Dianna L. Santos
In this episode, we speak with Lori Timberlake of Do Over Dog Training regarding one of her favorite topics: training dirty in Scent Work. This discussion highlights the power of this training approach, how and when teams should incorporate these concepts and clearing up any misconceptions regarding how this may differ from the proper handling of our odor training aids.
This is an excellent discussion which will benefit all dog and handlers teams, especially those who are competing and are perhaps concerned of how they will deal with both the planned and unplanned distractors they may encounter at a trial.
You can also work directly with Lori, incorporating the training dirty concept into your routine by enrolling in her All-Level NACSW™ Trial Prep Course. Additionally, you may schedule a private Zoom consultation with Lori or submit either a training or trialing video for her to review. Clients have ravved about the personalized feedback they receive from Lori.
Dianna L. Santos (00:00):
Welcome to the All About Scent Work Podcast. In this podcast, we talk about all things Scent Work, that includes training tips, a behind-the-scenes look at what your instructor or trial official may be going through and much more. In this episode, we have the distinct privilege of talking to Lori Timberlake of Do Over Dog Training, all about training dirty in Scent Work. Before we start diving into the episode itself, let me do a very quick introduction of myself. My name is Dianna Santos. I'm the owner lead Instructor for Scent Work University. This is an online dog training platform where we provide online courses, seminars, webinars, and eBooks, all centered around Scent Work. So regardless of where you are in your sniffy journey, whether you're just getting started, you're trying to develop some more advanced skills or if you're interested in trialing or you're already competing, we likely have a training solution for you. So now a little bit more about me, let's dive into the episode itself.
So in this episode we're talking with Lori Timberlake of Do Over Dog Training, all about the concept of training dirty in Scent Work. It's a really interesting conversation and something for all of us to consider. All right, let's have a listen to the conversation. Thank you so very much for joining us for another podcast episode. This is so exciting. People are like, "Yay, we don't just have to listen to the Dianna lady. This is exciting." So for this episode, you had actually reached out to me and you're like, "Hey, I want to talk about a specific topic." And I was like, oh, that's exciting. So you wanted to talk all about dirty training, and I'm sure people who listened to me before are like, "Oh, oh no, she's being a hypocrite now. Cause she's told us we should be careful when our training." So I actually am really excited to talk to you about this. So can you just give a quick overview of what you consider dirty training to be and when we're talking about Scent Work, and then we can talk about maybe who should be doing this, when should be they should be doing it, the advantages of it and all that good jazz.
Lori Timberlake (01:40):
Sure. So I have to start by saying this is my favorite topic to talk about and we're so serious about this at do over dog training, which is where it's my business. I actually had logos and shirts and stickers made that say train dirty because we've been talking about this for so long. And if you don't mind if I just tell a quick little story. Of course. So my current training space, and if any of you guys have seen my pictures and stuff on Facebook, we train in a mall with the most beautiful eighties carpet you have ever seen. It's
Turquoise and pink and it's, it's been there since the mall opened. And so our space is definitely unique for dog training. And when other people would come to us, if we'd have a little sniff and go or a mock ORT or some kind of fun event, other handlers and dogs would just lose their mind where our dog, they're just so used to it because we do it all the time. So our space was a former pet store, so still to this day we have slat walls, I'll find shavings and feathers in the walls. So we have that extra fun. We have a carpet that's been there for at least 40 years with probably 20 of those years being a pet store, plus all the dogs and people we have on it. We've had accidents on the carpet and fur and treats and everything else you'd find in a regular dog training place.
So I think I forgot your question already. That's kind of the backstory of how we all got started when we started using the term train dirty, is that if you don't expose your dogs to this, because now I'll go to trials and there'll be a search area on carpet and people lose their minds. Or if it's an exterior that maybe has some debris in it, handlers just lose their minds. We can't do this. Or if you just train this way, normally it just becomes natural and your dogs get used to it. Yeah, I know there's a treat on the ground, but I'm not going to go for it. Or I know there's a little piece of garbage flying through my search area, I'm not going to go chase it because we train like this all the time. So I don't know if that even answered your question at all.
Dianna L. Santos (03:55):
No, it did, absolutely. Because it gives a really good background for it. And also already talking about the real life applications of it, where this is one of the things that you will hear people, it's not a complaint, but a thing they talk about with Scent Work is, "Oh, those Scent Work people, they're always talking about training in such sterile environments and then their trials, they want them to be as sterile as possible and that's not what happens in the real world and yada yada." Which again, I think that if you just took those statements at face value is true, but that there is a time and a place for everything. But the flip side of that is what you're talking about of yes at trial, while officials are going to do their very best to obviously set something up that's within the confines of the rules, have something that is fair, it's still going to be challenging within those rules and it's still going to be a real place.
