Question: As we progress with scent training what is the plan you might envision to keep pushing the puppies. I wasn’t sure how this all works as time goes on I do think Zahra loves it !! (Wendy)
Carla: Zara is very enthusiastic and is progressing very well.
The vision depends on what your goals are. For example, are you interested in competing in nosework? Do you want to do a specific type of search at home or for work?
I like to challenge the dogs when they demonstrate a readiness to go on, never pushing beyond what is possible. Nosework should continue to be highly rewarding and fun! Some advanced concepts we work on when the dog is ready include:
- High hides Above the dog’s head, up to 6 feet
- Search environments (aka “elements”): containers, interiors, exteriors, vehicles
- Searches with multiple hides – Once the handler calls the alert, the dog must leave that hide and search for the next one. It’s very important that the dog continues to value source highly so they don’t just find source and leave a millisecond later, in order for the handler to be able to continue to identify location of hides in blind searches.
- Distractions – Dog must ignore food and toys in the search area to find target odor
- Indication behaviour e.g. freeze like a statue, sit, or down. Once the dog is proficient at “finding” source, we can progress to “showing” the location.
- Blind searches – handler doesn’t know the location of the target odor. The handler must look at the dog’s behaviour to determine the location of the source and call the alert
- Clearing rooms – the search area doesn’t contain any target odor. The handler must determine when the dog’s search is complete and call the room “clear”
- Searches where the handler doesn’t know the number of hides
- Searches under time pressure e.g. let’s say there are either 2 or 3 hides (the handler doesn’t know how many) and gets 3 minutes to search 7 vehicles
- Off leash searches
- Longer searches e.g. 10 minutes to find 7-10 hides
Hopefully that makes some sense. Questions are always welcome.