Scent Discrimination Part 2

Grit had her 3rd and 4th session on Wednesday. In session 3, I asked her to target the coaster (rather than my hand) right away. Since I didn’t warm up with the chin target on my hand, I lowered the duration criterion. I fed her on top of the coaster to raise value for the target and pair my own scent with the smell of food, and I built a little duration back up.

Session 3:

In session 4, I was going to continue what I had started in session 3. However, Grit felt a little intense this session – if you’ve got a Malinois, you’re probably familiar with this: sometimes, she’s so fast trying to get things right that she forgets what exactly we are working on. This is what happened in session 4. Grit targets things – but not necessarily the coaster. At 00:02, it’s my knees. At 00:03, she offers a down, followed by a spin at 00:07. At 00:34 and 00:46, she targets my wrist. At 00:48, it’s my forearm (I want her nose a little further down, on the coaster). At 00:53, she tries to run around the camera and tips it over. At 01:04, she targets my knees again, followed by my forearm and offering a spin, and my forearm again. (Yes, she’s an operant dog!) I lower the duration criterion, and immediately click her for choosing the coaster. I keep the duration low, and she recovers by the end of the session.

You can recognize she’s in one of her intense states of mind due to the way she looks at me and her response speed. She already showed signs of this in session 3 a few minutes earlier. That’s neither good nor bad – it’s just part of who Grit is. Once she knows this relatively new behavior really well, she’ll be just as fast, but get it right even when she doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the behavior.

Session 4:

Does your dog have moments of increased intensity? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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