Need some advice on nosework
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Thread: Need some advice on nosework

  1. #1
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    Need some advice on nosework

    Its been awhile but I had posted to ask how to make find it games outdoors more difficult. It was suggested here to try out nosework, which we have and its been fun. Got some little magnetic tins and essential oils etc. We've been doing this on leash and off. Off leash is just putting him in a down and going off where he cant see me to hide the tin, walking back to him and releasing to hunt for it. He absolutely loves it. Well, he got really good and finding the tins fast. What I've realized he is doing, is as soon as he's released to find the tin ( on or off leash ) he puts his nose to ground and is following my tracks to the tin. It's pretty amazing to me. He puts his nose down and I can watch him follow the path I walked straight to the tin. Fast. Too easy. He still loves it but its alittle boring for me- not much actual searching going on, just straight to the tin.
    So what do y'all think I should do from here? Its needs to be more challenging again. Does it sound like we should be doing more with the actual track to make it more fun? I need some advice and ideas!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member LeoRose's Avatar
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    Re: Need some advice on nosework

    Start introducing more things. Containers. Vehicles. Interiors. Add odors, if he's only imprinted on one. This is a really good online class that starts on August 1st. https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.co.../courses/15184 Registration opens on July 22nd, and runs through August 15th.

    Meanwhile, instead of walking straight out, hiding the odor, and then walking straight back to him, wander around a bit before and after hiding it. Make the hides themselves more difficult by elevating them a bit above nose level or tucking them into a corner. Introduce searches with more than one hide if he's imprinted on multiple odors. Stuff like that is covered in the class I linked.
    ~~The current Hellhounds~~
    CA Speed Queen Leontine Von Washateria ETD PKD-T D-CRO-Preliminary S-ADP-L5/CH/L1(Pr)/L2(Pr) GPS-BST (GSD)
    Lily Dale- A Melody Unchained ETD PKD-T ADP-L5/CH/L1(Pr) GPS-BST (APBT)
    ~~Requiescat In Pace~~
    Ilka Of Pear Orchard Cemetery BN RE CA CGC TKP ETD PKD-T CRO-1 NCO-1 S-ADP-L4 D-CRO-Preliminary (All American) ~2009-2017~

  4. #3
    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Need some advice on nosework

    lol lol lol smarty pants pup lol lol .. you might start them in tracking.... or sar work... if you have a local sar team that has invite days to look for new members...

    personally I would got back to basic training and re establish searching rules. Just my example is evaluating one of our handler/ K9 teams during training,, the dog was playing around, in and out of scent basically distracted , checking interesting things out instead of searching. (dog was exceptionally talented in scent ability) but the dog was playing. I told the handler that the dog was going off working and the handler said no that is just how he searches and I said NO, that is just how you let him search.. is why he is searching that way..

    You can imagine how this behavior can continue to go in the wrong way,, taking forever to get a search done... when this dog should be in and out of a search in less then a minute.

    We use the box method to start, to isolate search to scent behavior... not sure what nose work teaches... but either way drop back to your beginning training with short easy problems to work on the direct behaviors of searching to find. When we want to use advance skills we always go back to beginning basic to start teaching height, and depth. Most of dogs show they don't need it with just one test problem.. so we move to a longer search area.

    if your dog is following your foot steps,, them walk everywhere all over the place so they can't rely on it
    Keep several empty sterile decoy canisters so they can't rely on seeing the canister, (some dogs actually search for the scent of the metal )
    and so on ,, what ever method they are using that is not using their nose on scent find a way to make it unreliable to reach the scent.

    keep a journal and plan out your training problems, make your training specific of what you want to train on (short, long, height, depth, indoors, outdoors, obstacles, open air field pattern . what size problem, weather conditions, possible air flow directions.

    so much you can do and be able to present new challenges for them to work out,,

    open air fields are toss it in as far as you want it. no tracks. then work your pattern dependent of the air flow. if they take off drop your marker to return to, and let them go until they find and alert , or get lost and take them back to where you left off at the mark to resume the pattern through the field..


