Saturday, November 8, 2014

Seven gives Nose Work a try!

So what do you need to start Nose Work at home?  

- a dog
- high value treats
- 6 to 8 boxes and 1 of the boxes is the designated food box
- you need to be QUIET and watch your dog while he/she works

Nose Work at home is not a directive game. Meaning the human is asking nothing of the dog. That's what makes it so wonderful for any dog.  Day in and day out, we ask our dogs to do so much and  Nose Work is a gift that allows a dog to be a dog.  Nose Work is the avenue for the dog to naturally search (that's one reason the human needs to be quiet).  Because the dog has complete control in this game they pick up on the game quickly and really do love it.  This is a game/puzzle that the exerts a good amount of mental energy finding the "hide" which helps to tire out a dog on cold rainy days.  Another bonus is the confidence boost that dogs get from doing Nose Work.  Confidence is gained by the search and then the self reward.  Self reward meaning the dog is not dependent on the human to give them the food when they find the "hide" - the dog gets it as quickly as he/she can put their month on it so, it's fast and that's reinforcing while building drive for the dog to keep searching.  In the beginning of Nose Work the "hide" is the high value treat.

So what is the human doing during all of this? The human is quiet and watching the dog work. This is a hard task for many humans - me included! The human should be watching and noticing how the dog changes in behavior when it enters into the odor of the food. This all lays the foundation for the dogs who eventually move to the higher levels of Nose Work (when odor is introduced).  Not every dog will ever move to higher levels of Nose Work and that's perfectly fine.  I know many dogs (including D'light) who are happy to just work for high value treats at home! This game is all about the dog and how the human can assist the dog to be an independent hunter while having lots of fun.

These video's are back to back working sessions and the whole series was about 12 minutes total.  No long at all and that's plenty of work for a dog just starting Nose Work.  While this is a game, Seven is still working his brain and that gets tiring.
Ok, enough talking now it's time to watch Seven! 

This is his very first experience with Nose Work and I was fascinated by his first attempt!

He doesn't know what to do... we've spent so much time training that he's not sure what I'm asking of him. The food box is down but, you can see what a great learner Seven has become. He's giving me his sit and eye contact - waiting for direction or reinforcement for that behavior. Those are great skills Seven, however this is a different game!  And you can hear me directing Seven - couldn't help myself and I will be quiet by the fourth video.

Round two...

There was still confusion on his part.  I move on purpose in a direct line of the food box and BAM- watch his head snap when he catches the food and then he self rewards!

Round three...

He's figuring out the game!

Round four...

Right to work he goes - Good boy Seven!

Round five...

This just made me laugh and it's why I love watching dogs work.  Seven has a grasp of the game. After five tries he knows looking in the boxes is where he will find the "hide".  But, he gets confused about the large search area - thus the sitting and looking at me.  Then he does what he does and oh guess what  - there's the "hide".

Round six...

Seven is fully into this game. No sitting at the start line or anywhere else. 
He's just searching!

Round seven...

We move to a new room and Seven doesn't miss a beat. Way to go Seven you are a natural at Nose Work!

Seven working the boxes!

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