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-   -   Scent drive? (http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-behavior/427978-scent-drive.html)

KathrynApril 03-22-2014 10:48 AM

Scent drive?
 
Is it even a thing? I have seen a lot of people mention their dogs are food driven or toy driven when it comes to training. Is there anything that can be done with one who seems more scent driven?
This morning his nose was to the ground practically 90% of the time when I took him out to play in the morning on his 30 ft leash. With all the snow quickly diminishing there is so much more for him to sniff. We use to play ball for quite a bit but he quickly lost interest to go sniffing. I am thinking of making it a command like "go sniff". So that he only does so when allowed.
In the winter time he would love to follow the tracks of deer, other animals who's tracks I did not recognize & even a man and his dog's track. I could see the tracks in the snow and have come across them before.
I ended up on Thursday taking him to petsmart and using his canned food mixed with some water to work on his reactivity. He was so busy sniffing the air for the food that he completely ignored four dogs with ease and his attention on me was astounding. I probably looked silly standing in the parking lot with a dog food bowl and a shallow serving spoon, but it worked.
I just bought some ketchup/mustard dispensers and am going to try that next time. I have gone through so many treats (hamburger, cheese, hot dogs, nature balance rolls, variety of treats already made, freeze dried liver) and even toys. He does seem more toy driven than food driven, but scent drive (again if it even is a thing) seems to trump all else.
Sorry I tend to ramble but overall is scent drive even a thing and if so any ideas/suggestions on how to use it as a training reward?

jocoyn 03-22-2014 11:23 AM

Food and Toy driven are for a reward system

Odor is everything to a dog even with low hunting drives. Some dogs thrive on finding things with their nose. Dogs for SAR are selected, in part, for their desire to hunt for an odor in the absence of visual stimuli but they must have a strong toy(preferable) or food drive to shape it into something useful.

It sounds like your dog might enjoy tracking. or maybe nosework. Maybe there is a club near you. AKC tracking does not require you to get involved in obedience/protection as does schutzhund and is very fun. There are folks on the forum involved in nosework which is similar to the detection work police and cadaver dogs do.

I would not suggest search and rescue given his reactivity and apparent low toy/food drive.

KathrynApril 03-22-2014 11:28 AM

Thank you Jocoyn. :)

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wyoung2153 03-22-2014 12:13 PM

Nancy said it perfect!! :) it's always fun with nose games too.. have you started any scent games with him?

KathrynApril 03-22-2014 10:10 PM

Nope I haven't. I don't know any. :( Sometimes I think I am expecting more than I should for six months and he might have a higher drive than I think.

wyoung2153 03-22-2014 10:31 PM

Well there is one super simple one that I started Titan with as a puppy. He ended up getting bored with treats so now we use his toys. Not sure if there is a better way to do this, but this is how I started when he was a puppy.

Basically.. start with a favorite treat and show it to her.. then make her sit and stay.. have her watch you hide the treat. Then say your command. Mine was "find." Then she will go to where she saw the treat. After a couple times try hiding it without her seeing where and give her the command. Once she starts getting good you can get complicated. Like, right now I'm at the point with Titan where I put him in another room and tell him to stay. I pick a toy and show it to him and let him sniff it. Or if I chose treats, I let him see and smell the treat I'm hiding. Then I leave the room with him in a "stay" and hide it. Sometimes it's easy and other times I hide it places like the ceiling fan. Lol. I come back and tell him "Find!!" and he runs around like crazy finding it. It wears him out too after doing it for a while. I bet yours would love it!

KathrynApril 03-23-2014 11:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wyoung2153 (Post 5250682)
Well there is one super simple one that I started Titan with as a puppy. He ended up getting bored with treats so now we use his toys. Not sure if there is a better way to do this, but this is how I started when he was a puppy.

Basically.. start with a favorite treat and show it to her.. then make her sit and stay.. have her watch you hide the treat. Then say your command. Mine was "find." Then she will go to where she saw the treat. After a couple times try hiding it without her seeing where and give her the command. Once she starts getting good you can get complicated. Like, right now I'm at the point with Titan where I put him in another room and tell him to stay. I pick a toy and show it to him and let him sniff it. Or if I chose treats, I let him see and smell the treat I'm hiding. Then I leave the room with him in a "stay" and hide it. Sometimes it's easy and other times I hide it places like the ceiling fan. Lol. I come back and tell him "Find!!" and he runs around like crazy finding it. It wears him out too after doing it for a while. I bet yours would love it!

Haha very cool. I just tried this with some treats in a blanket. He loved it. Thanks for explaining!

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wyoung2153 03-23-2014 12:34 PM

Him*** sorry dont know why I thought ypu had a female. Glad he loved it! And youll have so much fun with it too!

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lovemygirl 03-24-2014 11:10 AM

Oooh it's nice to hear that this is at least somewhat normal -- Hildy is totally like this too. Example: a few days ago, I took her out at her normal mid-day poop time, and I knew she had to go. However, a beaver had visited our normal poop spot and she literally spent a full hour tracking that thing. (We found the beginnings of a dam which was cool!!) She completely forgot she had to poop until we got back inside :rolleyes: Anyway we already play 'find it,' anyone else have any fun scent games?? Hildy is dog aggressive so not a candidate for SAR etc unfortunately.

wyoung2153 03-24-2014 11:36 AM

I also play "guess the hand." I put a treat in one hand behind my back and show him both and then put them in front of and him he has to pick the one with the treat. I say "choose." Normally he will get really really excited at first and just nudge or paw at either hand regardless.. so i have to wait until he calms down a bit then tell him to "choose" again. If he gets it wrong I open the wrogn hand and there's nothing there. I then put my hand behind my back again and repeat. He gets the treat when he gets it right :)

Another one that I am starting with him is scent discrimination. It's along the same lines of "find it" in how you start, but you start hiding other things with a different scent and he's supposed to find that one thing. It's in the works right now.. here's a good link on a better description than I could probably type.. I don't use clickers and I use whatever I have for fun, but it's a good starting point...

How to Train Scent Discrimination for Obedience Competition | Karen Pryor Clicker Training

And this is just a cool link with other ideas too :)

SCENT GAMES - Educating Your Dog's Nose | Suzanne Clothier


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