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Ep. 1: Why is Scent Work So Popular?!

In our very first podcast, we will answer the age-old question: why on Earth is Scent Work so popular?! We will also dive into answering some other intriguing questions that were posed by our students, as well as give you some ideas on how you can get started in this activity, if you haven't already. And yes, we will also go into how online dog training really DOES work. This is going to be fun, and we thank you for listening.

Podcast Episode

Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the Scent Work University All About Scent Work Podcast. We're so delighted that you're here. The purpose of this podcast is to discuss what the title says, all things that work. So we're hoping that you'll find this podcast helpful and we'll answer some of the questions that you may have about the activity of Scent Work. And in some of our series, we're also going to be giving you a behind the curtain look as far as what happens at trials, what your instructor may be going through, as well as some tips that you may have as both a competitor as well as an owner of a dog where you just want to broaden their horizons. All right, let's get started.

I want to take a quick second just to introduce myself. My name is Dianna Santos. I am the Owner and the Lead Instructor for Scent Work University, as well as Dog Sport University. I've been training dogs professionally since 2011. I am certified through the Karen Pryor Academy of dog training. I'm also a certified Nose Work Instructor through NACSW. In addition to training dogs professionally for a number of years, I am also privileged to be the judge and CSD coordinator with United States Canine Scent Sports, which is a Scent Work competition organization that was started in 2016 and we are growing very rapidly in the United States and looking to grow internationally as well.

In addition to that, I am also an AKC fully approved judge for Scent Work. and I also participate in AKC Scent Work trials as a scoring person as well as a competitor. So I come at this from a variety of different standpoints as not only an instructor and a professional trainer but also as an official and a coordinator of officials and also one of the backstage people for competitions. So I've used Scent Work from a variety of different viewpoints, and I think that it can help me in helping you have a very well rounded approach to Scent Work. So it's just a really quick rundown from me. All right, let's get started with our podcast.

So in our very first podcast, what I wanted to do was to put out a question to several of my students and just see what it is when they first got involved with Scent Work, what were some of the questions that they had? And the very first topic that came up was, why is it then I should choose Scent Work in the first place? And then we had a couple of derivative questions that came from that. So in this podcast, that's exactly what we're going to be talking about. Why is it that someone would want to choose Scent Work, in all the various things you now have available to you to choose to do with your dog? Well, the benefits of it, and why is it that you would want to continue playing the game maybe beyond the four walls of your home and maybe actually venturing out into competition? So that's the purpose of our podcast today. We're going to be diving right in.

So the first main question is, why is it that Scent Work is so popular? And there's actually several reasons for this. The first is the reason why Scent Work was created in the first place was to provide an outlet for dogs and for all dogs. So when it was first created as a sport by the National Association of Canine Scent Work, otherwise known as NACSW, it was started with the idea that all dogs would be able to do this activity. So right out of the gate you have an opening to dogs who may be reactive to other dogs, who may be environmentally sensitive, who may be blind, who may be deaf, who may have ambulatory limitations, whether they be amputees, whether they be using carts, and also that the handler themselves may have limitations, but they can actually still play in the sport.

So that within itself is a very big reason why Scent Work is so popular. It's oftentimes why people start getting involved in it in the first place, is they have a reactive dog for instance. And they find out, oh, there's this activity that I can do that actually welcomes my dog. Where there are some other activities, they're just for safety purposes and for the well-being of everyone, the reactive dogs are told, “You know what? This may not be the best activity for you. It could actually make the condition worse and it could just put everyone else in danger.” So that's one of the biggest reasons why Scent Work is so popular and why people start going into it in the first place.