There's going to be real things going on. There're going to be things that are outside of their control. It all depends on where the actual host was able to find the space. And that you do have absolutely those teams you're talking about coming to certain of trial sites and their minds are being exploded out of their heads because they're like, yeah, I can't possibly do this here. And everyone kind of looks at and be like, no, but that was the whole point of your training is that you were supposed to get ready to do this. So I think what you're talking about is actually really, really helpful. But I think people have a hard time going, but how do I work my way up to that? Because again, we're very much a species of, we just jumped to conclusions like, "Okay, well Lori said train dirty.
That's it. I'm going to have my search area in the middle of a goat pen the very first time that I start doing Scent Work. Hey Lori, my dog's not doing well. Oh, I don't know about your dirty training, Lori." So that's what I want to talk about with this episode was really outlining, okay, there's a time and a place how you can do this. Also, the thought process behind it. Cause I do think it's brilliant, particularly with what you're talking about with carpet and then also why it could be difficult and things to think about and why it's good for the dogs to learn about these things. So a very long preamble for people who maybe don't have a mall that they're training in with a 40 year old carpet, how would you explain to them how they may be able to start moving towards incorporating dirty training inside their training? And then really for me, specifying what that really means, because I also get really anyone who's listening to me like, oh God, I can hear it. She's getting worried about how they're handling odor, so making certain that we're making that clear. So I'm going to give you the floor to explain all this. When should they be starting dirty training? What does that actually entail? How could they be incorporating it? And is it different than how we actually deal with odor?
Lori Timberlake (06:45):
Yes. I feel like this can be 20 podcast episodes. So I'll try to break it down a little bit and let's save the odor stuff for a little bit because definitely I'm not saying, well, to a point we'll just get to the odor in a little bit because I don't even want to confuse that with just the actual stuff. So something, one easy thing, not easy, it could still be difficult, but a simple thing that you can add. And we used to do this before I had my lovely place at the mall, I would have students bring in an object from home and we started bringing in welcome mats or even a mat, maybe it was their dog's place. So it smelled like other dogs or just your welcome mat that you're wiping your shoes off and it's getting all your outside smells on it.
Put that in your search area maybe. So we're moving to a new facility hopefully soon, and I'm not sure if I'm going to keep the old one at the same time, but I'm trying to figure out how to cut up that carpet and bring it with me. But if I can't, well these, I'm already thinking of things like we can take some of our old carpet just from the house and bring it there and just include it in the search area so the dogs still get a little taste of it without the whole 2000 square feet of carpet. That's one way. Another fun thing I did, I had some fans going and just a plastic bag and I would just let the plastic bag go in front of the fan so it would roll across the cause that's happened, right? And I did that inside.
That wasn't even something we did inside. So that's a simple thing, especially if you have a dog that wants to chase things. Now, even if they do, at least you're working it into your training. So how am I going to handle it? I know my dog wants to chase that, or I know my dog's afraid of that, but how can we practice it? How can we break it down so if it happens in a trial, we're not going to lose the search, right? Right. Yeah. Maybe you do it at a farther distance, maybe you put the fan on real low and it's not going super fast. Adjust it to where your dog is at and hopefully your dog will be ready for that. If it does happen in a trial, I can keep going and going, want me to go with the food thing? Or do you have questions?
Dianna L. Santos (09:03):
Sure. So these are such great ideas, and I'm sure people are like, "Ooh, that's really exciting. But now Lori, I just got a brand new dog. So I, I've been experienced in Nose Work, I have a current dog, I got a new dog. We're just starting in Scent Work. So now should I be adding in my carpet and my blowing bag when the dog is just getting started? Or is there a different time that I should be bringing those things in?"
Lori Timberlake (09:26):
So I'm sure different trainers would have different answers, and I really think it depends on the dog. Now, even in our last podcast, we talked about how I'm adding things in sooner and sooner. Now, if I have a good class and all of the intro dogs are doing really well, I mean we're already training on carpet because that's our training space, but I'll add some of these distractors in right at the very beginning. Now, if I have a dog that's struggling, that's having a hard time just searching for food, I'm not going to have a plastic bag flying through the search area. I'm not going to, I mean, I'm going to put them on carpet because I have to, but maybe if I don't have to do that, we're not going to do that. So I think it really depends on the dog. And if they're a pretty confident dog and they're searching well on primary and you just added odor and they're doing awesome, start adding these things early so that you don't have to backtrack and put them in later on. But like you said, we're also not going to put 'em in the middle of the goat pen as they're starting on odor. We don't want to go that extreme. But these little bits and pieces of things, I think in my opinion, and I could totally be wrong, start throwing them in early so the dog sees that as part of the picture that it could just happen.
Dianna L. Santos (10:40):
And I think that's actually a really good thing for people to think about both instructors and people who are playing. And again, feel free to let me know if I'm off track here, but the, it's a mindfulness of how you're going about it. It's also being really flexible about the dog that you have in front of you or the group of dogs you have in front of you, where they are in their journey. But also think about, it's not just simply, you're not just tossing hides in there with the stuff. And again, let me know if I'm wrong here, but if you're adding in the stuff, you're still being really mindful about where you're placing your hides. So as an example, if you had the blowing bag, maybe in the beginning, you don't have the bag blowing at your hide. So now the dog is like, well, should I go towards the thing that the bag is going to be blowing into my face?
