Scent Article Training

Resuming scent article training this month!  This time with the boys.  I know they already know it, but I decided to pretend they didn't and start from the ground up with a different method that looks very different from their traditional send-sniff-retrieve pattern.

I am going to be teaching a Scent Articles From the Ground Up class in October for the Fenzi Academy!  I know I find it a bit ironic too since practicing scent articles is my least favorite thing to practice.  I even started a Scent Articles Shaming group on Facebook to hold myself accountable when I was teaching Zumi.  But practicing myself and shaming other people into practicing is completely different :) Shaming, motivating, same thing.

The method I will be presenting for the class starts initially as food based, but I expect that there will also be students who will have tried teaching articles using other methods and are stuck.  And other students who are doing the food based method correctly but still get stuck. I wanted first hand experience using a new method I know many people will have already tried, thus Lance and Vito's retraining.

I got canning lids out and decided to free shape it. The positive side was that both dogs already knew a sticky target to a lid and just needed a small bit of reminder training for that prerequisite.

And then quickly found out that this was NOT going to work for Lance.  Despite the fact that he already knows how to scent articles(!) and is very familiar with free shaping, Lance was insanely frantic.  I forget how small of steps Lance needs in shaping and how multiple options just do not work well for him.  I aborted after the first lesson as he alternated between insane tap dancing over the targets or just lying down stressed and staring.  So then I switched to a tiny smear of food on my correct target and resumed training.  Oh so much calmer and much more thinking going on.  For a dog like Lance, using food to get him using his nose helps to prevent him from being "wrong" and we were quickly on track.

Vito however I'm sticking with the pure shaping, no food.  Vito can get frantic too but he's always been much more resilient in training (surprising I know considering I think of Lance as the confident one!). It's been interesting to watch Vito think and work through the problem.  I don't think he gets it yet after his 4th lesson but he's definitely getting better at it. 

Really it's been surprising how much this exercise has seemed brand new to the boys.  Both of them have experience doing scent articles with a variety of household items without issue.  But take away the retrieve and make it a nose press choice and suddenly it's a totally different game.  I know if I wanted to really teach them scent articles with the nose press and wasn't concerned about learning the shaping method I would actually go about it a totally different way.  But this is more interesting.  

achieve1dream  – ( October 26, 2015 at 12:35 PM )  

Hey every new way you train something is just more proofing hehe. Nothing wrong with that. :)

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