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Detection vol 1

How to built up a solid indication

Roberta Bottaro Roberta Bottaro

Start: 01 May 2024
Next: 01 Jun 2024


  • Duration: 6 weeks.
  • Learning materials: Written lessons with video tutorials.
  • Access to other Premium members' threads for additional insights.
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  • Personalized attention: Instructor analyzes 12 minutes of your training videos weekly.
  • Engage in interactive learning with homework and daily feedback.
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Detection is an activity that involves the use of a dog trained to detect the presence of certain odors and warn its handler when the dog found them.Very often this activity is improperly referred to as “search for hidden substances”.In reality the detection dog is not only trained to detect concealed substances (such as drugs, explosive material, prison cells, etc.) but can also be trained to detect the smell of mold, insects, faecal pellets of species of interest, etc.. Detection is not limited to narcotic or explosive or human remains or mobile phones in prison. There are areas where the dog’s sense of smell can be extremely useful and which are not reserved for security professionals, in particular pest control, wildlife monitoring and the agri-food sector. Detection dog can in fact be trained to detect the presence of bedbugs, mold, invasive species, plant diseases, scat of species of interest and other products of animal origin. You can participate in the course with any type of dog: no matter the breed or age. What you are asked for is just dedication and time.

This course fits for you if:

  • You are a beginner who want to start his career as detection dog handler
  • You want to teach your dog a solid passive alert on target odor

This is the first module of a course aimed at providing the necessary skills to train a detection dog . The course is mainly intended for people who wish to work as a detection dog handler (e.g. in the conservation, pest control, private security, human remains, etc) but it is open also to those who want to learn more about this training.

Detection can also be a fun and entertaining activity: a growing number of enthusiasts are approaching this type of work because it is satisfying for both humans and dogs.


You are not required to buy expensive training material, all you need to be able to participate is food reward, toy reward and a red Kong. It is strongly suggested to enrol at the same time in the course “A world of scent” to acquire the theoretical knowledge necessary to successfully attend the first detection training step. We do not repeat here the basic theoretical concepts.


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  • Week 1 01 May 2024

    • Introduction

      Read this before proceeding to the first lesson!…

    • What is detection

      Let’s try to define the subject of this course! Detection is an activity that involves the use of a dog…

    • A dog behind a nose

      One nose, a lot of activities.  Anyone who has participated in at least one of my lessons knows how much…

    • Detection for civilians

      Detection? Not just for police. Television series such as “Airport Security” have made the work of detection dogs known to…

    • Selection of the dog

      In my experience, a detection dog should be a subject who shows good trainability, sociable with humans without excessive expectations…

    • Puppy or adult?

      Usually when you want to start a discipline at professional level, both for competitions and for operations, you immediately think…

    • Choose the dog

      In order to train a successful and reliable detection dog, it is necessary to select a subject who possesses the…

    • Built the basics part 1 – Food chasing

      To be able to train a dog for detection, we need motivation. A dog could be motivated for several things…

    • Build the basics part 2 – Chasing the toy

      Toy work tied with a rope to a stick (flirt pole) is fundamental to working dog training. Detection and tracking…

    • First steps on indication training

      There’s not much theoretical material in this lecture. It is a practical lesson in which I explain the first steps…

    • Common mistakes into first indication training steps

      Ok, so we are in the middle of first week of our training course! In this video I tried…

    • Let’s go ahead and get ready for next week.

      Here we have our second practical lesson! I will assign you three objectives that you will have to achieve during…

  • Week 2 08 May 2024

    • Introducing the Kong

      The second week of training has begun! We’re almost close to the use of Kong, you’ll have to make a…

    • Height variation

      Dogs are very context dependent, it is essential to maximize the variability between training scenarios. Only in this way can…

    • Contexts variation

      First of all I would like that each of you read this paper to understand the next Homework: …

  • Week 3 15 May 2024

    • Increasing distance

      It is time to move forward and check the strength of behavior we built up in previous two weeks.  During…

    • Jump

      The third week is the week of challenges! Next step will require you to introduce a jump just before the…

    • Distance AND Jump

      It is now time to put all together: we start to teach our dogs that scent could be anytime anywhere. …

    • Bridges

      It is time to move on!  First task for you is to read carefully this paper: …

  • Week 4 22 May 2024

    • Indication on 1/3 of Kong

      It’s time to move on and get ready for next week! For the last lesson of this week you…

    • Adding external rewards

      In this step we will introduce what we call an external reward. That is, we will place the dog’s reward…

    • Less visible Kong

      So far we have worked an exclusively visual stimulus, but the objective of detection is to work on olfactory targets.

  • Week 5 29 May 2024

    • Kong variation

      At this point in the course it’s time to add some variability to the target scent. It is important that…

    • Deep hides

      It is time to move forward.  This week we will have only two lectures because often dogs need some time…

  • Week 6 05 Jun 2024

    • Increasing difficulties

      Welcome to our final week!  We still have to work on two exercises before our course ends. Instead of open two…

    • To sum up

      What are the benefits of using Kong in the training of the detection dog? – It’s an identical material no…

    • Outro

      Farewell and Keep Moving Forward! Mega Cheers and a round of applause…

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