Scent Articles - Tied Down to Tied Together

scent articles Nov 17, 2022

Hi there- 

I’ve received lots of questions about the Scent Article exercise- let’s tackle them!

In this blog, I reference several additional articles. 👉 I've included links to those articles at the bottom of this post.

1. How Should You Teach Scent Articles?

My preferred method is to start by teaching my dog to locate my odor, and then teach him to pick up the article. This method is outlined on the blog, A New Look at Scent Articles.

My second choice is to use a tie-down board. While your articles are tied to the board, your dog will learn to find the loose article by using his nose. The secret to success with a tie-down board is to use it for as short a time as possible.  The longer a dog believes that he is looking for a loose article, the more difficult it is to keep him from grabbing loose articles when you untie them.

The video above demonstrates how I move from a tie-down board to tying my articles together in pairs. This step is critical. It teaches my dog how I will respond when he makes a mistake.

2. How Should You Respond to a Mistake?

  1. Do not allow your dog to bring you an incorrect article without telling him he has made a mistake. No matter how gently you take it from him and resend him, sensitive dogs recognize that coming to you is not always rewarding, so coming becomes stressful. He may start walking in or standing in the pile over the correct article without picking it up.
  2. When your dog picks up an incorrect article, if you tell him to put down the wrong article and continue searching, your dog may fail to understand that he has the wrong article, but think you want him to look longer. This can cause your dog to pick up and put down articles lacking the confidence to come at all.

When your dog picks up a wrong article, follow "A Simple Rule to Train By." Tell him he’s wrong (gentle no-no), go to him, take the article, and sit him next to you to start again. Simplify the task by removing the incorrect article from the pile (especially if you touch it as you take it from him). This technique is discussed in the above video and demonstrated in the blog post, Improving Scent Articles.

- Connie

Reference Links:

A New Look at Scent Articles.

 A Simple Rule to Train By

Improving Scent Articles 


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