Amparo Bertram (spacealien_vamp) wrote,
Amparo Bertram

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.
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