So Sneezing can be Spring expelling the VOCs from her nose, that is absolutely correct. It doesn?t meet criteria so she moves on.
Hides like #2 are SUPER realistic. You did a very good job on that! That Tail!
The lots of barks are great. Love the growls that come out on that. Keep verbally praising her when she does that- we really do think it is a great tool to have.
Especially the combo around 3:10 with her looking at you, scratching, the bark, that Tail!!! Really really fabulous. We would probably at that point coming in a little sooner than you did though to help her dig it out and then you can work on precision more in those circumstances. But really nice. More about that in a bit.
As for soil types, in general for what you will be looking for it will be lighter- but don?t rule it out. Truffles grow where they grow, and it is good practice to work in those heavier soils as they actually tend to be more difficult than the lighter fluffy ones- so you?re doing a good job. Scent does move differently through them, but if dogs can handle compact clay soils at depth, shallow fluff leaf litter is much easier.
In general you use the dog as a location helper. They can initially dig or mark the spot, but then the human comes in and digs and hopefully finds it.
Example- just the other day Kristin was harvesting a few for some students at a site of ours that produces early. These truffles were 6 inches down easy. The chain of events is (we?ll use Callie as an example):
Callie alerts, Kirstin comes over to see what callie has found. Callie re-alerts and Kristin gets down and digs a little and asks Callie again to show her. this contunies like this and Kirtsin continues to dig deeper. Callie smells the sides of holes and indicates with her nose (or paw alerts) which direction to go. Kristin digs a little further and asks callie again wherein callie smells again and alerts in a slightly different direction and this continues until they locate the truffle together.
DEEP truffles are very tough, and Callie is extremely experienced at that. Most truffles will not be that deep. But it is a work in tandem. Spring can help you dig the hole, sure, but ideally that is where a human steps in. This is why the precision and reasserts are so helpful later.
Some dogs do find the searching itself rewarding, you are absolutely right. I have one of those. I highly doubt Spring is delaying because of that, but anything is possible.
But if she has found it already, that was the reward in of itself, wether or not she told you.
What happens more often than not in those cases, is the dog simply does not alert and moves on to another one. Another reason to work on staying at source- which Spring does really well.
I don?t think that is the issue necessarily- but just keep an eye out for it. It?s good that she wanted to stay and play- that is EXACTLY what we want!