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Amparo Bertram

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11:56 am: Canine training: Week 6
This week we've mainly been practicing blind exercises in preparation for our validation test coming up in a couple weeks. "Blind" means that the handlers don't know where the food is hidden, only the instructor. That way we know that the dogs are actually smelling the target items, not just reading body language cues from the handlers.

We did add one new challenge, which is to have target food items in a bag being carried in someone's hand. Previously, the bags have all been on the floor or on stationary luggage carts. Putting the targets in handcarried bags makes it harder because the dogs aren't accustomed to the bags moving, for one thing. Even more difficult, however, is that now we have to roleplay interviewing a "passenger" to find out if there is food in the handcarried bag, and the dog has to sit there patiently while we search for contraband. Since they're accustomed to being rewarded with treats as soon as they find the correct bag, getting them to sit still and wait is tricky. (Not to mention trying to stop them from sticking their noses right into the bag looking for goodies while we search!)

We did get Monday off for Presidents' Day, and my classmate from Detroit and I drove up to the Atlanta Aquarium. (She had driven here from Michigan, so she had her own private car.) The aquarium has many different display areas, but its main attraction is the tunnel under the main shark tank, where visitors can watch the sharks and other marine creatures swim right overhead. The tunnel leads to an enormous viewing window, which we were told is the second largest in the world.

As impressive as that was, the cutest residents of the aquarium were definitely the otters.

The trip was fun, but I have to say that the ride back was...not so much. Apparently my classmate likes to take risks when she drives. At one point, we were traveling about 10 feet behind the car in front of us at a speed of about 75 miles per hour, which is INSANE. I pressed myself as far back into my seat as I could and prayed for my life. Thankfully, we got back without incident.


[User Picture]
Date:February 27th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you had fun at the Aquarium, but re: driving - that's one of my biggest pet peeves. "Really, you're willing to risk my life to get some place 5 minutes faster..." ugh.

Best wishes to you and Benny on the new phase of your training =)
[User Picture]
Date:February 28th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
Thanks for posting and for the pictures. The otter really is cute.
[User Picture]
Date:February 28th, 2011 03:06 am (UTC)

I have 423 pictures of sea dragons

Your posting about the aquarium now ensures I will never post MY entry about my birthday trip to the aquarium last July (which, I swear, has been near the top of my to-post-do list for weeks and weeks now). *grump* ;)

Although, you must have had a behind the scenes tour of some kind, since you were up above that tank, yes? It's a really nice aquarium isn't it? I could go there every week. Aside from maybe the sea dragons, I most loved sitting in front of the beluga tank window from inside one of the meeting rooms upstairs. Though of course the giant whale shark tank/window was also mesmerizing.

(I played frisbee for Presidents' Day.)
[User Picture]
Date:February 28th, 2011 12:27 pm (UTC)

Re: I have 423 pictures of sea dragons

Although, you must have had a behind the scenes tour of some kind, since you were up above that tank, yes?

We did go on the short version of the behind-the-scenes tour. It was interesting without dragging on too long.

It's a really nice aquarium isn't it?

It's very nice, though we were disappointed that the dolphin exhibit won't open until April, after we've gone.

If you like sea dragons, you should try the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They have a really large seahorse/sea dragon exhibit.
[User Picture]
Date:February 28th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC)

Re: I have 423 pictures of sea dragons

you should try the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Yeah, I definitely want to go there.... someday. Wish it was closer! ;)
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