I'm so happy that I got Brandy into nose work. I actually started a "real" journal and it's already been fun to go back and re-read the entries from our first few classes. Brandy was such a mess at first, she was so nervous she peed on the floor. I was scared that I made a mistake and that maybe we shouldn't even go on. Thankfully my instructors and everyone here talked me through and we just passed our first ORT this weekend. You can teach an old dog new tricks! It's been so much fun watching her grow and gain confidence! Can't wait to continue our training and see what the future holds!
I'm so glad to hear Brandy enjoying the sport, it's very addictive!
Chase and I started out self teaching. For a year we would just use food and find that, I had no clue you could use essential oil as the target scent.
I then decided to find a class in Toronto. Do you know how hard that was? For another year I spent looking for someone who taught Scent Detection. This year I stumbled upon Doggone Right, who uses nothing put positive reinforcement and had a 6week course lined up.
We used the method of pairing a scent to food. It took Chase two weeks to finally 'commit to the scent'. After the 6 weeks I wanted to do scent detection competitively, so I reached out to the SDDA community.
From then on I have been watching their posts and opinions on training and handling. One suggested the cocktail method, where we put all three scents in one container. We then just walk our dog into the room and wait for them to investigate the container, we reward and praise any interest in the container. The founder of SDDA explained that dogs are very smart when it comes to their nose, and they can smell each scent in that container. By allowing them to stumble upon the container and shower them in praise and treats, can build a strong commit to scent, where a dog wants to find the scent because that is a trigger for good things.
I decided to try the cocktail method. It's like magic. It took Chase less than a week to commit to all three scents, and he can now identify each one in a DOT (ORT).
It been a great journey that I hope to continue with him