Dogs watch where their rewards appear

Focussed attention originated as an integral part of the sequence of hunting by predators. We use this innate part of the prey hunting sequence in training sniffer dogs. This video beings with a lynx hunting in Yellowstone National Park. The…

Dogs watch where their rewards appear

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Focussed attention originated as an integral part of the sequence of hunting by predators. We use this innate part of the prey hunting sequence in training sniffer dogs.

This video beings with a lynx hunting in Yellowstone National Park. The lynx freezes with focussed attention, before pouncing on its prey.

Next, it shows Rickard indicating a hot container with focussed attention, followed by catching his ball.

Dogs naturally focus where they expect their reward to appear. When rewards happen at source, the dog looks at source in anticipation of the reward appearing there. This helps the detection handler to easily identify the location of source (the highest concentration of target odor).

Movement is motivational. You do not need a ball launcher to train your dog. But you can power up your rewards by letting the dog chase moving rewards, such as a thrown ball, a piece of food, or a food stuffed ball.

Note: Ensure that you practice rewarding away from odor first. If your dog is scared by a surprising toy whizzing by his head, he may make a negative association with odor. If your dog does not enjoy thrown rewards, walk to source and deliver them there.

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