From that jumping off point, as far as why you may get in the door, the ability to actually watch your dog be a dog is really addicting. Having our dogs actually tap into something that is so naturally innate to them, such as sniffing and hunting is an amazing thing and it can have such wonderful benefits on behalf of the dog, but it can also improve the relationship that the owner or the handler has with the dog as well. Again, just to reiterate, people oftentimes will come into Scent Work because they're looking for something for their dog to do, or it could just be that I have reactive dog and I'm looking for something, or it could just be I live in a state of the United States or wherever where I need to hibernate out of eight months of the year because the weather is really crappy. There's winter and all kinds of things. We can't go outside play ball at the time. My dog is bouncing off the walls, I need something to give them to do that will help work them out mentally and physically. And so, we can absolutely do that.

Once they realize how great the activity is, they stay in it and it stays so popular because you're tapping into something that your dog is very good at anyway. Which is very addicting on behalf of the dog, obviously, but also on behalf of the handler and the owner. Because you are improving your relationship with your dog, 'cause you're watching them be a dog. And it also is that shift of when your dog is actually doing hunting, they're the one who has to take the lead. They're the one with the nose, so they're the one who has to tell you, oh, the hide is over there. You could try to detail every single inch of your house or your search area. That's not going to work really well.

It's an amazing activity. There's so many reasons why it's popular, but again, people oftentimes get involved with it because they're looking for something for their doctor do. Specifically, they may be looking for something for the reactive dog, they're special needs dog, they're sensitive dog or just their dog who needs a job. And then they start really getting engaged in the activity because of all the benefits of it in addition to the fact that it allows your dog to be a dog, it helps improve your relationship with your dog and it gives you a better appreciation for just how brilliant they really are.

The next question that I got from one of my students was, why is it that I personally got involved in Scent Work? And is a question that I oftentimes will ask potential officials who were interested in becoming officials with United States Canine Scent Sports, where I will be doing interviews with them as the Judge and CSD Coordinator. Is one of the first questions that I ask, how is it that you got involved with Scent Work? But I can honestly say that very few people have ever asked me. So the reason why I got involved in Scent Work is quite honestly, I had my first Doberman, Zeus, who is the reason why I became a professional dog trainer in the first place, who was not dog reactive. He was dog aggressive. If he could go and murder every dog in the world, he would, and he was wonderful with me. He taught me so much and he was my baby boy and I left him.

However, I was looking for things to help improve his quality of life because our life was very sheltered. In order to keep everybody safe, he had to stay home a lot and we couldn't go for walks. We couldn't go for hikes. It just wasn't safe. And then I found out about Scent Work, so I started doing it on my own little bit. I was actually interning at a training facility, so we were involved in a class where he was in a crate surrounded by X pens and we were in literally a closet. That's where he stayed and it was very locked down and we let everybody know, don't let your dog anywhere near this area. And he would come and he had a great time.

I can tell you from a personal account that it made an enormous difference in his behavior modification program where you could see that this provided him with the mental and physical outlet that he desperately needed because he was a very smart dog that we weren't able to do in other ways just because it wasn't safe. And he was calmer, he was more relaxed, he was more fulfilled. It helped improve the quality of life that he had for the five years that I had him, and it was wonderful. It had such a huge impact on his life and I became addicted right away because being able to see him work out some really complicated problems and also to learn what not to do. He taught me lots. How not to set hides, how maybe not to do training and things like that. I made mistakes with him and he was very, very forgiving with me, and that's how I got started. I got started like many people, I was looking desperately for something for my dog to do and I fell into it. I fell in love with it and I never looked back.

The third question that I got from my students was, why is it that I should choose Scent Work over other dog sports? And this is a tricky question because there's two potential answers, right? The first answer is, well, why do you have to choose? You should be able to do as many dog sports as you like. And then there's reality, right? There is not only finances and time, but there's also how much head space and how many pressures you're trying to put on your own dog. I happen to have a second Doberman, Zeus passed, which was very, very sad and heartbreaking for me and at the very right time I brought in my new boy Valor who I have now. And he is bred and his whole lineage is filled with versatility dogs where they have been able to do a whole number and slew of dog sports and activities and do them very well. It's basically what they're bred to do.

