We've been doing nosework for about a year, and Shyla has become quite advanced. She hasn't competed due to her fear of strangers, strange dogs, and bustling environments. I may work on that at some point because Shyla's love of nosework may end up outweighing her worries about a new environment.
I wanted to share where Shyla's training is now. You may remember that the first step in teaching nosework was me holding a tin of scent in one open hand and a bunch of treats in the other open hand. Shyla learned that she needed to put her nose on the scent tin for me to let her have treats from my other hand.
The incredible part is how that simple little exercise translates into very complex searches before too long with the constant being that Shyla always gets lots of treats for finding the scent source. Today, we were working on situations where I'd hide the scent in one place but air currents would cause the scent to accumulate in another place. Shyla had to figure out where the source of the scent was.
In the short video, you'll see a classic example. I hid the scent in a kitchen cabinet under the sink (together with our stinky garbage). We had a heating stove burning for a couple of hours across the room while the scent was in the cabinet. The heating stove pulled room air into it, including the scent in the cabinet. You'll see Shyla closely examine the area near the stove, the butcher's block between the stove and the cabinet, and then finally she focused on the crack around the cabinet. Believe it or not, when I called "alert", she'd put her nose almost exactly where the scent tin was inside the cabinet.
The outdoor searches were based on a similar set-up except that the wind was what was causing the odor to pool in areas away from the scent source. Shyla was very sharp today, sorting out the puzzles very fast.
Also, notice her incredible enthusiasm! That's what positive training does - it makes training super fun for a dog so that they look forward to every session. Shyla was so excited before we started each search. Notice how she sprinted into the search areas in the outdoor searches. That's what I love to see!!!!