Break Down Scent Work for Success from Day One

Hunter’s Heart trains nosework by breaking it down into small achievable steps, setting teams up for success from day 1. Rewarding is crucial to motivating the dog to search for scent and having fun. We begin with a reward that the dog loves.

Nosework training teaches the dog to search for the target odors, while ignoring food, toys and distractions, in varied environments, including: containers, interiors, exteriors and vehicles. In response to student requests, this video shows nosework dogs progressing at all levels of training, so you can see how it all fits together.

• Level 1 = “Show me” in the scent detection lab is where we motivate the dog to find scent, perform a systematic search, and find the precise location of source (the highest concentration of target odor).
• Level 2= “Find it” trains a rock-solid indication e.g. freeze with focused attention or down, using either leash pressure or shaping the indication behaviour using a wooden indication box.
• Level 3 = Pre-trial preparation and generalisation. We polish distance, distractions, strange looking boxes, and new environments to prepare teams for nosework competition, from beginner level to elite international competition.

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2 thoughts on “Break Down Scent Work for Success from Day One”

  1. How do you choose a sense to start with? I would like to train my 20 month old doberman SD Ralph to detent senses.

    1. Why don’t you start with your dog’s favorite toy or a handler scented glove? First, train your dog to find and indicate that object. When that’s easy, train them to find smaller pieces of that object. And finally, when you love their indication on a piece of the object, you can add a new target odor to it (called pairing). That’s how we start our bed bug detection dogs.

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