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Old 01-03-2014, 05:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Scent Discrimination

Has anyone any ideas on how to reach scent discrimination? I've been playing 'find it' with Breagha's favourite tennis ball for months and she's too good so I want to move on to having her find something with my scent on it but I'm struggling to find an idiots guide to this. I was thinking of doing tracking with her but she isn't as enthusiastic. I've taught her a word to search and to search for more than one thing. She loves it but I need to up the game now.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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If you want to learn scent discrimination I'd suggest looking into "nosework" rather than tracking. Depending on the venue, the dog is learning 3-5 different odors and "clearing" areas (exterior, interior, vehicles, and scent boxes) for these odors. Sometimes there are multiple hides, sometimes none. Sometimes more than one odor or more than one of the same odor. It is becoming very popular in the US, not sure about your are or if it is called something else. I've done both tracking (SchH and SDA) and nosework and I wouldn't say tracking is as much about scent discrimination, more about finding a track of your scent (or a human's scent) and following it.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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https://www.nacsw.net/

This might give you some info and there are also certified trainers listed (although I'm not sure who's in your area) I'm not sure if there are any workshops you can go out to to help you get started?

I am doing this with my dog and she LOVES it!!! Haven't been to class for almost a month with ugly winter weather and the Christmas break, so she should be raring to go this weekend!

Basically we started out on container searches. We'd put the scent in with some treats (make sure you use the same container, because the scent will contaminate it and you want some clean containers). The dog will start to associate the scent with the treat and you can fairly quickly wean them off the treats (I still reward with a treat when she finds the scent, but I don't hide the treats with the scent).

Once your dog has that down, you want start hiding the scent in other places (interior search, vs container search) and then you can start hiding on the outside of a vehicle. You can also start adding new scents as you progress.

Depending on what country you live in and what clubs you are a member of, the scents may be different.
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice. We're going to get started on it tonight, we're not part of a club, I think the nearest one is 8 hours away so it's all just for fun and in the hope that one day she might be able to help me find my keys. It's all very new for me so we've been learning from YouTube and various books but had hit a brick wall with scent discrimination.
She's pretty quick at picking things up, I'll let you know how we get on.


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Old 01-03-2014, 01:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amurphy26 View Post
Thanks for the advice. We're going to get started on it tonight, we're not part of a club, I think the nearest one is 8 hours away so it's all just for fun and in the hope that one day she might be able to help me find my keys. It's all very new for me so we've been learning from YouTube and various books but had hit a brick wall with scent discrimination.
She's pretty quick at picking things up, I'll let you know how we get on.


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I know you aren't in Canada, but there is a facebook group Sporting Detection Dogs Association, and you can probably get help and advice there to self-teach. There might be other FB groups as well

Good luck! It's fun for you and the dog, and the best part is, you can train indoors when the weather is bad, or you don't feel like getting out of your PJ's!

Our scents are essential oils - Wintergreen, then pine, then tyme.

You can put them on Q-Tips, and stick those into straws and hide them around. Start with container searches first though, that is the first thing.

I taught my dog to indicate by letting her sniff the scent, then told her 'platz' and reward. Rinse repeat until they know that they are supposed to indicate on the scent (you can also sit, you just have to be able to read your dog). It only took my dog two times before she understood to platz when she found the scent. lol GSD's are TOO smart!
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Old 01-03-2014, 03:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I haven't done a lot of nosework (yet! it's on the list for this year, or maybe next) and I've never done any tracking whatsoever, but if you want to teach scent discrimination along the lines of the Utility exercise:


then this is how I did it:

(1) rub stinky treat on my hand

(2) rub my stinky treat-smelling hand on the article

(3) click and reward Pongu for touching the article with his nose (at this point there was only one article and it was the correct one)

When this was fluent and he was clearly touching the article with no hesitation, then I moved on to:

(4) putting the stinky article next to a clean unscented article and clicking him for touching his nose to the correct article (then I'd toss the treat off to the side so he had to run after it, which both kept him more interested in the game and gave me time to reposition the articles differently while he wasn't looking)

(5) asking for a retrieve instead of a nose touch (we stalled out on this step for probably two or three weeks because Pongu did not want to bite down on the metal articles, but eventually he got over it)

(6) gradually adding more dummy unscented articles to the pile

(7) gradually fading out the treat scent (I'd touch the treat for less and less time instead of crushing it in my hand like I did at the beginning, thereby fading out the treat scent and replacing it with just the smell of my hand)
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Old 01-03-2014, 03:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Also, as a belated addendum, the mats in that youtube aren't there for any particular target purpose (although I think they did help a small amount in that respect). I put them there because Pongu used to drop the metal articles a lot both on the pick-ups and on the formal presentation at the end, and if the metal hit the wooden floor then it made a noise, and if it made a noise he'd freak out and refuse to touch the articles again for a while, and so I put the mats there to muffle sound and help him be less crazy.

If you do not have an insane dog then you probably don't need to worry about using mats for this.
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Old 01-03-2014, 04:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for all your advice and help. After about 5 mins Breagha was finding my keys which I was hiding in the house. She was great! For this I'm going to get her to indicate rather than retrieve.
I've sent a request to join the sporting detection group.

I love how tired she is after spending some time using her nose. We've rubbish weather so it's nice avoiding the storms but still having a happy tired dog.



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Old 01-03-2014, 05:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You need a smell-free object to start, like a dry old stick or Chuckit ball. Here are good tips:SCENT GAMES - Educating Your Dog's Nose | Suzanne Clothier
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Taggart View Post
You need a smell-free object to start, like a dry old stick or Chuckit ball. Here are good tips:SCENT GAMES - Educating Your Dog's Nose | Suzanne Clothier
chuckit's aren't scent free, nothing is
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