We have talked about the importance of generalization before. Generalization is the resilience to perform regardless of changes in context. A recent paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-10089-0
One of the concepts discussed is the separation of learning into two distinct tracks: the context of the learning and the content of the learning. We all have heard a trainer comment when a dog is competing: “He has never done that before!” And that is the point – change the context and you may impact the content.
Task is now searching up to 15 search cones. Today and this week we have changed a bunch of context. We are babysitting my two granddaughters, which means more travel time, more crate time, a new yard to exercise in, etc. Then when we squeeze in some scent work we have changed criteria to sit at odor (serendipitous not planned or necessarily desired), extended the time he must maintain focus on the odor source, increased search to fifteen containers, threw in some balance pads to negotiate while working, and introduced new food dispensing machines. Through all of that he continues to stay on task and shows great potential for the future.