Dr. Carla Simon

From bed bugs to birds, from narcotics to nosework, Dr. Carla Simon, MD, BSc, MBA has trained thousands of students around the world, since 1999.

Back by Popular Demand! Motivating Indications Free Webinar | Hunter’s Heart

Back by Popular Demand! Motivating Indications Free Webinar | Does your sniffer dog know what to do after they locate scent? Are they focussed with rapt attention? Or are you anxious or frustrated about what might happen after the moment of truth, like digging, mouthing, barking, leaving or quitting altogether? Learn the secrets of motivating indications at our FREE webinar.

Don’t Miss Out! World Detector Dog Organization – Setting the Standard, April 8-9, 2021

Join us to learn about the latest advances in canine scent detection, and take your scent detection to the next level at the WDDO 15th Annual Conference. There’s only one week left to register for live online seminars on April 8-9, 2021. You can’t beat the price, at $50 for two days of K9 Scent …

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Photo of dog indicating

Demystifying Indications Free Webinar on Sun. Nov. 15, 2020 | Hunter’s Heart

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2020 6:00 PM MST Registration is now open at: https://scentdetection.huntersheart.com/pl/239367/ Here’s what we’ll cover at the webinar: What are indications? What sniffer dogs wish you knew about indications. What are the pros and cons of indications for canine scent detection? Exploring how to train indications to maximize motivation, precision, and reliability. To find …

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Sniffer Dog Cam – 50% OFF STAY AT HOME SALE Ends April 19, 2020

Here’s what Domino has to say about the 7-Day Scent Challenge. Register for our new 7-Day Scent Challenge to learn how to introduce your dog to a new scent in just 7 days. Choose your favorite scent e.g. a glove for handler discrimination. The protocol applies the same techniques we use to train professional detection …

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Dinner Do’s and Don’ts for Sniffer Dogs

When you have a dog, you’ll be feeding them dinner, but hopefully not always in a bowl. Try turning dinner into a feast for the senses, like finding scattered food on your lawn, searching for food stuffed balls (see our Top Dog Toys of 2018), searching for food in a snuffle matt (see screenshot), or …

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2 Flash Scholarships – Today Only

It’s your last chance to learn the basics of scent in our new Scent Detection – Imprinting Target Odor for Beginners online course. Class starts tomorrow (Jan. 6, 2020). Register at: https://www.cleanrun.com/category/learning_center/agility_instructors/carla_simon_online_classes/index. ******Thanks to everyone who shared on our web pages. The winners of the free scholarships are: Karen ibbitson and Christine Cowley. Congratulations! ***** …

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Photo of a scent cone

Scent Theory: How Scent Cones Move

Scent is a moving target, carried and distorted by the wind. As a handler, one of the most challenging parts of your job is figuring out how to help your sniffer dog get to where they need to be to find odor, rather than hindering them by blocking or pulling them away from scent. Therefore, …

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Give the Gift of Sniff

Have a dog that loves to sniff or needs a job to do? Curious about how dogs can detect everything from bed bugs to cancer? Learn the basics of scent in our new Scent Detection – Imprinting Target Odor for Beginners online course, starting Jan. 6, 2020: https://www.cleanrun.com/category/learning_center/agility_instructors/carla_simon_online_classes/index. This course is provides a broad introduction …

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Clever Hans was presented to an audience in 1904

Avoiding the Clever Hans Phenomenon in Scent Detection

This blog has been updated in the IAABC Journal, Spring 2020: https://spring2020.iaabcjournal.org/the-clever-hans-effect-scent-detection/?fbclid=IwAR28KpQBKKbCRY5GyAy73ssB2pWiEyyokkwxYJIZ0jHDeN556UsObQ3fHhg Clever Hans was a horse who became famous for answering math questions by counting with his hoof (1). For example, when asked what’s the square root of nine, he tapped his hoof three times. He was featured by the New York Times and …

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Top Dog Toys of 2018 – Help Your Dog Relax, Chew and Be Quiet

We recently packed up 7 dogs for a 4000 km road trip, and brought and 7 StarMark Everlasting Fun Balls to help the dogs relax. All of the balls made it home, unlike several collars. I can’t imagine travelling without investing in some durable and entertaining chew toys. Don’t travel without them! Even better, bring …

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Hide and Go Seek Foundation Training for Scent Detection Dogs

Hide and go seek is one of our favorite foundation games to play with young scent dogs. When the dog finds you, it’s very important to give multiple rewards to keep the dog with you. Otherwise, dogs tend to play keep away (getting close, but not letting you catch them). Warm up with restrained recalls. …

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How to Build Drive Chasing a Ball on a Rope

One great way to build toy drive is chasing a ball on a rope. Softer toys with squeakers grab attention from most of our students. Even if they haven’t been interested in balls before, they can hardly wait for their turn. The rope makes it an interactive game, preventing running away, destroying or burying the …

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Judges’ Applications Open for CKC Scent Detection

