Teaching Scent Discrimination and Retreive – Day 2

Today we continued Squids training on scent discrimination and retrieve. I have decided to move quickly forward, but always keeping track of the development so I can adjust the training if needed. Today we trained on grass, which demanded more nosework than the surface yesterday. I started adding scented retrieve articles without my scent on it. The short term goal is that she ignores them and just searches after my scent. Here is the main part of today’s session:

The training got a little messy as it was hard for her to find the small piece in the grass when she didn’t have the search area defined. I moved us quickly to the row of scented retrieve articles, thinking that it would define the area, but she still floated out a bit (I have removed some of it in the video). It also made Squid tired and I think that is the reason why she picked up one of the articles at the end. She doesn’t look that sharp in the clip. I also have to decide what to do when she grabs one of the articles. I wonder if I should do nothing at this stage of the training, just wait for her to put it down again and find the piece of matchstick. The same goes for when she might freeze her nose on the wrong article. I think I’ll start with that and see how it works. If it turns out to give a lot of false marks, I’ll have to change something in the training to avoid it.

For the next session, I’ll prioritize to shorten the time of the search. I like the idea of letting the row of articles define the search area, but I’ll have to find a way to explain it to Squid without her wasting a lot of time searching at other places. I wonder if I’ll try it on the stone paves again and see how it works. If it makes her search faster without using her eyes, it is definitely a good idea. If I also put the articles near a wall and I stay at the other side, it should define the search area more.

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