Glad the spay went well!
The paper towel will lose odor over time it is out, yes, so keep it stored with the truffles when not practicing. The VOCs don’t ‘bond’ with the paper towel fibers the way they do with lipids in foods.
We wouldn’t expect her to find anything yet until you’ve had a chance to start burying truffles and working on transitioning to new more complex environments, but you’ll get there!
It is ok to switch between truffle odors when practicing, as long as you are confident she can positively identify the odor, that’s fine. Which it sounds like, based on your description, you are confident she can. And for where you are located, actually it’s good to do. It gives you a wider VOC array to work from to allow her to generalize. She seems to generalize well! Just remember to prime her with new species to make sure she understands that this too equals cookies. Pay attention and see if you notice a difference between either alerts or body language or if she seems to have a preference when searching. If so, work on solidifying positive ID criteria for the other species she is less confident on. Does that make sense? Work on the species she is less confident about alerting on in less complicated environments and build that confidence level.
You can use multiple species in a scenario as well if you are doing multiple hides! Just be aware of what is where, so if she is having a challenging moment you can take note of that and if it becomes habitual, say that she finds whites easily but struggles on blacks, you can later alter scenarios to set her up for success, and work on alerting on blacks. Often times we find that when dogs have ‘preferences’ for one species over another it comes down to reward history in training.
It’s great that daisy gets excited when you are getting ready. Thats good! What do you mean by “has lost interest/accepted defeat”? What does that look like? Does she just not want to play the games? Is she tired? Tell us what that looks like.
We can guess- but better if you can describe it to us. What is different about the change in her behavior. What is different about the change in YOUR behavior? What are you doing different when you are prepping things vs when you feel like you are ready to start the training scenario. Walk us through what you do and we may be able to point out a disconnect for Daisy.
If she gets super pumped by you prepping stuff, do this- play one or two easy reps with her while you are getting things ready, or just after you are done- so she gets to play the game a little. It does not need to be hard finds. Then go place targets and forget about them for a while to cook. Come back to your prep area and if she is still eager to engage & play, do one or two more easy reps and then give your signal for all done! that was it! That then just became a mini training session on building endurance. It doesn’t seem like long- but she had to wait 2 whole minutes (while you placed targets) until she could play her truffle game with you in the kitchen.
When you want to begin your session in earnest, go to where you ‘prep’ and get her engaged at that site. Play a simple target game there. Get her excited. Then head to your location where you have your targets set up.
Prime her here with easy reps. We talk about it in the 201 course, but this is what we call the ‘hunt sequence’. Daisy may have decided that her hunting starts when you are getting ready. That’s ok! Daisy may have internalized that you in the kitchen getting treats together etc as part of her routine of hunting and so begins to anticipate the games that follow. We want her to have fun and so the easy reps done right after you are done prepping are ‘the game’ to her. She doesn’t know you hid 5 downstairs, she just knows there is one on the floor she gets to play with! YAY! Do that a couple times and see if there is a difference.
It’d be good to either see it, or have you describe it though so we know if we are on track with this assessment.
Cooking, yes, is time consuming. Unfortunately it is a critical part of training once we get to the stages of burying and by doing it now you are getting Daisy used to and prepared for how scent moves in more saturated and complex environments. More impotent for some dogs more than others, but once the target goes underground, you have to allow odor to permeate the soil. Especially when you get to depth or compact the soil. It will pay off in the long run.