They had set up a very interesting set of searches. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera.
The searches were for separate search areas with open gates between them. The first area was the lobby, with 3 hides and an open door into the next area. The second area was the front third of the main room, with 3 hides. It was separated from the next area by freestanding PVC-construction-fence dividers. The third area was the middle and largest third with 4 hides and expens to separate it from the next area. The fourth area was the back third with 3 hides. So, there were 13 hides total. The search was off leash and once a dog passed through the gate into the next area, it was closed and they couldn't go back. We had 3:30 for the search. After the search we were to walk out on a short leash and not let them investigate any odor they might notice along the way.
For the first search Gimme briefly checked some shelving in the lobby (where the toys are). There was a hide there but she didn't spend enough time to justify calling "alert", before she went through the open door. By the time I got into the big room, she was already into the third area. She did get all 4 hides in this area before moving into the last area. She spent time on a chair that didn't have a hide, so when she was sourcing a hide, she ran out of time. She got 4 out of 13. She pulled toward a couple of hides on the way out.
For the second search they took down the barriers and the dogs could go anywhere they wanted. Gimme got 1 hide in area two, all 4 in area three and all 3 in area four, for a total of 8 out of 13. She could have found more, but she again spent time on a chair that didn't have a hide. Still, she doubled how many hides she found, in the same amount of time. August got 9 this time, but he was sourcing a hide and they let him finish even though his time ran out.
For the last search they pulled hides, leaving only one per "area". Gimme found 3 hides, but then she again wasted time on the chair that didn't have a hide. When our time ran out, Dorothy had me wait while she turned over the chair and sure enough, there was a hide there from an earlier class. So we took Gimme back to it and then we rewarded her a lot when she found it.
The two times I got Gimme to leave the non-existent-hide, I had to be well away from her before she left it. She didn't indicate, probably because odor was back against the wall and I didn't give her enough time to get to it. Dorothy made the point about the advantage to having a dog who is independent enough to pursue what she knows is right; but, of course, it does require the handler to trust the dog. None of the other dogs paid much attention to the chair with the non-existent-hide, being easily drawn away by their handlers.
Gimme is strong enough in her confidence and sense of self to persist when she knows she has something. Good girl! I paid her a LOT to reinforce her persistence and independence. Good good girl...