The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) has announced its requirements for CKC Scent Detection Judges, to officiate at events starting in January 2019. Full details are at: https://www.ckc.ca/en/News/2018/August/Calling-all-Budding-CKC-Judges-Your-Time-Has-Come.aspx C-WAGS All Class Scent Judges, SDDA Judges, and some experienced competitors who are CKC members can apply today at: https://www.ckc.ca/en/Files/Forms/Shows-Trials/Judges-Forms/Application-for-Scent-Detection-Trial-Judge-Form-N    

Scent Detection Rats Making a Difference

Giant Rats are saving lives by sniffing out TNT in unexploded landmines as featured in National Geographic’s video of detector rats on the job in Cambodia(6). While people with metal detectors not only risk their lives in looking for unexploded landmines, we are slower than the rats. Rats can a 200 square meter area in …

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Early Neutering May Affect Cognitive Function, Cancers and Joint Disorders

Puppy owners deciding when to neuter may find it interesting to learn more about the long-term health effects. One study compared Golden and Labrador Retrievers with spay and neuter performed before 6 months up through 8 years(1). It compared  joint disorders (including hip dysplasia) and cancers (including mammary cancer) in neutered vs intact dogs. In Goldens, neutering …

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Heat and Sniffer Dog Acclimatization

We’re in the golden period of imprinting scent with our 9 week old litter of puppies. Unfortunately, today Alberta is experiencing record-breaking temperatures (1), combined with smoke blowing from forest fires in BC and Washington that is so thick it’s visible on satellite imagery. Throughout the day, the haze obstructs our view of the Rocky …

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NEW Scent Dog Foundation Online Course Starts Aug. 1, 2018

NEW Scent Dog Foundation Course – Class begins Aug. 1, 2018. From bed bugs to birds, from narcotics to nosework, Hunter’s Heart motivational scent training has helped hundreds of teams to reach their potential, since 1999. Learn the secrets to motivate your dog to love searching for odor, whatever your dog’s age or level. We’ll show you how, from fun foundation games …

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Jager Selected for CBSA Narcotics/Firearm Detection Training

Our Brittany Jager has been selected by Canadian Border Services Agency for its narcotics and firearms detection training program. Hunters Heart Jager Cimex, our 9-month old Brittany Spaniel pup (from BB x Boo’s last litter), is now on his way to Montreal. CBSA assessed his skills off leash, outdoors, by hiding one ball in trees …

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Canadian Kennel Club Introduces Scent Detection in Jan. 2019

After years of discussions, we’re excited about the opportunity to compete in Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) Scent Detection, starting Jan. 2019. Small dog owners may be pleasantly surprised to see height divisions with specific guidelines for hide elevation. I appreciate how humans in the search area present an option for distractions in addition to food and …

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Building the Brains of Scent Detection Puppies with Early Scent Introduction

Starting at 3 days of age, we introduce scents of our litters of puppies, and follow the Biosensor (Early Neurological Stimulation) program (1) daily and introduce a new scent daily. This early brain training accelerates development. It kickstarts the olfactory and neurological systems and may result in earlier proficiency and improved performance over what would …

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NEW Engagement Games Classes

What makes your scent dog happy? Is he more interested in checking out distractions than working with you? In our new ENGAGEMENT FOR DOGSPORTS classes, we use games to transform naughty dogs into nice partners for dogsports. Everyone says you should “be the cookie”. We’ll show you how. You’ll learn: How to Build Engagement = …

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How to Remove Ticks to Lessen Blood Meals with Associated Disease Transmission

Ticks are one pest you and your dog can pickup during outdoor activities, which carries a risk of disease transmission. This fascinating macro video of ticks attaching to human skin and feeding on blood and demonstrates removal. Talk to your vet about the risk of ticks in the areas where you live and travel. (For …

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Nosework Makes Us Smile – Join the Fun at our Calgary Classes

Nosework Makes Us Smile – Join the Fun at our Calgary Classes starting May 30 at Kayenna Kennels, Calgary. Level 1 – Motivate your dog to love searching for scent. No previous experience required. Level 2 – Show you where odor is, with an indication even my grandmother would recognize Level 3 – Trial preparation: Learn …

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Sourcing, Residual Odor and Preventing False Alerts FAQ – Part 2

In Part 1, I explained why your dog should be working to source in every search i.e. getting his nose as close as physically possible to the highest concentration of odor. Hopefully you took the sourcing tests and videoed yourself. In today’s blog, you’ll observe students working through sourcing exercises at class. RIZZI 0:2 The first …

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Sourcing, Residual Odor and Preventing False Alerts FAQ – Part 1

Question: Carla, can you suggest training exercises to help work through dogs (false) alerting on trace or residual odour? I assume that for the most part it’s team inexperience but now that the sport of nosework is getting so popular facilities have multiple people placing hides and I’d like some pearls of your wisdom/experience to help …

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Chasing the Flirt Pole and High Intensity Interval Training for Dogs

Are you the time crunched owner of a dog with energy to burn? The flirt pole can harness a dog’s natural instinctive drive to chase prey. This fun, efficient, high intensity exercise makes the most of the time you spend exercising your dog. Even if you only have 10 minutes, it’s a tiring, power packed workout. …

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Baby Body Odor and Human Scent Theory

