Nosework Training in the Lab

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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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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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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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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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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Fringe Alerts

A fringe alert occurs when the dog indicates close to the target odor, in the odor plume, but not at source. For example, the dog indicates by lying down on the driver side of a vehicle when the hide is actually on the front bumper and wind is blowing scent to the dog’s location. This …

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How to Reward

In the scent detection lab, these are the steps the trainer will take to reward your dog: Say “Yes” or click the instant dog’s nose touches the food bowl (or hole in the box containing target odor) Reward at source (touching her hand to source to deliver the food) Repeat this sequence for 1-3 rewards, …

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The Trainer’s Role

At first, your dog will learn to search for food in a food bowl. The cues to searching are the lab setup and the handler bangs the bowl on the floor. Your trainer will: Start the session with a taste test to find the treats your dog wants most today Tease your dog on the …

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Photo of box #1 of a container search

The Dog’s Role

In the nosework lab, the dog’s job is to search the area and find the food bowl and/or target odor. He should: Put his nose as close to the food bowl and/or target odor as possible. Be “obedient to odor”, rather than focussing on the handler to follow obedience commands Return to the food bowl …

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Photo of Joe Richardson and Rocky with intense focus on the start line of a container search at a Sniff Alberta UKC nosework match

The Handler’s Role

When you take lessons in the scent detection lab, you are the handler and the instructor is the trainer. This blog focusses on the role of the handler. Once your dog is comfortable in the new environment, he will appear more focussed and we’ll begin your searches. The instructor will begin by offering your dog …

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Rules and Etiquette

There are some rules we follow in our scent work events, classes and competitions, so searches run smoothly, and all participants have the greatest chance of succeeding and having fun. No dog-dog interaction is ever allowed. We love to have fun, and dog fights, bites or scares are NOT fun. It’s your responsibility to control …

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Photo Brittany Spaniel puppy Saddle demonstrating drive and motivation, the basis of obedience to odor

Obedience to Odor

Our scent detection training is based on obedience to odor. That might sound pretty scary, but it’s all based on rewarding your dog. A dog that’s obedient to odor is obedient to his nose. He’s irresistibly drawn to the target odor and is highly motivated to get to source (the highest concentration of target odor). Dondi …

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Photo of nosework lab. The arrow is pointing at a hide in a nosework box.

Nosework Training in the Lab

Hunter’s Heart scent detection training is inspired by Andrew Ramsey (renowned law enforcement canine detection trainer, who helped advise the United Kennel Club while creating its nosework program).  We use the nosework lab to quickly and clearly teach the dog how to search systematically, and motivate the dog to love to find the target odor. The rewards …

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Scent Detection Terms in Scent Detection

A “hide” is the package of target odor inside a ventilated container that is hidden in the search are for the dog to find. The photo shows a very common type of hide, made from blotting paper scented with target odor inside a metal tin with magnets, which easily secure the hide to a metal surface. Other favorite hide containers include metal tins with holes, shipping labels, plastic tubes, etc..