Thursday, November 19, 2009

The end of my story...

It's taken me a looong time to write this post, partly because it isn't a post I ever thought I'd have to make and partly because I wasn't ready to acknowledge what occurred on May 26th: Z was washed from SAR training. In addition, I was asked not to return with another dog (and/or as a member) until I had achieved some of the certifications the team requires.

Z washing was something I didn't see coming and something that I really think could've been avoided if there had been clearer communication with me as a new handler. Me needing to return to volunteer status is wholly my fault and something I take full responsibility for.

I'm not happy about how Z's dismissal was handled for a number of reasons, and thus I'm currently on a break from even serving as a volunteer with the team.

I still think about SAR a lot, especially with the new pup I got in May maturing into an awesome high drive dog. I've considered trying out for another team, but I think that at this time, as much as I hate it, my schedule is such that it wouldn't be fair to try to start from scratch again. I just don't have the scheduling flexibility I need for the practice and continuing education SAR with a canine partner requires unfortunately. Perhaps someday.

So here's me signing off for now - wiser, more in awe of the process, determined to try again when life permits, and wishing all those involved in SAR good trainings and fast, happy finds.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Singin' in the rain!

Tonight's practice was focused on motivationals for *all* the teams, not just us. This was due to two major factors: it was pouring rain and many of the teams have been deployed recently to a search where the victim has yet to be located.

Our pattern tonight was 2 short runs followed by one triple the length of the other two. K was our victim, no flanker. Weather was 50 degrees and rainy; the ground was soaked and muddy from 3 straight days of rain as well.

Run 1: About 40-50 ft down a dirt road; K ducked in about 5ft into some brush. Z did a pretty much picture perfect find-alert-refind sequence and so did I. K rewarded with food play as last week. Good motivation/speed, clean and powerful alert and refind.

Run 2: About 50-60 ft down a dirt road. K ducked in about 10 ft. Another pretty run - again a nice level of motivation and good enthusiasm on the alert and refind. Same rewarding.

Run 3:
About 150ft with a big right turn. Gave K 50 seconds to get into place, released Z. Great speed to find K; K reported that Z shot past her about 20ft, but skidded to a stop, paused and then located her. K wasn't sure if she had used her nose or visually located K, but I was just THRILLED to learn that there was no "faking" on the refind as there has been the last 3 or 4 practices. Z found K and came straight to me for *another* great alert-refind. I had K really feed her up at the end of that 3rd run because it was so wonderful to see. :)

Now to keep going in this direction...fingers crossed!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The rollercoaster

So tonight's practice made up for the last one. :) We haven't had team training since my last entry due to snow (!) and thus Z had a 2 week break from training. I was a bit nervous about how she'd perform, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Z got to do two sets of runaways and D's actually having us increase distances again, so we got a lot accomplished.

I had a new volunteer with the team serve as victim for our first round, B, and she ROCKED! I'm going to really try to have her help Z and I out frequently because she can really rev a dog up well and her rewarding technique is great. I think I'm actually going to instruct others how to do it for Z as well - B basically made Z play with her food by moving it around and having Z try and catch it vs. just doling it out like most people do. Z loved the extra movement and her tail was going a mile a minute the whole time, plus the added activity makes the rewarding last longer and maintains her victim loyalty really nicely.

Set 1: Weather was really nice, about 65-70, clear, low humidity. We worked on a curvy dirt trail bordered by heavy brush. B as victim, no flanker.

Run 1:
B reved Z up and ran about 70 ft down the path and ducked into the brush about 12 ft. She called out to Z most of the way and then went silent when she got into position. Z blasted off after her, went straight to her, did a gorgeous alert and refind and B kept her with her for a good 30-45 sec using her great rewarding technique.

Run 2: B again called out to Z as she ran away another 70 ft down the path and ducked into some brush again about 10-15ft off the path. Z again took off after her when released, foudn her straight away, came back to alert (slightly sloppy, but still obvious), and did a nice refind, again staying with B for her reward for a nice length of time.

Run 3: B ran about 80 ft away before taking a sharp right turn and heading down the path another 30 ft before ducking in. She called out to Z just a few times before disappearing around the bend. Z kicked up dirt as she went after B, ran past her location about 15 ft, turned around and found B, then started her return, but according to B stopped and returned to her. B ignored this behavior and Z then came to me to alert (nicely) and completed her refind well.

