It is a great(!!!) impulse you wanting to go slow and build that reward history. What I was perhaps overstating, but meant was changing the scenario a tad.
Do you have a differ room you could play in or change the game without upping the difficulty or adding too many new elements? Have you been cooking the targets? Lengthen the amount of times the hides cook. Start with that. Go slow but build.
As for after the game:
Much of truffle hunting is about communication. After the ‘game’ is over you as a handler want to communicate that fact. Think about adding an “all done” cue. Personally I use “free dog”. This is helpful later as it provides information to Salu on what is going on. When you use that cue he’ll know that ‘okay, game is over and now I get to do (insert activity here)…’ Whether that is play with a toy, or run around and have fun, it will depend on what you want to do together. He may decide to keep looking, but the point is it is about communicating your intention and expectation. It is about providing information.
Also we are looking for a continued connection. Call it tapering. If you’re really “high” (as in excited and energetic) and then all of a sudden that sensation goes away and you drop from a 8 or a 9 to a 2 dramatically it is not necessarily the most positive of associations. And Truffle hunting should be about fun! Think about someone offering you something fun that you are excited by or love, in a very excited fashion- whether that is an all expense paid trip to the Bahamas or a big piece of cake (bear with me here on the analogies, it’s late…). Someone offers it to you “Oh Mary, guess what, We have this awesome vacation you get to go on. We have it all ready for you. Don’t you want to go!” and then they turn around and walk away. It leaves you perhaps just a little confused. We want to avoid that. I’ll think of a better example in analogy form, but does that make sense? Continued connection and transition to other activity/ party if appropriate.
‘Snorkle the ground’ is a great image 😉