How to Train Your Dog to Follow a Scent

How to Train Your Dog to Follow a Scent

Dogs possess 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in humans.

Scent tracking is not just a sport.

Certain canines are used to find lost people, drugs, and also avalanche and disaster victims.

Dog scent training has its benefits, such as catching a thief or detecting cancer and oncoming seizures in humans. Scent training requires daily time and attention for the dog to fully grasp the concept.

Also, do not forget to keep your treats handy as a reward.

If you are interested in finding out exactly what the training requires, read on!

1. Finding an Area For Dog Scent Training

The first step in dog scent training is to choose an area to start the actual training. It can be done inside or outside, yet may be best to start inside due to the weather affecting scents.

Try to eliminate any possible distractions while training. This includes other people or pets, and even loud noises.

2. Choose an Object

The next minor step in dog scent training is to choose an object to use as the trackable object. This can be a favorite toy or any other object.

Once the training object has been selected, make sure the dog is interested in the object. The easiest way to do this is play games of fetch with the object for at least twenty minutes each day.

3. Commands

Once the dog has gotten used to the object, it is time to start introducing commands. This will also require the dog to be leashed.

While the dog is seated or standing in one place, hold the object in front of it. Allow the dog to watch you as you place the toy where it can see it.

Next, grab the dog’s leash and give it a verbal cue to retrieve the object. Some common cues include ‘search,’ ‘seek,’ and ‘find it.’

The main goal will be to giving the dog the verbal command several times until it can retrieve the object without guidance. Once back to the original position where you are, command the dog to drop the object.

Reward the dog immediately with verbal praise and a treat when it retrieves the object and drops it. Rewarding is the positive reinforcement the dog needs to learn that the behavior is a good experience for them.

4. Out of Sight

The biggest step in dog scent training will be to hide the object. Eventually, the dog will need to seek out the object by scent only.

Examples of where you can hide his toy include a different room, behind furniture, and even under a box.

To add more of a challenge, have another person hide the object. Again, command the dog to seek out the object.

Remember to allow the dog to sniff the object before hiding it. Reward with lots of praise and a treat each time they find it and bring it back.

Final Thoughts on Dog Scent Training

Training dogs can become frustrating but will be rewarding for the dog and owner the more training is completed.

Remember to use the same object and commands that you begin with. This will help the dog be less confused during training.

For more advice on everything pet-related, check out our blog.

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