More than one way to hit the mark.
While preparing for my next Integrity Nose Worx Presentation Seminar Event at Staten Island Companion Dog Training Club on Markers in Scent Detection the thought occurred to me; When we get to
a level where different methods of training become tools we use to differentiate how we train EACH dog, that's pretty awesome. Each of these styles are "A" way that we can use.
For example, let's say you start with the standard Hunt Drill with Primary in a box or bowl. DO we stay there or do let the dog determine what we do next?
If they dog shows a good understanding and hunt drive, can't we move on from a couple boxes on the ground with primary, to one box that becomes the target. If the dog is successful at this task, then we can simplify the picture, adding a hot/first odor box, removing all other boxes simple context, and have only one box in the search area. Then we can shift to indication work and stay there until we craft/shape the indication we want. All t
he while charging the marker, cleaning up handler influence communication, working on proofing through Distance-Delay/Duration-Distractions, and ensuring the dog understands criteria and what's expected from it when
it gets to Odor (odor pays). Next we can begin proofing by layering context add criteria and logically growing the dog.
If we have a low drive dog we can differentiate to their pace of learning. Maybe we stay on primary. We move the boxes/bowls around trying to build hunt drive. With this dog we can try targeting drills outside of odor and have the team work on clarity with a place board. This builds a positive transfer of learning, but allows the team to just get comfortable with their mark and communication. Then we can apply either the first example, or replace the target with a Hot/Odor box. We may even add a dopamine box session into class as well.
Far to often we think we must use just one way. I see each of these as tools in our tool box. Allowing yourself just one methodology limits you, and what you can offer your handlers. It's Maslow's Hammer in practice. If all you have is a hammer to do the job, what happens when the target isn't a nail?