I recently mentioned that Delilah and I had once again started scent training. This is something we do for fun, to challenge Delilah and keep her brain busy.
Our first class was called Beginning Nosework. In this class we used only food for our ‘finds.’ It worked like this. Our instructor Arianne, placed about 10 empty boxes on the floor. One box was the food or ‘find’ box. (It’s important to always use the same box for food as eventually the box will begin to smell like food.) While we distract our dogs she hides the food and then we psyche our dogs up to go and find it.
It’s like Hide ‘N Seek for dogs. Sort of.
This time around we are taking Advanced Nosework. This means our dogs already know the ‘game’ and now we are going to begin transitioning them from food to other scents. The first scent we are working with is birch, we use birch because it has a very strong, distinct odor. I have a half a q-tip with a drop of birch on it and I placed this inside a 4 oz jelly jar. I had Hubby punch a bunch of holes in the lid. Most people use small tins to hold the q-tip, but I like the jelly jar for right now as it’s too big for Delilah to eat.
I can’t imagine how much it would cost to remove a tin from her stomach.
We are in our third week of a six week course and right now we are still pairing the food with the birch. Arianne will take the birch container and place a couple bits of our food on it. She hides them together and we encourage our dogs to find it. When they do, we reward them with more food.
Typically when we work we stand on the side of the room and when it’s our turn, I ask Delilah if she’s ready and then I tell her to find it. I will then drop the leash and she will make a bee-line for boxes.
She knows how and loves to play this game.
Last night there were only two of us in class. The other handler has great control over her dog. He’s a beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback named Oakley. When he’s ready to work she removes his leash and he runs right over to start his search.
I figured it was a small class so I’d try un-clipping Delilah.
You see where this is going right?
Delilah is sitting in front of me like an angel dog. I say, are you ready? Go find it! And I un-clip her leash.
Like an runner dashing off the line when the starter’s pistol signals, Delilah is off. Instead of running for the search course, she runs directly over to Arianne’s box of goodies.
I call her. And call her. And call her some more. She ignores me. I go up to her and clip her leash on and lead her back to our place on the side and we try again.
Right back to the treats!
This really had Arianne interested. She was determined to figure out why Delilah reacts this way off-leash.
Luckily for me, Arianne had a few tricks up her sleeve, which I will share in another post as this one is getting quite long.
I shall just assure you that by the last search of the night, I was indeed un-clipping Delilah’s leash and she was running directly to the search area.
Do you have a Delilah? A Dog that dances to her own tune? It’s one of the many things I love about this dog.