Or you know, don't have the carpet that was being used at the dog's best friend's house. And they're like, oh my God, I love that dog. Maybe you don't have that piece of carpet right next to the hide. Where now the dog is really stuck and which one do I pick still? Think about where your hides are in the beginning. Make it a really obvious choice. Just this other thing is in there until the dog has enough successful repetitions where they're like, yeah, there's stuff in here, but I have to find my cookie opportunity. Am I right as far as that, that is concerned?
Lori Timberlake (11:55):
Absolutely. Especially in the beginning now, because I don't know, maybe I'm a little bit evil, but as they get a little bit more advanced, then I'm putting the distractor by the hide. So they're making the decision, but I'm not going to do that in the beginning. You're right, the hide is going to be separate from where this blowing bag or distraction is, but then I want to work up to that because it can happen. And these are for dogs that are trialing and really, really want to look at all the different parts of the picture. Certainly if you're trying to build confidence in your dog, don't just throw all the stuff at 'em like like you said, separate.
Dianna L. Santos (12:32):
And I think that's a really good thing for people to keep in mind. But it can also give them so many opportunities of things to play with where again, incent work. I think a lot of times people just start running out of ideas. They're like, Ugh, I ran out of flat spaces to put my hide. Which again, isn't what we should be looking for anyway. But sometimes our brains just, they get blocked. They don't know what to do. So with this, you're able to incorporate all these various things that you're talking about as far as this dirty training technique, which is actually really brilliant of being creative, of looking at what potential things could my dog encounter. Not just a trial, but even just field trip searches of maybe you had a classmate or a friend or a family member said, Hey, I had this space opened up that you're more than welcome to come and practice that.
And you're like, Ooh, I want to take you up on that. And then you do, and you're like, wow, we don't normally ever see any of these things. Such as, let's say you had a friend who was a mechanic and they're like, Hey, you know, can come and search our lobby if you like. During this off tower off time, during our lunch hour, there's going to be all kinds of stuff in there that the dog has probably never seen before or smelled before, experienced before, including noises and things. What I love about what you're talking about is you're basically encouraging people to have a more observant view of what it is that may be novel and then how they may be able to weave it into their training in a really thoughtful way where they can do it first in a learning context, which is what we were just talking about.
If I'm bringing the thing into the search area, but the focus is still on the hide, but then you're moving up to a point where the dog has done the learning, now they have to have the decision point of, well, do I think that finding my hide is better or does this thing really get a lot of my attention? I want to go mess with that instead. Cause that's a choice. And then you can do more training to help them actually make the choice you want them to. So is that something you can talk about as far as the dirty training is concerned as far as if you notice that a dog is going along pretty well with all the various things you're throwing at them and then they start making choices that isn't the high but is instead being invested in the dirty item. What do you do when that happens?
Lori Timberlake (14:35):
Yeah, and that's when we have to really take a look and say, did we do too much? Did we just throw too much at this dog? And now they're like, well, who cares about odor anymore? I'm going to go for all this other stuff and I will, I have a dog right now. She's doing very well in general, but I just did a lesson where we threw like 20 stuffed animals out onto the floor too much. It was just too much, not worth it. And she's doing NACSW, not doing AKC where you might have a toy, just kind of loosen the search area. Not to say you may not have stuffed animals in your NACSW searches because I've had that. But for all what we were doing, I just picked them up, I said, it's not worth it right now to add this. We can always, and the dog's still young.
I said as she matures, as she start can handle these things a little bit better, then we'll put one stuffed animal in on the other side of the room. She actually, we did do that. We had her on leash so she couldn't run and grab it and we just had it in the room, but not anywhere near the hide. So yeah, sometimes we do have to back off because we don't want to just throw everything at the dog and over face them and say, well, I don't know what's wrong with you. I don't know why you can't do this. And everybody else, not all dogs are the same. And we don't want to go backwards in the training. We always want to go forward. So sometimes if they're, they're going for the distractor too much, then you just got to back off a little bit and go back to where they can still work with that thing out there.
Dianna L. Santos (16:11):
Perfect. And then as far as when you're putting together your dirty training sessions, are you focusing on specific types of dirty training things or do you combine them? So as an example, like we were talking about with the toys, is it just like, okay guys, we're going to be working on toy day or is it we're working on so smelly carpet pieces and toys and blowing bags and other stuff. Do you get to the point where they're doing multiple things or do you just try to have it broken down by category?
