My first dog, a tennis ball fanatic, taught herself to do scent articles. I noticed that when we were playing ball, and there were other balls present, she always brought back the same ball I had thrown. Excited, and fascinated, I had her retrieve the tennis ball can (in those days they were metal) instead of the ball, and sure enough, in a pile of tennis ball cans, she would retrieve the can I had scented. This made obtaining the Utility title a breeze, but didn’t teach me anything about teaching the Scent Article exercise.
Teaching my first Shih-tzu to do articles was fairly simple. She really didn’t like to retrieve, but did it because she knew it was required. However, on this exercise she was very careful to find the right article. I always felt as if she was saying, “I don’t want to pick up any of them, I’m certainly not going to pick up a wrong one!”
Teaching my field bred retrievers to do scent articles has always been a...
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