Incorporating Scent Work into Your Daily Walks

If you’re interested in helping your dog gain experience with Scent Work, consider incorporating scent searches into your walks. Bringing scents with you while outside can enhance your pet’s understanding of Scent Work and help develop their search skills.

Preparing Your Dog for Scent Work

Before introducing scent searches during walks, ensure that your dog is ready for more advanced searches. Your dog should be proficient in identifying hidden scents in familiar low-distraction environments such as your home, yard, or training classes. It’s important for your dog to consistently succeed in locating scents in these less distracting places before progressing to more challenging locations. By progressing at your dog’s pace and skill level, you increase the chances of them comprehending the search criteria and effectively indicating the location of the hidden scent.

Choosing Scent Work Search Locations

Select search locations that match your dog’s skill level and current experience with Scent Work. For beginners, opt for quieter locations or times when your surroundings are less busy. The presence of people, other dogs, and various distractions can make it more challenging for your dog to find the hidden scent.

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Consider your dog’s overall skill level and the difficulty of the hide locations when selecting where to hide scents. Hides that are buried, elevated, or obstructed can present more challenges for dogs to find. As your dog improves, you can gradually introduce more complex hide locations.

When hiding scents, ensure you are in a dog-friendly area like a park. Choose a location where your dog can search without interference from other dogs or people. Avoid hiding scents in busy areas, off-leash dog parks, or playgrounds where hides could be accidentally removed. If hiding scents on private property, obtain permission from the property owner or neighbors.

Supplies Needed for Scent Work Walks

The type of scent you use depends on your training objectives and potential Scent Work competition goals. For Virtual Scent Work Tests, consider hiding toys, food, or balls. For other AKC Scent Work titles, use Q-tips scented with essential oils in safe containers like metal boxes with holes or empty lip balm tubes.

Bring your dog’s Scent Work training harness and leash, as well as treats for rewarding them when they find the hidden scent.

Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Scent WorkWirehaired Pointing Griffon Scent Work

For scent work games during walks, you can either hide scents yourself or have a friend assist in hiding scents for your dog to find.

Solo Hides

If you’re alone, you can still engage in Scent Work games with your dog on walks. Place scents near your house while on a walk without your dog, then bring your dog to the search area and have them locate the hidden scents.

Alternatively, drive to a training location, leave your dog safely crated in the car, position hides, and let your dog search for them upon returning.

Group Hides

If you have a training partner, ask them to hold your dog while you hide scents. Make sure it’s safe for the helper or, if not, keep the other dog secured. You can also take turns hiding scents for each other if your buddy is also into Scent Work training.

This blind search method adds challenge for both dogs and trainers, as you won’t know where the scent is hidden, preventing unintentional hints.

AKC, American Kennel Club, Eukanuba, Performance, Scent Work, German Shepherd Dog SCENT-WORKAKC, American Kennel Club, Eukanuba, Performance, Scent Work, German Shepherd Dog SCENT-WORK
American Kennel Club

Evaluating Your Dog’s Distraction Levels

If your dog struggles to find the odor or gets distracted, it may indicate that the hides or environment are too challenging for them. Consider simplifying the search and providing ample praise and rewards when your dog locates the scent. Move back to low-distraction environments like home before reintroducing Scent Work games on walks. Consider using food to help your dog find scents more easily and increase motivation.

Cleanup After Your Scent Work

After incorporating Scent Work into your outings, ensure to pick up all hidden scents before leaving. Avoid littering and ensure to clean up any containers or Q-tips used for hiding scents. This prevents confusion for other dogs in the area and maintains a clean environment.

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Incorporating Scent Work into Your Daily Walks