Set 2: about 65 degrees, clear but dark, large grassy field. K served as victim for us on this set with B as flanker.

Run 4:
K showed Z her reward and then ran about 50ft away and hid in brush on the left side of the field. Z did a picture perfect run with a direct path to her victim and a nice, fast alert and refind. K rewarded as instructed, but for a bit shorter period of time than B had on Runs 1-3.

Run 5: K said bye to Z and ran about 70ft down the field and ducked in about 15 ft on the right. Z again located her easily, alerted well, and performed a spot on refind all at a good speed/motivation level.

Run 6: K ran about 60ft before ducking down a path on the right for 20ft and then cutting into the woods about 10 ft. Z left me at a good pace and found K, returned and hesitated on the alert (she was about to turn back without alerting, but I redirected her), but alerted solidly after the redirection and returned to K well after that.

I'm seeing a pattern: Z "fakes" her alerts on the 3rd run of each set! I'm going to be focusing on that behavior in the next few weeks, but the last run of tonight was good as I was able to catch her mid-"fake out" and successfully get and rewarded the proper alert behavior. This should set us on the right path hopefully.

I was very happy with what I saw tonight - a very motivated, speedy, and pretty accurate dog. :) We still have a long way to go, but it's always nice to see progress and figure out some of the issues from prior runs.

Monday, February 23, 2009


That's really all I have to say about team training tonight.

I've been so happy with Z's progress after the crittering incident and then tonight, when D is flanking for us on runaways, that silly dog from weeks ago reappears. *sigh*

C ran for us as our victim and did a great job revving Z up as she ran off and granted, Z did have good enthusiasm upon release, but D wasn't happy with her refinds. Runaway 1 was nice, runaway two she dawdled and I had to call her back, and runaway 3 she did ok, but not at a speed I'd have liked. So, given what D saw, he says we need to keep working runaways. Grrr. And he and I had a little tiff over how to recall a dog (he uses a word said one specific way and I either use Z's name or her recall word said differently than D - I don't think he appreciated my difference of opinion).

At least he did say that the woods we were working in are pretty heavy on animal scent compared to others and we can go ahead and add some distractions to the runaways.

Since we had fewer dogs to work than usual, I did get to do another set of runaways with Z using Sm as our victim. Sm hasn't worked with Z much so we had some bobbles on rewarding and communication, but nothing too major.

Runaway 1 was pretty, though Z hesitated on the jump alert part of the refind. I'm guessing this was due to the heavy leaf cover in the wooded area we were in.

Runaway 2 was also nice, though we had the same refind alert issue.

Runaway 3 was ugly: Sm ran further way this time (about 70ft vs 50 as before) and Z didn't see where she stopped to hide. On release she raced off but got confused, looped around twice, then went snifing off after something in the wrong direction. I called her off and she came quickly. Once she got back to me and I resent her she got back on task and found Sm. Her refind took a bit too long and she again missed the alert initially, but we did eventually get things accomplished and Sm rewarded her for her efforts.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Are we making progress yet?!

Team training tonight! S ran for Z - I love working with S because she's got some great insights and suggestions and doesn't talk to me like a complete dog training novice like D often does.

We decided to do 2 runaways and then a short trail at the end. Both runaways were about 50 ft in length and Z did ok - she did have some trouble returnign to me quickly on the second one, but her initial sprint to S's hiding spot was nice on both - good motivation and on task.

For the track at the end, S ran about 100 ft straight away and then turned a sharp left and went into the woods about 60 ft. Z was really revved up while we waited for S to signal that she was in position and she took the scent article nicely, too. Upon release she sprinted along S's track but blew right by the turn. She got a hard negative after about 15 ft or so, looped back and S said she appeared on track for about 10 ft before veering off to the side. I didn't have to call her off of this detour (yay!), and once she came back she got back to work nicely and found S without any cuing from either of us. Her refind was a bit slow, but ok.

S believes Z was crittering on the detour, but I'm not so sure. Even if she was, I'm happy because she disengaged on her own which is a new thing for her; up 'til now she's always either been on task completely or had to be called off the critter distractions. Still more work to do, but I think we're moving in the right direction at least.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

Today we got together with K and her dog J (lab) and S and her dog G (golden) at Croft before work. Nothing like getting up bright and early to go run about the woods.

