In regards to your photos you posted:
“As it is damp I would expect the odour to be close to source in most places but do wonder about the impact of the thickness of floor cover? Would think though that generally good environment for success.”
Yes, odor would be more dense and this ‘can’ make it easier but it also has elements of difficulty as there is more odor spread around in wet, dense environments and so the more you can practice in environments with those conditions for Millie to get used to, the better.
It is also good you noted that Millie’s Alerts might be truncated in deeper cover. Just something to keep on the brain!
“Other considerations for when we did the session would be tick prevention (which she has in her food every day anway) and my safety for obstacles underfoot.”— Excellent!
Now onto you videos:
Students often say, ‘not our best work’ and that is ok! Those are the moments wherein we can actually offer the most advice and assistance in how to change the scenario and what can be done to adjust the routine for greater success.
We think you (& Millie!) are doing great. We love all you wiggly UK dogs. Those Tails!
We think Millie Looks good and don’t see her going over threshold, but we’ll take your word and experience on interactions with Millie on this. We do think she easily could be over stimulated if your energy level was amped up and spiked more so it is important for you in this situation to try to keep your excitement/ energy level a bit lower while still maintaining genuine praise during the reward sequence.
You could practice this with other skills/ games/ tricks outside of truffle training- even simple tasks so you can start to gauge more how your energy level affects Millie in kind.
Millie may very well settle a bit with a larger search area, so go ahead and start to work on that.
On the second video (and in general) Millie is being very thoughtful in her design making process and checking all possible sources before alerting. That is just interesting to note that she is investigating her search area (this is not the case in each trial we have seen however) prior to offering the alert— you can see her confidence build through the entire session however so that tendency decreases with him in the game. Nice staying at source on the 2nd video.
Overall very well done Gwen. Go ahead and start working some larger areas!