BEGINNERS SCENTWORK - USING FOOD
We are going to teach our dogs to work with us a team.
First we need to teach them he word "Find It"
Don't skip this part even if they know what it means - its fun for them to get a reward from using their nose!
WHAT YOU NEED
A kitchen with cupboard doors that you can clean - you may want to use them again!
An eager dog - try and get someone to hold your dog while you set up and your dog can watch.
CUT UP SOME TREATS – I use sticky ham or chicken - available very cheaply from the local stores. You need it about the size of your little finger nail but you can also use cheese or meat scraps - they just need to stick to the doors of the cupboards.
Ok, Lets get going then:
PLACE 10 PIECES ON THE KITCHEN DOORS AT DIFFERENT HEIGHTS
GO BACK TO YOUR DOG AND SEND THEM IN TO "FIND IT"
STAND BACK AND WATCH – COUNT AS THEY FIND EACH ONE.
REPEAT WITH 7 PIECES - use the same places.
REPEAT WITH 3 PIECES BUT MAKE MORE DIFFICULT - put them in different places.
THEN DO THE SAME WITHOUT YOUR DOG WATCHING
REWARD YOUR DOG AND CLEAN THE KITCHEN DOORS
Today we start to get our dogs to sniff harder!.
Begin with three empty cardboard boxes - which haven't had food or anything with a strong smell in them - shoe box size.
Now with your dog watching - spread them out on the kitchen floor and put a piece of sticky ham on each.
Bring your dog into the room off lead and tel them to FIND IT
Repeat this again but this time make it a bit harder.
Do it three times altogether.
Maybe you could: Stand the boxes on their side and put the ham on the top so as your dog goes to touch it,it falls. Don't worry this is a confidence building thing. Just keep encouraging them.
Now put inside the open box
Stuck to side of the outside
Stuck to the inside.
Can you see how you are encouraging your dog to use their noses instead of eyes. You should start to hear the sniffing.
Now line the boxes up along the kitchen cupboards and put some ham on the boxes and some on the cupboard doors.
You can also increase the number of boxes you use but no more than 5.
THIS IS CALLED THE AIRPORT LINE UP SEARCH
Repeat several times ( at least 3) and each time reduce the amount of ham you use. You want your dog to start using his nose so that he will rest and relax properly afterwards.
Dont forget to clean down afterwards and remove the boxes - don't let your dog play with them. You will need them again tomorrow.
Lets start by repeating the airport line up to check your dog is getting the idea. OK?
Now we are going to introduce some luggage into the line up - lags, cases purses -
but no more then 4/5 and the same number of boxes.
Spread out in random pattern on the floor.
ONLY PUT THE HAM ON THE LUGGAGE 4/5 PIECES MAX.
Now just because you dont want your dog to search everybody's bag that visits you - make sure you give the command FIND IT and when they find the last piece call your dog to you and reward with a jackpot piece of food.
Repeat again twice more but make it harder each time.
Finish up with another line up along the kitchen cupboards and get them to search
it all - just put out 3/4 pieces spread on luggage/box and cupboard doors.
Big reward and then clean up again. Make sure you remove all the bags and boxes -
dont let your dog play with them.
TABLE AND CHAIRS - this teaches your dog to look at different heights
Using just one chair, place 4 pieces of ham on different heights around it.
Put some higher up and some lower down.
Now like you did yesterday stand back and send your dog into FIND IT.
Do this three times.
Using two chairs do the same and put food in them both - Leave a gap between them.
Now just put the food on one chair and don’t let your dog watch.
Move the chairs about and keep putting out food on the same chair but each time the chair has moved.
Do this twice and then add in the table, putting food on the one chair but move the chair around to different places around the table.
Then add some to the table.
Stand back and watch you dog get sniffing. Can you hear them using their noses?
Make sure you count the number of pieces your dog finds and call them to you and reward them for being in your team.
Clean everything off as you don’t want them sniffing and not winning.
Now we move to working outdoors.
A perfect way to help you dog become calmer in the garden.
Carefully spread 5/6 pieces of ham around a small area.
Here are some ideas – patio sunlounger, childrens' play equipment.
A shed, wheelbarrow, low walls or fences?
Keep to the same area for three times before trying somewhere else.
If you dog has got it quickly, then make it harder – if they are distracted, then keep to the same area for each go.
Now do you see your dog, keep going back to where they found it last time? Clever aren’t they? Can you hear them sniffing?
Next bring out the boxes you used previously and set a few of them out on the grass/patio. Put out 5/6 pieces of ham and see if you your dog can work them. Then put them in a straight line.
Now add some luggage and just put out 3 pieces. Don’t forget to call them to you to reward them as soon as they find the last piece. Jackpot them with a few pieces scattered on the ground.
NOTE: If your dog is distracted in the garden, pop them onto a lead and work with them. Remember this is to help them relax and if they need you to help, then do so. Make it fun – it’s the searching not the finding that helps them to chill.
Don’t forget to clean up and put everything away until tomorrow.
LESSON SIX is all about introducing your dog to search exterior items. When we do a search outdoors, we never know what you are going to find. Here are some ideas but as always, make sure they are safe and clean.
HAND BRUSH, HOSE; DUSTPAN; PLASTIC BUCKET; BOWL; FLOWER POTS; TOW ROPE; METAL PIPE;
METAL BOX; TOILET ROLL HOLDER; ?? WHAT ELSE CAN YOU THINK OF?
SPREAD ITEMS OVER THE PATIO OR LAWN
PUT THREE OR FOUR PIECES OF HAM ON SELECTED ITEMS – DON’T LET YOUR DOG WATCH
BRING DOG TO THE AREA AND TELL THEM TO FIND IT
STAND BACK AND WATCH
WHEN THEY HAVE FOUND ALL PIECES USE JACKPOT TO REWARD THEM
REPEAT TWO MORE TIMES
Now finish off the search with some boxes and luggage indoors - and make sure you reward your dog and clean everything away.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP TOGETHER -
IN A TRIAL YOU WOULD HAVE 4 SEARCH AREAS BUT WE HAVE TAUGHT YOUR THREE AND STILL HAVE TO GET YOUR DOG TO START LOOKING FOR SCENT – THAT COMES IN THE NEXT COURSE
WITHOUT YOUR DOG WATCHING:
SET UP AN AIRPORT SEARCH OF BOXES AND LUGGAGE
SEND YOUR DOG IN TO FIND 4 PIECES OF HAM
NEXT SET UP YOUR TABLE AND CHAIRS AND GET THEM TO FIND 4 PIECES THERE
FINISH UP WITH AN EXTERIOR SEARCH – AGAIN FOUR PIECES
JACKPOT YOUR DOG BY THROWING FINAL FEW PIECES ONTO THE GRASS WHILE YOU CLEAN AWAY.
YOU HAVE COMPLETED YOUR FIRST 7 DAYS OF SCENTWORK TRAINING.
GIVE YOURSELF A PAT ON THE BACK AND NOW GO AND FIND AN OLD SOCK, A JAM JAR AND SOME CLOVES (LIKE YOU WOULD USE TO COOK WITH) FOR THE NEXT COURSE STARTING IN JULY.