Do infants smell delicious? A 2013 study in Frontiers in Psychology used brain imaging to show that the scent of 2-day-old infants activates the reward related areas of the brain (1). This activation didn’t show up in the olfactory cortex where you might expect, but in the reward areas: the same areas activated by yummy food like …

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New Bed Bug WDDO Certified Team: Ellen Kraminsky and Truffle

Congratulations to students Ellen Kraminsky & Truffle on passing WDDO double-blind certification as a bed bug detection team! Without knowing the number of bugs present, Ellen and Truffle passed with no missed hides and no false alerts, demonstrating teamwork to a professional standard of reliability. After all of your hard work, this recognition and qualification is …

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Treasure Hunt at Saturday Match (Calgary)

Thanks Calgary Disc Club for a fun nosework match this weekend! The updated Treasure Map is attached FYI. You’re welcome to sniff out the hidden jewels until May 6 when I collect them.  Congratulations Calgary Disc Club for putting on such an amazing nosework event! Thank you for inviting me to judge, volunteering, participating and for some …

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Blocking and Advanced Proofing with Barriers

A student recently described how her dog found most of the hides in SDDA Excellent competition, but had a fringe alert. Did she call alert too soon or block her dog’s access to source? If she had asked her dog to check both sides of the vehicle, would he have sat and false alerted just …

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Scent Detection Training Devices and DIY Setups

Stuck in a rut with your scent detection training? Hiding Food Many trainers hide food inside Kongs and stuffable food balls, in snuffle mats (like a deep shaggy rug), and amidst the grass in their yard to introduce puppies to finding food. Or fill a kiddie pool with safe balls or empty plastic bottles and …

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Only a few spots left! INTRODUCTION TO NOSEWORK class starts Wed. April 18 (Calgary)

Using the same techniques we use for bed bug and narcotics detection dogs, we’ll motivate your pet dog to love searching for target odor. This video features Jager, a 6-month old Brittany Spaniel, searching for bed bug scent. The start line has containers full of food and the boxes contain distractions. He alerts on the hot …

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Horses Have the Nose for Search and Rescue on the Range

While horses  might not be the first animal that springs to mind for scent detection, there’s no doubt that horses living out on the range regularly employ their senses to find the resources necessary for survival. Check out horses learning search and rescue drills at: http://www.ktvn.com/story/37954691/horses-use-scent-detection-in-search-and-rescue-drills?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=14272991 (on KTVN Channel 2 Reno Tahoe Sparks News). Once they realize …

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How to Train Your Dog to Sit at Scent – Part 2 Scent Puppy Foundation

This video captures Jager’s first session training a sit indication for high hides at a hot indication box. Jager’s  6-month-old Brittany Spaniel and bed bug detection candidate. I began by experimenting to find a comfortable height where he can sit with front paws on the ground and press his nose to source. I was happy …

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How to Train Your Dog to Sit At Scent – Part 1 “Up-Sit” for Scent Detection

Question: My dog’s indication on hides over 3 feet is good, but not as intense as his indication on low hides. He finds them easily, but he sits looking at me instead of sitting with nose at source. I’ve never had anyone explain or teach me ways how you’d get a dog to stay focused and …

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You’ll Fall Many Times, But Who’s Counting

Even Olympic medallists eventually take a fall. Some are more catastrophic than others, but how they recover from failure helps determine future results. There’s a lesson for dog handlers and trainers who require constant perfection and suffer as a result. Kaetlyn Osmond took a fall for all to see, and then inspired. She fractured her …

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Playing Catch to Become the Cookie – How to Be More Rewarding

Sometimes it’s harder to be more interesting than the dirt, with its tantalizing tapestry of scents. Playing catch is one type of food play that can come in handy when you need to energize, motivate or reward your dog. How to Teach Your Dog to Play Catch In this video, I play catch with Jager …

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Finding Looted Syrian Artifacts in Air and Sea Cargo – New Frontier of K9 Scent Detection Research

In the race to save Syria’s archaeological treasures, researchers at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center (PVWDC) are looking into the efficacy of detection dogs trained to find smuggled ancient pottery. This video features a candidate named Moxie, demonstrating a change of behavior on the target odor of pottery, during imprinting using a daisy wheel1. At PVWDC, …

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Converging Odors and Single Odor Hides vs. Cocktail FAQ

Lori’s question: Is there ever an advantage to using single odor hides? For example, one hide is wintergreen, another hide is birch with anise, etc.. (We started training using a cocktail of Birch + Anise + Clove + Wintergreen cocktail.) Answer: Cocktail allows us to train several odors at the same time so we rarely …

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Donkey Problem Solving: Are You Limiting What Your Detection Dog Can Do?

