Teaching Scent Discrimination and Retrieve – Day 1

It is almost a year since Squid competed in obedience class II and won a first price. Since then, we have not been doing much obedience training at all. But it is a shame to not use all the nice things she can do, and the long term goal is for her to become an obedience champion. Squid has got all that’s required to become a good obedience dog. I am pleased with the basics she’s got, except from her heelwork where she might always be a bit too enthusiastic, and she has got great energy and focus.

The one exercise we are hanging behind on is scent discrimination and retrieve. I have started training it several times, but it has just ended up as a couple of sessions until I have forgotten it or started training something else. For example, it looked like this a year ago. Actually, I am not sure if we have trained this exercise at all since then.

To get us started this time, I decided to try out a new method. I also decided to film the training and blog about it to raise my motivation. The new method is basically the same as with the Post It-notes, but it is easier for people to understand and go through with. The point is that Squid uses her nose to find a piece of a matchstick with my scent on it, and marks it by freezing her nose on it. The important thing on this step is that she uses her nose and not her eyes to find the piece. This is our second session, I did one yesterday while I waited for the barbeque to get warm. Since Squid is already good at freezing her nose and understands to use her nose instead of her eyes, I think we can go a little bit further with our next session and add some distractions.

  • reply Esther ,

    Hi, Thanks for posting. I’m doing FCI obedience in France with my dog, but not at a very high level though. We are allowed to compete in level 2, but since the change of the rules last january and since my heeling is not good enough our next goal is to do a competition in level 1 when heeling is good enough and continue our preparation for level 2. Scent work is one of the things I should start working that’s why I’m very interested in following your posts. My dog has great scent retrieve with his ball when in a field of high grass. No vision possible for him so his nose works well. My question, how did you teach your dog to freeze and how will you transfer that into a retrieve at the end?
    Best regards and keep on filming !

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