Let’s take the same step with Esprit as we suggested with Vidoc.
– work on buried hides in familiar/ easy locations. Keep the search area small and really encourage them when they are working the scent column. It isn’t uncommon for difficulty to change dramatically once that target goes underground. Familiar location for working on buried. Add a transitional step for buried hides to help them out. Place the target on the surface and sprinkle a little dirt over the top. Then a little more dirt, and so on. This will help them start to sort out how the scent travels through soil.
– continue to work on new locations, but with surface or obscured hides.
– mark anything you aren’t 100% certain you can find if the dogs don’t.
Additionally, go ahead and start putting out 2 more targets than you hope to find. So, if you plan to do 3 hides, hide 5 and leave after the 3rd. You will need to go collect the remaining 2. For Esprit, you may consider putting out 3-4 surface hides and 1-2 lightly covered. Just observe which targets are found. All of them count as a successful find so consider it an opportunity to set him up for success while providing the opportunity to complete a more complex hide.
In the new locations, try to set Vidoc and Esprit up in different areas. Yes, in real life you will have them search the same area, but let’s give them clean search spaces for now. Searching areas that have had a dog in them previously is hard, but searching areas where truffle soil has been turned up is even harder.