Lori Timberlake (16:38):
Yeah, that's one of those, it depends answers. There's certain, I have one search, I call it the mega distraction search, where I just take everything we have and put it all out a one time. We do it once every few months thing one just because it's so hard to set up. But especially if we have other classes and I have to pull it all up after class so that they can do obedience at night. Yeah, we don't, that's a once in a while thing. But certain things, let's get the fan out tonight. And we were working on whatever we were working on, they did two or three sessions up, two or three searches of it. And you know what, let's get the fan out and throw the garbage bag in. Or let's throw some treats on the floor, which we didn't talk about yet. I'll just throw that one in randomly.
Depending on what we're working on, I'm not going to do that if we're working on suspended hides because suspended hides is the, that's the goal of the night. And I don't want to add in all this extra distraction. We don't need to, if a dog should have an accident and the search area, that's a really good time to say, well, we're going to work on searching near a potty area that sometimes those just happen and then our focus changes. So it kind of depends. Certain things are planned and everyone all week does them. And other things are just opportunities that arise during a class that we will add these distractors in for.
Dianna L. Santos (17:57):
Perfect. And I also really love the fact that you're talking about the ability to be flexible, particularly as an Instructor. And that to me is the sign of a excellent Instructor, particularly when we're talking about network, is being able to adjust to what the situation provides for you. So if a dog is like, oh, here, I want to do a doggy texture, you're like, great, we're going to now use that. Thank you for your contribution and you're able to go from there. So yeah. Did you want to talk about the treat thing? Because this is absolutely something that people stress out about in both training and in trialing of, oh, people have left crumbs or treats behind, what the heck? So do you want to talk about how you're working on that in your training?
Lori Timberlake (18:37):
Yes. So this is a big thing again between hosting, COing, judging, volunteering, and just watching so many dogs search. First of all, please be careful when you're rewarding your dog that you're not dropping treats because you are setting the next dog up to fail. So it's important we become good handlers and we do our best not to drop treats, but accidents happen and judges don't always see the treats drop because it's Alert. Yes. The judge goes to write their heads down and that's when the treat drops. All of a sudden the next dog's in. We're like, ah, shoot. There's a cookie over there by the hide. Right? So mistakes happen there too. So what does that mean for your dog? You come in next, especially on a cold day exterior search, that's when you see a lot of tree drops just because people's hands are so cold.
So don't get mad at the person before you accidents happen, but let's train for it. I think a lot of people want to complain about it, but they don't train for it. So what we'll do, and I don't do it all the time and sometimes it happens in class where somebody drops a treat by accident and now it's out there for the next dog. But sometimes I will take treats and purposely throw them on the floor in the search area. So not pairing the hides with food, just a treat fell near the hide. What do you do? So some dogs, and I have one dog in particular that started with me a long time ago and they started right on odor before I was doing primary and pairing and all that. And she's the worst culprit where she'll grab the treat and say, whoop rewarded myself and will never go to the hide.
We'll never let her handler know that there's actually a hide there. So we work on it a lot, especially with this dog. Yeah, we know you found that treat on the ground, but you still need to tell us there's a hide there. I try to teach my students, and I know there's a lot of controversy about this, but to not say leave it or yank their dog off the treat because I see that in trial where a handler will see a treat on the ground, leave it stop, nope, bad. And now the dog won't go anywhere near the hide cause they've been told to leave it. So now you're missing out on the hide. So I'd rather the dog just eat the treat and say, oh yeah, there's a hide here. So some dogs will ignore it, ignoring it. Yay. That's the best thing we can do.
But if you have a lab, not picking on the lab people, but we know our labs, they're, they're going to pick up the food and that's fine. I'd rather them pick up the food and say, oh, and by the way, there's a hide right here. Can I get rewarded again? So that's something that we do a lot. You have to be careful if you have dogs with allergies in class or treats they shouldn't have. Or if the owner's just really nervous about it and don't want them having something that they're not supposed to have, make sure you're using their own treats. But this is something I started doing years ago after I had some people really complain at trial of that's not fair and it's not fair. That's true, but let's work on it. It's going to happen. So yeah, that's kind of what we do. I dunno if everyone would agree with that, but I think let's set 'em up so that they see that picture and we know if there's a treat on the ground, it's probably near the hide unless someone's treat pouch had a hole in it and they're just drop treats all over the search area. So I'd rather not pull them away. If possible, please let me know your thoughts on that.
Dianna L. Santos (22:13):
Well, it's not going to be all that controversial because I pretty much agree with you. So definitely for the leave it thing, we are on the same page about that. Only because I think the way that a lot of people train leave it is that it has, first of all, even just the way they say it is a very, very rich, it's like yuck. It also depends on what leave it actually means. And I don't think that people think about that either. Is that for me, if I were to say leave it, if I was training it with my dog, that means leave that thing alone, don't ever touch it. It's not supposed to be interacted with you at all and come to me that it's basically almost like a recall attention kind of thing. But that thing is out of play. It's not like a Oh, I do the leave it and then you get to go get it. Like no, that that's like a rattlesnake. That's something that can kill you. Come here. So if I were to do that in the middle of a search area where they were just investigating odor that may have been odor information on something and now I'm telling them leave it to them, they're like, oh, Birch is deadly now.