Each dog got several practice runs in, but I'll just talk about Z's since I'm running short on time.

We started with just a regular set of run aways - the first was about 50ft, second was around 70ft, and the third was about 80? ft.

The first one Z overshot her person since they had ducked into a little wall off the side of a building, but she looped back, found them and did a decent alert/refind.

The next, Z took a different route than the person had taken, but she beelined to her at a nice speed. She did dawdle a little bit, but once she got her head back in the game she performed a nice refind.

On the final runaway, the person ran into another building (picnic shelter). Z found her efficiently and did a good refind.

Overall a good set of runaways, so I decided to set up some short tracks.

The first track did NOT go well. She was following S's DH and we had a scent article but I don't think Z really picked up the scent when I presented the article. She took off in the right direction initially but kept getting distracted by scents. The track was about 5 ft long I would guess, with several turns, so it may have just been the difficulty level, but she seemed uber-distracted. Even when I could see our person, Z spent a god 2 or 3 minutes just goofing off before she pretty much accidentally found him. Bummer.

Our second track I simplified greatly into approximately 100 ft with no turns, but still in the woods. I instructed our victim to start moving away from Z when he saw her just to amp up her motivation a bit as well. I had a bit of trouble getting Z to take the scent article, but once I did, she was raring to go. She stuck to her trail well and found her victim quickly with lots of enthusiasm. The refind was a bit rough, but considering how on task she was for the track, I wasn't too upset in the long run.

At least we were able to end on a good note and it looks like I would be best advised to ease her into actual trailing in smaller increments to set her up for success.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another new place

Team practice was at a new location this week, so we had fun exploring the property. Z did longer runaways (all between 70 and 100 ft) in one of the fields along the treelines tonight with C as her victim.

1st runaway:
C ran about 70 ft away and ducked into the brush in the treeline. Z was off upon release and found C, but didn't want to come all the way to her since she was standing in thick brambles. She did return to me and do a nice alert before returning to C and inching into the brambles for her reward.

2nd runaway:
C ran about 90-100 ft away and turned right into another treeline perpendicular to the first. Z again ran right to her, though she did come all the way in without brambles to contend with. She did a very strong jump alert off of me and went back to C for her reward lickety split. This was probably the best rep of the night for Z.

3rd runaway:
C ran about 80 ft away back into the original treeline. Z went after her with lots of speed but shot past her and C had to call out a few times to get her redirected to her spot. Z did go in all the way to C through light brambles when she found her and did a nice refind as well after that initial bobble.

As an experiment, I had C reward Z with food for her finds but then toss her toy stuffed with tuna brownies to see if she'd engage in some play like what I see on the agility field. No luck this time - much more interested in the food vs. the toy still. It might be something else to work on in the future but I've got more important stuff to focus on right now, so we'll probably just keep trying different stuff as we get the chance.

Overall good enthusiasm and focus in the dark in a completely new location.

After putting Z up, I played victim for another puppy, G. G is at about the same point as Z is and he's lots of fun, very enthusiastic, and a bit of a goof still at 1 year old. It was pretty neat to see him take several turns on our runaways smoothly and his unbridled happiness at finding me. :)

Later, I ran as flanker with C for K and his dog C. A nice 3/4 mi run through fields, over a creek, and into the woods for all of us. Got to see some nice scenery with the moon almost full and pretty bright in the open. I can't imagine how cool this farm would be in daylight!

While waiting for others to come back in from their practice runs, I got to chat with S a bit about starting dogs and her thoughts on the matter and she said some things that really made a lot of sense about the pace at which we push dogs at the beginning and how going too fast can be so detrimental to the foundation skills you need to build to be successful in the long run. It certainly resonated with me and really helped to have someone give me a bit of a different perspective than what I get elsewhere. I'm looking forward to practicing with her and K on Thursday. :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Show Off...and then not

So yesterday Z and I trekked out to a potential new team training site with fellow teammates K and R and their dog J, a black lab with both basic and advanced certifications.

The site was private property, 100 acres, big lake, pine woods, big field, etc. - beautiful land that made me REALLY wish I had the money to buy a place like that myself. It looks like it's going to be too far of a drive for regular practices (like over an hour drive for most team members), but perhaps we can use it for mock searches or some weekend day trainings.

