, and must look to me for a treat, I'd throw a party and use higher value treats than I've been using. Something really gooey and amazing, like soggy popcorn or something. Then I'd start weening her off of the food finds, and increase the scent articles. After she's on straight scent articles, I'd slowly decrease the amount of them to the proper amount. The larger the pile of laundry, the worse it smells!

Honestly, I'd expect any semi intelligent dog to figure it out about halfway through the phasing out, and be able to go straight pretty fast. Once the connection is made, you can't stop them from having fun.

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heartbullies
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Re: Odor help!

Postby heartbullies » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:21 am

I am on my phone so pls bear with me.... when you paired food and odor, was she self-rewarding at the source? Or did you have the odor and the food in a container, like an odor tin or a salad dressing takeout cup w holes punched in it? I would take a step back and pair again rather than reward/encourage fringing via shaping for a number of reasons. Some dogs just need more paired searches before weaning them off food... If she is reliably and excitedly finding odor in a closed perforated small container with only, like, a half piece of kibble in the container and staying at source snuffling and trying to extract kibble and you are rewarding less than an inch from stheource then take away the food. Try doing blind hides so you aren't accidentally cueing her or trying to shape a response from when you think she's in odor.

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Re: Odor help!

Postby pacopoe » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:36 am

When you intro just odor, bring it back to 3 boxes. Make it super, super simple and just do basic box work in the exact same way you began food. That will help stick it in her head.

Like Heartbullies said, just keep pairing, pairing, pairing. You can pair for months if need be, there's nothing wrong with that. I know experienced dogs who sometimes have to pair in a novel setting just to get them on task. If she's having an issue with just odor then she's telling you it's too much for her and you need to break it down into smaller steps.

Also pay attention to your concentrations. At first just do a little odor with the food. Then bring up the concentration. I've seen dogs balk at high concentrations when they first start odor because it almost seems to hurt their noses. Once you build up to a decent concentration (like, 4-6 Q tips), then bring down the food.

Don't change the way you search, don't reward fringing. Just keep playing with the difficulty of the searches and he concentration levels. Remember, if you are going to introduce something new, then you need to bring down the difficulty of another factor in order to even the field.

Don't worry about what the rest of the class is doing. Intro-ing odor is like starting from scratch for many dogs and it doesn't matter how well they search for food, it's now a whole new ball game. Always go back to the boxes as your cructh, that will help contextualize the dog no matter what you're working on :thumbsup:

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Re: Odor help!

Postby akaspaddero » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:51 am

Thanks all - good good stuff.

She gets so frustrated and starts throwing out her default commands right and left.

We will go back to just 2 or 3 boxes. Will keep it really simple for her

"don't reward fringing" what do you mean by fringing? (sorry)

Yes, she self rewards at source - one piece and then I swoop in and reward.

I have the q-tips in a little clear container (from craft store) and I put food next to it.

Thanks again ! :headbang:

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Re: Odor help!

Postby pacopoe » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:49 pm

akaspaddero wrote:I have the q-tips in a little clear container (from craft store) and I put food next to it.


Put them all in together, so the food and odor become one. You can always get more, pure, Q tips later when she's stronger. Or put the food directly on top so the odor has to work through the food.

"Fringing" is when the dog finds the scent, but is not clear about the source. They are acting like they know it's there, but they have not been clear about the exact source. Do not reward fringing, make them work to the source and pinpoint exactly where it is (which I know all to well as "rewarding fringing" is what cost us a title two weekends ago lol)

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Re: Odor help!

Postby akaspaddero » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:38 am

Added a piece of Salmon to the clear plastic container with Odor.
And just put out a few boxes.
It's helping very much. TY!

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Re: Odor help!

Postby lilangel » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:39 pm

mmmm... if you're interested in starting over from scratch I can tell you how I do it for real detection work. Sounds very very different, almost like training for nosework classes skips some really important steps and adds in completely extraneous ones. I dunno. I've never done nosework classes so only have experience in a more natural environment. I don't see why they would be different though. Then again, I see all kinds of different training methods in detection training and I don't like most of them, so maybe its just me. ;)

carry on. you dog has good drive and it's still fun to watch.

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Re: Odor help!

Postby Amie » Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:22 pm

I'd be interested in hearing a variety of methods.

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Re: Odor help!

Postby akaspaddero » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:17 pm

Update. The parring with food works so well! She has defiantly gotten to searching for the Odor now. It is so cool to watch them get it!
Maddie graduated from level 2 this week. I am one proud mama! The other students continually said how good she is. Her searches are fast (compared to others in our class). She works from the moment I release her.
Now, I gotta hone in on her alert. Sometimes she play bows, but this past week it was more stop and look at me.
Anyway, we will hopefully go onto level 3 when she sets up a class.
Side note, we did try Anise. It seemed she did better with that than the beginning of birch.

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Re: Odor help!

Postby Lunchbucket » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:37 pm

lilangel wrote:Sounds very very different, almost like training for nosework classes skips some really important steps and adds in completely extraneous ones. I dunno. I've never done nosework classes so only have experience in a more natural environment. I don't see why they would be different though. Then again, I see all kinds of different training methods in detection training and I don't like most of them, so maybe its just me. ;)

carry on. you dog has good drive and it's still fun to watch.


Agreed There are many ways to get the same result but sometimes some methods produce a stronger and more consistent indication and response.

I'd say make sure you reward at source is your biggest ticket for what you are doing now. Always reward at source. They will pair the scent w/ reward.

One thing I'm confused about is do you scent them? I mean how do they know what scent they are supposed to find? There are so many scents out there in that room and on some of those objects how do they know which one to alert on?

Lunchbucket

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Re: Odor help!

Postby heartbullies » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:42 pm

No, because in competition there may be one, two, or a blend of odors in the multiple hides and you won't know. The dog just searches for all three the same. I think. lol. We only have the NW1 and the NW2 seems forever away at this point.

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Re: Odor help!

Postby pacopoe » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:21 am

Lunchbucket wrote:
One thing I'm confused about is do you scent them? I mean how do they know what scent they are supposed to find? There are so many scents out there in that room and on some of those objects how do they know which one to alert on?

Lunchbucket


In Nosework competition the dogs are only looking for Birch odor (NWI level) and then later Anise or Clove (or a blend of all three). It's not like in real scent work where you give the dog a novel scent right before the search (like with a missing person where you show them an object that belonged to the person). You'll spend months only looking for Birch, so the dog is pretty familiar with what to look for even in a completely novel environment with no need to "prime the pump", so to speak. They will have practice boxes, but it's more the boxes that add context versus the ritual of giving the new scent right before a search.

When they created the sport they picked three essential oils that occur the least frequently in real life (at least that was the intention lol). The odors are strong and unique, making it pretty simple for the dogs. This means lots of pet dogs that may not have the drive to succeed at real scent work can still participate in the sport. It does get pretty hard at the higher levels but it's structured so that every dog can participate.


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