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Old 02-08-2011, 08:48 PM
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Default Training scent discrimination and searching

There's some really specific things I want to try and teach Kaia, but am not sure how to go about doing it. She's a sight hound, but she's more nose oriented than Strider and I think I might be able to work with her to strengthen that drive.

Anyway, here's what I want to do.

Teach her to look for a specific scent (something like truffles, or drugs). The thing is stationary and doesn't leave a track. So, she'd be working like a truffle hound or a drug/bomb detection dog where they know the scent they are searching for, but you have to take them to a likely area and direct them in a search pattern.

Thing is, I have no idea how you go about training something like that.

Does anybody have ideas? Or websites with good articles? Or know of any really good books on the subject? We can't afford a class right now, and I don't think anybody in the area teaches something like this anyway.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:01 PM
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Are you wanting Kaia to detect one specific smell or a certain set of smells? It will be easier to offer advice if I know what she would be searching for.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:06 PM
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I've trained and certified dogs in narcotics detection. I'd be happy to help with what I know.

Does she like toys? Do you have the odor available to use for training?
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:32 PM
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I'd like to start with one smell and get the behavior trained if that would work, and then add additional smells later. I've heard of dogs being able to use cue words for specific smells and then only search for that one.

I'd like to start her on trillium bulbs (rare plant). It sounds weird, but I do native plant salvage with a local group. We get calls from contractors to come out and dig things up before they bulldoze, and do our best to find them all, but the most threatened plants have a very short season above ground. Even when they're above ground they can be really difficult to see in thick brush. Sometimes we'll know for sure there are trilliums, Solomon's seal, etc. in a parcel of land, but we can't find the darn things because it's October and they'll get bulldozed. I was hoping she could learn to find and indicate some of them, so we could get them out before they get squished.

I can get plenty of plant material for scenting purposes. We've got some here at the house, and I can get more from the breeding gardens where they hold the refugee plants until they've got a new home.

Not really sure if she'll be super great or not, but maybe she'll surprise me. And I figure it's good practice to learn how and make mistakes with her before we get a "real" scent hound.

ETA: She LOVES toys made with real fur, fox tails, rabbit skins, etc. She's also extremely food motivated.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:50 PM
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I will try to type some more up tomorrow regarding using a toy to really build up her drive for the scent and whatnot, but this link here will be a good start for you.
http://www.bayarearecoverycanines.co...daver_Dogs.pdf
Just scroll down to Imprinting.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:01 PM
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Thanks! I'll check that out right now.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:11 PM
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That sounds like fun. I'd love to teach Buzzy scent detection, he's happiest when he's nose to the ground.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:33 PM
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Venus has been taking K9 nosework and tracking and doing very well at both types of sniffing work. She is incredibly driven, and her instuctors have been amazed at what a borzoi can do. If you make the game fun for Kaia, she may turn out to be a sniffing star.

In V's nosework class, we started by having the dogs search for hidden hot dogs to teach them to focus on searching with their noses instead of their eyes or ears, and once they were searching rooms thoroughly for the hot dogs, then we switched over to a scent (sweet birch).
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romy View Post
ETA: She LOVES toys made with real fur, fox tails, rabbit skins, etc. She's also extremely food motivated.
I'd suggest not using real fur toys. And if you train scent work for toys, I'd suggest not playing with the fur toys at all for a while. You don't want her thinking she should be looking for fox or rabbit scent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyHorseMyRules View Post
Oh, nice!! I'm going to try to read that tomorrow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by protodog View Post
In V's nosework class, we started by having the dogs search for hidden hot dogs to teach them to focus on searching with their noses instead of their eyes or ears, and once they were searching rooms thoroughly for the hot dogs, then we switched over to a scent (sweet birch).
Yeah, but then you have the problem of training them to not find hot dogs later.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corgipower View Post
Yeah, but then you have the problem of training them to not find hot dogs later.
This.
I've never been fond of the hot dog method. You're adding in two extra unnecessary steps. Rather than starting with the scent itself, you're starting with hot dogs. And then you have to basically undo that later.

That being said, I can see why it is useful in tracking instead of air scenting. From what I've been told, in competitive tracking, the dog can/will be penalized for lifting their nose from the track. And using the hot dogs can make it easier to teach the dog to keep its nose down to the ground. But I don't do tracking at all, so this is just what I've gathered from those who do.
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