Sarah Owings
Sarah Owings

Masters of Odor Pt. 1

“Your dog is Yoda….You are Luke.” — Leah Gangelhoff

course starts
1 September 2023


Previous editions

February 2023

September 2022

And 3 more

Next editions


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: 8


Course Outline:

  • Your Dog is Yoda, You are Luke
  • Lexicon of scent-detection terms
  • Becoming an Odor Scientist
  • Setting Hides and Testing Airflow
  • Search Routines and Odor Considerations
  • Preserving Your Dog’s Confidence / Taking a Baseline
  • Painting the Odor Picture
  • Learning to Read Changes of Behavior
  • Upwind vs. Downwind
  • Exploring Containers and Containment
  • Floor Surfaces
  • Search–Locate–Report
  • Corners and Clutter vs. Out in the Open
  • Wall Surfaces
  • Recap of How to Be an Odor Scientist
  • Narrow Spaces With Wind
  • Doors Open vs. Doors Closed
  • Pooling
  • Sun vs Shade
  • Turbulence and Eddies
  • Convection Currents
  • Elevation–Exterior vs. Interior
  • Suspended vs. Structure
  • Ending on Confidence


  • course lasts 6 weeks
  • lectures
  • access to other Premium member's threads
  • video tutorials
  • certificate of attendance
  • 24 hours, 7 days per week access to course materials
  • access to Tromplo: students group on Facebook
  • access to materials after the course is finished
  • 4 points to spend on future purchases




  • course lasts 6 weeks
  • lectures
  • access to other Premium member's threads
  • video tutorials
  • certificate of attendance
  • 24 hours, 7 days per week access to course materials
  • access to Tromplo: students group on Facebook
  • access to materials after the course is finished
  • 15 points to spend on future purchases
  • 12 minutes videos per week
  • tutor's feedback
  • homework
  • unlimited contact with tutor


Spots left: 7 ADD TO CART

Reviews for this course

2020-11-19 08:42:05

The first thing I did when I finished this course was to enrol in the next available course given by Sarah!! 

I did not know very much what to expect by this course, but I was impressed by the amount of information available about Odour. I had so much fun with my dog and Sarah's feedback. What an amazing teacher and Human Being. Sarah will make sure that you don't feel bad about yourself for what went wrong in a session, but to look at it as precious information you can work on for next session. You know that feeling your dogs have when they know the treat moment is approaching?? That's me in the morning opening my email and checking for Sarah's feedback. :) she conditioned me very well! 

Get ready for a lot of prep work, a lot of information, it is important to have access to different locations and places where you can set up the different odour scenarios. Think in advance if you have access to different and safe outdoor spaces, take into account the weather and light conditions for your videos. Having a proper "GoPro" camera or someone to help you with recording is super helpful. 

Don't even think twice, just enrol and enjoy this amazing class where your dog will have fun and teach you so much! 

Sofia & Suzy/ Premium Students

Jennifer Will
2020-07-15 08:59:51

5 big fat stars! I started this course having no confidence that my dog could read odour. I felt she just happened to luckily come across the hide while searching. Well Sarah seemed to think otherwise and proceeded to detail Pies videos showing that she was clearly working scent. It took a while to tune in my eye but it has opened up a whole new really fun part of scentwork for us. It has made a Pie considerably more confident as I have learnt to shut up and not be constantly trying to help her which was in fact doing the complete opposite. She now works away at the puzzle on her own and very rarely looks like she needs assistance. I’ll be forever grateful to you Sarah for your very generous help and patience. We are loving this new found fun! Don’t hesitate to do this course folks! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!