Scent work is a fun activity for all dogs, even dogs that have issues like shyness, reactivity, or a simple lack of confidence. When dogs use their noses, it helps to build confidence and focus. Any dog can participate; from puppies to very old or retired dogs. For all levels and locations of Scent Work Classes all dogs are crated either in the building or in the handler’s car when not working or going to bathroom. Handlers must bring their own crates.
Scent Work – Beginner/Introduction to Odor
Dogs learn odor recognition and how to drive out to find target odors. Handlers learn how to make the search for scent important to their dog. Handlers learn about the basic concepts in searching for odor and proper use of equipment. This begins with an introduction to target odor and grows each week with added boxes and target odor drills. Handlers are coached on basic strategies including basic leash handling, introduction to start line protocol and discussions of expectations at the start line.
Scent Work – Intermediate
This class expands on your dog’s odor hunting skills and the basic techniques taught in beginner/intro to odor class. Basic interior searches are added as well as more complicated container searches utilizing various types of containers including buried odor. Routine drills are practiced. Leash handling drills and skills are discussed. Thresholds, somewhat larger interior search areas and elevated hides are introduced. Off lead searches are introduced. Distractions (food and toy) are added. Exterior searches may be introduced. Search patterns are discussed. Trial protocol is discussed. Start line protocol is reviewed. Back to basics searching is revisited routinely to verify good understanding of novice concepts as this will build on the part of dog and handler’s understanding of odor obedience.
Scent Work – Advanced
This class grows ease of movement on the part of the handler in searching as well as expanding confidence in utilizing pattern training and drills. Interior searches are larger and vehicle and exterior searches are introduced. Inaccessible hides are added. Blank searches may be added. Back to basics searching is revisited routinely to verify and build on the dog and handler’s understanding of odor obedience. Trial protocol is reviewed and start line protocol is revisited. Timed searches and mock trials are used to help make future actual trial environments less stressful and some search areas are set up with a trial setting in mind. Most handler teams will take this class until trialing through the Advanced level in AKC and/or until demonstrating sufficient skills before moving to the higher level class with the instructor’s permission.
Travel Class: Instructor Approval Required
This class may require handler/dog teams to travel independently to predetermined locations within the tri-county area to introduce searching in novel environments. This may include interior, exterior and container searches. Handlers will be instructed on how to register for this class when it is made available.
Scent Work – Excellent/Master: Instructor Approval Required
This class is designed for teams who are or will be trialing at the Excellent and Master levels. Vehicle, interior, exterior, buried and container searches are included. Blank search areas are added. Problem solving for handlers is developed with more complex searches. Search stamina is developed. Timed searches and mock trials are used to help make trialing less stressful and search areas are set up with a trial setting in mind. Back to basics searching is revisited routinely to verify and build on the dog and handler’s understanding of odor obedience.