Scent Club

I decided a while back to sign up for a six weeks UK Sniffer Dog course -- with Cassie of course :hearteyesdog::rofl: which we completed at the end of November. We both enjoyed it, it's such a great thing to do. I've always thought it would be good for her but among other reasons there wasn't anything suitable in our area and we were already travelling a long way for our gundog sessions.

Actually I think this is the ideal time for her to be doing this -- she's no longer the energetic hunting machine she used to be but obviously loves to use her nose.
Now the lovely young couple who set up +R training services in this area have gone from strength to strength and are offering this opportunity. They have developed a strong knowledgable team with a genuinely warm and inclusive approach to all dogs and handlers.

So on the back of all this they are now running a "Scent Club" once a week which will be run on a monthly subscription basis, and they ran a taster session this week which was great fun. The idea is that dogs of different standards can attend and the training will be individualised where necessary. We worked on our handler skills supporting the dog in what we are asking of them, and then motivation - in others words geeing them up to be excited to search . I need to be careful with this with Cass as the inner wild child is still there and she can still go "over threshold" at times!

Lastly we worked on getting a good indication, Cassie is already quite good at this -- keeping her head still once she has located the item , as we have worked on this with the aid of a mirror on the kitchen floor, so I can reward her for keeping her nose over the top of it.

At the moment we are using bits of red kong as the search item to locate, but a couple of the others are on cloves or gun oil.

So, this our Monday nights sorted for the foreseeable future!
Today Cassie and I took part in a fun scentwork trial, which was indeed great fun! Something different on a very wet and chilly January morning in the UK. There was however quite a lot of waiting as each combination worked independently which meant Cass staying in the car, in future I had better take her travelling bed as I think she got a little chilly.

As this was the Christmas trial postponed from a snowy day in December there was a seasonal theme ! The 3 outdoor search areas were a nativity scene set amongst bales in the carpark, someones van festooned in tinsel and bunting and 3 rows of baubles strung along the barn wall. We tackled the nativity first -- of course bales are very interesting anyway, so she worked thoroughly before finding it in the crib by baby Jesus ' ear! The instructor pointed out to me that Cass had infact picked up the scent as we passed it by earlier but hadn't quite indicated on it. The car search and the baubles she completed instantly.

The inside searches were one tucked into a chair at the table set for tea, which she found immediately, one in one of tenwrapped presents which took her the longest time. I need too allow her more time to get "orientated" to the search area and learn to recognise when she settles down to work.
The one she found most difficult was the bay with random boxes and obstacles draped with Christmas decorations, she was working consistently in the right corner but I didn't pick up the indication very well as she had to put her head underneath the top of the box as it was sideways on, and had tinsel dangling. Again, the instructor had recognised that she had found before I did.

So we came 3rd out of six, which isn't bad for beginners. We have room for improvement and I need to get more savvy with picking up the cues as to how she reacts, like noticing her breathing rate increasing when she is close by.

We will be having a go again. Thing is, try as I might, I can't help being quite competitive. Do I mind coming third to a Gordon Setter? No, not really, fellow gundog and all that. But do I mind being beaten by a grumpy rather ugly collie type who was extremely rude to Cassie in the car park? Well, yes, actually I do! :rofl:. I know, I know, it was a Fun Trial :rofl::rofl:

It wouldn't really be a day out with Cassie without some sort of aberration - todays was jumping up on the nativity scene bales and having a wee :giggl::giggl:


Devon, UK
How lovely, well done Team Cassie! Sounds like huge fun, particularly for her - and the indications will be clearer to you with practice. A great read!
So Cass and I are just back from Scent Club :laughdog:, we've been going every week since it started, with me often not wanting to turn out in the dark and cold :cold: but always coming back pleased that we went.

We've been working on all aspects, teaching our dogs a strong indication and learning to understand their body language with various exercises. Tonight we did some "free searching" off lead while we did various things like move around, stand still with our hands behind our backs etc. The thing with Cass is that she loves sniffing so much that sometimes she doesn't indicate because she doesn't want the search to end :laughdog:. It's interesting because I have thought this myself but never said anything because it sounds like an over expectant parent making excuses for a child -- but tonight the trainers both said that to me! I am pleased that they can see it too.
Yesterday we did another fun trial, it was very enjoyable , a great group of people and dogs (6) , a lovely outing on a Sunday. Cass did really well, although we didn't improve on our third place! The searches were very inventive, especially the large rotary clothes line with no less than 30 baubles hanging from it, one with the odour in. She completely bossed that by just sitting in one area and not moving, and then turning round and indicating correctly.

Then came the boxes search :rofl::rofl: Oh my word, Cass does love a box -- to trash ! She completely lost her mind and proceeded to do exactly that to 8 boxes laid out in front of her, all so beautifully wrapped for the occasion :cwl::cwl: , leaving a site of devastation with pink tissue paper strewn every where . It was hilarious to say the least. Honestly , there is always something with her, another thing to add to her list of exploits !

Unsurprisingly, tonights exercises centred around box searches. Special measures for Cassie.
Scent classes seem to be the new in thing and I am so envious, would have loved to have done that. So pleased both you and Cassie love it. My neighbour does it with her new dog, but has to travel fair distances.