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Regarding pairing – it kind of depends on the dog. In GENERAL and IMO, if you have some hides paired and some hides not paired you would pair those that are more challenging. However, if the search itself is the challenge then I would pair all of the hides. Or if you know your dog will only go to the paired hides you will need to examine why that is and consider faster payment when the hides are not paired. OR if you’re working on standing back further from the dog, or working on precise timing you’d pair all the hides. ETC. It really depends on what you’re working on and it’s not an exact science, for sure. 😉
In your initial message you mention that converging odor is a challenge. We’ve worked a lot of MULTIPLE HIDE searches and how to work thru the search area and you’ll want to continue experimenting with that. We could switch over to working simple convergent odor problems next?
What I would suggest is a small-ish interior search area with 2 hides at nose-height level. Make the hides about 5-6 feet apart. You can pair them if you think it will help. This will be an off-leash search and you don’t need to get too close unless you need to help Molly move on from one hide to the next. Hopefully she does this on her own now, after having many multiple hide searches in a row. This should be a relatively short video so let’s see how she does and then I’ll decide which direction to take you in next. 🙂
Joyride K9 Dog Training