In many cases, humans underestimate animals’ capabilities to solve problems. I knew a dog who could open a crate door on the right side, and on the left side, on cue. While those are not necessarily behaviors I want to teach, I do want my scent dogs to be confident and able to independently solve …

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How Many Indications or Searches Should We Do In Practice? FAQ

W’s question: I’ve been focusing a lot on indication lately and noticed she’s getting lackluster and starting to wander off.   At this stage is it ok to mix it up and sometimes do just a big reward for find it with food or toy then release and not wait for down?   She’s not the type of …

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Triple Bunk Break Down | Components of Elite Searches + Double Blind Tests

Be a splitter not a lumper! To succeed in double-blind scent detection tests (e.g. narcotics certification) or elite searches with clearing in scent work competition, you’ll be required to clear rooms, ignore distractions and face an unknown number of hides with potentially unlimited elevation. Set your team up for success by breaking down the individual …

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What Should You Do About False Alerts? Mass Spectometry Would Help

Do you ever wish you had a machine to tell you what scents your dog false alerted on? It would be nice to get a definitive answer, especially when you don’t understand what happened after a seemingly easy search went haywire. While expensive, technology exists that can analyze the molecular composition of scents, and has been …

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Last chance – Scent Detection classes start tomorrow (Calgary)

Last chance – Scent Detection classes start tomorrow (Calgary) Level 1 – Motivate your dog to search for target odors Level 2 – “Show Me” where source is Level 3 – Pre-trial preparation, Interior, Exterior & Vehicle Searches, including fun distractions training Target odor: Birch + Anise + Clove + Wintergreen Instructor: Carla Simon, Hunter’s Heart …

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Photo of Boo's cheeks moving in and out while sourcing, prior to stopping breathing when he reaches source.

Listen Up! When Your Dog Stops Sniffing

Did you notice that many scent detection dogs stop breathing when they reach source? One of the best ways to read your sniffer dog is by listening to changes in his breathing . While sourcing, sniffing speeds up, sounds different and you may see the flews (upper lips) moving in and out as shown in the …

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Table Distraction Game for Sniffer Dogs

Reliable scent dogs must ignore food, toy, and environmental distractions to find target odor. This video shows the Table Distraction Game we play with our scent dogs away from odor, to teach them to ignore a bowl of food by default. It’s a stress-free complement to training sniffer dogs to pass by distractions, go to …

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How Long Should Hides be Aged? – Scent Work Competition FAQ

Pat’s question: How long do you age a hide prior to the start of a nosework trial? Is it the same for all the elements? Answer: Aging is the amount of time between placing a hide (containing target odor) and the dog’s search. I’ve seen from 5 minutes up to hours of aging tested in …

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Entering Your First Nosework Competition FAQ’s on UKC Nosework

It’s an exciting time when you enter your first nosework competition. Having said that, you probably feel uncertain about what to expect. Below are FAQ’s for entering your first UKC nosework competition. For the full tutorial on How to Enter Your First UKC Nosework Trial visit https://nosework.huntersheart.com/2017/03/01/how-to-enter-sniff-albertas-ukc-nosework-trial-june-2017/. Scent theory applies to most searches, but every …

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Welcome to Hunter’s Heart Scent Detection Training

Welcome students!  We’re looking forward to meeting you and your scent dog. We’ve inspired hundreds of students internationally, including dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes. Whether your target odor is bedbugs, narcotics, or nosework scents, we’ll help you to succeed with our proven protocols. Lessons are packed with hands-on practical experience so your dog can …

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Bed Bugs May Transmit Chagas Disease to Humans

While it was previously thought that bed bugs were unable to transmit disease to humans, recent studies that suggest bed bugs may be able to transmit Chagas disease to humans (1).  Entomology Today cited  studies that looked at bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) that consumed blood infected with T. cruzi, and found that the parasite remained alive, for …

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Image of airplane with bedbug underneath

Bed Bug Stowaways Crawl Over Seats and Disrupt Flights

One British Airways flight crew recently walked off their airplane because it was infested with live bed bugs crawling over its seats (2). Passengers were delayed 4 hours until a plane free of bed bugs could be substituted. The aircraft, originally scheduled to fly from Heathrow to Ghana, was immediately taken out of service, but …

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Zane, a nosework student, waits for his serch to begin

Upcoming Scent Dog Training with Hunter’s Heart

Classes at Kayenna Kennels, Calgary Learn nosework at Kayenna Kennels (near Southland and Macleod, Calgary) with a 6-week class. Level 1 – We’ve inspired hundreds of students internationally and can help motivate your dog to find target scent. No previous experience required. Puppies are welcome after their second set of vaccinations.Learn more: https://youtu.be/wC9MRR7ui70 Level 2 – …

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Wife Detects Parkinson’s by Change of Husband’s Scent

An Australian woman noticed her husband smelled differently, but dismissed it until after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Upon attending a lecture on Parkinson’s Disease, she recalled the experience and asked the lecturer what scent she might have smelled. Intrigued, researchers explained that the “slightly musky aroma” might be caused by changes in the …

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Positive is Not Permissive – When to Say No

While pondering what to write about for American Brittany Magazine this month, inspiration struck! Several times. In fact, imprinting scent with three 12-week-old pups inspires me daily. Sometimes they make me proud. Sometimes they make me laugh. And sometimes I think how positive is not permissive. When it’s important, I admit I tell my dogs …

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Israeli Drone Dog Teams Find Hidden Terrorists To Save Lives

In the Israel Dog Unit (IDU), scent detection dogs are being utilized in conjunction with aerial drones with thermal imaging to apprehend suspected terrorists. In the past, even when authorities found broken fences or sensors confirmed infiltrations, suspects could hide and even after troops arrived, couldn’t be apprehended, sometimes resulting in lost lives. Mike Ben …

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Scent Dog Training Classes Start Wed.

