Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2017.

All photographs and text within this blog are copyrighted.

You may not copy or repost any photos or text without specific permission from the author of this blog. When in doubt, please ask.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Positive Training in Nosework!

While our black dog has needed a lot of attention recently, I've still been spending at least my usual time with Shyla. If I cut back on her attention, I see her lose confidence almost right away.

Shyla and I have been reveling in our daily mountain bike rides. The meadows are brilliantly colored with yellow flowers and even wild irises. It's incredible how fast we transition from Shyla leaping through deep snow to leaping through a deep layer of flowers! Here she is doing a recall through the flowers with snowy mountains in the background.

I've also continued with Shyla's nosework training despite the hours I spend each day on R's rehab. I had hoped that R would be able to do nosework during his recovery but I didn't realize how carefully we had curtail his exercise for the first 8 weeks after his CUE surgery. Just now, he's allowed to start some easy searches.

R's recovery has meant that he's fallen way behind Shyla in nosework. She's been taking nosework classes with me throughout his recovery.

I thought I'd share one evening of four searches. They were outdoor searches where almost "anything goes". When you see her searching in the video, she's tracking down a 2" length of straw that has 2 scented q-tips inside it. She now searches for three different scents: birch, anise, and clove. It's pretty incredible to see how well she can pinpoint the scent outside where there are many competing scents plus wind to complicate matters.

I haven't figured out how to put an arrow on the video to show you where the scent is hidden. Either I have a slide first that tells you where it is or I try to point to it while she searches. My only real job is to keep the leash slack and to point out areas that she hasn't searched yet if she's having a hard time. I also keep track of the wind direction so I can guide her a bit so that she's downwind of the "hide" (hidden scent) if she's struggling at all.

This is part of the Positive Training Blog Hop. I've used nothing but positive training to teach our dogs nosework, mainly with the guidance of Fenzi courses. When Shyla finds the scent in the video, I literally spend 30 seconds to a minute giving her treats, one-by-one, and verbally praising her. I don't put our whole celebration on the video clips because the video would be too long! She adores nosework!!!!!

I hope that you enjoy seeing Shyla do nosework. You can watch our video here or at Youtube.

Happy Positive Training!


  1. Fascinating. Perhaps the solar panel made more work for you weaving the lead between the supports than it did did for Shyla. I love the way she is so focused and clearly knows she is "on the job." And especially that she was persistent when she didn't find the scent right away.

  2. wow that was not easy to maneuver the leash around the metal construction of the panels.... well done !

  3. We love watching how focused you are, Shyla! Great work!

  4. Way to go Shyla, you are doing so good!

  5. That looks like so much fun for both of you, and Shyla's constantly wagging tail shows how much she is enjoying it. I am planning to take the Fenzi course this summer, I can't wait!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  6. That looks like great fun! Good work Shyla! The poodles and I play a version of this game too, and my what a beautiful house you have. I hope R is continuing to feel better.

  7. She is so good at that nose work. You are a great trainer:)

  8. Shyla has such concentration. You could open you own training center if people want to travel up the mountain to be trained

  9. Hard to divide between dogs, when one is recuperating. Looks like you've found the best way! What fun. And she's so good at search and find.


If you are a Blogger registered user, you can skip the step asking you to verify that you are not a spammer. For posts older than 5 days, I have comment moderation turned on.

Thanks for your comments!!!!!