Thursday, June 4, 2015

K9 Nosework!

Indigo and I have recently discovered a very exciting new sport. K9 Nosework! We took a course through our local kennel club and had so much fun I just had to share.
Our teacher provided the first odor, Birch and a small tin with holes in the lid to keep the odor in. After a few weeks I made up my own kit and ordered my own oils on line. If you look around a little you can find the best deals but you can also buy already made kits for nosework online. I thought I could do it myself pretty easily and cheaper too.
To start with you will need your first odor which is Birch, botanical name: Betula Lenta. It is a lovely smelling essential oil that your dog will soon be crazy for!
I took home pill bottles from work to keep each bottle of oil in as you don't want any scent to escape and confuse your dog when you're not working with it.

You will also need a few small glass jars to keep scented q-tips in and separate jars to keep your tins with odor in. I used baby food jars that I had in my cupboard and they work ok to keep the scent in but I will tell you that the lids are a little hard to screw on. I need to get different jars. The size is just right though!

The tins I have are smaller so I had to cut my q-tips slightly smaller than just in half. Fill the jar 3/4 full with the cut up q-tips then add 1 or 2 drops of Birch oil to the lid of the jar, close the jar and shake it up. This will scent the whole jar of q-tips magically!

I had some old tins of Burt's Bees lying around so I cleaned those out thoroughly and drilled holes in the tops of them. These tins will hold your scented q-tips.

You only need a few scented q-tips in the tin. Each week at class our teacher refreshed our q-tips with new, smellier ones from her stash so the odor would be strong. You have to use tweezers to transfer q-tips as you don't want the scent on your hands, obviously.

Ok, now let's teach your dog some nosework!

Take your tin with Birch scented q-tips inside in one hand and some good treats in the other closed hand. Hold your hands out to your dog and wait for them to stop slobbering up the hand with the treats in it and notice your other hand with the TIN. When they sniff the tin, even briefly you will give them a treat from your other hand. The reward must be given directly on top of the scent tin to create association with the odor. Warning: your hands will become very slobbery! Give lots of small treats, one at a time over the top of the tin.

Here is a video!

Do this over and over and over and in different parts of the house, outside, all over! Then, when your dog is really starting to understand you can put the tin on the ground, or hold it up high, play around with it but always reward right on top of the tin and don't try to make it too hard right at first. You don't want to overwhelm your dog.

Have fun and happy sniffing!

No comments: