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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Nosework in the Desert

One of the things that I loved during our desert trip was being able to easily do outdoor nosework training with our dogs. Our home is presently surrounded by a deep layer of snow so it's not easy to do "exterior searches". The desert landscape was a wonderful place to play our nosework games.

All of the videos I show below were taken at K's Rock as seen in the photo below. It's such a secluded and beautiful campsite. It's like our own little private world while we're there!

I did a couple of "vehicle searches" where the scent (which is two birch-soaked q-tips in a tin) was hidden on the exterior of our LabMobile. We also did general exterior searches where I'd hide the scent somewhere within our campsite and then start the dogs searching in the right general direction. I hid the tin in holes on the rock a lot because it seemed like a unique opportunity for that kind of hiding place.

The searches were affected by some brisk winds, so the dogs had to begin to learn to search from the downwind side of an area to hone in on the scent more quickly.

I find it amazing to see how focused and independent Shyla is while she searches. She doesn't even seem to hear R who barks a lot during her searches because he wants to be searching!!! During normal non-nosework training, R's barking stresses her out and makes her lose focus.

I worked with both of them equally but I happened to get more good video of Shyla. The video below has a few searches by Shyla and one by R.

I hope that you enjoyed seeing them both at work that the wonderful game of nosework! I'm hoping that nosework will be sedate enough for R to do during his surgery recovery. He is truly a handful when he doesn't get exercise so we hope that mental exercise will help substitute for it.

 Thanks for all the great comments about his upcoming surgery. It is a relief to have a plan!


  1. The desert is so beautiful! What a fun place to do some nosework!! I am hoping that I can get Zoe into a nosework class soon. If there's room for her I will be doing the class if there isn't room I get to help assist with the class so either way I'll get some nw experience and I'm really looking forward to it!

  2. That was so fun to watch - we love videos:)

  3. Love watching the duo nose training in such a different environment. I think it will be a great help in R's recovery. Assuming, of course, that he doesn't get overly excited. Have you tried any of the nose trick toys in which he open flaps, turns things around, etc? That might work as well to keep him busy. Or perhaps it might corrupt his nose training because it's finding a treat rather than a scent. But I'm sure you can find out.

  4. They must have good noses, not to be put off by that wind - it sounded strong. They both really enjoy the nose work a lot, don't they? And R is so funny..."Look up, Shyla! Look UP!" :)

  5. I love Shyla's tail in the first segment. She gets the scent and then the tail goes off!!

  6. You and R are such smart pups, Shyla! We loved the video!

  7. Easy was totally eggs-ited as he heard you in the video. Is it easier to do nosework with female dogs than with male? always when we start, Easy marks everything around him... he finds the prey afzter a while, but before he starts everything gets a yellow shower...

  8. That was terrific and there had to be so many distracting smells there.

  9. We play find it in the house and both pups love it!

  10. Enjoyed the videos and the desert landscape! Good Luck to R!

  11. The Duo is doing a great job with nose work!! Glad Shyla didn't insist on going under the Lab Van!

    Murphy & Stanley
    Mayorz of All Paws

  12. Such a wonderful place for camping,Nose work, looks like they both have it sussed out so well.

  13. It sure looks like they both enjoy doing the nose work. The desert terrain offers unique places to hide the scent. Thanks for sharing your fun video.

  14. What great, clear videos. I am interested in their signal that they've found it - I think last time you said it was putting their nose on the object. But they put their nose on objects to smell them sometimes - how do you tell the difference?
    I also noticed when Shyla got near it your hand automatically moved to your pocket - glad to know I'm not the only one who can't help that!

  15. We loved watching the videos!! Shyla and R,,, really do know what they are supposed to do.. and they do it!! So incredible!


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