I could have rewarded her the first time she went to the cabinet and drawer with the birch, but I am trying to find that right balance of "accept less to get more" and while I know the hotdog smells were an added distraction I wanted to at least get her oh so subtle ear change that tells me she is sure. I didn't wait for the full focused response because of the hotdog challenge, but the drawers and cabinets are not new to her so I felt it was a healthy choice at the time.
I also did not correct her for a false alert or redirect her. I do not want a "zen field" to develop around food/toys in case a hide is near them...I just want her to learn they are just white noise in the background.
Lastly, after I rewarded her with the toy, we had a quick tug to the kitchen for some hotdog pieces. My goal is that this will help avoid conflict in her desires. She won't have to decide if she feels like searching for birch and a game of tug, or if she'd rather have the hotdog...if she alerts at source she gets both, if she false alerts she gets nothing until she moves on so she might as well stick to her job. Another hope is that by training it that way tasty smells in the search area will just encourage her to drive to source.
We are just doing a few right now and then lots of regular hides, but as she gets used to having more distracting smells I hope to have food, toys and strange new smells be a part of her regular sessions. I would hate to have her alert on a box of Tide laundry detergent just because it was new and different in a trial!