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[quote] The last couple weeks were way too busy to the point that I have only done one search with both Vidoc and Esprit [/quote]
Take care of yourself, first and foremost! We know how it is. Get some rest. Breaks are ok, and just fine 🙂 They boys will be there when you want to get back in it 🙂
The middle of the field issue:
This is completely understandable, and totally ok! We would suggest you practice that more. It is common tendencies to put odor targets at the periphery because we want dogs to search an entire space, but soon you?ll be getting to quite a few hides, and it?s good practice to do some right dab smack in the middle!
As for Blind hides:
Right now you guys are doing about 3 to 5 hides as is. So, as long as your helper either can tell you later were to find them, or makes a crude map, I?d say do that many. Don?t do more than that.
When you and Vidoc (or Esprit) are working though, don?t feel shy about finding the 3rd one and then calling it “done?! You don?t ?have to? find each one. The point is to stop while you and Vdioc (BOTH) are feeling ahead. We have absolute confidence in you guys in a scenario like this, but do make sure you have your extra target on you incase you think Vidoc needs a success. Vidoc will likely keep working until he does find it, but if about 2-3 minutes elapse without (and that is a LONG time at this stage) an alert, offer him one. It can be as simple as throwing it in front of his path and making it SUPER easy. You can continue to keep searching, but build that confidence.
Another good thing to do with your helper is show them ?how? you want the target hidden. You don?t want to be surprised later when your helper has buried your target 3 inches down and you are just working on obscured hides with no visual id.
If you think you and the boys are more comfortable in the area on the forest edge by the trees with the bushes, then do that. It is about your comfort level as much as theirs. We like to push boundaries, and we will. Eventually you?ll be searching that whole soccer field. But right now, especially when transitioning to blind hides, go with what ?feels? best for you. If they seem less distracted in that environment than the soccer field, by all means do the area by the trees.