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Scent work at home
MemberJuly 29, 2021 at 7:27 AM
Can anyone recommend any at-home scent work games or training I could do with my 5 month old basset hound? He has a phenomenal nose (obviously) & I want to channel that into something positive/stimulating. We play “go find it” with kibble & basic stuff, but I’d like to elevate his training. He finishes the “expert” dog puzzles I purchase from Amazon in literal minutes (sometimes seconds) and I can’t afford to keep buying them!!!
MemberJuly 29, 2021 at 11:46 AM
Is it possible to train him to find the remote, the car keys, the house keys, the phone, etc. May be they have a scent or you could put a signature scent on them — hmm but then you need to keep the bottle of scent out of the house… and then the scent would spread as the object get touched/moved… Hmmm. No idea if that is possible, but it would be a super cool game… or maybe it is a bad idea LOL
MemberJuly 29, 2021 at 1:12 PM
Love the creativity??!!
MemberJuly 29, 2021 at 5:42 PM
A couple ideas for intro activities specific to scenting to get you started in encouraging and developing scenting without spending a fortune – the process is different than working a retrieve but there is a little crossover.
WHICH HAND – intro would be to show the dog the treat and then place the treat in your hand. Place both hands behind your back and then bring them forward “find it” – sniff – get treat. Wrong hand – no problem – no correction – nothing negative. Repeat. I suggest you do not switch the treat to the other hand behind your back at intro – wait for success and as confidence builds, ok to switch it up behind your back as you will then know the dog is “scenting” the treat and not memorizing which hand it went into. Build on success by increased time behind your back and ready to graduate and move on when you blindly place the treat in a hand and the dog gets it nearly every time. All family members can play as long as the rules are followed by the humans. While the dog may already do this naturally you are also connecting the “find it” with the reward.
WHICH CUP – use 3 opaque non-metallic cups, treat/toy of value (Start with odiferous treats) With the dog 6-10 feet away, let the dog see you place the treat under one of the three cups. Go to the dog and have him “find it”. It is okay if dog knocks the cup over to get the treat. It’s okay if he sits at the cup, barks at it, whatever as long as he is picking the right cup and reward – wrong cup – no treat – reset – try again. I would not allow too many fails before going to another exercise and try again later or the next day so you are not building failure. If the wrong cup is knocked over – no treat – no consequences. Reset – try again. Yes, the dog is seeing you place the treat/item in the cup – eventually as you progress, this will all be a blind activity and the ability to scent the correct cup is rewarded with the treat. It is ok to encourage the dog after “find it”. You’ll think of a myriad of ways to modify the game as you build successes and increase complexity, confidence, and success. (if the dog is toy motivated more so than food motivated, use large pans instead of the cups and place the toy item under one of the pots)
FIND IT – first in limited distraction (home) then outside. As you are walking, hold an organic item, (treat, glove, cloth, etc.) in your hand and rub it in your hand as you are walking so you transfer your scent to the item. Nonchalantly slow your walk a little and drop the item. Stay close to the item, and “find it” If dog is having trouble connecting the dots to what you are asking, its ok to kick the item or draw attention to it. Once the dog finds it – it doesn’t have to pick it up but lets you know he found it – reward with praise galore. As you progress – increase distance between dropping and “find it”. Once you experience success when increasing distance between drop and “find it” you can transition to metallic items like keys, phone, etc. You want to hold off on metallic items as your scent transfer is minimized and could impact success initially. Again, a myriad of ways to make it more interesting as you progress but you get the idea.
Perhaps something in these beginning steps ideas will get you started or assist in creating your personalized fun activities to work the scent. Be creative – switch things up and have fun. Perhaps the only hard fast rule I would suggest is that this is a praise only process – the only consequence is no treat, but when working outside be aware that windy days can affect your results. There are no consequences. What you learn in the process is how to direct/guide your dog, your dog learns to read your cues and knows what to do to when he hears the phrase to get a reward. Hope something makes scents😆
MemberJuly 30, 2021 at 4:35 PM
This is awesome! Thanks, Bill!! We already play “find it”’so I’ll just amplify and expand as you suggest.