We do a little bit of everything together and he's totally fine with that. He can do agility one day Scent Work the next, barn hunt the next, and he could do several in the same day and he's totally fine with that. There are other dogs where if you were to try to throw that many things at them, they would become very stressed. Because everything, it's just so much pressure on one little dog. So this question is a little tricky because you have to ascertain whether or not you and your dog want to do multiple things. And if you don't want to do multiple things then it gets right to the crux of it is like, well, if I can only choose one, why is it that I should choose Scent Work? And I don't want this to become a Scent Work is better than everything else and I despise a lot of the dog sports in blue to them cause that's not true.

I prefer Scent Work. I think that Scent Work is something that all dogs should participate in. Whether it just before the game or the activity itself or competition, either/or. But at the same point I do know that there are people who prefer to do other activities such as agility or obedience or dis dog or fly ball or any number of things, and that they want their dogs to do those other activities with them as well. My answer to the question basically would be, this is a very round about way of getting there. Is the thing about Scent Work that's so nice, is it can actually help improve your dog's performance in other dog sports. So if you're in a category where you could still do multiple things with your dogs and there are plenty of people who can. There are plenty of dogs would be able to do that as well. You may actually see that your dog's performance and abilities in those other sports will actually improve because they are doing Scent Work, which is a really great park.

If however you're in the category or if it's just the stage of your dog's life where you have to choose one thing to do, my argument for Scent Work would be that it can improve your dog's confidence because they are basically tapping into their own abilities to work out problems. It can improve your relationship with your dog because you learn to read your dog, trust your dog, and allow your dog to take the lead. It can also give your dog both the mental and the physical outlet that they need without overly stressing their bodies. So if they are extraordinarily young, they're very young puppy or if they're senior, this can still be a really great thing for them. So if they're very young, they're very young as young puppies where they're not physically able to do some of the other things yet without you potentially hurting their growth plates or anything like that, they can still do Scent Work and not hurt anything.

On the flip side, if you have a senior dog who may have done a number of different dog sports before, but now they physically cannot do those things anymore without hurting themselves. They never have to age out of Scent Work. They can do this for ever. So I'm hoping that makes a little bit of sense. I'm trying, I don't like dodging questions, but this is one word and really is tricky. It depends on what the situation is you have with your dog.

Personally, if I got to a point with my boy where it wasn't safe for him physically anymore to do agility, even if he jumps really well, or he wasn't enjoying competition obedience as much or lure coursing was out or anything like that, I would still always place at work. It just wouldn't be something that would always be in our repertoire of things that we did. And I think he would be very sad if we took it out because he gets so excited when we're about to play. I mean, granted, my dog is really excited about everything, but he really gets excited about Scent Work. And if I were to take that out, I think he would be really remiss. I think he would be very upset about it.

So when you're evaluating whether or not you're going to do a certain activity, personally, I would try to ascertain how long can I actually do this throughout my dog's life? Is there only a specific period of time I'd be able to do it before becomes too physically challenging for them, before it may become just too difficult, where it could actually be negatively affecting our relationship because everything is just so hard and challenging. Particularly if you're doing competition, where constantly getting harder as you go up the levels, that's when you can start seeing dogs losing their enthusiasm, losing their drive, losing their joy for it 'cause it's no longer a game, it's more of a job.

For me personally, I'm trying to figure that out with my dog when I'm trying to pick what it is that we're going to do. So it's a very personal answer to a question. For me from what I've seen as an instructor, but also as a dog owner myself, Scent Work is something that you can do forever throughout the entire life of the dog. So if I had only to choose one thing, I would pick Scent Work. But again that is really a personal thing and you just have to figure out whether or not that would fit into what the lifestyles that you and your dog have.

The next question I received was a really interesting one and it wasn't a question from a student myself. It was a question from one of their family members who had heard about Scent Work and had heard about the student like going on and on about it. And they just said a very typical question that I would hear when I was teaching basic obedience classes or family dog classes or things like that when I was teaching in-person classes. And the question was, I just want a well behaved dog, and you're going on and on about this whole sniffing thing. What the Scent Work do that's going to help my dog be well behaved? And it's a very fair question.

