Thursday, April 8, 2010

Scentwork for Show Dogs: Stage 2

Two posts ago, I talked about training your dog to associate an open crate door with the idea of going straight to you. Once he has been taught that basic concept, it's time to start the real work: developing his skills.

So far, he's been working in simple settings. He comes to you across grass and in a famliar and low-distraction building. Now you step it up a little at a time. You cross a sidewalk, a driveway, or a ditch. Once he's mastered each, you go along a hedge and duck behind the end. Have a partner put a crosstrail across your intended path before you run it. Later, have that partner do it afterward. Add one scent article, surface, or other new element at a time, and hammer at that one until your dog knows how to get past it -- which may take one try or ten.

Indoors, stop ducking around doorways and start ducking into closets with the door pulled to, and then totally closed. Let him find you in the bathroom, in the basement, in the car in the garage, wherever your house and grounds permit.

When he gets good at using his nose and solving problems, and he's really focused on the game, you can get together with a few kennel-club buddies for Stage 3.

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