Introduction to Odor Summary

Introduction to Odor is offered after Intro to Nose Work, if the dog shows the level of commitment and desire needed for an effective transition to odor. In Intro to Nose Work Beginning, we learned the game using cartons; in Advanced, we moved the game into Interior Rooms and into the Exterior and even started searching vehicles. In Intro to Odor, we go back to those basics, pairing Birch Oil (our first Target Odor) with the dog's reward. This class - and all other Nose Work classes offered by Nose Work Dogs through Doggie Depot - is taught during 8 (1 hour) classes held over eight weeks. It has been created to remain true to the NACSW guidelines and suggestions for training the sport; this is particularly important in classes which focus on Fundamentals or Foundation Work at any level (like introducing Odor!). The class outlines have been carefully crafted based on notes from seminars and training material provided by the founders of NACSW, and done with their permission.

The overall goal of Introduction to Odor is to add odor (Birch Oil) into the game of Scent Work. The dog has all ready shown drive or desire for the game, and the owner is still learning to 'read' or understand their dogs more clearly. Much of the class will be spent on Box or Container searches that we used in the Beginning Nose Work class; after several weeks, Environmental Objects will be added to the search. Interior, exterior and vehicle searches will start to be re-introduced by the end of the session.

The final night of the class will include a Mock Odor Recognition Test using Birch Oil as the Target Scent. After completing Introduction to Odor, dogs are ready for Continuing Nose Work.

First Weeks of Introduction to Odor Outline

(Please note that this is an outline of anticipated goals and activities; actual classes may vary due to a variety of circumstances, and will be adjusted as needed.)

Unless noted otherwise, the searches will be inside, and held in the same area for each search.

  • Week One
    • Goals
      • Create a positive association between birch odor & reward or game
      • Introduce Odor (paired)
      • Discuss class or session goals
    • Discussion or Lecture
      • Odor Handling and Storage
      • Pairing
      • The return to cartons
    • Class Work
      • Two to three rounds of searches - all carton searches, simple, on ground
      • Round One: Strong Target Odor; Instructor rewards
      • Round Two: Do one or two hides not paired (Instructor rewards)
      • Round Three: Student practices rewarding
  • Week Two
    • Goals
      • Assess dog's odor recognition & handler's leash work
      • Expand the search area (slightly)
      • Delay reward (slightly, if possible) to strengthen recognition
    • Discussion or Lecture
      • Odor Obedience
      • Benefits to On or Off leash
      • Avoiding cues
    • Class Work
      • Three to four rounds of searches - mostly carton searches, simple, on ground
      • Round One: All hides paired; practice on and off lead
      • Round Two: Cartons form a circle (Close box flaps slightly in runs 2 & 3)
      • Round Three: Cartons form an X; focus on rewarding at source
      • Round Four: (If time) May add additional cartons, may close box flaps to make hide more intricate
  • Week Three
    • Goals
      • Expanding search area & add environmental objects
      • Working away from handler
      • Threshold exercises: ONLY TO BE WORKED IN CLASS!
    • Discussion or Lecture
      • Gradually adding new items to the environment & increase size of search area
      • (Re)adding elevation
      • Threshold work: what, where, why
    • Class Work
      • Three to four rounds of searches - mostly carton searches, simple, on ground
      • Round One: Add environmental objects into search area; handler stand aside during search
      • Round Two: Remove scent carton for hide 1; set it in area for 2; place hide in it for 3
      • Round Three: All three hides in 'environmental objects'
      • Round Four: (If time) Add elevation