    I love scent work.... you could even vary your scent intensity of heavy saturated (jack pot load) to barely anything residual.. I would assume you could leave your scents out in open air and allow them to weaken ... variables are endless

    smarty pants puppy gave me a good smile for today... Have fun


    adding what every you want to first time introduce .. make it a short/direct problem, higher saturation scent, less obstacles to isolate the new skill success. then move on to more advance problem set ups
    Last edited by PatriciafromCO; 07-11-2019 at 12:00 PM. Reason: adding comment

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    Hmmmm. I've tried alot of the ideas mentioned such as putting objects up high and burying under piles of leaves so he can't use his eyes. We do hides indoors too, but we both prefer outdoors ( we have 1.25 acres to work on ). I cant really devote the time needed for real tracking or SAR- I've actually thought about trying it out but we have so many outdoor activities now that we really enjoy doing together- hiking, fishing, boating, camping etc. Keeps us pretty occupied and he's my partner in crime in all those activities.
    I think I'm going to buy a couple books on tracking and maybe try it out on out our property to start, just as a fun thing like we did with the nosework. I've got a training book now that has some simple tracking stuff so maybe I'll start with that to see where it leads.
    I did have a crazy idea after reading yalls responses- one of our favorite activities is hunting for edible mushrooms ( foraging ) as theres alot of them where we live. Chanterelles are a big one this time of year. Normally I put his saddle bags on him and he tags along while I search, then he carries my finds in his saddlebags. I'm wondering if I can train him to help me search out the chanterelles rather than just carrying them for me. They have a faint but distinctive apricot smell and grow from the ground so it seems like he may be able to do this. This could be alot of fun if it works out!

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    Re: Need some advice on nosework

    Maybe you should just try teaching him tracking IGP style and finding articles (this style of tracking invokes both hunt drive and obedience). I only say this because he following your footsteps as opposed to air scenting.

    I have been interested in Nose Work, but I won't train it as I am sure that once my dog learns the "object" is to find the article (or scent) he would likely abandon the foot step to foot step tracking which is obedience and scent work. he would simply air scnet, cast and find the articles... (all points lost!). My last dog would have most certainly done what I just described and would never have tracked footsteps again! Ha!

    I suggest you hide the tin at some other part of the day and come from a different direction. Like hide it in the morning (in an area not accessible to the dog) then go to work. At night come home and send him to find it but from a different place without going and hiding it and having him see you do that.

  8. #6
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    Re: Need some advice on nosework

    They use dogs to find Truffles which are worth a fortune. I do not see why you cannot train a dog to find what you are looking for.

  9. #7
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    Hiding the tin before work. I dont know how I didn't think of that. So simple and yet sounds like it will do the trick.
    So do these dogs not normally want to track steps unless taught?? I figured it was a pretty natural thing to do. I dont think he really started doing it until I majorly increased the distance from his starting point to the hide though. Outsmarted by my own dog again!
    What PatriciafromCO said about the dog playing vs working on a track struck a cord with me. What I do with Beau is games. Its just a fun way for us to do things that are about him instead of me- now I'm thinking I just might look into that igp style tracking and see how bringing some seriousness to things goes. I have an old schutzund book with a chapter on tracking I'll have to dig it out. I'll admit that the big reason we dont do alot of nose stuff indoors is because once he's released to find something he's like a tornado. Thats probably my doing lol. I enjoy working with him when he's hyped up so thats usually how we play and train. Maybe doing more on leash where more precision is expected will be good for him?

  10. #8
    Senior Member LeoRose's Avatar
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    Re: Need some advice on nosework

    Tracking styles vary. For IGP (used to be called IPO), tracking is as much an obedience exercise as it is actual tracking. The dog is expected to keep its head down and check every single footstep. For AKC, ASCA, and CKC, footstep tracking isn't required. The dog just needs to be close enough to the track to find all the articles and not take a shortcut between legs.
    ~~The current Hellhounds~~
    CA Speed Queen Leontine Von Washateria ETD PKD-T D-CRO-Preliminary S-ADP-L5/CH/L1(Pr)/L2(Pr) GPS-BST (GSD)
    Lily Dale- A Melody Unchained ETD PKD-T ADP-L5/CH/L1(Pr) GPS-BST (APBT)
    ~~Requiescat In Pace~~
    Ilka Of Pear Orchard Cemetery BN RE CA CGC TKP ETD PKD-T CRO-1 NCO-1 S-ADP-L4 D-CRO-Preliminary (All American) ~2009-2017~

  11. #9
    Senior Member PatriciafromCO's Avatar
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    Re: Need some advice on nosework

    i've only known a couple of people in SAR and it was traveling as far as they needed at time to get official training hours in, meet up for workshops through out the state and surrounding states. many local SAR are not well funded or funded at all. it is a devotion of passion over anything else.

