Thursday, March 21, 2013

Training for Utility - Scent Discrimination

Mia and I have been working on the exercises for utility obedience.  One of the most challenging parts of training at this level is that the dog has to do a lot more away from you - which can be very stressful for them.  Up until this point, there has been a lot of value placed on being near you in obedience so to get them to work away from you with confidence takes time and practice.  Scent discrimination is one of the required exercises at this level.  The dog is required to work a pile of metal and leather articles and bring back the one that you scented.  I have been working with Mia on this for several months and even though we've had our struggles and minor setbacks, she is overall doing really well.  I am hoping to post some video soon.  Here are a few pictures:

The pile

One of the things I struggled with in the beginning was not panicking when Mia went to the wrong article.  In order to complete this exercise successfully, the dog needs to check the wrong articles - that's why they call it "working the pile."  As long as the dog is working and trying to find the correct article, they're fine.  I want her to check the wrong ones instead of just blasting to the pile and picking the first one she finds and assuming that must be it - one of the differences between scent discrimination and just retrieving.

"Here it is mom!"
Good girl Mia - lots of praise and cookies for you!!:-)

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