So that would be kind of a problem. And I also don't want to be incorporating for myself any of that negative connotation, that negative emotion of that just, it's really difficult to, I can, but it's takes effort to say, leave it in a way that isn't nasty and I don't need to be doing that in the middle of a search. I just think it's confusing, it adds an emotion that's really not all that great. I would just prefer to not have that as a part of Scent Work. It's also very presumptuous of us to be like, oh, there is no odor information where they were just sniffing. I can't see or smell the odor. So they very well could have been working to figure out their hide and now I'm telling them to leave it and they're like, what is your problem? So I don't want to do any of that. So we're in agreement about that.
Okay. So as far as the treat stuff I think is actually a very important thing to touch upon a little bit deeper. So when you are doing this in training, so it's not purposefully pairing the hide, it is literally people are just pretending that they dropped some treats as they were rewarding when they ran their dog. And then another dog is coming in to work that search. How do you coach the handlers who are concerned that the dog is rewarding themselves? And then, okay, well I'm good. I'm just going to go find another hide. First of all, is there just one hide for the dog in there for them to find? How do you help the handler kind of overcome any anxiety that they may have?
Lori Timberlake (24:36):
Yeah, so this is definitely, I only do this with known number of hides. Sometimes I do multiple, sometimes it just depends on whatever we're working on, but known. And if I know it's a dog that wants to take the food and run, I might say do this on leash and just stay in the area. Don't let 'em take off until they actually Alert on the hide. Just to kind of break that practice of, Ooh, got it, I don't need you. I can do it myself. So yeah, usually it's on leash. If I know they have a problem. A lot of dogs, if they have really good odor obedience, they might pick up the treat and then still go to the odor anyways. And it's just practice. But for the ones that have an issue, then it's, yeah, leash, stay in the area, don't force, you know, you must stay right here, but just don't just kind of plant yourself and then don't let 'em get to the second hide. Or maybe it is only one hide so you're not leaving until you find it. And then reward them generously and try to make it more. But really pushing this a reward event. So it's not just, here's your cookie, it's 1, 2, 3, 4, yay, you're so smart. Dancing, the whole reward event. Cause that's more exciting than picking up the last dog's gross treat off the floor, right? But it's hard getting handlers to do that reward event. Cause not everybody has that in them, but we're trying to practice that more.
Dianna L. Santos (25:58):
And that's wonderful. I love the fact that you guys are doing that. That is absolutely something that can help so much. And I do think that even for people who are like, oh God, particularly in a group class, you want me to act a fool in front of all these other people? No, but I will say that because this is not my personality at all. I'm very, if anyone who listens to the podcast, whatever else would just see me outside of Scent Work University or anything, I'll be like, wow, you're kind of a ugh. I'm like, yeah, I am. I'm not very personable. I'm not very sociable, I'm not very happy. I'm a miserable, miserable person. But when it comes to dog training, I have to put on an act. I have to put on a whole different face because the dog's like, Ugh, this is yucky.
I don't want to do this. So I have to really live it up and whatever in order to make it engaging for the dog. But I also need to do that when I'm teaching because who wants to learn from, all right, everyone, we're going to be doing some set work now no one wants to do that. So you got to change the infliction of your voice. You got to be more animated, you got to actually smile and open up your eyeballs and all these other things. It takes effort and time. But I will tell you, for anyone who is more on my side of the spectrum, as far as like ugh, when you do those acting things, it does make you feel better. And it gets easier and easier through time. And also if you are watching your dog, your dog likes it a whole lot where they're like, oh my God, look at you.
You're not such a big blob. This is exciting. And you can then kind of build off of it, make it your own. Absolutely experiment. And I would also encourage people to do stuff at home and the privacy of their own home where there's no one watching. There's no one judging, no one's filming you to post up on social media. Look, they're a fool. Cause no one's doing that anyway. But sometimes we think that they are. So just practice on your own because it really does make a big difference. So I give huge kudos to you that you're promoting that and you're absolutely right that if we just thought about it just for a second, here's this gross, potentially half chomped on, slobbered on then spit out or fell out the side of their mouth, treat right from this other dog and here is this magical, there's almost like a rainbow and sunlight is coming down from the heavens magical event that I'm having with my person.
They're giving me a jackpot of treat. Maybe they're playing with a toy, they look so happy and excited. The person that's the most important thing in my whole life thinks that I'm brilliant. That's so much better than final slobber. So I really think that's wonderful that you guys are doing that. That's awesome. And also to just pick, because I think this whole idea is very, very fascinating as far as actually incorporating this purposefully into your training is with all of this, you're basically ensuring that people are being more mindful as far as what they're doing with the whole dirty training idea, but particularly with the drop treat thing is what you talked about is that the dogs already should have good odor obedience, that they actually understand what it is that their job is, that they know that the hide is actually valuable. They should be going in and getting it.
