In Scent Work, we must be able to read our dog. What the dog's tells are as they are working a space, detecting, chasing and sourcing odor or investigating dog odor or crittering. However, missing from the conversation is having a more general understanding of how our dogs communicate with their bodies and how WE communicate to THEM with our bodies, movements, actions and inactions. Having this knowledge and understanding is crucially important for everyone to understand, whether they are handlers, trainers, instructors, class assistants, trial officials or trial volunteers. For instance, what a dog does to communicate they are being threatened or are putting out a threat or warning.
Why does this matter within the context of Scent Work? Remember in this activity we are asking our dogs, predators, to hunt. If we are not careful with how we conduct ourselves, we could illicit a dog to try to bite.
In this episode, we discuss the importance for everyone, but particularly trainers, instructors and trial officials, to have a solid understanding and education regarding canine body behavior to ensure everyone stays safe. At the very same time, stressing that owners be honest about their dogs and how as a community, we need to get off the trajectory of excusing dogs biting, minimizing behavioral issues such as resource guarding to "no big deal" and so on.
While these are difficult topics, we must talk about them. We will do our part at Scent Work University to provide resources geared toward helping owners, trainers/instructors and trial officials. Stay posted about our upcoming webinar series focusing on understanding canine body behavior within the context of Scent Work.
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