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Masters of Odor Pt. 2: Advanced Concepts

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

Sarah Owings Sarah Owings
Start: 01 Nov 2023
Next: 01 Mar 2024


  • Duration: 6 weeks.
  • Learning materials: Written lessons with video tutorials.
  • Access to other Premium members' threads for additional insights.
  • Certificate of attendance upon completion.
  • Lifetime, 24/7 access to course materials.
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  • Earn 15 loyalty program points.
  • Personalized attention: Instructor analyzes 12 minutes of your training videos weekly.
  • Engage in interactive learning with homework and daily feedback.
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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 artistry is what dogs have evolved on this Earth to do.

In this class we will be expanding on explorations begun in Master’s of Odor Pt. 1. In addition to single hide searches, we will invite our dogs to teach us what happens to the odor picture in more advanced puzzles as well, such as convergence, thermals, pooling, hides at different heights, and inaccessibles.

Premium students will receive detailed narrative feedback on most search videos. Check out this example from recent Pt. 2 graduate, Ginger Alpine and her dog, Argent.

Pre-requisites: I am most familiar with NACSW essential oils as target odor, but if your dog is trained to a different scent, we can usually make it work. All levels welcome, but you will get the most out of this course if your dog has a strong reinforcement history already in place for hunting something specific. Food can work as well as scent, but on searches where the hide is inaccessible by containment, such as in a box or cabinet, your dog will need a non-destructive way to tell you where the food is, instead of just going for it.

Note: You do not need to be a graduate of Pt. 1 to enjoy Pt. 2, but if you or your dog is brand new to scent detection, Pt. 1 is recommended.


  • Basic odor kit (including a minimum of 3 scent vessels, such as tins, tubes or straws)
  • Smelly, high value food to search for (e.g. dried fish, beef lung, fresh chicken, or tuna)
  • High value food or toy reinforcement
  • Access to a variety of search areas–both interior and exterior
  • Video camera or phone
  • Misc. items of furniture–tables, chairs, etc
  • Exercise pen, large cardboard boxes, three colanders, junction boxes, or bowls.

Course Outline / Possible Explorations:

(Each team will be encouraged to adjust search parameters based on the dog’s experience level and / or the human’s curiosity.)

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  • Week 1 01 Nov 2023

    • Welcome!

      Read this before proceeding to the first lesson!…

    • Welcome Back, Young Jedis!

      Welcome back, young Jedis! As you will remember, the central premise of Master’s of Odor…

    • How This Course Will Work

      Nuts and Bolts This course begins on June 1, and will end six weeks later…

    • Setting Hides and Testing Airflow

      This is a repeat from Pt. 1. Please review if you have not taken Pt. 1 recently. Much of Pt.

    • Lexicon of Scent Detection Terms

      photo credit: Elaina Brockway Terms Listed A to Z Accessible hide: a hide placement where…

    • Basics of Odor Movement

      (But always let your dog show you what is really happening before making any assumptions!)…

    • Preserving Your Dog’s Confidence

      NOTE: This a partly a repeat of the same lesson in Pt. 1 with some…

    • Skills Assessment

      Before taking the leap into potentially more advanced search set ups, I’d like you to assess your team’s skills and…

    • Find Another Skills Tune Up

        This week’s Find Another Tune Up Exercises will be: Food Searches with Cueing Practice…

    • Food Hunts With Cue Practice

      Find Another Skills Tune Up Exercise 1: Food Search With Cue Practice Food-only set ups are awesome because they…

    • Colander Drills

      NOTE: The following exercise is meant to be set up as a skill-building drill, not…

    • Multi-hide Peek-a-Boo Games

      Peek-a-boo Colanders Credit to Julie Symons for the idea of putting barriers between the hides. For…

    • BONUS GAME Lost in a Sock Pile

      If you don’t have time to do these sock games Week One, fine to do…

  • Week 2 08 Nov 2023

    • Crash Course in Convergence

      Note: Parts of the lesson are also in Pt. 1, but it was a bonus…

    • Multi-Hide Searches With Distinct Odor Plumes

      Before diving into the deep end of convergence, first lets have you do a few…

    • Multi-Hide Searches With Overlapping Scent Cones

      Convergence happens when two more more scent plumes overlap and mix together. Sounds simple–right? There are definitely times when dogs…

    • More Fun With Multi-hide Searches

      Before attempting any of these more advanced search ideas, stop and assess your dog’s current fluency level with the Find…

    • More Fun With Convergence

      Last lesson mostly had multi-hide searches on objects like containers, walls, vehicles, and objects around the exterior of a house.

  • Week 3 15 Nov 2023

    • The Trouble With Inaccessibles

      Here’s a video I made awhile back showing the difference between an accessible hide indication and an inaccessible one. Accessible…

    • Find The Back Door Games

      The goal of the following games is to reinforce not just getting to source, but to reinforce the act of…

    • Hide on the Other Side

      Building on the Find The Back Door idea, you can use vehicles or vehicle-like objects plus wind to create puzzles…

    • Please Get That For Me Communication Builders

      In addition to inaccessible by reach (i.e. a hide buried behind a pile of chairs),…

    • Distraction Work Without Extinction

      A common way to work on distractions in nose work is to put out an array of containers, some with…

  • Week 4 22 Nov 2023

    • Large Area Airstream Teasers

      To balance out all the close-in work we’ve been doing since WK1 (tight convergence, around…

    • Thermal Convergence Puzzles

        I’m going to start this lesson with an uncharacteristic Team Tucker blooper moment. When…

  • Week 5 29 Nov 2023

    • Part One Search Exploration 2.0

      Here is a list of all the different search set ups we explored in Master’s of Odor Pt. 1. Large…

    • Expect the Unexpected Searches

      Every time we set a hide, it creates a learning history for the dog, a “memory” that is both visual…

  • Week 6 06 Dec 2023

    • Elevated Hides–A Cautionary Tale

      Tucker sources a high hide with confidence in pouring rain at the Paso Robles Elite…

    • Stairway to Odor Games

        The goal of these exercises is to teach the dogs that getting up on…

    • High Hides Progression

      Mostly my advise up until now has been to prepare the dog for elevation using accessible hides, i.e. hides that…

    • Final Thoughts: Celebrating Achievements and Continuing the Journey

      Farewell and Keep Moving Forward! Mega Cheers…

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