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Scent training - good idea?


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I have my second question. :) It seems that my girl is pretty scent oriented, loves to follow fresh trails of deer or rabbit, and she also uses her nose when I try to hide. So I suppose she would like this kind of games. But as following deer and such is not a good thing (also in this scenario her hearing somehow cease to exist...) I am worried that I will encourage a behaviour which I would better not. So what do you think, is it a good idea or will I regret?

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Gibbs gets half his meals in his dish and the other half in a kong or something similar. Years ago I started 'hiding' the kong in a different spot each time. He really likes finding it.

Of course, then I had to teach him to bring it back to his blanket before he ate it, but that didn't take long. It gives him something to do that is scent-based, and makes him 'work' a little for his food. The few times I've been in a hurry and just handed it to him, he's looked at me like, "What the heck?" 

Something like that would be a good way to give your dog a way to use her nose more. And I third the idea of nosework or scent work classes. Gibbs had only lived on a ranch before he came to live with me. I started him in nosework classes pretty quickly and I believe it helped him to settle down in the new-to-him environment.

Ruth & Gibbs

ETA ~ the first few times I included a small bit of smellier treat in the kong, like a bit of freeze dried liver or chicken. It really doesn't take long to find that! 

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I look forward to hearing more @Ildiko if you choose to go ahead with formal Nosework!  My trainer has me doing an adapted version of nosework that is just for behavior modification purposes. I'm in the very early stages of it, and so there aren't any fancy scents involved yet, just treats.  When we do get to scents, we will be using "scents he is unlikely to find in nature" as suggested by @CptJack. For folks looking to compete or otherwise learn formal nosework, she refers out to an NACSW certified trainer.

 I'm intrigued by the Barn Hunt suggestion.  I've never heard of that sport before!  Yay for learning new things!

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I used to play scent games with my dog. At the time I didn't know that scent classes were a thing.

I used to do things like take one of my socks off and hide it in the clean washing pile, then ask him to find it and he'd bring it back. It became a bit of a party trick when we had visitors that I'd hide one of their socks and get my dog to find it :lol:.  

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Thank you all for your answers!

Yeah, I did think that rabbit scent would not be suitable... :D 

I had a look into nosework and barn hunt, thanks! I don't think we have anything like that around here. Nosework seems to be similar to what I had in mind, I will definitely give it a try. As for bar hunt, I don't have access to a barn and even less to live rats - and to be honest this is something I would be worried about to teach the dog as I wouldn't want her to search for other live animals. Especially as she does it anyway. :D But I hate to have her on leash because otherwise and most of the time she is brilliant. 

The sock trick is great, I love it! :D

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@jami74.  I am in awe of the sock trick!  Thank you for sharing.  :D  My laundry is...chaos... at the moment.  However, I'll check back in when things calm down around the house and we're all settle back in a little better.  I wanna give this a shot. ^_^

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