Scent training for dogs is not exclusive only for military dogs only. You may get the idea that only K-9 dogs are trained to use their nose for locating many things.
You probably saw it in many films when a dog is used for detecting drugs or being used on search parties for a missing person. Did you ever wonder if any dog could be trained for using scent training and actually be able to detect or know how to get to a specific thing by using his nose?
if yes, then let me tell you that it is possible to get scent training for dogs, any dog could be trained to trail the smell. Do You know what is being even better? you could do it at home!
Let’s get to know more about scent training for dogs; how it works, how to do it at home and the gadget you will need to make your scent training effective.
Scent Training for Dogs; Before Starting The Training
Training your dog to use his nose for scent training may seem like a task your dog didn’t do much, but in fact, your dog used to use tracking and scent trail his mother’s scent when he was a puppy to find her.
So, it is natural for dogs to use their noses. Before you start scent training for dogs, you will need to settle on a place for your training. You could scent train your dog inside the house or outside, but it is recommended to start indoors first as there won’t be a lot of distractions and also, not too many scents to distract your dog.
Even inside the house, scent training for dogs should be in a quiet place with less noise and not too many people around. The second thing you need to settle on is the item you are going to use in scent training.
There are a lot of things you could choose to use for your dog’s scent training, many stuff would hone your dog’s natural trait, but the best thing to use is your dog’s favorite toy, use it for the training sessions.
Before starting scent training for dogs, it is better to spend about 10-15 minutes playing with your dog, you could choose any game that makes your dog excited and alerted, fetch game would be a great choice.
This is considered as a warm-up for the training, so make sure to make it as fun as possible, it will also get your positive spirit high, it is a win-win situation here.
Start Your First Scent Training for Dogs
After doing all the steps above, you will need to ask your dog to sit in the chosen place for the training. You will need to teach your dog basic commands beforehand so that the scent training goes smoothly. Check 5 Basic Puppy Training Commands You Should Know to know the kind of commands that are considered basic and you should teach them to your dog.
After your dog settles down, you will need to put his leash on. Now the fun part is about to start, get your dog’s favorite toy and let him see the place you are hiding the toy in, yes the dog’s smelling instinct is very sharp, but the training should be in levels and you will have to gradually level it up.
Now, you will command your dog to bring back his toy, get him to stand and start to say the cue word( you could use “find it” or “seek” or any other word you think would be okay) try to guide your dog by using the leash to go towards where the toy is hidden.
Your dog may get the cue from the first time and go to retrieve his toy as soon as you give him the command, in other cases, your dog may not get your command and in this case, you will have to help him to get to the toy.
When he gets the toy in his mouth, go back to the place you where initially in and encourage your dog to follow you. Give your dog the command to drop his toy as soon as he gets to the start point, when he does so, hide the toy again and start over. Keep doing that until your dog could find the toy without your guidance.
Don’t forget to praise and treat your dog every time he succeed in retrieving his toy.
Take Your Scent Training For Dogs to The Next Level
Now with leveling your scent training for your dog. You will have now to hide your dog’s toy somewhere that your dog can’t see. This is the new challenge you are giving to your dog, give him the chance to smell his toy and hide it away from his sight.
These are good recommendations that would be great places for hiding your dog toy in; under furniture that your dog will be able to get the toy, behind the furniture, in a different room or hide it under a cardboard box.
Now, command him as usual with the cue word to go and find his toy. He would now depend on his nose instead of his eyes to find the toy as he can’t see it anymore. Give him his time to find his toy and as soon as he finds it reward and praise him a lot.
Use The Wind in Your Scent Training for Dogs
Scent training indoors is not enough when your dog actually gets the concept of finding his toy when he can see it or not. Taking your dog outside the house and level it up for your dog again.
Scent training for dogs is fun, right? Let’s continue our progress!
Using the direction of the wind will help in improving your dog’s scent tracking skills. Hide your dog’s toy again, but this time outside the house and with the help of the wind, your dog should find the toy easily too.
Make the direction of the wind to be facing you(downwind) this way the wind will carry the scent of the toy to your canine’s nose and assist him in finding it. You could turn to be upwind too, but it is going to be harder for your dog to find his toy. He will have to keep searching for it until he is angled for the wind to be downwind again to locate the toy, when that happens he will be able to find his toy.
Scent Training for Dogs; Get Some Help From a Friend
You could use the help of a friend or a family member to add a new training experience for your dog. The same process of hiding the toy and asking your dog to find it will happen, the only thing that will be different is that your friend or the family member is the one who will have to hide the toy and come back to you.
After he comes back, you will ask your dog to search for the toy. Make sure to raise the difficulty of the training gradually, make your friend hide the toy at easy places at first and then try harder places. Don’t encourage your dog too much so he doesn’t get distracted.
Know this is a great start for your dog to get the skill or scent tracking. There are more advanced scent training for dogs we are going to discuss on other articles, til that happens, you could teach your dog the basic scent training.
Don’t forget to share with us how the scent training went and is your dog ready for getting more of scent training or not.