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Scent Training The Stig

As part of my course in Canine Behaviour and Training, Stig is being taught to search and indicate the presence of a particular scent.

So where did I start? Well choosing a scent was a good start.  Something seemingly useful and fairly strong smelling to make sure the search isn’t unnecessarily difficult. I chose zippo fluid originally, but dogs are just as good at finding gun oil, money, blood or drug scents.

So starting with enthusiasm I tried to teach Stig that the smell of zippo fluid on a sterile cloth means he must lie down. Trouble is zippo fluid does not smell very nice to dogs, so Stig was very reluctant to smell it! So the unintentional result is that when Stig smells the cloth , he backs away and hits it with a paw, then lies down.

At least he is lying down! Once this is established and  after several training sessions, I moved on to hiding the scent in obvious places. The trouble is Stig isn’t very fast at finding it and after a couple of repetitions the scent fades as the fluid evaporates.

I needed a longer lasting, but vaguely similar scent. So I changed to firelighters and went back to the beginning. There must be something similar in the smell of accelerants because Stig picked up the paw and lie down very fast.

Now he just has to find it!