And even if you were using pairing, if you were at the point where the dog understood, I get more stuff from my person, even after I self reward, they're going to be staying at the hide waiting for more of their stuff because they're smart. Why would they buzz off if they could get this wonderful sunshine and rainbows and unicorns, the trumpets come out and say you're the bestest dog if they were to buzz off. So you can't even talk about that for a second for anyone who thinks like, oh, if this is why, if I was using pairing, this wouldn't work because now my dog is just going to self reward and buzz off.
Lori Timberlake (29:35):
Part of it is what you said. Definitely they're getting the party. And I'm hope, again, we talked about this in the last podcast, how I keep changing things and next month I might be doing something totally different, but I'm incorporating this stuff earlier and earlier too. So I'll put a food distractor that's closed. So this is different than just throwing the food on the floor, but I'm actually introducing food distractors way earlier in the training too. So they know closed food, I can't get to it if it's open, if it's on the floor, if it's paired with my hide, then it's just, it's free game and I can go grab it. So I don't see it at affecting even the dogs that are currently still pairing their food and their odor and then there happens to be treat on the ground because that's just to kind of eat it and go.
But when we come in and we start adding the reward, you're right, it's this whole event that should be way more important than just, I just grabbed the treat and kept going. And we are building the older obedience. So at least I think we are so strongly in our classes that sometimes the Instructor after me will be like, man, I found a lot of food on the floor today. What happened? I'm like, oh, that's because the dogs didn't even pick it up today when I was stopping food. Sorry, you got the benefit of it in your class now. So it, it's working and like I said, I just keep doing things earlier and earlier so it doesn't become a thing. It just is part of the picture from early on. So I'm not sure I quite answered that the way you asked it either. But yeah, that was perfect. The events is what I think changes it all.
Dianna L. Santos (31:13):
Yeah, I mean basically what I'm hoping that everyone is taking away from this is that for me as an instructor, all of this is very, very interesting and I actually really appreciate what you're doing because it's baking in on an almost unconscious level, how you're able to parse out all the various things that people could encounter at any point in their journey and figuring out how can we incorporate this throughout the, it doesn't have to wait till the end. We don't have to wait until, well, okay, now we've been doing this for a year and a half, two years now, let's suddenly go like, okay, we're going to apparently work on some proofing now where that may be a little bit more challenging for the dog. Where actually you're incorporating it a little bit earlier, which I think is a good thing to do. And also encouraging people to be more mindful as far as how they're setting up their searches, really not just throwing caution to the wind as far as, well, I'm just going to go somewhere and see what happens.
It's more of what could I possibly encounter and how could I take all those pieces and create a really thoughtful search and how could I build off of that going forward? So even just the things that you talked about in the short episode of you have your carpet pieces, you have your blowing bags, you have your treat drops, all that stuff is wonderful things that people could be working on any part of their journey. So I think the fact that you are using this dirty training actually really, really helpful. And I hope that people are able to wrap their heads around it. But if they were like, okay, I kind of get it, but now I want to make certain that I'm doing it right, is there a way that I can actually maybe pick your brain Lori or are you doing a webinar on this Lori, or are you doing a course on this? Lori Lori helped me.
Lori Timberlake (33:00):
Yes. And I'll just backtrack quickly, for everyone that hasn't been incorporating this, and now you've been doing Scent Work for two or three years, don't just all of a sudden throw all this in. Don't throw out steak on your floor, put a milk bone biscuit or something. But I do have an upcoming class, all level training or all level trial. Well, what the heck did we call it? Dianna?
Dianna L. Santos (33:26):
Yeah, it's all level trial prep.
Lori Timberlake (33:29):
Yes. And there's a whole section on all of this, and if people were interested, I could probably break it out and do just a webinar on it, because there is so much to it, especially if you haven't incorporated it. Like I said, we have a lot of people that come in that train in these pristine environments, and then they come to our place and they're like, oh my gosh, I just lost my mind. So I don't want anyone to just all of a sudden dive in and now they're overwhelmed, like, oh no, my dog just sucks. They can't do this because we just added too much. So yeah, we do have to break it down. So if there was interest in a webinar really breaking this down to baby steps and moving up, we could do that. But it is going to be part of the all level trial prep class also.
Dianna L. Santos (34:16):
Perfect. So I'm make certain for this episode that we also have links for that as well. And if you wanted to work with Lori one-on-one, you can also schedule a Zoom consultation with her, or you also be able to submit some videos for her to review and provide feedback on. She has excellent people who have done that have been like, wow, I love working with Lori. So it's also a wonderful thing that you may be able to try. So now we're keeping the odor part for the end, and we're at the end. We're like, okay. And people are like, why are you dancing around this? Can you talk about how the odor handling or the odor piece itself, how that plays into the dirty handling?
