Welcome students! Hunter’s Heart is excited to offer Nosework classes, seminars and events at Kayenna Kennels, Calgary.
Nosework might be the most fun you’ll ever have with your dog. We’ll motivate your dog to love searching for odor. We’ve inspired hundreds of students internationally, including dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes. Whether you want to start training scent detection for fun, or you’re competing at the Elite level, we’ll help you to succeed with our proven protocols.
Classes are packed with hands-on practical experience so your dog can quickly learn to search for scent, find and/or indicate the location of target odor. We’ll show you exactly where to go and what to do when you get there.
WHAT TO BRING TO NOSEWORK CLASS
- A hungry, energetic dog
- Handfuls of non-crumbly, irresistible high value food rewards your dog loves most e.g. rotisserie chicken, tuna fudge or wieners. If you bring dry dog food and your dog spits it out in the exciting, distracting class, you won’t be able to train nosework. Learn how to make tuna fudge at: https://noseworkblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/the-best-noncrumbling-training-rewards/.
- A buckle collar or tracking type harness MUST be worn during searches. (Ask us about available colors of Comfortflex sports harnesses.)
- Long leash, approx. 6-15 feet. I use a 10 foot long biothane leash, but leather works too. (Note that nylon leashes will likely burn your hands.)
- Vest or bait bag to store treats cut into bite sized pieces. You’ll need a place to store your treats so they don’t distract the dog but you can access them instantaneously to reward, without dropping any. I use a training vest. Many handlers use a bait bag. Deep pockets can work too.
- If your dog loves toys, bring 2 toys of equal, highest value (we’ll search for 1 toy and reward with the other)
- Dog poop bags for cleaning up
- Optional: clicker, water and bowl
- Your dog can rest in your vehicle between searches. Indoors crates are provided on a first come first served basis, only to dogs that are silent and will not disturb other teams while working.
For all of our nosework classes and events at Kayenna Kennels, the target odor will be Wintergreen/Birch/Anise/Clove cocktail, unless otherwise stated. This will cover you for most beginning level nosework competitions.
SCENT DOG TRAINING RULES
Please note that dog-dog interaction is never allowed at any of our nosework events, so it’s always safe to enjoy scent detection. Don’t let your dog sniff or greet another dog, and leave as much space as you can between dogs. If your dog is close enough to greet another dog, you’re way too close! Aggression towards people or dogs will not be tolerated, and may result in immediate dismissal without a refund. For some dogs, nosework is the only activity they can safely enjoy, so please help us all to love nosework.
TAKE THE STUDENT SURVEY
Once you’re registered, please complete our student survey to get the most out of your experience: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8WMBQW7. It may take up to 10 minutes to complete. We’ll use your responses to customise the searches for your unique dog. Even if you’ve taken classes with us before, please update your information with your current status.
LEVEL 1 CLASS – FIND ODOR IN THE SCENT DETECTION LAB
Every dog can learn nosework. The most important thing is to bring fabulous rewards, not just your dog’s usual dry dog food. There are no prerequisites for this course.
We’ll imprint your dog on target odor (the scent he’ll search for) in our scent detection training lab, inspired by Andrew Ramsey. Then we’ll motivate your dog to want to find it. Rewarding properly is the key! We’ll teach your dog where to go and what to do when he gets there. Your dog will learn:
- Obedience to odor
- To search systematically
- To find the precise location of source (the highest concentration of odor), within 2-6 inches
- To move his nose as close to source as possible
- To stay at source and receive multiple high value rewards, until lured away.
We’ll explain what to do at every step. You will learn to reward properly, to trust your dog to work independently, and to become a better dog trainer. This process will start to shape an indication behavior of focused attention. Click to learn more about the dog’s role and the handler’s role.
This course will prepare you to:
- Confidently search and find the precise location of target odor https://youtu.be/o-2pphujnIM?list=PLXJeKZZPE1dovBA4cP0h3wpLorVddC3lf
- Control the environment so your dog never practices common undesirable behaviors that cause problems in higher levels of nosework
- Advanced teams may start learning leash pressure to get the dog to “lock up”, freezing like a statue with focused attention
LEVEL 2 – SHOW ME A ROCK-SOLID INDICATION
Once your dog knows how to find the source of target odor, we’ll teach him how to show you the precise location of source using a formal indication behavior.
This course will help teach your dog a rock-solid indication behavior on containers:
This course will build a solid foundation to prepare you for progressing rapidly through the levels of nosework competition. Note this course does not teach the dog to search for odor or go to source (which are covered in Level 1).
Options for training an indication on low hides include:
- Shaping a down using a wooden indication box, or
- Using leash pressure to train the dog to freeze like a statue with attention focused at source.
