Saturday, February 9, 2013

Family Dogs and Working Dogs Scent Discrimination

Family Dog and Working Dog Scent Discrimination


This article explains how your family dog can tell the difference between you and another person or object. This information applies to Family Disaster Dogs, Tracking Dogs and Trailing Dogs as well as any dog who is using its nose to find an object, person or pet.

Scent discrimination can be a complicated and complex subject.

When I was first learning Bloodhound handling and training with my dog Sue, our SAR dog mentor and instructor, Lt. Ezra Roberts explained the basics of scent discrimination to me in what I continue to believe is the easiest way possible.
Amber and Incredible Sue


I smile in remembrance of Ezra as I write this..I couldn't of asked for a better mentor.

He said, " When a Bloodhound smells a chocolate cake they smell every ingredient of the cake. The flour, sugar, eggs and coco while other dogs smell only the chocolate cake. "

This is the difference between a dog trained to scent discriminate. They smell one scent out of many many scents.

Dogs that are not trained to scent discriminate will search for only one scent, such as, live human scent but not each individual person within that human scent. They will find any human scent and all human scent in a certain search area by air scenting, tracking and  grid working. They will find every person or object's scent they are trained to find, such as bombs, drugs, humans live and remains. They are trained using only one scent article or smell.

Other dogs are trained to find many different scents or a scent they are given by the handler. These dogs are scent discriminating when they find a drug or object the handler asked them to find.

Service dogs who are trained to get the newspaper, slippers and dropped items of their owners are scent and sight discriminating. They know your slippers from another person's slippers.

Bloodhounds are different in that they process the ability to scent discriminate naturally. When a Bloodhound is given a scent article they start looking for that scent without much training at all. The handler gets most of the training and not the dog.

We don't train Bloodhounds they train us. Family dogs of all ages act naturally like the Bloodhounds when they stay close to their owners, bring your their toy or follow a special family member.

These dogs are choosing to discriminate. All dogs can discriminate and they do naturally.
It is up to us humans to take advantage of this natural ability in the dog and teach our dogs what we wish them to find or who.

When we train our family dogs to find objects by name we are teaching them to discriminate.

You can learn how to train your family dog to discriminate by going to our lesson page here. or click the page button at the top of this page.

Coming Soon "My Puppy Can Find Me" picture book that teaches your child and dog to work together so they are never lost and can find you ! 

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