Lori Timberlake (34:52):
Yeah, so I still don't want people out there using naked Q-tips and taping 'em to a wall and getting oil all over the place. I don't want you leaving your hides behind none of that. That's all bad, naughty, naughty. That's bad. Dirty training, don't do that. But things like lingering odor, there was a hide and now we moved it and there's lingering odor. Some people freak out about that, and they've got their zero odor spray and their vinegar and their alcohol, and they're just disinfecting the area before the next search. I mean, especially in our place because of the carpet, everything, it just holds so much. It just holds. And we have several classes a day, and I do have to be careful with the newer students, but now it's really hard to set up converging odor, pooling odor. But now you have this lingering odor that your dog has to work through to get to the strongest odor, which is the hide.
So it can actually benefit your training if you have some of that lingering odor out there. So that's one thing that a lot of people freak out about that I don't worry that much about let the lingering odor, I mean, we still have to be careful to a point, because the whole room, if we do LudicrouSpeed or a game where we have multiple hides out there and the whole room smells like odor, then I have to be careful about what classes we're doing after that and things like that. But one or two regular class with regular amount of hides, I don't freak out about lingering odor. Dogs need to work through it to get to the strongest odor where the actual hide is and even, oh, this is where it's all going to come at me. But our odor kits, I don't clean my tins after every search.
I, I reuse Q-tips after, as long as they don't have cheese on them or mud or s slobber because it got inside the holes of the tin. Those I'll throw out. But I'll reuse that were used from class and put 'em back in my jar. I store three odors together. Oh my God. I put my Birch, Anise and Clove in the same container. Can you believe it? Not in the same jar, but in the same odor kit. I don't store my stuff in the refrigerator. It's just room temp in my house. I have odor all over my house. My dogs know not to Alert on it. My make up student kits and things for my classes and my dogs know if I didn't tell 'em to search, we're not going to look for the S lingering odor that we know is in the house because I made odor kits in the basement. I could go on and on. But do you have anything to interject or anything you just agreed with at this point?
Dianna L. Santos (37:31):
So I think that I'm in agreement for almost all of it. People know that I am the one that is very paranoid about odor. And what I talk about with my paranoia with odor is the biggest things are what you already touched upon is people train trying to train dirty by having those naked, by having actual odor contamination in the space and having odor, actual oil transfer within the environment. They don't know it. The dog comes up, they're like, I found the best source possible and then not being rewarded for it. That is what just drives me absolutely insane. So yes, absolutely don't do that.
Lori Timberlake (38:07):
Dianna L. Santos (38:08):
For the other parts, I think that because we all instructors do this, right? You can't have multiple classes back to back and not reuse your odor vessels or a have constantly switching out your Q-tips and things. So I think that that is absolutely something that is just baked in when you are doing classes. I don't think necessarily it's a bad thing. I think it is actually a good thing where you can have different distractors and whatever else. But I also do think that it's helpful for people to then ensure when they're doing their training that they're having different types of Q-tips or things that they have made up where particularly if you think that your dog is consistently being trained on Birch plus slobber plus hotdog, just as an example, that then they are also seeing maybe just Birch, so they understand that the Birch is the common denominator, that those other things aren't a precursor for it.
But I do think that is helpful to have all those different things having different age Q-tips, really, really helpful. Having Q-tips that you've just made yesterday Q-tips that you made six months ago. All that stuff is really, really good. For myself, I am the person that has, I have my Birch kit, I have my Anise kit, I have my Clove kit. When I first started, it was all in one kit because you can't carry all that stuff around when you're teaching classes and you're going to different facilities, it doesn't work. So I get that all of that is actually totally fine. I've seen it work for me in the beginning. I just want to provide as much clarity as possible, and I'm always worried about how people are practicing on their own. So if I can have it, we are training them about Birch, we're training them about, and as we're training them about Clove, then I can do that.
And I'm also concerned about what the messy odor profile the dog could potentially being trained on unbeknownst to the handler, particularly if it's being done for a consistent period of time, which would probably be months of, I'm using this Q-tip that has these things that are attached to it, grass smells, oil smells, whatever. And unbeknownst to them, that's what the profile the dog is looking for. And then they go do a mock trial or the real trial and the dog isn't doing as well, and they're like, oh, what happened when actually it could have just been a proofing exercise they could have done in order to ensure. So it's not that we're divergent at all, it's just that I get paranoid about these things because I can see how it can go left. But I think that what you're talking about for the lingering odor is actually really, really important that the dogs can work through this.
And if we just take a giant step back and thought about it where it wasn't, Birch wasn't an, it wasn't glove, but it was a bunny and the dog wanted to go find the bunny and the bunny farted underneath the bush and then hopped away. Well, sure, that's lingering bunny smell, but that's bunny fart. I don't want bunny fart. I want the actual bunny. So they're going to go and find where the bunny actually is. That's all lingering odor is. And that's one of the wonderful things about training, either with an Instructor in person or if you're practicing with friends. If you don't, you're not working with an Instructor. Maybe an Instructor isn't near you, you're doing everything on your own or your situation is, but having those kinds of setups where you are moving hides and they are known to you, so you know what to reward is actually really helpful. Again, as long as you are handling your odor properly. So it is actually lingering and it's not actual contamination in the space. So yes, there's no like, oh my goodness, we are now at odds. No, we're fine.