Novice competition generally features low hides (up to 2 feet). We recommend teaching and proofing an indication on low hides so it’s trained to fluency, before you focus on high hides.
LEVEL 3 – GETTING OUTSIDE: INTERIORS, EXTERIORS, VEHICLES
For teams that are proficient in searching, finding and indicating in container searches, this course will help you to introduce the other search environments aka “Elements”. This course will prepare for Interior, Exterior and Vehicle searches in Novice Nosework competition https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxGz5nr3EvY&t=1s
In Nosework competition, teams perform a blind search (where the handler doesn’t know the location of source). You will be judged on your ability to:
- Find the target odor under time pressure
- Perform the indication behavior or behavioral chain you listed on your entry form
- Locate the precise location of source (the highest concentration of target odor), within approx. 2-6 inches. Most judges prefer handlers not to re-cue their dog, and expect a prompt, precise response. We like to train an indication so obvious that even spectators can identify the location. Unlike container searches, where you must pick the hot box, in the elements the judge is looking for the precise location of source. If source is the top left corner of a license plate, the judge may fault or fail team s that indicate the bottom right corner. You don’t want to train a questionable performance that will leave judges thinking!
Note: Exterior and vehicle searches are weather dependent e.g. we won’t do vehicle searches on ice. This course does not train dogs to recognize target odor, to search systematically or to indicate the precise location of source (which are covered in Levels 1 & 2).
SNIFF AND GO’s
Interested in seeing how your dog would do in Nosework? Our Beginner level sniff and go is like a one hour class. We’ll start to motivate your dog to search for target odor.
Our Advanced Sniff and Go is for dogs that have already been trained to search for odor. Test your skills at our informal sniff and go, build confidence, or simply to have fun in a supportive, safe, new environment. You can choose to do a blind search (where the handler doesn’t know the location of odor) or ask where odor is before you start searching, so you can click/mark the instant your dog is successful, then reward at source. Formal indications are NOT required. Interior, exterior and vehicle searches may also be available.
If your dog has any problems or you’re brand new and unsure, watch other teams so you see exactly where source is located, or ask the instructor where it is so you can reward immediately. If you have trouble, the experienced instructor can help you to make it easier so you can succeed.
We also offer half-day seminars (see https://www.kayennakennels.ca/copy-of-nosework-seminars for dates). For Beginners, we’ll start to motivate your dog to search for odor.
Want to take your nosework to the next level? Advanced seminars tackle handling multiple hides, distractions, clearing rooms, distance, speed or new scent puzzles: https://www.kayennakennels.ca/copy-of-nosework-seminars Challenges help to prepare you to succeed in the higher levels of international nosework competition. https://youtu.be/c03ShPytY5g where teams are evaluated on their ability to:
- Bypass toy and food distractions in the search environment to find the target odor
- Search buildings or other large areas under time pressure (up to 10 minutes per search)
- Find high hides of 4 ft. or higher
- Clearing rooms that contain no odor
- Search and find an unknown number of hides.
Nosework challenges help handlers to trust and verify their scent dogs, and will train some of the skills required to pass a double-blind scent detection test https://youtu.be/HMjH36h2PwE. (In double-blind tests, neither the handler nor the evaluator know the location of the hide, or whether the area is CLEAR.) As always, if competition or testing reveals deficits in the training or proficiency of the scent detection team, performance can be improved by targeted training and/or drills. Email Carla at webmaster@HuntersHeart.com if you have a special request.
Homework will help you to learn nosework faster. Here’s what you’ll need to practice at home:
- Target odor e.g. cocktail of Wintergreen + Birch + Clove + Anise
- A distraction free environment e.g. room with 10-foot space
- High value rewards
- Level 1 will need at least 8 boxes to set up your scent detection training lab
- Level 2 will need 12 similar looking boxes. Ideally you will make your own wooden indication box according to our instructions. Or use what you have e.g. an empty beer case or bankers box for storing file folders
- Target to send your dog at a distance e.g. agility table, bath matt, dog bed or a piece of wood without slivers. Use what you have on hand as long as it’s safe for the dog to interact with
- Optional: training assistant or crate covered by a towel to secure your dog between searches, video camera or phone to video your training sessions
- Level 3 and above will need access to larger, safe search environments, up to entire buildings.
We’ll show you how, so you have fun training a reliable scent dog.
Don’t forget to follow our blog (hit the blue button at the top right of this page) to get all the latest tips, free resources and event information. We’re looking forward to some fun scent detection with you and your dog. Questions are always welcome. Share your ideas in the comments below.
Dr. Carla Simon, Hunter’s Heart
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