While it’s cold outside, come join us for some fun nosework! Classes start this Wednesday evening Dec. 13, 2017.  at Kayenna Kennels (near Southland and Macleod, Calgary). Wednesday Evening Classes Level 1 – We’ve inspired hundreds of students internationally and can help motivate your dog to find target scent. No previous experience required. Learn about how …

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How to Get Your Dog to Play Tug

With just a few tweaks, you can dramatically improve your dog’s play drive. You may even be surprised to convert a reluctant chow hound to an avid tugger. Read on to learn how to energize your tugging and see if it’s a motivator for your dog. Why Tug? You don’t need to tug to train …

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Top Scent Dog Training Books and Websites 2017

Shopping for the holiday season? You can never have too many scent dog training books, right? Here’s a list of our favorite canine books and websites you might enjoy: Nosework & Scent Discrimination Scent and The Scenting Dog, William G. Syrotuck is a broad introduction to how scent travels in the air. It explores the …

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Alberta RCMP K9’s Trained Using Actual Human Tissue

This week Kevin Maimann reported that the first Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) cadaver dog teams trained using actual human tissue have completed their training program in Innisfail, Alberta. Together with the help of a Medical Examiner Service Director Sean Margueratt in Nova Scotia, families were asked for consent to use the remains of loved …

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Nosework Seminar this Sunday (Calgary)

We have some openings for our nosework seminar this Sunday. If it’s challenging for you to attend weekly classes, this is a great opportunity to try nosework, or work on some of your skills. Dates: Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 25, 2017  Novice/Beginner 8 – 11 am Advanced/Excellent 12 – 4 pm – work on …

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Brittany Puppies Find the Milk | Hunter’s Heart BB x Boo litter Week 1

This Brittany puppy uses scent to find his dam’s milk at 1 week of age. At birth, healthy puppies are blind and cannot hear, for at least 10 days. A dam simply cannot make every puppy in her litter suckle at her nipples every few hours. In order to survive, each puppy must rely heavily …

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What Do Sperm and Puppies Have in Common?

They both rely on scent to navigate through their environment. Sperm use chemotaxis to navigate to eggs, and newborn puppies use olfaction to navigate to the milk in their dam’s nipples, from the day their born. For animals like fish, that reproduce outside of their bodies, it’s obviously crucial to reproductive success for sperm to …

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How to Train a Freeze Indication Using Leash Pressure

Many people ask how we train a freeze indication with focused attention. Once a dog is confidently and proficiently finding source, we use gentle leash pressure to teach the freeze with forward focus. When you pull back, the dog learns to firm up and freeze like a statue to stay at source. This is the …

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Amp Up the Fun! Hunter’s Heart Fall Nosework Seminars

Interested in trying nosework? Join us for the most fun you’ve ever had with your dog. We’ll motivate your dog to love searching for odor at our hugely popular half day introduction to Scent Work. Learn how we’ve trained dogs of all ages, sizes, temperaments and abilities to become reliable scent dogs. No experience required. If your …

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Odor Hygiene at Nosework Competitions

Odor hygiene refers to properly handling target odor, so you know with certainty where odor is located, and where it is not located. Good odor hygiene enables more teams to succeed. It’s a really important component of holding successful scent detection trials, where every participant has a role to play. This post will outline some …

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Fear, Fender Benders and Following Your Fearless Dog

My Brittany Spaniel, Boo, and I spent our summer competing in nosework on a cross country road trip: from Calgary to California, Seattle to Wisconsin. The experience was thrilling sometimes, and punctuated with scary moments. We tested our limits, and I learned to approach uncertainty more like my fearless dog. For those of you who …

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Hunter’s Heart Black Betty’s Debut

BB sped directly to odor at her debut in Excellent B Nosework (for professionals and experienced handlers) at Sniffing Dog Sports competition in Gig Harbour, Washington. She dived in with an 11 second distance search for third place, and fourth place in Exteriors where scent was hidden under a ladder and up a tree, living …

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Back to School Survey for Hunter’s Heart Nosework Classes (Starting Sept. 20, at Kayenna Kennels, Calgary)

Nosework classes resume this week and we’re going to have some fun motivating your dog to search for odor! If you’re registered, please complete this survey in advance, 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 …

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Join Us for Summer Nosework Fun Events, Calgary

Hi everyone, I hope you’re staying cool, and you can join us for some summer nosework events. NOSEWORK DROP-IN NIGHTS AT KAYENNA KENNELS, CALGARY Test your skills in fun, informal nosework matches, following loose Sniffing Dog Sports (SDS) rules for containers, area searches and games (except your dog does not to be registered in any …

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Please vote for Nosework!

