Sport scent detection is a fast growing and fun sport that you and your dog can compete in even into their (and your!) golden years. This is a fun way for young, old, reactive, shy or even blind dogs to get out and play with their human while doing what dogs do best - sniffing!
Dogs are trained to search for specific target odours, not unlike drug or bomb sniffing dogs. The target odours used are essential oils and easily accessible to buy. Once the dogs learn the target odours, there are several venues across Canada, the US and overseas that offer trials (competitions) for you to compete with your dog and have fun.
Below is a video I made of my own dog using various clips of training sessions. He is a rescue dog that is leash reactive around other dogs and would jump if a piece of garbage blew out of the ditch on our walks. He needed something to boost his confidence. General training helped a lot, but I really saw him come around with scent detection training.
A nice side effect of scent training is watching your shy, fearful or reactive dog blossom into a more confident canine. When trained properly, these dogs tend to focus more on their "work" than on the environment. This is the #1 reason I love this sport so much!
The second reason I love this sport is, as I mentioned above, dogs of any age can play. Older dogs that don't have the mobility to jump and run can still work at finding hides. Dogs recovering from surgery or are otherwise needing to limit their mobility can still do an activity in the comfort of your own home that will tire them out without having to move too much, keeping your "bed rest" canine fulfilled and enriched. On the flip side, the mental stimulation this provides can help tire out seemingly endless energy, high drive dogs as well. Sometimes, a good run is just not enough!
In the professional world, dogs are chosen for scent detection based on their drive and other traits that the average pet dog owner could find overbearing. Ideally, we want these dogs to be relentless in their searches. This takes an extreme amount of energy and desire on the dog's part. On average, our pet dogs are somewhat lower key, but we can build that drive and enthusiasm through positive training techniques, careful hide placement and generalization.
Private scent detection lessons allow your dog to learn the sport in the comfort of their own home. This can be an advantage if you have a dog that is environmentally sensitive, dog reactive or just generally lacks confidence. This way, they can learn the game with more enthusiasm then they would likely have in a group class setting.
I will introduce the target odour starting in our very first session. Once learned, you can use the skills simply to help busy your dog and tire them out, or I can help prepare you for any level of competition, from beginner to elite.
We will work at your dog's pace and I can customize the lessons to suit your dogs pace. Please contact me for further information on private scent detection classes.