Scent Work 4-2 Intro To Interiors

The goal for this topic is to teach the dog that the odor can be somewhere other than a container/box. We work on containers for so long that it’s a good idea to get dogs working on something a little different early on to mix it up. This should also help with limiting some of the history of undesired behavior with containers – pawing, perching, tossing, etc.

We will methodically introduce the hide in the search area by weaning the box out of the picture, but using the box initially as context for doing NW. Don’t be surprised if your dog still spends some time interacting with the familiar cold box. They have a reinforcement history that the odor must be in a box!

Note: At this stage only ONE hide is placed in your search area. Mulitple hides are covered in NW130 and should not be done at this early stage.

Supplies:

  • Tin with qtips and a magnet or funtax so you can attach the tin to an object
  • 1 hot box
  • A few cold boxes
  • Objects for your search area – chair, fan, big box.
  • Treats

Search 1:

  1. Bring 2 items like a chair, big box or small table in your search area.
  2. Place one hot container with tin inside near the 2 items.
  3. Have dog search the few items and they will quickly indicate the hot box. Reward dog at source.

No video for this as this type of search you’ve done.

Search 2:

  1. Take hot tin out of the container. Remove container box from room.
  2. Place hot tin on one of the items at nose height – using a magnet, funtak or placed on the ground near object (if dog won’t retrieve it). Note: You can also use a large vented tin for this (2×3″ size) if you think it would help. More visual, more scent.
  3. Place a cold container where the hot box was so that is it about a foot or two from the hot tin. The cold box is there to give context of nosework/searching.
  4. Bring dog into the search area so it will be very easy for them to find the tin. Dog should run to container, notice it’s cold but then smell odor nearby. This is where they may still want to indicate on the cold container … they want to “blame” the odor on something and they have a history of reinforcement at the container. Just wait them out – admire box if needed, you can move it slightly further away from odor tin. Once they are at the tin – go in and REWARD immediately and generously. This is not the time to work on duration.

On this video, take note how I begin to go in but when Asha goes back to the cold box, I stop. Think of this as Red Light Green Light. If your dog looks up or leaves source – red light, stop your movement. Once they put nose back to source – green light, move in and reward.

Search 3:

  1. Remove object/item from the room that you placed the hot tin on. We want to remove the possibility of lingering odor at this point. For some dogs this is not a problem.
  2. Bring in new object to use in search area.
  3. Remove cold container, or you can place it off to the side if you need it to help with context.
  4. Place hot tin on one of the items – a little higher this time but easily accessible to the dog.
  5. Bring dog into the search area so it will be very easy for them to find the tin.
  6. Dog should search and find odor. Reward immediately and generously.

Note: Search items should be open on all sides for the dog to be able to search for odor easily. However, if your dog is pretty good at searches to this point, you can give a bit of a challenge as you’ll see in this video where the hot tin is inside the box but the box top is open. Once your dog is confident and successful at the searches above continue to the next search.

Search 4:

  1. Remove object/item from the room that you placed the hot tin on.
  2. Bring in new object to use in search area.
  3. Place hot tin on wall or floor.
  4. Bring dog into the search area so it will be very easy for them to find the tin.
  5. Dog should search and find odor. Reward immediately and generously.

Search 5:

  1. End with a hot container search.

Troubleshooting:

  • If your dog is unclear on how to search in an interior area, add some cold boxes to help with context. This can also be done in new/novel places.
  • If your dog is not finding the odor tin outside the box:
    • Use a larger, more visual tin.
    • Make sure the cold container in search 2 is a foot or two away from the tin (move it closer if it is not “helping” the dog). The cold box is there initially to draw them in near source.
    • Securely place tin on top of a kleenex box or other “box” type object. It will at least get their nose ON the tin outside of box and help with tranisitioning to other objects.
  • Make sure your dog is facing the search area, giving time to acclimate and pick up odor. Using some restraint on the harness for some opposite reflex may help too

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