Every dog is different and that is one of the things that I like best about scentwork and teaching scentwork. There is no magic way for you to understand your dog and what it is telling you when its working or on scent, the only way to understand your dog is to take the time to watch and learn.
Lisa and her dog Marlowe have been coming to me for years now and she now knows her dogs body language really well, here is a great example that she has allowed me to share.
The context of this video was that it was Marlowes first introduction to scent distractions so we had his clove scented article hidden under one cone and under the other we had an article scented with the smell of dog food! Tempting!
Because this was his first time on scent distraction we didn’t know how he would react but interestingly he reacted by being unsure which to indicate and on the back of this you can see in the video he held on the first cone longer than we would have expected him to if just taking in the scent and had Lisa not known her dog as well as she does she would likely have then called this as an ‘alert’.
But Lisa does know her dog well, he has a few tells when giving a false indication but the clearest you can see in this video, when on a false alert (the first cone) his tail is still and down in a relaxed manner, when he holds on the clove scent / his required scent (the second cone) watch the difference in his tail…….
As mentioned he also does have several other small tells that Lisa has worked out over time and combining all these Lisa was confident enough that he was just experiencing a confidence dip with the new exercise and she called the correct ‘alert’.
Scentwork really can deepen you relationship with your dog, it is a discipline that sees you watching and learning from your dog as much as you work teaching your dog and a partnership builds based on mutual trust.
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