In this episode of K9 Conservationists, Kayla talks to Stacy Barnett about fringe alerts in detection dogs.
Episode suggestion: Get up and go for a little walk!
What is fringing?
- When a dog alerts to odor outside of the preferred range of where the indication should be, aka too far away
- The final response begins where sourcing ends, so with fringing, the sourcing ends prematurely, making the alert farther away from the scent than is preferred
Why does it happen?
- The behavior chain of sourcing and alerting is off balance
- Over-enthusiastic for the search
- Over emphasising the alert/not enough emphasis on sourcing the odor
- Different kind of setting with work/trial vs training
- For a trial or working a job, you are under different stressors and you aren’t able to control the environment and set up
- When under pressure, your behavior may be different which can be difficult for your dog to work with
- Differentiation of odor concentration
- If working in a situation with different odor concentrations, they may start to conclude a certain concentration of odor and start alerting to only that strength of scent
- It may be too easy or too hard
- Genetics is a big deal, but training is a bigger deal
What are ways we can fix it?
- More balanced training sessions – both sourcing and alerting
- “Show me” cue
- Ignoring fringe alerts and encouraging them to keep working/”keep going” cue
- Working to get the “show me” cue or the “keep going” cue out of the behavior chain
What are the downfalls of the “show me” cue?
- Can cause your dog to rely on the handler to source
- Can become a prompted cue to alert
- It is important to make sure it doesn’t become part of the behavior chain
How do we build sourcing into our training?
- Set up for success
- Smaller and shorter puzzles easy for them to source
- More complicated puzzles to get them back into the sourcing mindset
- Increase the challenge level for the dogs skill level to keep the flow going
- Too easy may be boring, too challenging may be too frustrating
- Hide placement is important in training sessions
- The training doesn’t come from the human, the training comes from the hide
Links Mentioned in the Episode:
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