The property owners wanted to learn more about what SAR K9s do, so we brought both dogs and did some demos/training. We had two great kids that served as victims and had some fun with it.

J did 3 demos: 1 set of runaways and two air scent tracks. Ziva did 3 as well: 1 set of runaways, one 700-800 ft runway/tracking search, and one short tracking search.

Runaways: Ziva worked with K as the victim. All runaways were between 50 and 70 ft long. First runaway, Z got distracted for some reason, so K called out a bit and Z did go in and find her. The refind needed me to cue it but was decent in terms of motivation and the alert was nice. Second runaway, Z was raring to go and did a good find-refind sequence. Third runaway was a good imitation of the second.

Long Runaway/Tracking: The youngest kid, a girl about 10 yo, was our victim. I briefed her on rewarding and her dad pointed out her hiding spot, a big tree across a field from where we had parked the cars. It was a straight shot, but Z would lose visual contact when the girl was about 1/3 of the way to her goal.

I got a scent article and we sent out our victim. When I thought the girl was in place, I scented Z (looks like we need a refresher on the "check" cue lol), and sent her off. She *bolted* away from me after the girl and I had to book it to keep her in sight.

At the top of the first hill I saw that the girl hadn't actually gotten to her hiding spot, which i think was actually a good thing in the long run because that meant that Z was actually chasing after a moving target vs. a stopped/hidden one for her first moderate length track in a while.

The girl did get behind her tree a bit before Z, gave her the reward, Z hesitated a bit, returned to me, hesitated at the jump alert but did it when cued, and ran back for the rest of the tuna garlic brownies lol. I was beat, but Z had a HUGE smile on her face on the walk back to our starting point. Our victim was pretty happy with her role and despite the bobbles in the run, I was happy because Z did everything with enthusiasm *and* all with a barking dog just 70 ft away from her victim's hiding spot (in a pen).

Tracking search:
Both kids walked around the lake and then made a sharp right turn into the pine forest and walked to a deer stand about 100 ft in just off a nice trail. I allowed Z to watch them walk away and she appeared quite keen. I scented her (again a bit of a struggle) and released her and she was again off like a shot - in the completely WRONG direction (right vs. curving left).

I called her back, and she curved around the lake properly, but was obviously just having a grand time vs. working and ran past the turn, head up, tail waving.

I called her back again, put her in a sit and rescented her. This proved to be a good move, as on this release she actually followed the track decently, made a beautiful turn without hesitation...and then disappeared into the woods. No ringing bell to hear her, no visual contact, and I was thinking the worst - that she had gone off to critter.

I kept walking and shortly thereafter heard a little jingling, then quiet. I peered through the woods to see a white dog tail and human feet about 70 feet away and realized that Z was sticking close to her victims instead of returning to me. I called her, she came in, started to return to the kids without her alert, so I recalled her and cued it, rewarded, and then she ran back to the kids.

It turns out that Z would run 10 ft to the trail, look for me, then return to the kids - who rewarded her each time (guess I should've been clearer in my instructions!). No wonder she didn't come back!! I had the kids do a big reward session on that final return after her alert and we headed in.

I learned a bit about Z's body language this go 'round and overall I'm still happy as the goose poop on the bank and the scent of the woods didn't distract her from the job at hand, and she's doing all of this after a hiatus on actual tracking work. :)

While J was doing some of his demos, I got to work on Zen with outdoor cats living on the property - Z got the idea about 5 reps in with the cat and by the end of our 5 minute session was ignoring the cat completely, even when it started to walk away from us. :)

We ended the practice session with some play in the lake with the property owners' blessings. J loves to fetch his ball out of the water, but Z's not so sure about the wet stuff so most of the time J would be fetching and Z would be elbow deep in the water barking at him. On the grass, she'd chase him when he fetched - certainly does appear she's got that herding dog instinct lol. During our play session we got to practice leave it and drop it with stale bread, goose poop, mud, and a catfish skull! Fun stuff!

A good few hours and a tired puppy at the end - what a way to spend an unseasonably warm February day!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Ok I won't call the issue fixed, but Miss Z kicked butt in the little and not so little runaways we slipped in with DH before the sun went down.

This go round I didn't mark anything with the scents I have, but we worked in a brushy field near our house full of debris and I'm sure frequented by many critters.

