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Martha Hoffman: Bali Dogs and 5000 Hours of Observation Pt. 1

What to listen for:

"The doggy daycare worker and the shelter worker who is not being touted as any kind of behaviorist or trainer, are way better at reading dogs than most trainers. They see behavior eight hours a day.”

Ever wondered what makes a dog more than just a pet, but a lifeline for someone with a disability? The Dames of Detection, are joined by Martha Hoffman, who is acclaimed for her work with the San Francisco SPCA in training rescue dogs as service animals. Martha unravels the mysteries behind canine temperaments suitable for service work, focusing on the essential trait of positive sound reactivity. Martha's own narrative, from being hard of hearing herself, to her Yorkie's keen alerting prowess, provides a personal and professional backdrop to the discussion on the meticulous process of selecting and nurturing these remarkable helpers.

As Robin, Crystal, and Martha circle back to the art of training dogs, they reveal the challenges of encouraging independence while keeping them tuned in to their handlers, especially in tasks like sound work or scent detection. The conversation takes a turn into the compelling strategies used in training for bed bug detection, where precision is king. By the end of this episode, you'll have a new appreciation for the complex dance of independence and obedience in our four-legged friends. And, don’t miss part two of this convo next week!

Key Topics:

  • Welcome, Martha Hoffman! (01:04)

  • Training for Sound Work and Hearing Dog Careers (05:03)

  • Dog Behavior and Training with a Focus on Sound Reactivity (11:12)

  • Evaluating Dog Confidence and Temperament for Public Access Work (17:11)

  • Find - Re-Find, and the “Ping Pong” Method (23:36)

  • Accessing Martha’s Selection Criteria via Her Book, Lend Me an Ear (27:38)

  • Overly Independent Dogs are Not Ideal for Sound Work (29:46)

  • Martha’s Work in Bedbug Dogs (37:00)

  • 5000 Hours of Observation (41:54)



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