Practicing blind hides is different from known hides. Mickey knows how to read me well. Slight turn of my body, shuffling of my feet, breathing etc. are all cues form him we are getting close to odor. When it is blind, I'm not giving him cues. this makes for forestation with mickey because he wants to find that odor, and looks to me WHERE is the ODOR? I have to work through his frustration. that includes being patient for him to find the odor.
In my last practice, I learned a great tip. Let Mickey work out the odor. Many times the instructor or my training partner will say, "Do you want me to show you where the odor is?" I get frustrated and say yes, but this last time I didn't. This time Mickey had to learn to actually find the odor. No subtle cues from me to help guide him. He was on his own. He often looked back or false alerted to signal "help me!" I didn't want Mickey to fall into "learned helplessness" trap. This is disaster in a trial. He has been depending way to much on, If he can't find the odor instantly, he will search a little bit, and then depend on me. this is what happened in Bellingham, WA. He has learned "wait out, mom eventually will show me." We are moving up the ranks Mickey, time for you to actually search for it. You will not get handouts anymore.
I was patient and waited him out. I didn't break down and have my partner show me the odor. I was getting frustrated inside and kept telling myself NO! DO NOT ASK WHERE IT IS!!!! Mickey needed to work it out. Mickey tried hard to source. False alerted. I called, partner said NO. We did this again, Mickey false alerted, I called it, partner said NO. Hmmmm....Mickey started doing "frustration" behavior. We had to remove the other odor. Wait him out, let him work. Mickey needed to learn how to WORK through his frustration. This was a high hide, it was in a wood slit on a trash bin gate. A black straw with a swab was used. When Mickey finally found the odor, I gave him about half my treat bag. He worked hard. Some argue about jackpot training, but I don't over use it, so the point was CLEAR. The reward did match the effort and reward was only given when he found it. Once we can thoroughly work through this issue, I think we will do well in the third level in trialing, NW3. But this Saturday, I need to pass NW2. Mickey is awesome when he can find it right away, but when he can't, he gets frazzled and then starts to beg for help. No more showing him where the odor is located. he's a big enough boy now and experienced enough that he can now learn how to source it. What I will do for him is give him different angles and opportunities to find it. Watch carefully for a false alert and try to call it when it is right. So close to trial time! We keep getting better every time! It is exhilerating.