Run 1: 50 ft through tall grass and over a rolling hillock. Found DH and had issues on the refind, likely because this was the first time he used *tuna brownies* instead of regular boring dog treats lol. She started to come to me about 3 or 4 times, but kept looping back to him, but did finally come to me, do a nice alert, got a reward and ran back to DH lickety split.

Run 2: A good 80-100 ft through briars (oops) and ending behind a pile of timber and brush. Found DH and did a NICE refind, complete with VERY enthusiastic alert. Not a flinch as she plowed through the briars and navigated them well on her way back during the refind, maintaining motivation nicely.

Run 3: A massive 500-550 ft run over fallen timber, through grass and briars and ending with DH behind a small shack. Crazy fast "Go Search", an amazing, spot on, uber-hyped refind with me at roughly 250 ft away from the "victim" sans all extra cues and with a nice alert. That little dog can MOVE when she wants to! This occurred after she seemed interested in another direction as DH was walking away, which usually results in a less enthusiastic take off, but we blew that thought out of the water tonight. Very cool!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Yay for husbands!

I got my husband, S, to agree to help me get some training in today after he got home from work. I need to do it more often but my schedule is screwy enough that it's hard during the week; today we didn't have team practice since we had one just yesterday, so I decided to take advantage of the extra time.

Earlier today I had worked Z on scent zen to try and reduce her crittering in the field, so I figured I'd use my time with S's help to try our proofing out.

Before we all headed out, I took my spray bottle of deer scent out to the open field across the street and sprayed it in about 6 places, all near areas I wanted S to pass. It was drizzling, s each spot got 2 sprays to make the scent as strong as possible. Usually I don't try to make things uber difficult for my dog, but I really wanted to test the little bit of work we'd done earlier.

Z and I stopped at the edge of the field and I sent S out about 70 ft angled to the right, where he dropped behind a small drop-off. I sent Z and she blasted off, kicking up mud. She got to him, then beelined back to me where she forgot to jump alert in favor of running back to her victim. I instructed S to not reward that return and called her to me and encouraged the jump alert, at which point she was sent back to the victim with our "Show Me" cue and heavily rewarded. The track had taken her less than 2 feet away from one scent mark and about 4 feet from another with nary a backward sniff!!

Next, I had S go about 60 ft away and up a slight incline where he hid right past a small pine I had marked with deer urine. Z again took off like a shot, blew past the mark, and found her victim. I had to recall her for the refind, but she did a nice alert before being sent back with "Show Me" and rewarded nicely.

For our 3rd runaway, I had S walk about 100-120 ft away and walk behind the edge of a hill out of sight before dropping down. There were no scents at this point, but I did stand about 4 feet away from a marked plant while I waited to release Z. Z again flew off after S, found him, did a GREAT refind and alert, and headed back nicely - very purposefully.

With this nice result, I decided to go ahead and do a fourth run to get some distance past scent marks we had already passed. I had S walk back to where Z and I had started our very first runaway, so about 300 feet up a series of small inclines. His path took him by all 5 marks and I had him stop about 4 feet from one. By the time he was in place, Z was as hyped to go as I've seen her in a looong time - spinning, whining, straining at the leash, everything I like to see. Upon release she was just gone - no hesitation at any marks and straight in to S's location. She did loiter at his feet a bit longer than I'd like so I got her attention and she was back to me with an awesome jump alert like a shot, rebounding to him at speed as well.

This session was wonderful in sooo many ways - nice focus even with distracting scent, super high desire to search even with a victim that's rather boring (S doesn't run or holler and his rewards consist of just tossing about 4 treats at Z's head and maybe a few pats, no verbals), and enthusiastic alerts that were so hyped that she didn't even have a chance to grab the treat from my hand before she was off to return to her victim. Very cool and oh so heartening to see after her initial performance at training yesterday. :)

Anti-crittering work and improvement

To follow up on the learning of yesterday, I went out to Academy and bought some bottled scent from the hunting section (yay for a gift card lol). I ended up with the following: raccoon urine, fox cover scent, and buck urine. Yummy. :P They will be living in the garage because OMG do they stink (even to my wimpy human nose)!

