I need to take some pictures today... I finally got Scorch a pegboard for articles. I was worried that he would get discouraged or have lowered confidence if I tied down the scent articles. But his confidence has gotten out of control, so it was time to take him down a notch. :)
Scorch has had some good, focused finds, but he tends to get so excited and amped up that he'll either air-scent quickly (which can lead to mistakes) or he'll just snatch and grab the first one he comes to. I didn't feel that he had a clear understanding or was careful enough, so when our instructor brought her pegboard, we gave it a try. What a difference it made!
We've had two sessions with the new pegboard. Lisa has me starting him with around the clock training. It makes sense when an instructor can put it into context. I'm starting him at 5 o clock every time so that he tends to make a straight line and search counter-clockwise. We've had some good finds and some attempted snatches, but last night he had such an amazing search. He'd attempted snatching a few times, and had even left the pile twice. He'd always gone back and found the right one, but he was still rushed.
So on the last send, I put the correct article at 1 o clock. He went to 5 o clock and the light bulb seemed to turn on. He carefully sniffed, somewhat counter-clockwise, somewhat through the middle. He almost put his mouth on 12 o clock but stopped before he made contact, thought for a moment, then sniffed over to the right article, and he KNEW. The comprehension dawned on his face, he grabbed it, and came running over. We ended it there... we'll see how long it takes to get there again today.
Scent articles are AWESOME. I love watching my dog figure it out. We signed up for the next Utility class, because we're ready and they won't be offering one again till later next year. The only thing that bums me out is that no one is teaching an Open class, and I really think we could use it. We're still practicing Open and getting ready for our next trial, but I would love a structured teaching environment. Apparently so would the Utility B people... so maybe someone will step up.