Nose work! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
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Nose work!

Hi Guys! I'm fairly new and I have a 1 year old male GSD named Jax. He has some behavior issues, partly due to lack of mental and physical exercise. I do take him on daily walks at least 2-3 miles every single evening (even if it's raining) but I don't think it's enough for him.

I have started to begin nosework training but he doesn't seem interested in it at ALL. If we are in the backyard, he basically ignores me. If we are inside, other things distract him.

Has anyone else had experience with nosework, and how long should my sessions last? I've heard anywhere between 3-15 minutes. It's a bit discouraging. He does know basic commands such as sit, down, and he also has great impulse control. I am able to put a treat on his paw and he will not touch it until I say my command.

I'm starting off with the Anise scent and I put it in a salt shaker. Should I be using a larger container? I cannot use cardboard boxes because he will eat them....

Any advice is appreciated!!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 11:17 AM
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First thing I would do is google NACSW and find an instructor in your area.

Barring that, start with a container and a stinky treat. You really do want to move slowly with this - don't rush it, build the foundation. Of course he's not interested in anise, he hasn't learned that's what he's after.

When I started NW, it was as simple as putting a treat in a shallow cardboard box and praising when she went after it. Then the instructor would move the box farther away. The idea was to build up the hunt so the dog gets the idea that's what they're doing. It's shaping, really. Then there are two boxes, or three, but only one has treats. Then there would be a configuration of boxes. Then a configuration of objects. Lots of practice at each stage. There are probably Youtube videos that can help you as well.

But you have to establish FIRST that he's hunting. Then once he's solid on that, you can pair the scent with a treat. We used thoroughly washed/rinsed Altoid tins with a couple of nail holes punched in the tops, for practice sessions. Put the scent inside the tin, put treats on top of it. You want him to associate the scent with getting paid. He won't care about odor unless he knows 1) it's his job to find it, and 2) he gets paid. A dog probably isn't going to care about birch, anise, or clove in the real world; other stuff is going to be naturally way more reinforcing. You have to take the time and effort to build that association.

I'm not an expert, so I would say find an instructor who can help you - but I've been taking classes for a year now and we spent probably 18 weeks total building up that foundation and association. It was at least those first three six-week sessions. I'm not qualified to do more than describe how we learned, so really - find a certified instructor. Even if you don't trial, it's worth learning the right way.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 11:22 AM
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I love nosework. We started with a class.

Of course he isn't interested in the Anise. You want to start with treats and teach him the "game" first. Once he is finding the treats, you pair it with the scent and then eventually he finds the scent only. But having a class helps so much to get help on how to reward, handling techniques, working on extending the indication etc etc.

I've been doing nosework with Bruno for a couple years now and we have moved on from Birch, Anise, Clove to finding human scent. It's so much fun for both of us
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 12:37 PM
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Hi Ameder,
Nice that you have such a young dog to work with.

You first stated "He has some behavior issues, partly due to lack of mental and physical exercise" and that "he doesn't seem interested in it at ALL. If we are in the backyard, he basically ignores me. If we are inside, other things distract him."

Many of the workshops I've attended recommend to first work on your relationship with the dog and from there all else is built. Not that you don't love each other...I am referencing to a "working bond" Obedience should be play to the dog...use of food as the food has movement. Food toss games from the board allow the dog to have high speed movement and still use the on/off switch, toys and tug make the OB exciting...if you are the "best game in town" he will not want to ignore you. I'm saying something I had to learn myself and, when I embraced it, it became great. It's wonderful that you have a lot in place already.
My friend holds Nose Works classes here and she does start with food first...always a reward for finding. I have done RH in the past (S&R) and we develop the hunt drive as well. Hidden treats, toys and food hidden in high shrub, trailing treats etc. And try to observe your dogs body language for the indication I think anything you do together helps your relationship. Good luck to you!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 12:55 PM
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I would start in places like inside the house with fewer distractions. Hide toys, balls, food if you have kids or someone in the family that can hideworks is extra fun. Max always was big on find it games.

For nose works use a word that you would use like search,find it etc. start off hiding really smelly treats like pieces of hotdog in a room. Like an easter egg hunt. Make a deal when he finds something with more treat rewards That is how we started then eventually took a class. Eventually the treats are paired with the particular odor then just the odor. It's a process. Attached is website that watery tart mentioned where you can find much information. On the website they sell a dvd to get started called the Parker videos. Nose work is a great bonding experience!!!!!

Last edited by Jenny720; 03-28-2017 at 01:02 PM.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-28-2017, 04:02 PM
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I can be of absolutely no help whatsoever, but just wanted to say thanks for posting about this. I didn't even know that competitions existed for this stuff. I may see if this is something Roscoe is entertained by.

Happy to be here.

RIP Roscoe 6/13/17

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