If you have someone who just lets say adopted a dog, just adopted it earlier this week, their view of having a dog is, I come home, the dog is there, they haven't destroyed my house, hopefully. I will maybe let them out to go potty, I was just working all day. Maybe we throw the ball a couple of times, maybe we take a walk. They're there for bats. They're there for companionship and that's about it. It's not that this dog's life is any less wonderful than anyone else's, but that's their view of what having a dog is. A very traditional view of a pet. They hear about all his other dog sport stuff that we're talking about and they're like, I have no idea what you mean? What's all this thing like you get together on weekends and have easy ups and there's tent cities and parking lots and you travel the country and what? They just don't understand what any of that it's about.

So in that view, the question is, all right, you seem to think this whole sniffing thing is great. How is that going to help my dog be better behaved? It's a very fair question. The answer is that it can help give your dog, once again, those mental and physical outlets they desperately need. Even if you are only looking for your dog to be a very well behaved pet and companion. You don't want to do all the competition stuff, you don't want to know about all the dog sports stuff, you don't want to have to study dog behavior forever in a day, you don't want this to become your entire life. You have other hobbies, you have other interests. You're looking for a companion and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. By playing very simple Scent Work games, where even you could just use food, you are allowing your dog to tap into one of the most innate instincts that they have, which is hunting.

In a controlled and safe way, you can spend 10 to 15 minutes a day doing this, just using some boxes. It's totally fine, and your dog will be satisfied. It will actually take the edge off. It could prevent them from doing other destructive behaviors and things you don't want them to do, such as destroying your house, chewing up your shoes, stealing stuff, trying to make other activities to entertain their little selves because they're just as smart. When I go out and I look at Doberman puppies, I'm looking for a sport prospect. That doesn't mean that the other puppies in that litter, if they were to go with a pet person who's just looking for our companion that those puppies or any dumber, they're not.

They are the same. They have the same needs. They want to be able to use their brain. They're problem solvers. They're very smart little beings, so you want to give them controlled outlets so that they don't do all the things you don't want them to do in the first place. Dog training overall can really help with that problem solving, teaching them how to learn, giving them little problems to solve that are good problems to solve. Things where they're not making up their own games such as, oh look, I steal a shoe and then I play keep away. It is really fun.

The great thing about Scent Work is, it's a really simple thing that you can do as the person that can also help the dog. So to answer the question, Scent Work can help your dog become more well behaved because it can provide them with their physical and mental outlet where they are no longer acting out because they don't feel as fulfilled. And you also will change the way that you look at your dog, where you'll notice when they may need something. So as an example, one of the things I would hear from clients was, okay, I come home from work, I let the dog outside. They have to go potty. No problem. They come in, we get all ready, I get their dinner ready, I get my dinner ready, they eat, I eat, fine. Now, I just want to vegetate. I just want to watch some TV or movie. I just want to relax and the dog is bouncing off of the walls, driving me crazy. What do I do?

And the great thing about Scent Work is that you could, before you start watching your TV show or your movie, you could do a really quick 10 to 15 minute Scent Work session with your dog. You could even get the kids involved. It's a safe activity for children to do as well. They could hide some things around, the dog does that then maybe end it by giving them a stuffed Kong or a bone and the dog is set, the dog is good. You can watch your movie. The dog is satisfied, everybody's happy. I just want everyone to understand even for people who have been involved in dog training for a very long time, even people who'd done competitions for a very long time, the value of Scent Work is the activity, is the game. Yes, the titles and the ribbons are fabulous. Yes, the competitions are really good. Yes, the competition organizations and the community at large for the most part is very supportive and wonderful and fabulous. All that is true.

However, the bigger, better, more important aspect is the activity itself. So if every single dog on the planet, and I do mean this literally, played the game of Scent Work, things will be a lot better. So again, just to answer the question again, Scent Work can help your dog become more well behaved if you're simply looking for your dog to be a good companion because it can provide them with those mental and physical outlets that they need so they're not acting out instead.

