Hi, and a late HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Sorry you found no news letter for January. Unfortunately I was sick with pneumonia. Doing much better now.
This month I would like to introduce you to Nose work. Nose work is what we call the training for search and rescue, bomb detection, drug detection, etc. Nose work is easy to teach and a lot of fun to do with your dog. I have been training two of my dogs for Human Remains and Tracking for a couple of years now. They love it and it comes very natural to any dog.
If you and your dog have never tried to do nose work, the following is a very very simple way to get your dog to start using his nose. And it’s a fun game.
You can start out using a simple scented candle. I have used 3 oz jars with lids that I got from Walmart. The technique is very simple. Set the candle in the floor at first. Put a very high value treat right next to the candle, so your dog has to put his nose right on the candle when he gets the treat. Get your dog’s attention and tell him, “Find it.” You may have to lead the dog to the scent a few times so that he starts to understand the game.
Practice this just with the candle and the treat several times. Once your dog understands the game, hide the candle in a box with no lid. Tell him to, “Find it.” You may have to lead him to the box a few times. You will start to notice him looking for “the fine.” When he discovers it, praise him and give him a jackpot of treats right next to the scent so his nose has to smell the scent when he eats the treat.
The next step is to start hiding the scent and treat in one box and have several boxes with no scent in them scattered around. Tell your dog to, “Find it,” and when he hits the right box, praise him and jackpot him treats right next to the scent. That’s it.
Once he is finding the scent and treat in the box, you can start hiding the scent and treat in other places around your home. As your dog gets better at “Finding,” begin putting the scent up on a chair and in other places where it becomes more difficult for him to find.
This is a great game to play on those cold winter days when you really don’t want to go out. You will be amazed how fast your dog will catch on. This is a game you can play with any breed of dog. You will find that your dog really enjoys the game and if you like it, there is all kinds of Nose Work groups you can get involved with. Your dog can be taught to work several scents and in several different ways. Who knows, you and your dog may become so proficient that you could find a missing person some day.
I recommend you get the book; THE NOSE WORK HANDLER Foundation to finesse by Fred Helfers. It’s a good book for beginners.