This generic scent detection class is a fast-paced course intended for dogs in need of an outlet for their intense desire to sniff or work. It is also useful for anxious and hyperactive dogs who could benefit from the calming and confidence-building effects of sniffing, but extremely fearful dogs who would benefit from multiple 6-week courses dedicated solely to building confidence should consider the K9 Nosework approach.
The primary goal of this course is to build a dogs' motivation to search, and to build her confidence in searching. The secondary goal of this course is to achieve reliable searching with a clear, sustained alert behaviour at source, ideally in six weeks. However, some dogs and handlers take considerably longer than six weeks to achieve this, so taking turns to watch classmates work at different stages will be vital, as will these supplemental learning materials that are intended to help you stretch the course as long as necessary.
Before you get started teaching your dog to search for odor, your dog should be comfortable going out away from you to use her nose. Enrichment-feeding games are a great way to build confidence and the desire to work for rewards independently of the handler, and you are specifically going to use games that require the dog to use her nose. This stage is especially helpful as a confidence booster for anxious dogs.