Another question I received was from a student and I thought it was a very honest question. I appreciate this question, and I think they were a little worried about submitting this question, but I think it's a good one. So the question is, I like the partnership that I experience in agility. Does Scent Work actually offer that same level of partnership? And this is something that dog trainers and dog competitors, I think I've been talking about for a while, for a number of years. Particularly, people who are coming from agility, which is an awesome activity where you really can feel a partnership with your dog. But it is entirely different from the animal that is Scent Work.

And the main reason is with agility, you are telling your dog where to go. That's the whole purpose. You know the course, your dog doesn't. You're going to tell them to take the jump and do the weaves and do the A frame and so on and so forth. With Scent Work that's entirely reversed where now it's your dog is taking the lead. That's a very difficult shift for some handlers to do because they're so used to leading to being the lead dancer. It's very difficult for them to take the backseat to allow the dog to go ahead, and they perceive that as a lack of partnership. And also the way that a lot of Scent Work is advertised is that you don't even have to be in the room. You just set the dog loose. You can go be on your computer and doing something else. The dog will figure it out. They don't even need you.

And that's not entirely true. Particularly as you continue going up the levels, if you are interested in competition or even if you're just interested in making things a little bit more challenging, it is a partnership sport. You do have to work together. The beauty of it is that as the handler, you actually can learn what it is that your dog has been saying all along. No longer are you requiring your dog to learn human, which they try really, really hard how to do. With Scent Work, if you want to be successful, you have to learn at least a little bit how to speak and read dog. That will only cause you to become a better handler. Any better trainer across the board, regardless of what it is you're trying to do.

Because of that, you can see your dog working a space once you understand what their signals are and what everything means. And see, okay, I know that they're in odor but they can't get to it, but I also know they haven't worked the corner on the opposite side of the room and there's a window of it. So I think the odor is getting trapped over where they are, but it may actually be coming from this other corner. How do I as the handler get them over there? That's the partnership piece, where your dog is the one painting the picture and you're there going, well, what about this and what about that and what about this other thing? You can marvel at the masterpiece, but you can also help fill in these little tiny details so that it is perfect. It really is a true partnership if you allow it, and that's the tricky part.

So particularly handlers who are coming from the world of agility or competition obedience or rally obedience where the whole point is for you to be the lead person. That is what's supposed to be, it's a test. Can the dog do as I direct them to do? That's the whole point of it. It's a very big shift to completely put that on it's head. Can you follow what your dog is telling you the odor is doing? Can you then read what they're reading as far as where they think the odor is going and what the odor picture may be. And can you then ascertain from a human standpoint all the different factors that could be affecting that and can you help your dog if they need it?

So there's long short of it is, in case you haven't realized. I'm very good at giving very long answers. There is indeed partnership in Scent Work. It's just different. That doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. It does. In my opinion, I think it is a higher level of partnership because it's more equal where you are listening to your dog and your dog also listens to you. It's not just a one way communication, which can be really nice.

So if I've kept your attention, what you may be asking yourself now if you aren't already involved in Scent Work is, how is it exactly that I would to get started in the sniffing thing that you speak of? And there's actually a number of different ways you can do that. Obviously, Scent Work University is an online dog training platform. So we have foundations at our courses that we offer that are completely online and the way that that works is you would choose an enrollment option that works best for you, either student auditor or watcher. We have them split up in those three categories so you get to decide what works best with your schedule. Students is going to be an intensive learning option that's closely resembling an in-person group class experience.

What that means is that you'll have homework assignments that you will have to submit on a weekly basis. Those will be reviewed by your instructor and you will have an interaction with them that is very similar to what you would have in an in-person course. You may also have scheduled chats or other types of online interactions with your instructor and just a more intensive experience. So if you're really gung-ho about it and you have a lot of time and you have a lot of interest, the Student option is for you. If you don't want to have to worry about all that stuff or your schedule simply won't allow it or you're just not too sure yet, a middle of the road option as the Auditor option. And with that, you have still access to all the course material as well as all the course forum. You can even post to the course forum, but you're not required to submit any homework assignments and you won't have the same level of interaction with the instructor. You can still ask questions and you will also receive not only feedback from the instructor but also from your fellow course participants, which can be really helpful.

