Tips for Successful Scent Work

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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