Your support counts! Please take 30 seconds to answer the Canadian Kennel Club’s 1 question nosework poll at http://www.ckc.ca/en. Virtually every dog can enjoy scent work, and we’d like scent work grow in Canada. Now that the American Kennel Club has introduced nosework, we hope the CKC will soon follow suit, including rescue dogs alongside …

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SDS Judge’s Summary by Level | Sniffing Dog Sports Nosework

Brain overload? Sometimes keeping track of multiple hides is enough to keep your brain busy. Print this summary of SDS rules and you’ll be sure to set up practice searches that abide by Sniffing Dog Sports rules: SDS Summary by Level (PDF) The same information is pasted below. SDS JUDGE’S SUMMARY: REQUIREMENTS BY LEVEL General …

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SDS Distance Game Demonstrations

Can your scent dog search independently at a distance? Watch demonstrations with coaching as our students test their skills with the fun SDS Distance Handling Game Version 1, the game we’re playing at Sniff Alberta’s SDS (Sniffing Dog Sports) nosework competition on Oct 7-8, 2017 (Calgary): https://youtu.be/oc6mg59V1Wc We begin with a blind search at the Excellent …

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Canada’s First Sniffing Dog Sports Nosework Competition, Oct. 7-8, Calgary

Join Sniff Alberta for Canada’s first Sniffing Dog Sports Nosework Competition, Calgary, Oct. 7&8, 2017 You’ll love SDS: Save $. Only 1 pass required to title at a level. Try Before You Buy, or register with SDS now. FUN distance game #1, area search and containers (it’s easier than you think). Les stress. No pre-trial, …

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Back by Popular Demand: Nosework Crash Course Weekend, July 15/16, Hunter’s Heart (Calgary)

Take your nosework to the next level Juno’s video demonstrates strong commitment to odor in scent work. Sometimes blind searches are confusing for the handler. Juno returns to show the location of target odor repeatedly, making it very obvious where target odor is located, until the rewards appear at source. Even newbies in the audience can …

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Top 5 Scent Work Tips on Training Your Down Indication

Here’s our Top 5 Tips on proofing your down indication for K9 Nosework. Tip #1) Always mark or reward finding source. Then you can give extra rewards for the down indication. Watch what happens at 0:18 seconds in the video if you don’t reward the dog for finding source. He offers undesirable behaviors, including looking …

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Delayed Rewards Are Missed Opportunities in Scent Dog Training

From the dog’s point of view, rewards are the most important component of dog training. Sadly, many handlers are lousy rewarders and dogs are left confused and rewardless. Is your dog in this miserable majority? Has he ever shut down, or had trouble understanding a seemingly easy behavior? Has he ever found source and left …

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Patterning for Systematic Searches and Faster Times

Do you have trouble remembering where your scent dog has searched and where he hasn’t? When you’re searching large areas for scent work, it’s a common problem. Novice dogs can demonstrate a lot of frenetic activity, often skipping thresholds, frequently skipping objects or hides. Patterning trains dogs to search systematically, from the start line and around …

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Calgary Nosework Classes – Video of Keata (Border Collie) Learning to Indicate Scent

Only 6 days left! Register now for Nosework classes starting April 5, Calgary Info: https://www.kayennakennels.ca/nosework-classes This video features Keata at our Level 2 (Show Me) Nosework class. Keata (a Border Collie) still indicated the location of scent when we moved containers to a distracting new location. She ignored unplanned distractions when we introduced vehicles and …

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Scent Maze Video: Can Your Dog Find His Way to Source?

This fun scent maze challenged our advanced nosework students to navigate around gates impeding access to the box containing odor to get to source. Teams were allowed perform this blind search off leash at a distance, and ignored pork distractions near the camera. Thanks Carma, Joe, Pat, Katherine, Mike, May and Theresa for being good sports! …

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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 …

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Work for the Whites of His Eyes

Scent work is a game, and some rewards are better than others. You know you’re on the right track when your dog is so excited you can see the whites of his eyes. What did it look like when you saw your dog that excited? Was he chasing a bird? Or would he rather chase …

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Scent Work – How to Train Distractions with Fun Nosework Games

Scent work is a game, with its roots in hunting and finding prey. In nosework, dogs must learn to ignore distractions to search and find the target odor. We use games to train scent work, and harness the dog’s natural drives. To train a rock-solid detection dog, introduce easy distractions and gradually work up to …

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How to Enter a UKC Nosework Trial

This 33 minute tutorial explains how to enter a UKC Nosework Trial, using Sniff Alberta’s Premium list and entry forms as examples. It answers FAQ’s including how pre-trials work, whether to enter A or B, and going through all the boxes on the entry form. We complete the entry form for 2 example dogs: a …

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Shopping for Nosework Supplies

Question: Where do you buy your shipping labels, cardboard boxes and blotting papers for cocktailing hides? I think I’d like to set up some kind of scent lab in my basement/training area. Answer: Hunter’s Heart sells boxes with circular holes like we use in our scent detection training lab, at: http://store.huntersheart.com/UKC_Nose_work_boxes_focussed_attention_indication_p/nb.htm. To purchase at reasonable prices near you, …

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Scent 101 SCENTSCAPES Presentation

