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Scent Work

(11 Posts)
pilates Sun 14-Jun-20 12:24:40

Does anyone do it?

My dog is pretty good at it and would like to do some at home.

OP’s posts: |
ItsInTheShed Sun 14-Jun-20 12:26:16


my young lab goes mad outside following scents.....badgers,rabbits etc

what is scent work? this is my first dog and its a whole new world!

PollyPolson Sun 14-Jun-20 12:51:49

Yep scent work as a job and for pleasure.

There are organisations in the UK that do scent work for fun and competitions.

Many use cloves as the first scent.

All dogs love it and it has so many positives for dogs.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sun 14-Jun-20 12:56:51

I took my younger dog on a couple of courses and she had a great time.

The principle is pretty simple: introduce the dog to a scented item (eg a small toy that's been in a box with some soap for half an hour. Or a dirty sock plucked from the floordrobe of a teenaged DC. Or whatever).

Let the dog have a good sniff and then get it all excited about it. Leave the dog, go out of sight and tuck the item just out of sight e.g. under a sofa or behind a chair.

Let the dog in, give a command like 'find it!' and encourage it to sniff around by directing it along the sides of the room and around the furniture. Make the first search quick and easy and give loads of praise and maybe a treat for a successful find. The dog will learn in time to start the search alone and I imagine if you do it enough will work out its own search pattern.

You can also do it in the garden, or teach a dog to hunt for concealed tennis balls in grass and bushes.

Some dogs will have no interest in a scented item and you'll have to get them to search for treats or cheese.

I do it at home when I need to quickly take the edge off a dog's energy, or one needs a short walk and it's wet and cold and I'm short of time.

pilates Sun 14-Jun-20 13:32:57

Thanks Grumpy.

I have a teenage son so smelly socks not a problem!

20 minutes of scent work, is that the equivalent of a decent walk?

OP’s posts: |
GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sun 14-Jun-20 16:14:41

Equivalent to a short-ish walk, I'd say, but that depends a bit on how fit your dog is.

Incidentally, I think there are videos on YouTube for this sort of thing. And with a dog like a lab, outdoors, you could do things like memory retrieves: leave an item which the dog sees you put into position, walk off with the dog and then send it back for it. You can build this up from six feet to a couple of hundred yards. Much more tiring than normal walking IME, because the brain is engaged as well.

Girlintheframe Mon 15-Jun-20 06:23:34

We do it with our dog and he loves it.
There was a course for scent work at the same place we did training classes so signed up. We learnt the basics now do it at home and in the garden. Helps keep him busy/stimulated when we are having a quieter day.

dianebrewster Mon 15-Jun-20 20:20:52

my Golden retriever LOVES scent work. I impressed my housemate when he lost a rubber band in the garden, was worried the younger dog (who chews everything) would get it, I got her to smell his hands, gave the "find it" command and she went to work - it was quite a way away but she found it.

We do it on our obedience course, starting with finding simple things, then moving onto picking out a hankie with my scent on from others, she can do that no problem, we then moved onto finding an object hidden somewhere like on top of the wheel of the car. Finding her toy hidden on another person was more challenging as dogs don't feel comfortable searching a person they don't know. Finding the elastic band that hadn't been handled by me was a bit of a triumph grin.

WE play hide and seek with balls and hankies and other objects around the house and garden, nothing gets her quite so excited, she loves it.

You do have to have a solid "wait" command, so they stay in one place while you place the object out of sight (so they have to be Ok with you going out of sight).

pilates Mon 15-Jun-20 21:05:10

Definitely going to start, thanks

OP’s posts: |
AgathaX Mon 15-Jun-20 21:18:56

We do this with our dog. We did some training classes for a while, but now do our own work at home with him. Did it with our old dog too, years ago, but had no idea at the time that it was going to become a 'dog activity'. I think most dogs would really enjoy it.

PollyPolson Mon 15-Jun-20 21:44:49

The joy of scent work is you can do it how you like but I would consider if you want to retrieve to scent eg like dianebrewster does or if you want an indication at source. eg stand still at the smell like operational scent work dogs.

getting started on scent work video

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