The final category are Watchers and the whole purpose a watcher, why it is you'd want choose that option is if you want to have more of a self taught approach where you didn't have to worry about time at all. If you know that your life is really crazy and super hectic or if you just want a more laid back approach. Every single option has access to all the course material for a full year. Even if there are updates made to the lessons themselves or there's change to handouts or videos or anything else, you have access to all that stuff for a full year. As a Watcher you can come and go as you please. You can see everything including the forum, but you can post to it.

So if you're brand new to online dog training, I would urge you to maybe start as a watcher in a course that you're somewhat interested in to see if it's going to fit with your learning style. To see if it's something that you would actually be interested in. To see whether or not you'd be able to apply what we're showing you to, what you actually need to do with your dog.

Now that being said, we try our best with how we have designed Scent Work University to apply to every single learning style possible. So people who learn by seeing people who learn by doing, people who learn by a combination. We offer videos and schematics and handouts and text and narration and we try to really give our learners as much information as possible. So that's one option, is where you would be able to start with Scent Work by signing up for our introduction to Scent Work course as a student, an auditor, or a watcher.

Now, if you happen to have a Scent Work constructor in your area, you're absolutely more than welcome to take a look at an in-person group training course. The great thing about in-person group training courses is it gives your dog at opportunity to work in that kind of space. Now, personally, I prefer the courses that are set up where the dogs are all within crates and they all have their own turn in the space individually. I prefer that approach because again, this activity is open to reactive dogs. So if you have all the dogs visible to one another and they're all out waiting for their turn, it can get really stressful for the dogs. And I'm also a really big person. I'm all in to safety, so the more safe that we can set things up, the better it can be.

However, there are those people and dogs who just wouldn't do well in a group class environment and there's a whole slew of reasons why that can happen. You can be worried about self esteem issues, you can just be worried within the group, you could be coming at it from a totally different standpoint as far as your experience level and doing dog training. And your dog could just be like, yeah, no, I'm not going to work in this kind of space. Whether it is because they're reactive or they're environmentally sensitive or they just don't want to. They're like, yeah, no. There are other dogs here, I don't feel like playing today. So there's a bunch of different things that you can do. You can do online, you can do, in-group classes and if you happen to have instructor in your area, they may also be able to do in-person private classes with you as well where they can come to your house, show you how to set it up and then maybe they can come once a month or something just to see how you're doing.

There's a lot of different ways you can get started. What you want to figure out is what it is that you want to do at the end of the day. If you're just interested in figuring out the game, an introduction is that recourse really can be the end all and be all. You can just keep doing those types of exercises for now into ever and that's totally fine. If you wanted to branch out a little bit, you still weren't interested in competition but you wanted your dog to try some other things, they may be doing something like an introduction to set our course and then for Scent Work University, we offer exterior's and vehicles with primary. Meaning that we're still just using food or he can use a novel odor such as birch, anise or clove.

If you still wanted to go further than that, then for Scent Work University we offer our advanced skills just using primary, meaning food or you can start going into, well now my dog is going to find birch. Now my dog is going to find anise and now my daughter's is going to find clove. And we start introducing more complicated problems for them to try. It's all about what you want to do, what is your goals are and what is it that you want your dog to do? So there's a lot of different options and things that you can try.

Now I know that I talk a lot about Scent Work University because that is our business. That is the whole platform that we're trying to talk about and also promote. But with that, I think a common question that people ask is as soon as you tell them, “Oh yeah, no, all of our courses are online.” They kind of look at you and go, “Hmm, does online dog training really work?” And it's a really fair question, right? Because when you think about dog training, you think about someone either coming to your house or you going to a class and doing it.

