You’re so wonderfully patient with us, Kim!
Rushing in to pay has been very helpful for Blackie, who had a similar (though somewhat different) problem of throwing behaviors at me when she got frustrated. Initially, I thought I hit the jackpot because early in our training she came up with a beautiful alert of sitting when she found the odor. However, then she started sitting just because she knew that would get the reward. It was as if she was saying, “Maybe it’s here — I’ll sit and Mom will reward me.” We did a LOT of work with running in to pay as soon as she got close to source and also with saying NOTHING until I got to source. So, for instance, if I was across the room and saw that she had found the hide, I would move as fast as possible to pay, but I would keep my mouth SHUT until I was at source, with food in front of her face. That has helped us with our — admittedly somewhat different — challenge.
Interestingly, in our trial yesterday, where I didn’t know where the hides were, I noticed that Blackie seemed to have reverted a bit to giving me a sit at source. I don’t mind that she does that to persuade me, “It’s really here! Will you please call the alert so I can get paid?” But I think she now does it more to emphasize her certainty of being at odor than to simply guess.