Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Viva continues to work after Nose work class

With our current Nose Work class at 8am, Viva and I have enough time to go right after class and run around Seward Park before I have to go to work.  This is wonderful and it's a continuation of fun for Viva.  We've been hard at work with Viva creating positive emotional responses.  While it's fun to go to Seward it is also part of her behavior modification plan.  All that running around in the park and the critters are very reinforcing to Viva and we do see dogs at the park.  We use the environment and high value food as reinforcers. When we see dogs way off in the distance - as soon as Viva sees/smells them she is reinforced for not reacting to the dog. I reinforce the behavior with a treat or when we are at Seward Park I say "where is it" and we will run and check the area for critters.   
All dogs have their own reinforcers.  For many food is a top reinforcer but dogs may have different reinforcers.  These could be toys, touch, verbal praise or in Viva's case - hunting.  It's the human's job to figure out the top reinforcers and use them.  Here is a nice article by Debbie Jacobs: Conditioned Reinforcers 

On this trip we didn't see any dogs but, we did some work around seeing people in strange outfits which you will see more of as this post moves on.

We arrive and Viva is taking in the environment - she loves being in an outdoor setting.

Time to run around and we have really built a nice way of communicating when working on the 50ft long line.  Viva's recall is getting really good and we do a lot of work with our "let's go" cue.

And of course she loves to look up down and all around for critters

She's a beautiful, curious, high prey drive gal

Time to motor!

"Are you coming foster mom?"

Lots of hunting

A good smell!

Crittering is extremely reinforcing for Viva and we use that to our advantage

No critters and time to move on

The lovely Viva!

I will say that since Viva's arrival my endurance is up as I do a lot of running with her!

While Viva was hunting around I found the handy work of a woodpecker!

"Where are you?"

Here's Viva doing her thing - lots and lots of good brain work for her.

When she is in critter mode she can see a dog off in the distance then ignore the dog and go back to crittering.

We head over to where there are people building a new trail.  There were about 5 men in bulky work outfits and you can see the equipment they are using to move the rock and dirt. 

We are close and Viva saw them as we were moving across the large grass area.  But, whatever was on the ground was more important than being worried about the people in strange outfits.  

We watched the people work.

You can kind of see the other workers in the top left of the picture -  Viva did great with what was going on!

What a great morning and just a little more watching for critters and then time to head home.

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