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A trainer I worked with suggested that my 1.5yo female GSD needed some "brain work" to go along with the usual runs/wrestles/etc. So during the rainy season (Portland, OR), I started fooling around with scent work.

After a couple weeks of working with her on things I saw on YouTube, I've got her to a point where I can put five toilet paper tubes out and on command, Tana will nose through each one and when she finds the one with the peppermint tea bag, she'll down and look at me.

And she loves this game. Goes nuts to play when I take the tubes out.

Obviously, pretty basic stuff but I'm wondering where could I go with this, or what might be the next step? She's just so into it that I'd like to feed her interest. Any training videos/books I should look at? Previous Shepherds I've owned have been content as long as they were well-exercised...this one seems to also need mental stimulation or she gets antsy, and we kind of stumbled on this.
 

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Great topic can't wait for the knowledgeable to chime in.
Something simple inside and outside I do is hide toys, or shoes or food anything really. I can grab a kids sticky sock hide it have him sniff the other he will find it. Few rounds and he is content. Scent trails left like meat dragged on a rope works too.
 

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I'd recommend competing in Nosework. Leerburg has a good video series. I'm sure there are others.

If you just want to do some stuff on your own, you can get some birch, clove and/or anise oil and sent toys. Head out to an open area with some tall grass and play games.


 

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There are videos and classes. As David mentioned it was through leerburg. It was leerburg podcasts that I actually first heard of nose works while waiting for my pup. You can take also take nose work classes to get you started and then continue from there. The classes help you with timing the instructor is watching and critiquing what you do wrong and will tell you - benefits of a class. If you are doing this for the first time you learn handling skills. Classes also give you opportunities to watch other dogs work. The instructor placed blind hides which otherwise can be hard to practice and some grand tricky hides- in buckets of water - hanging on a wire line high up in the ceiling. Classes can also offer some ingenious distractions that you may not think of.- Often a female dog was brought in heat - the class was of mostly male dogs. A lot of tension in that room working in that room for the dogs lol. Strange men screaming jumping up and down, entire pizza pies lying on the ground etc etc. max was also corrected once for being a fool -barking at a dog as we passed and then hit with a baby gate over the head and went right in did his job not skipping a second of a beat- not a second of time was wasted. The focus is I think the most impressive to see watch then figure it all out. They also have clinics as well which you can get a lot out of. Depend where you live trials are often not local. Whether you compete or do it for fun it is a great bond experience. There is also man trailing is fun as well. If you have time there is also sars work and also cadaver work. I looked into to cancer detecting scent work with my dogs. I had contacted penn vet awhile back who does cancer detection studies /trials but you must live or stay in the area of the school. So many different paths scent work can bring.

I shared a link below for a scent work organization they have some trainers listed also they may recommmend some trainers as well. There is also a link to to some clinics as well. A good scent work instructor is work gold . I had to actually wait over a year to get into scent work classes. I went for a few years. Now just do this for fun to keep the brain fed. It all started with hide n seek games, hide the ball, toys food to see how much this game was loved as then trained on anise , birch and clove. Nothing shepherds love more then doing things with their people.
http://instagr.am/p/COGjY1ihAYt/ Luna - man trailing

A good book have not finished reading -

For scent work oils leerburg also sells kits K9 Nose Work Products - All Good Dogs

one of my favorite books-
What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World: Warren, Cat: 0884483783571: Amazon.com: Books

I really wanted to do this and be part of the study with my dogs. I would have to be close by to the school - if anyone lives in the area of this school and is interested I would contact them. Fascinating work.
Edit Oops this link
 

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You could do nosework/scentwork. There is the OG National Association of Canine Scent Work and the AKC also does scentwork now at their venues. They differ a little in the oils they use and the types of hides they do.

Leerburg has a NW series as does Dave Kroyer, and Fenzi Dog Sports Academy also offers a number of NW classes as well. If you are interested in compete see if you can find a class nearby to attend to expose your dog to searching in novel area and with hides set out by another person.
 

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I don't enjoy the official AKC nose work. Luckily we have forested property and my dogs both do well in search games for toys but also find other items that I have hidden. I use "Find It" to retrieve toys and "Search" for looking for "lost" items.
 

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When the dogs are really good at scent detection or anything for that matter and loves it and lights them up it’s really hard not to enjoy it.
 

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Finding a good group of dog people can make it more enjoyable for us as well as them. I've not done AKC scentwork. I think as a human I'd be bored. We did enjoy Man-trailing, though. Watching our dogs puzzle out where the "lost person" was located was almost magical.
 

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@car2ner if you like man trailing then I am pretty sure you will like scent detection work - it’s extremely addicting. Its worth a try. Watching your dog work their heart out for you, the precision and the skill is the magical part no matter what the search is. AKC is fairly new in the scent detection world. I’m not to sure how the akc classes run it’s great as it gives people more options to get into the sport. It can be a challenge getting into classes with a good scent detection trainer but was worth the wait.

op-of your interested in the detection world - a great web site recommended that offers information on scent work camp, they have a training work camps, seminars, works shops , webinars. They are affiliated with NACSW the link I listed above.
Event Calendar - Dogs Of Course
 

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being part of a group and working together to build a team with our dogs, can't go wrong. But I'm a bit of a nomad right now so joining a group isn't practical. I had taught my dogs to Find Coffee. It evolved from a joke my sweetheart used to play on me.
 

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@car2ner I need someone to find me coffee right now lol! I can’t wait to hear about your nomad adventures it’s sure sounds like the way to enjoy life.
 
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