This training begins using the actual scent from day one. The object is to always reward at the source. This overview is divided into six weeks of training.
Huge thank you to Janet and her Newf, Mabel, for permission to use many of the videos.
Week 1 - Getting Started
The method of search used here is based on the training approaches of shaping and backchaining. First the dog “finds” the source by accident, and soon the dog is actively searching for the source in order to earn a reward, in spite of distractions. Keeping the source "clean and pure" is extremely important.
Bring your dog into the work area. Pick up a treat in the non-tin hand.
Place both hands down at the dog’s nose level. Your hands should be about 12 or 18 inches apart in front of you. One hand has a tin and the other hand has the treat.
Your dog is likely to spend some time investigating your treat hand. Wait. If your dog has zen training, he will next default to looking at your face. Wait, but go ahead and orient your eyes to your other hand. Wait. When your dog investigates your non-food hand with the tin, immediately mark the dog’s behavior (“yes”! or a click) and a treat. If your dog begins to offer random behaviors and get’s “stuck” in a sit or down, you can use the TREAT hand to lure the dog up, but not the scent hand! You are only doing this to get your dog unstuck and back to trying out behaviors.
Bring the food to the hand with the tin and feed the dog at the source of the odor. We want to keep the dog at the tin. This is called “rewarding at source.”