One of the first things people tell me when describing their dog’s scent detection potential is that their dog “has a really great nose!” and I smile and nod. The truth is, barring any abnormalities or medical issues, all dogs have really great noses. And the variation between breeds is so minute as to be irellevant, particularly in the realm of an aroma as potent as a truffle.
The real talent comes in your dogs desire to barter their skills for whatever is in your goody bag. Your job is to make sure that it is the BEST TREAT EVER. But outside of the scope of the nose and your dogs inclination to trade their skill for your cookie, what characteristics make a great scent detection dog?
In classe as I begin to describe characteristics of what dogs have been successful in our program in the past, people begin to giggle. They think I am describing the attributes about their dog that drive them nuts.
The less needy, clingy and dependent a dog, the more independent, curious and distracted a dog, the easier it is to turn them into a scent detection dog. But you have on job to find that ONE SPECTACULAR TREAT. This treat will make your dog flip. Wallow at your feet. It is the treat that your dog will take a momentary pause in their busy schedule to retrieve from you. But the treat is another blog. Today we are talking about the dog.
This dog is a total user and only wants one thing from you. Your cookie! They aren’t interested in your scratches or even your praises. Affection is fine but superfluous, the bottom line is this dog does what this dog does and and no amount of ASB (attention seeking behavior) from you is going dissuade them from being a total user.
When it comes to scent detection training, we love these guys. They know what they want in life and they know how to get it. They are smart and independent problem solvers who think you apparently need the help they are prepared to give. They like you on their own terms and tolerate your quirky need to touch them. Does this describe your dog?
If you find you are living with one of these rogues, help them find their purpose. Put their aimless wander to good use and train yourself a truffle dog!