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Fancy is a sweetie! She is doing quite well, but let’s slow things down a bit. You are already a bit ahead of the class so there is no rush here. Let’s focus on building value for the truffle scent as you were doing in Day 3 for a few more sessions before going back to the boxes. I want to point out that she wasn’t doing anything “wrong” with the boxes, but I’d like to see her a bit more enthusiastic about it. If you compare videos, she was happily working on Day 3 and starting to show some stress on Day 5’s training session. It’s subtle so simply taking a step back and allowing her to really love this new game will likely get you just what you want.
The brilliant part I see her is that WHEN we get to the lesson on alert behaviors, you already have something to work with. Fancy was offering an alert by laying down! So we can work with that! She was also digging so that will be another one we can keep our eye on. With those alerts, an offered alert is great so we simply try not to discourage those behaviors in early stages. They can develop into some great alerts later.
I would also like to see you try giving her the verbal cue once and then let her work. Try this with the scent button. Give the cue, let her target it, click and reward. Chatter can become distracting and stressful for dogs. She IS working and being quite methodical so give her the time to do her job and figure it out. Besides, you won’t be able to catch your breath in the woods if you are repeating the verbal cue for the duration of a hunt
Lastly, when she is successful, let’s tell her! Make a big deal about how brilliant she is! Mark and reward and really try to interact with her a bit more. This will serve two purposes. One, it will help build value for the successes and excitement to find the truffle. Two, in the end, you and Fancy will be digging around trying to find a truffle underground. That takes time and you will need Fancy to stay engaged while you try to fine it. This can sometimes take several minutes. By partying with her now for these successes, you are showing her that when she finds the truffle, even more fun is in store (the digging and pinpointing a truffle WITH you). Truffles aren’t always very easy to see so often you will really need Fancy to be persistent and show you where it is.
She is off to a great start!!