    Tracking is fun, and at the time the military dogs were focused on air scenting, many would learn to use all resources to get to scent. Air/ground interchangeable. yes would be a conflict of interest for losing points lifting off a track.. i think with a great team you could use equipment to teach the difference. Collar for scent detection/harness for tracking, like my Major often went from one ring event, running across to make their next event switching from his fancy thin jewel collar for confirmation, into his leather buckle collar for OB. He knew what we were doing in each ring never to mix them up..

    Think the possibilities of a great team are endless if you work towards teaching/ exposure to the detail. I always say the dogs are smart enough to alert on eggs in mayonnaise.
    The handler is just as important in learning skills searching to assist a dog no matter how great a dog in . There will be times you will be needed. I'm not a graceful person lol .. not talented either I wanted to be a detection handler so much with no natural grace of leash handling and presentation walking backwards. That every place i was I would think about how I would search it. where the air flow might be and where the scent would be , being carried where I would come in at and in my mind and actually physically section an area off in my mind, and physically walk through presenting a search pattern with no dog just me, taking my time and practicing my search pattern and presentation marks. When I am good in my handling skills and they are natural to me with out thought , i can be totally focused on my dog, and picking up on the cues his behavior is telling me

    and other handlers will laugh for practicing baby basics. .. the dogs love this game so much, excel so quickly they at a level they don't need you holding them back I trust the dogs and go with them... there are times in a search that the dogs need to learn to work with you and you work with them so they don't hurt themselves on obstacles that could impale them, cut them up.. possibility of unknown chemical exposure. Long search on a hot day to help them pace , or quickly step in to that baby basic search pattern wen they are loss or stumped.. get them back in the game instead of letting them waste energy becoming frustrated. your a team and your both valuable, and the trust goes both ways in trusting ability. and that comes in time together. It is always fun and games puzzle solving is the fun... Being exceptionally good at puzzle solving is exciting for each problem.


    The most exciting/ rewarding problem a dog can solve is an empty one.... (think about it) that they should be as excited and confident to find nothing as they are anticipating finding something..


    you have seen the dogs that know every name of their 101 toys .. it's the same with your dogs ability when it comes to scent.. several narcotic oders and several explosive oders that they learn. They able to also know a human scent when exposed to it for the first time. Military trains for certifications , results that will be used in court so during my time the dogs were only single use applications experts in their field with no possibility of doubt.. I don't know what they do now?

    Dogs abilities are endless.... and each can be taught to have a different response/ alert.. and search pattern. My Darien was a human reactive GSD, but he loved his ball and he loved searching. And people loved him despite he scared the shit out of them for the most part. lollol ... At family reunions I could ask anyone for an object usually it was a wallet. i could present it to Darien let him get his fill (give it a name) Dad's wallet... let them go hide it in a surrounding designated area... while we turned our back to where they were going... Wait for a few minutes then tell Darien Find "Dads wallet" GO... and he would. When camping I was camping, I used a small stuffed frog key chain, and taught the dogs to find it.. so if I ever lost my keys while out in the middle of no where "there would be hope, the dogs would know to search for that frog"

    endless possibilities from just the basic search like you were thinking of the mushrooms, all the details of where mushrooms are usually found, being able to present a sample scent to present to let them know that is what you are searching for right now.. It would be a more open search air scenting pattern (like open air field searching skills)

    letting them know when you just playing, out for a great day no care in the world to explore the world freely... and when they are working talk them put their special wider leather collar on them, their harness.... Working for them is the greatest game in the world, it's not forced they want to do it....

    have fun and dream about it and see it.... See it as if Scent is streams of colors because it actually is a trail of particles...
    Last edited by PatriciafromCO; 07-12-2019 at 12:22 PM. Reason: spelling

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