Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Don't Teach Scent Articles this way ;)

I enjoy doing a lot of scent work with my dogs. Rumi especially did a lot of scent training as a pup and has his TD. So training scent articles with him wasn't anything I really worried about. We had played find it a million times with different articles: metal, plastic, and anything in between. So Monday I pulled out 3 metal and 3 leather articles and put them out. Grabbed a metal one and scented it and put it in the pile. Told Rumi to find it. He tried to grab all the dumbbells in his mouth. He managed 3. I told him oops and sent him back again. He picked up each one (one at a time this time) until he grabbed the one that was scented and his little mind went "OH" and he brought it back. I tried it again and he did the same thing: picked up every article until he found the scented one and then brought the right one back. I'm standing there thinking...this is not a behavior I want him to learn and I really don't want to un-train it. So I took my big milk crate of old mismatched scent articles: some double bar, some triple, some single most the size a lab would retrieve and dumped them in a pile. Then I grabbed one metal one, scented it, and put it in the pile. I turned Rumi around to look at the pile and his eyes got really big ( was hilarious) and his little brain started spinning as he thought "I can't pick all these up". I sent him and he sniffed, found the right one and brought it back. Three more times, three more perfect finds.

Yesterday I dumped the same pile out, did the same thing once (see I don't always skip over ALL the steps) and he found it perfectly. So then I put the scented one UNDER a few un-scented one. I was right, I got more amusement. Rumi found the right one immediately, but he thought he was playing pick up sticks and VERY CAREFULLY touched only the scented one and brought it back. Did this two more times; I really should have recorded it. Maybe I'll try tomorrow. Maybe we'll have to go to a more traditional set soon.

I do not suggest training scent articles this way, but so far, for Rumi and I, it is working. I have definitely done more traditional training with all my other dogs. LOL

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