Since I was off today, I decided to do a little pre-training before using the scents as distractions in the field. The raccoon urine was first - I sprayed about 4 or 5 sprays of the urine onto a post in the corner of our backyard. I got Z all dressed and leashed and took her out in the light drizzle to work on Zen. Z wasn't immediately drawn to the scent, but once she hit it she was quite interested. I kept tension on the lead but did not correct or cue. As soon as her head came away from the post I clicked and rewarded with cat food. I walked her by the scent again and it took only a few seconds for her to turn away. By the 3rd walk by she was completely ignoring the raccoon urine, so back in the house she went and out came the deer and fox scents.

I sprayed the deer urine on grass about 20 ft from the raccoon post - 4 sprays - and squirted the fox scent onto a kleenex on the ground 30 ft from the deer scent. Of the three I have to say deer is the stinkiest!

I brought Z out again and walked her by all three scents. She ignored the raccoon still (C/T), missed the deer (still C/T), and was intrigued by the fox. Again I held tension on the lead and waited for her to turn away to C/T. Walked her by it several times, C/Ting for turn aways. After about 4 reps she was ignoring it as well.

On the second pass by the deer scent she caught it and BOY was she sniffing. To avoid creating an unwanted "find the animal scent" behavior, I actually told her to "Leave It" on this scent since she was so entranced. That worked quickly (yay!), so I started her back near the fox scent for a walk by. This time she still ignored the fox, but beelined to the deer. I waited and the head came up after about 5 seconds, so C/T and walk by. Rinse and repeat. it took about 6 reps to get her "over" the deer scent, but still not shabby at all.

By the end of our 5 or 10 minute training session, Z was *walking over* all three scents for the most part and when she did sniff it was only for a split second before turning away. Great progress, but will it transfer to our SAR work??

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Back again...

Poor neglected blog...

Anyway, today we had a group training on a weekend I could actually attend, so we had lots of fun. Ziva ran 2 times, which is one the the beauties of these long practices (9am to 2pm today).

At the last group training we attended (which I will post about eventually) Ziva treed a cat while out on a track - a BIG no no. I had a cold develop shortly thereafter which severely cramped my abilities to do anything with her in the past 2 weeks, so today's practice was the first once since that cat episode. Z was NOT performing at a level I would've liked, but we did get some good work in, so at least I have that.

Her first time out we were going to do a short runaway, a lengthy runaway, and then a short track, but it became apparent during the first runaway that she was incredibly distracted by all the scents in the woods and was not up to the increasing distances we had planned. On the advice of our trainer, who was flanking for us, we took her all the way back to puppy training and did several short (like 50-70 ft) runaways with lots of happy noise from the victim and over the top rewarding. I also was told to work on patterning her: released w/ "Go Search", find victim and get one treat, refind (call if she starts to get distracted), reward a solid jump alert and be sure I'm standing up , not bending down, say "Show Me" and nothing else, and then run like heck with her to the victim where she gets a long reward and lots of happy noise again. Rinse and repeat over and over. :P She improved on each run, though D did mention the dreaded "wash out" possibility if we can't get her off the "crittering" (searching for animals vs. people) she was doing. That was a bummer, but it was a kick in the butt we needed to really buckle down and work at this.

Between Z's runs, I flanked for M and his K9, S. S's search was on a longer trail and we were looking for a pair of boyscouts who had been sent out 2 hours prior. We actually went through some of the same territory that had given Z so much trouble and even S had her moments of distraction, so it was nice to know that we're not alone in critter interest. S found the boys aok and both M and I learned a bit more about body language changes and what they mean. S threw her head up at one point and we wondered why until we realized that the boys had made a campfire and she was likely smelling the smoke - about 5 or 10 minutes before our human noses could catch a whiff!

The second time out, Z and I did the same thing as before, but just the victim and I, not including D or the victim's nephew like the first time out. We went back into the woods at another point and she did GREAT! Fast take offs to the victim, strong alerts, minimal recalling/redirecting, especially when compared to the first go 'round. She even cleared a lot of brush on the final runaway which has been a problem in the past for her. It was a great end to what could've been a very frustrating day.

I've resolved to try to address the crittering issue using +R techniques before I go to punishment based methods, so we'll be playing around with a few things in the next week or so. I'm leaning toward buying bottled animal scent and working Z on "Zen" with the scents (rewarding turning away) to see if that helps some. Ideally I could get her to the point that she runs right over any scent when she's in work mode. We'll see how it goes...