We look forward to working with you to meet all of your Scent Work training needs! Happy Training!
Scent Work University Blog
Where we discuss all things Scent Work-related!
When Training At-Home Backfires
You've been practicing Scent Work with your dog. Maybe you've been following the K9 Nose Work® training method that we cover in our Foundation Scent Work learning path. Perhaps you are using an operant training approach. Or an entirely different training approach altogether. Regardless, you may be noticing an issue: your dog finds the hides perfectly when you're practicing with them at-home...but not so much when you are at a trial or when someone else is setting the hides for you. But why?! Let's discuss some potential causes.
A heartbreaking trend I've encountered throughout my professional dog training career is dog owners desperately wanting their dogs to be something they are not. The older dog to be spry again. The shy dog to be without any self-preservation. The reserved dog to suddenly go head-first into any given situation without a care. The careful and methodical dog to turn into a Tasmanian devil of activity. This is a surefire way to remove all the joy from any activity you are doing with your dog, especially Scent Work.
Self-doubt and self-loathing can steal away any joy you would otherwise enjoy in Scent Work. It's crucially important to fight against these urges and focus on what is actually important: having fun with your dog.
One the common themes I noticed teaching in-person group dog training classes was how hard it was for handlers to allow their dogs the time necessary to learn. As in give them time to truly work out a given problem.This pattern was not solely relegated to Scent Work, it was something I noticed across the board. Handlers rushing in either to help the dog or, worst still, getting horrendously frustrated with the dog for not coming up with the answer sooner. Both approaches are detrimental to all aspects of dog training, but can be devastating when we are talking about Scent Work.
I went back and forth about whether to cover this topic in a blog post or a podcast episode...I decided this format would be less conducive to rage-induced cursing, so a blog post it is.
You love Scent Work. You're passionate about it. Your dog loves it, they look forward to their practice sessions and if you compete, they enjoy doing that too. But is everything really unicorns and rainbows? Or, are you suffering from a severe form of odor blindness? Infliction of Odor Blindness "WHAT IS THAT?! IT SOUNDS SERIOUS!" It is.&nbs...
You've got a new puppy and you are ready to hit the ground running with your Scent Work training! You have an important question to ask yourself: start on odor right away, or not?In this blog post, I provide my opinions on this topic. Look them over and see what you think.
"Only people who do that competing stuff would do Scent Work.""Why would I spend money to teach my dog to sniff...that sounds stupid, I just want them to be well-behaved!""That looks boring, I like exciting stuff like agility!"These are all real statements that I have heard from clients over the years. Every single one of them humored me to give Scent Work a try. Every single one of them never looked back.
You are a human being, not some infallible celestial being. You will make mistakes in your training or when you when are trialing, and that is completely okay.
Human beings are an interesting species. We crave for perfection, doing a task over and over and over again to ensure it is 100% perfect. This, however, is not how dogs are wired. Using this approach in Scent Work is a surefire way to turn this fun game into something your dog dreads.
You set-up a challenging training search for your dog. It was designed to be a learning opportunity. A chance to stretch them, all while setting them up to succeed. Wouldn't you know it, they nailed it!You give them a reward and end your session.What you do next is really important. Are you maximizing on this?