Get a glimpse into your dog’s fascinating world of scent – Fri. Jan. 5, 2018, in Calgary Scentscapes & Scent Theory 101, presentation (no dogs) – $50.00 There’s a whole world of scent, which allows dogs to detect everything from bombs to cancer. But because air is invisible, humans are generally unaware. Scentscapes videos show …

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Nosework Lesson #1 is Motivation! Register now for Feb. 22 Classes

Watch our students enjoying their motivational introduction to scent at their first nosework class.  Our approach is to make target odor so rewarding it would be crazy to leave. Dogs understand the nonverbal language and cues we use, such as having them watch while we hide a bowl filled with high value food rewards. Our …

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Nosework Theory 101 – Feb. 24, 2017 (Calgary)

Wonder how scent works? Learn about the science behind olfaction and how dogs learn scent detection. Topics include: What is Scent detection? Nosework demonstration How scent works Canine olfaction and muscle memory How dogs learn and how best to teach them Breaking down components of a dog’s search Why we don’t use a verbal command …

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Nosework Train Your Puppy to Search for Scent

Watch a puppy’s first training session in “Nosework – How to Train your puppy for scent work”. This 8 week old Brittany Spaniel puppy from Hunter’s Heart Kennels is shown in his first scent training session in our nosework training lab. You can start nosework training with your pet as soon as he enjoys food …

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Welcome to Calgary Scent Detection Classes at Kayenna Training Academy

Welcome students!  Hunter’s Heart is excited to offer Calgary scent detection classes, seminars and events at Kayenna Training Academy. Register at: https://www.kayenna.ca/scent-detection. We also offer an online scent detection course for training sniffer dogs. We’ve been sniffing since 1999. From bed bugs to birds, nosework to narcotics, we’ve helped hundreds of students internationally, including dogs …

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How to have the most fun with your dog? Nosework/Scent Dog Training Compilation 2016

Nosework can be the most fun you ever had with your dog!  We’ve received many requests to help nosework students explain why they love nosework to people who don’t even know the dogsport exists. A picture’s worth a thousand words, so we hope you enjoy this video compilation. Nosework is an exciting new dogsport. We …

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Dog crashing through a jump

Abominable Loser vs. Well-Mannered Winner

Some people have a knack for winning graciously and looking worthy even when they lose. I’ve had the pleasure of competing against people who are classy in how they accept their results, and have learned from watching. No matter the dogsport, you just can’t control everything that happens at a canine competition. You train, prepare …

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Training a Rock Solid Indication – “Show Me” Week 1

This video shows the first step in training a rock solid indication: https://youtu.be/EeDguH0ZJ8o Goals The goal of this session is for the puppy to form a positive association with one hot indication box. He should confidently rush to the box, put his muzzle deep in the hole and lie down. You should use up a handful of rewards in …

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Would You Like a Rock-Solid Indication?

Many dogs have subtle indications. Their handlers frequently say they “need to learn to read their dog better”. Reading your dog is a good thing. But if you’d like a more solid indication, it’s easy to train. You can teach your dog to perform an obvious, unmistakable, confident, independent indication, and we’d be delighted to show …

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Preventing Mouthing, Biting and Retrieving in Nosework

              Many dogs love to retrieve, but in canine nosework, mouthing, biting and retrieving are problematic. Nosework is inspired by bomb detection training, where biting and retrieving are unsafe ways for a dog to indicate the presence of explosives. Accordingly, in nosework, “aggressive” behaviors such as biting, chewing, and digging …

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Comparing SDDA and UKC Nosework

In today’s blog, I’ll compare and contrast nosework competition under the Sporting Detection Dogs Association (SDDA) and United Kennel Club (UKC). Please note that I’m competing in UKC (in the USA and Canada) at the Masters level, while I’ve only titled in Started SDDA in Canada. This blog represents my opinion. There are many nosework organizations and they …

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Photo of a hide under a vacuum, by Furever Reflections

K9 ABC Games – Adventures in Nosework

(Adopted from an article featured in American Brittany Magazine, 2016) I recently had the pleasure to attend the K9 ABC Games nosework event hosted by Kinetic Dog Training, in Calgary, Canada with my two Brittanys. What a blast! Founded in Washington state, K9 ABC Games nosework keeps the emphasis on games. While legs and titles are …

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Photo of a Dachshund with his nose in a wire fence

Nosework Safety

Have you seen a dog get his head stuck in a nosework box? If you watch a few pre-trial or container searches, you’ll observe that many dogs do. While that’s not faulted and usually causes the audience to smile, it’s a frequent reminder that safety is important in canine nosework. CONTAINER SAFETY Consider what would happen if a dog …

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Windy Vehicle Search Virtual Alert Challenge

How well do you understand the impact of wind on vehicle searches? Here’s a link to a 2 minute video of an advanced vehicle search so you can test your knowledge of wind: https://youtu.be/nLg5FQ473oA It’s a cool, moderately windy day for a Sniff Alberta fun match judged by Joe Richardson (thanks Joe). There are 3 hides on one …

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figure showing how to navigate vehicle search using wind

Why Wind Matters in Nosework

  Wind is complicated, but it’s important to succeeding in scent detection. Depending on wind direction, you may need to check all sides of a vehicle (or any object) to avoid calling a false alert. When you’re beginning to learn nosework with container searches indoors, you could just follow your dog and pass without ever …

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Photo of Smarties candies sorted by color

Why Scent Travels

Why does scent disperse, instead of just staying inside the hide? It’s a law of nature. Scent spreads out. Read on if you want to learn more about the science behind scent dispersion, and what it has to do with the Smarties in the picture. SCENT DISPERSION AND ENTROPY Scent disperses because of the Second …

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Photo of a Chihuahua puppy playing with a tennis ball

How Close is Close Enough?

