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What’s so great about scent detection?

14/09/2021 - Training

For pet dog owners scent detection is a fun training game which utilises your dog’s natural ability to sniff - we ALL know how amazing a dog’s sense of smell is. We introduce a target odour (scent ID) and teach the dogs to sniff it out (searching) and tell us when they have found it (indication). For pet dog’s this is simply for fun and enjoyment.
Working dogs would use the same skills to detect items like drugs, money, sim cards and any contraband items.
We follow the UK Sniffer Dogs programme. This is split into three levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold and six series. You can complete just the introduction Series One to give it a go, but if you get the ‘sniffing bug’ you can work your way up through the levels to develop you and your dog’s skills as much as you wish.
At the end of each level you can have fun completing a Trial, these are super fun and a chance to put your skills to the test with a set number of hides to find within a time limit. The best thing is you aren’t competing against one another just working with your dog to make your own personal best.
Any dog with a nose can do scent detection – there’s no age limit, physical requirement, prior ‘obedience’ needed so any dog can be good at it. We have a real selection of breeds take part from Daschunds and Pugs to the more ‘expected’ breeds like Labradors and Spaniels and they ALL do amazingly well.
Scent detection can satisfy a young puppy’s brain, calm a boisterous or bouncy dog, provide an alternative to physical exercise for an older or less mobile dog.
It’s well-known that dogs need physical exercise BUT it’s the mental exercise that comes from sniffing and thinking that is the real game-changer when it comes to creating a content dog. When a dog sniffs not only do they exercise the 40% of their brain dedicated to their olfactory (sniffing) system, it also creates positive emotions/associations and creates a feel-good factor. Working as a team the relationship with your dog improves and often we see other positive changes in un-related areas too.
It has to be said that our Sniffer Dog courses are my hands-down favourite. Partly because I love doing scent detection with my fox-red Lab, Rem, who has so far achieved both his Bronze and Silver certificates. He loves scent detection, he’s naturally good at it and I enjoy developing his skills and seeing how well we work as a team. It has really helped him to grow in self-confidence.
I love being able to help dogs and their humans to discover the wonderful world of scent, seeing their relationship develop alongside the dog’s ability and also the handler’s confidence. Sharing the handler’s amazement when their dog finds the tiniest piece of scent is the best!
If you’ve not tried it yet, we have a 6 week Beginners course with regular start dates or for those who tried it, loved it and want to continue – check out Super Sniffers!