The great thing about online dog training is that yes, it does indeed work. Anyone can have access to it. So for myself personally, I'm originally from the East Coast of the United States. I've recently, over the last couple of years, moved to the West Coast of the United States. That's thousands of miles apart from one another from the two places that I used to live in where I live now. There are really great trainers on both coasts. I obviously only have access to one group of those trainers at any given time and that's really super frustrating. There are days where I want to work with an east coast trainer and I'm on the west coast and vice versa. It's really super frustrating. With online dog training, I can tap into all those really great instructors and I can work with them at any given point. I can have them put together a course and I can tap into that amazing knowledge that they have and apply it right then and there, even if they're thousands of miles away, which is fabulous.

In regard to Scent Work itself, there aren't Scent Work instructors in every single town in every single state or in every single country. This is becoming an international activity, which is wonderful, but it is still growing and there's no instructors everywhere. So if you're in an area where there isn't an instructor online dog training gives you access to those people where they could actually get you started. As far as whether or not online dog training works at all, it all depends on how you approach it. With Scent Work University, our goal when I created it was to provide an opportunity to do as much learning with their dogs as possible. I no longer can teach in person because I have very serious neck and back issues. I literally had to retire from training, but I didn't want to give it up. That's why I started this.

I started this because I still want it to be able to teach and I still want to be able to have people learn and improve their relationship with their dogs, but it couldn't do it in person. There are days when I never can get out of bed, so that's where all of this is starting from. It's not starting from just, oh we'll give you a little bit of information, hope for the best. We're trying to quite literally transfer what we've done in-person and making that into a virtual experience.

Some of the advantages of online dog training is you're able to go through the material at your own pace. For things that I teach, as you can tell with this podcast, I'm pretty long winded. I try to give as much information as I can and I oftentimes will just go over. I will provide more information that anyone could ever want. The great thing about online training is that you can go through it once, you can go through a 20 times, you can pause it, think about it for a little bit and go back. You can watch a video 20 times if you have to. You'll have handouts, you'll have links to helpful resources. You can build off of the core lessons as much as you want to or as little as you want to.

The other great thing about online dog training is that it doesn't have the same kind of competitive nature that an in-person dog training class can sometimes cause. And this isn't something that happens on purpose, it's just human nature and I would see it in every single course that I would teach where people and dogs will progress at different rates. Just like with people, dogs learn differently. They all have strengths, they all have weaknesses. But in every single class there would be at least one or two people who'd be really upset because their dogs weren't doing as well as some other dog, even though that other dog wasn't doing as well in another completely different skill that their dog was. They wouldn't recognize that fact. They just all like, “Oh, my dog isn't doing it as fast that dog, what's wrong with us?” And then they would try to rush and then they would try to get into this whole competitive spirit that can really cause you a lot of trouble later on.

The great thing about online dog training is you don't have to fall into that trap. You can focus on you and your dog and what you both need and if you have to modify an exercise 20 different ways to Sunday to make it work, you can do that and not feel as though, oh no, I'm the only one doing that. I would still commend people for doing that in class. But there's a whole peer pressure thing, right? So there's a whole slew of advantages to using online dog training and it does indeed work. I have students who have improved tremendously in only taking one course. It's all about how much you put into it and what is you're looking to get out of it.

So I hope this inaugural podcast was a little helpful. I know we covered a lot of different topics in a really short period of time, but the whole purpose of this is just to teach everyone a little bit about what Scent Work is all about. And as we go forward, as I discussed before, we are going to be getting into the nitty gritty of tips on how you can tackle certain aspects of Scent Work. We'll also be giving you a behind the curtain look as far as what happens at trials, what happens as far as being an official at a trial. And then I'll also give you some feedback as far as being a instructor. And I just, I think it's helpful for everyone to see the activity of Scent Work from as many different perspectives as possible, just so that we can have a really well rounded view. Thank you so much for listening to us today. I really appreciate it. Happy training and we look forward to seeing you soon.