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Categories: Nosework

Q. When do you start nosework with a puppy? Is there an odor that you typically start with? If so, when do you add the additional odors?
Hey Cindy,

I got the new Nosework DVD and just had a few questions...?I didn't see them in the video (maybe I just missed them). I have a new?puppy so was wondering when?you start doing nosework with a puppy.?Also?is there an odor that you typically start with so the dog always smells that at first?then switch later??If so when?do you add the additional odors? Thanks?so much. Its an interesting sport and think it could be a fun side sport to play with.

Thanks?as?always,
David

A. Hello David. I asked Andrew for his input in answering your question. Here is his response:

I'm glad you are enjoying the DVD. Those are some very good questions.
Since dogs are naturally inclined to use their nose and are often motivated by food at an early age, it is possible to begin the activity of Nosework in a very, very simple form quite young, say 8 weeks or so. Normally we don't do this but it is possible. Age is not what determines if a puppy or young dog is ready to begin Nosework. There is a certain level of focus required in addition to drive for a reward that the dog must possess for us to begin searching games. If the dog does not have these and we start too soon and make the training more difficult than what the dog is ready to absorb, we can actually classically condition that interacting with us doing Nosework games is difficult and not very enjoyable. It can be hard to get a dog to change their mind about this so it is better to just wait until they are ready before introducing them to Nosework. To summarize the dog must be somewhat motivated by something, and we can increase this motivation by limiting access to it, and be capable of focusing in small concentrated sessions before we should begin training young dogs for Nosework.

You can begin Nosework on any odor you choose, however most people who intend on participating in the current organization that offers Nosework titles start their dog on the odor of Birch. Adding additional odors is not difficult if we have completed the other phases of this process correctly. When our dog has a search behavior on cue, knows a methodical search pattern and has no doubt of the behavior they must offer as a response at odor source in order to obtain their reward we can set out a second odor in our search area and pay them when they show a change of behavior. After several pay on behavior changes the dog will often offer a final response and if they don't we can guide or assist them into it. The important thing is to do the steps correctly on the first odor so adding the additional odors will go smoothly.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes
  
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The Leerburg Nosework Scent Kit is a small portable training aid that allows you to train nosework anywhere anytime. Our kit contains all three target odors that people train nosework dogs to search for as well as everything else you will need to get started in nosework.

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