Maggie had a great training session yesterday. We were inspecting a room where a training aid (live bugs) had been hidden behind a painting that was above the couch.
That’s a pretty difficult situation because you wouldn’t think to check for bugs behind a painting or a picture, but when it’s located above a couch or a bed it’s a common place to find the bugs, so we’re training Maggie to check there when she she’s that kind of set up.
As soon as we entered the room she had the scent and tracked it to the couch, and followed the scent up the wall to the painting, and she bumped the painting with her nose and the painting moved, which scared her. This is great because it should teach her she doesn’t need to put her nose on item to smell the bugs, and with certain items, like a painting or a picture, she shouldn’t, and that picture moving like it did taught her that better than we ever could.
So what she did next, because she was still a little spooked, was she gave me a strange alert with a half sit, which really amounted to her squatting, not sitting, and looking back at me hoping that would be good enough… It wasn’t. I withheld the reward she was hoping for, and she jumped down off the couch and started searching the rest of the room hoping she could find the scent somewhere else and she wouldn’t have to be so close to that scary painting. She searched the entire room and to her chagrin, didn’t find any more scent, so she tried alerting somewhere else where she remembered she had found the training aid in the past, hoping that would work. Of course it did not, I told her to keep searching. She tried that one more time just to make sure she couldn’t get away with it, before jumping back up onto the couch and alerting properly, and getting her reward.
Sometimes being so smart can make it harder to train a dog, but in this case yesterday, she was learning important lessons all on her own, which is the best way for her to learn them.