Master’s of Odor Trailer
Whether they are brand new to formal scent detection or highly experienced working dogs, all dogs are masters of odor.
From scavenging food, to hunting rabbits, to noticing when a neighboring dog has just come into season, processing the complex world of scent with exquisite accuracy is what dogs have evolved on this Earth to do. In comparison, the human nose is handicapped. We tend to picture odor moving through space in a limited, two-dimensional way. Like Luke Skywalker impatient with Yoda’s cryptic descriptions of the Force, we are sometimes baffled as to why one day our dog makes a beeline straight to source, but then on another day seems to take forever to find a hide directly in front of his face.
Because scent-detection is often high stakes or timed with titles on the line, we often set hides with specific training goals in mind, such as teaching the dog not to pass thresholds, or to check every container in a row. However, in this class we will be taking a different approach. Instead of putting out hides to teach our dogs how to be more efficient competitors, we are going to set up single hide searches and let our dogs teach us about odor. Each week we will compare and contrast how different types of hide placements change how the dogs search.
Come join me on a fascinating journey into the world of scent, led by the true masters of odor—our dogs!
Pre-requisites: I am most familiar with essential oils as target odor, but if your dog is trained to a different scent, we can make it work. All levels welcome, but you will get the most out of this course if your dog has a strong reinforcement history in place for hunting for something specific. Food or toys can work as well as oils, but the dog still needs to understand the game.
In this course I will not be covering how to teach an indication behavior, or basic search skills, but I will provide a lot of guidance on how to adapt the exercises so each dog can be successful.
Working spots: 10
Course Outline: WK 1: Meet your master, young Jedi.
WKS 2-3: Odor + Structure
WKS 3-4: Odor + Air Movement
Explorations WKS 5-6: Odor + Temperature
Explorations WK5: Odor + Height
Explorations WK6: Handler’s Choice