You know the feeling in the pit of your stomach on test day? The “I think I am ready, but am I REALLY ready” feeling? Well, this was my feeling today when I pulled out the scent-a-whirl for Kazee. After missing four days over the weekend for a dog show, I decided yesterday was his last “fail proof” find it work. The lids were still on all of the containers, but he had been reliably finding the correct bin for some time. Time to bite the bullet and remove the lids! Basically, it was TEST DAY!
To help his odds, we started with only one similar, unscented tug toy in the bin directly across from his marked bin. All of the lids are removed, but there is only one toy in an unmarked bin. Remember, the scented toy (soon to be scented article) ONLY goes into the marked bin. Kazee was kept on leash today, as he sometimes has a tendency to do a victory lap with his toy. He has always been very good about coming right back, since playing with me is more fun than playing by himself, but I didn’t want to take the chance if he grabbed the incorrect toy. I played with Kazee to start the game, then placed the scented toy into the marked bin.
To find out what happened, you will have to watch today’s training session. 🙂
I was beyond happy! Remember, this is a dog who will plow you over for a tug toy! For him to bypass tug toys to find the “correct” toy, was wonderful and, yes, a little surprising!
He will stay at this step for at least a week before we start with articles. I pushed it today, having a toy in every bin, but you have to read your dog. If he would have tried pulling out the incorrect toy to play (or if he had showed confusion), we would have stayed at only one unscented toy until he was reliably and confidently choosing the correct toy. Mistakes are fine and he may make mistakes the next time we play the game. I think I will do this same progression the next time we play, adding one unscented toy at a time.
So, I think test day was a success! A+ for Kazee!! Remember, the end goal is a happy, confident working dog, who is not afraid to make a mistake.
Train hard, play harder!