You may be wondering if all the steps in making hides are really necessary. Why can’t you just put out some oil out for the dog to find? There are several reasons why we use hide containers instead of the naked essential oil.
- Since essential oils are toxic, we never want the dog to accidentally consume the target odor. Therefore, the target odor should always be placed inside a container with air holes for ventilation and scent dispersion, while minimizing the risk of ingestion.
- Rather than applying pure scent in the environment, hides minimize contamination of the environment by containing most of the odor. So when you move the hide, most of the odor moves with it, ideally leaving only “trace” odor behind on the air. In comparison, when odor is applied directly to a surface, even after cleaning, the odor would persist in that environment much longer. Dogs passing through the environment would be unpredictably exposed to the odor, perhaps without the handler’s knowledge or rewards for finding it.
- Knowing how other instructors and competitors prepare their hides, you will be able to make hides that are reproducibly similar, knowing with confidence that your training will work.