I decided to journal Grit’s scent discrimination training in order to keep myself accountable and follow through. I started a month or two ago, but somehow stopped working on it soon after. This time, we’ll keep at it – we want to get our TEAM 1 title soon, after all, and this is the last behavior we’re missing.
I’ve never taught scent discrimination before, so this is new to me. I’m going to use a mix of the method Denise Fenzi showed me when she was visiting in September (using flat articles the dog can’t pick up, and starting with handler scent rather than a food lure from the beginning), and the way Phoebe learned nosework in Melissa Chandler’s Introduction to Nosework class at FDSA.
I’m not using anything resembling an actual article for FCI obedience. If I screw up, it’ll be on a random object rather than a competition object – so I have nothing to worry about and can experiment. For now, my goal is just an indication of the article that smells like me. Until Grit can do this perfectly, I don’t worry about the retrieve required in FCI obedience. In fact, I use flat objects precisely because they cannot be picked up. The indication I’m going for is a sustained nose/muzzle target, as if it were a nosework hide. Once Grit can reliably find and indicate the object with my scent, I can then transfer the indication to actual FCI articles and add the retrieve.
Step 1: teach a chin/muzzle target with 5 seconds of duration (we’ve already got that).
Session 1: warming up the chin/muzzle target (only asking for very little duration).
Step 2: transfer the chin/muzzle target to a coaster held in my hand.
Step 3: get 5 seconds duration on the coaster target.
… to be continued tomorrow!