This video is EXCELLENT! Well done Tim. The energy between the two of you with these searches is more settled and cooperative. Really really nice. The tall grass is a great environment for you both right now because she has to root around a bit and you need to watch her closely to find the target. This is perfect for your stage of training.
While trying to get precision with your alerts, we wouldn’t recommend adding the difficulty of a blind hide. Tackle one at a time. As you have noticed, you need to be spot on when when working for a precise alert so you don’t want to miss an opportunity to mark and reward that precision. What we would recommend is using your clicker for those nose targets at the source. That is a great time to give a few clicks and rewards for the precision. She is doing a fabulous job! Using the clicker for a few “show me” nose touches at source will make it very clear for her. She is understanding this game of playing with you at the source very well.
For the ball, if you are going to ask for a drop, we definitely recommend rewarding with a cookie. If her desire to keep the ball is so strong that you are still find recovering the ball challenging, consider teaching her to put the ball in a backpack, in your hand or simply “let go” of the ball and let it fall to the ground. Teach those as a trick that Molly can earn a reward for. Most dogs will resist having something taken out of their mouths so if you can teach her to place the ball somewhere (at your feet, in your hand or in a bag), that will make for much less of a struggle later. Give her a motivating reason to release the ball 🙂
The first search was great and she did a nice job of re-alerting each time you took the ball. Good girl. We can’t tell what you are waiting for at 0:55 since it appears she nose targeted the truffle multiple times.
1:22 Molly showed you precisely where it was! AWESOME!
2:18 Again, FABULOUS! She is giving your very precise alerts. Your challenge now is to get the reward sequence manageable.
Keep it up. You are setting a great foundation and some fine tuning will help it be a smooth transition from reward to starting a new search.