Hi Anthony, your video is marked as private so we can’t view it yet, but do look forward to it!
We discuss it in Lesson 2 (and more detail again in Developing a Reliable Truffle Dog Team and Let’s Go Truffle Hunting) but practicing in heat is problematic and we do not advise it when possible. Even for experienced teams is challenging. That, and for other reasons, is why we recommend when at all possible performing these exercises indoors. Because also outdoors is full of distractions. We as humans realistically realize a fraction of everything going on outside compared to our dogs in terms of sensory organs. It is an interesting place! Oh to have the nose of a dog!
“We also did the session in our front room which is her preferred room during her early morning activity.” Great you realize this- well done. Good to work with her in an environment she likes and is familiar with. She is still young too! Also VERY well done then on ending your session outside if it wasn’t fun- as that is the name of the game.
Great to move to the basement- even if it didn’t end up working out, and also good of you to recognize that she may have negative associations with that space. You should try to make it a more comfortable and fun space for her in general if you can so you can use it. When you do hose her off/ give her baths down there, make sure to include lots of positive reinforcement and treats when possible. Bath time should be fun not scary. Same thing with the Leash and walks. It sounds a bit like something happened wherein she now has a negative association with the leash so it is going to take some extra work on your part to make that not be a negative association for her.
If she is comfortable (AND SAFE) off leash, then working off lead is ok- but that is going to depend on Zucca and on your environment. Practicing working on lead is a very valuable skill as there may arise situations later (for safety reasons) wherein working her off lead is neither practical nor safe. If she is more comfortable off lead at this stage, then go with that, as the goal in the beginning is confidence building, making generalized associations, and having everything around truffle hunting be associated with fun.
I personally let one dog drag a line currently, and one personal dog of mine will probably always work on lead due to environmental factors. It depends on you, your environment and your dog.
Any video you submit is fabulous for review, as are baselines, but keep in mind it often is even better as a learning experience for you when we can see the sessions where you think you need help or struggle with elements the most, as that is why we are here! To Help! Every session is different, and it sounds like (even without seeing video) you are sensitive to that and to Zucca- which is awesome, but please, don’t be shy at all (at all!) for sending us the videos of sessions where things did not go as planned, or you or her communication was off, or something just didn’t work. It is often from these experiences that you can learn the most and are the most valuable. We are here to support you in your endeavors and in the enjoyment of truffle hunting, and these scenarios can sometimes be the best to learn from.
We look forward to seeing the video.