How close should your dog get to source? Will you know it when you see it? After your dog indicates and you call “alert”, the judge can ask “where is it”, so you should be prepared to answer (either with words or showing with gestures that don’t involve touching anything or contaminating source.) Current UKC Nosework …

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Photo of a map showing the distance from Calgary to Greenland and Mexico City

Comparing Dog and Human Olfaction

A dog’s sense of smell (aka olfaction) is 10,000 – 100,000 times stronger than a human’s. What does that mind-numbing number mean? Picture it on a map. Let’s be conservative: say the canine sense of smell is 10,000 better. According to James Walker, former researcher at the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University, if you make an analogy …

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Differences Between Nostrils

When a dog enters the scent cone and detects odor, how does he follow it back to its source? A dog’s sense of smell is so fine-tuned that he can distinguish which nostril is experiencing more odor at any given time. So when his left nostril smells more odor than the right, he will turn left. …

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How Scent Works: Scent Cones, Wind and Aging

WHAT IS SCENT DETECTION? From the first domesticated dog, humans and dogs evolved together for a long time. Originally, dogs helped humans in tracking and hunting game. Depending on wind, dog can pickup scent plume 100 feet away and find the source (highest concentration of target odor). Group hunting was a selective advantage. Scent detection …

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Types of Nosework Events

Types of Nosework Events (Printable PDF File) The main types of searches in Nosework include: Container searches, Interior, Vehicle and Exterior and Handler Discrimination. They are explained in detail below. PRE-TRIALS (1 pass required/title) Before you compete in United Kennel Club (UKC) Nosework, the first thing you need to do is a Pre-Trial. During the Pre-trial, your dog …

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UKC Nosework Requirements by Level

I confess: I can never remember the requirements for nosework searches at different levels of UKC competition. This table helps me and my students when we’re planning searches and preparing for trials. Click here to download the PDF version. Novice Advanced Superior Masters Elite Odor[i] 1 odor: Birch (B) 1 odor: Anise (A) 2 odors: …

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United Kennel Club Nosework Links

United Kennel Club (UKC) Helpful Links (As of Feb. 26, 2016) Register Your Dog with UKC               http://www.ukcdogs.com/Web.nsf/WebPages/Registration/ApplicationSingleRegistration 2 main types of UKC registration number: Permanent Registration (purebred dogs) Performance Listing (PL) – mixed breed dogs (Temporary number is rare) http://www.ukcdogs.com/Web.nsf/WebPages/DogEvents/TLRules Blank Nosework Entry Form        http://res.ukcdogs.com/pdf/NoseworkEntry.pdf Nosework Rules                              http://res.ukcdogs.com/pdf/2015NoseworkRules.pdf Find UKC Nosework Events          http://www.ukcdogs.com/Upcoming.nsf/EventView?Open&Group=DogEvents&Type=M Search by …

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Vary Everything But The Odor

Over time, you should vary all aspects of the hides besides the odor itself. For example, don’t just use metal tins. You should practice with hides made of many diverse materials: steel and burlap, wood, cotton, water, plastic, glass, etc.. You should also vary the ageing of the target odor. Sometimes you may place the hide and …

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Photo disposable pipettes

Making Cocktailed Hides

Once your dog is searching for odor, you’ll need some hides in order to practice nosework at home. (A “hide” is the package of target odor inside a ventilated container that is hidden in the search are for the dog to find e.g. pre-scented piece of blotting paper inside a metal tin or a cotton …

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Photo of hide in nosework box, nosework kit and essential oils stored in tackle box

Storing Scent

Storing your scent properly is important to your success in nosework. You always want to know where odor is, and where it isn’t. Here are some key tips. One of the first things you’ll notice is the importance of labelling everything. Always label cold boxes and mark the odor on all containers with scent. For …

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Scent Detection Kit Instructions and Supplies for Nosework

Once your dog is trained to search for odor, you’ll need to acquire some hides in order to practice nosework at home. (A “hide” is the package of target odor inside a ventilated container that is hidden in the search are for the dog to find e.g. a piece of blotting paper with Birch/Anise/Clove cocktailed …

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Photo of a 1/4 inch cube of tuna fudge, the best noncrumbling nosework training reward

Recipe: Noncrumbling Tuna Fudge

Every canine scent detection class I teach begins with a taste test of the available food rewards, because building drive depends on making it rewarding for each individual dog. When you offer a dog 2 – 3 high value food rewards, then select the one that dog prefers, he will be hugely motivated to succeed. …

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