Lori Timberlake (41:40):
Can I add one more thing? And I'm going to have, now I have to write this down and make sure that I do it in my class. It's something I did years ago, years and years ago, and we haven't done it since, but I'd have my students bring in their odor from home and we do a little odor exchange so that you get a little bit of Fidos and Mary smell, and then you get a little bit of frank and fluffy smell so that everybody, everybody handles their odor a little bit differently. And then that just helps them get a little, I don't know if you think that's a good idea, but certainly. So they're not always getting me, because I'm sure my in-person students are getting Birch plus tin plus Lori plus glue dot or whatever else we use where at home they're getting something different. So if they could switch it up a little bit, and it's all still Birch, but you're right, it has all these other little things added to it that we don't mean to, but it's going to happen. It, it's even going to happen in trials, especially if you're not trialing in any C S W and it's the judges bringing in their sense, you're going to get a little bit of different stuff. So it's good to practice that way.
Dianna L. Santos (42:52):
Absolutely. That is an excellent point. Having those odor handoffs, those little transfer parties where everyone brings their own prepared odor to class is a wonderful thing to do. Or again, you can do that with your friends. I highly recommend it also, because not everyone buys their odor from the same vendors, and all the vendors are going to have different components as well, where it is all under the umbrella of Birch, but how they create the Birch is going to be different. And again, this is where we just have to remember the dogs are perceiving things that we don't know what they're perceiving. We're just guessing. So the more that we can again, provide clarity of, oh yeah, so is I usually train with vendor a Birch, but now Susie's kit uses vendor B Birch, but I still get cookies for that. Oh, it's because it's Birch.
Even though they make it a little bit differently. There's some different molecules in this one. Okay, I get it. It is really the same thing. That's important because maybe again, you noted if you're doing something with one of these other organizations where the trial official is bringing their odor kit, they may get it from be C, right? Your dog has never seen that before. And they're like, is this what I'm supposed to be finding? So that's a really important thing as well as also how you prepare your odor. So as an example with NACSW, there's not a set thing that people do for the 24 hour cooking method. For myself, I say, oh, three to five drops within the inner wall of the canning jar filled with cut. Well, that's great and dandy. Everyone's drop is going to be different. So even that is going to have a lot of variation. So having all of those things in those kinds of odor transfer odor handoff sessions in your class where everyone, here's some things that I prepared at home and here are some things that I prepared at home and everyone kind of swaps. That's excellent. Yes. I think that's a brilliant idea. Did you have anything else that you want to add as far as the odor thing is concerned now that people are like, Ooh,
Lori Timberlake (44:52):
No, and I certainly, I'm definitely more careful in the intro, the earlier classes because I just don't want to mess 'em up right in the beginning. So I'm definitely more careful. And I do, I kind of lied. I do, my travel kits are Birch, Anise and Clove all in the same thing. But all my stuff at the building, it's just so easy too. I have all my Birch stuff labeled Birch and my Anise labeled Anise and my Clove labeled Clove so that at the end of class I can put everything back where it belongs. So I do use separate kits for my class stuff. So I kind of lied a little bit there. But yeah, I mean, I think some people just take it to such an extreme, and I don't think that's helping the dogs. If everything's so pure and just super clean and the dogs don't see anything else, it's not going to set them up for success when they go into trials where things can be not as pristine as how some of us train. Yes. So that was the only thing I wanted to talk about with the odor. We still need to be careful with odor, and I don't want people just being sloppy with it and just rubbing oil all over their walls and things like that, but we still need to be careful. But I just see a lot of people taking it to such extreme that I think they're really hurting themselves more than helping.
Dianna L. Santos (46:12):
And I think that's a wonderful thing to clarify is, again, thinking about it from the dog's perspective, if you're setting everything up as though it was being done in a lab laboratory for control experiment, you have your little lab coat on. It's all blinding white light. There's not a speck of anything to be found. And then you go into a trial to the dog, that's going to be such a strange contrast where they're just not really going to understand again, well, I'm not finding my super pure whatever it is. I'm seeing these other messier odor profiles. What am I supposed to do with that? So ensuring that we're providing clarity in a way that makes sense for the dog, and that we're not just making things to create anxiety in ourselves or routines that are just for the sake of, well, I'm being pristine with my odor.
There has to be a reasoning behind it. Always think about why am I doing this thing? Am I doing it because I heard the Santos lady say that she's paranoid about odor. Okay, yes. But in what context was she saying that and why would it be a good idea to do something is always the thing that we want to think about. And also think about your team. Think about what it is that you're going to be doing and being flexible. So even with what you were talking about of how you may prepare, things may be different for a very baby dog because very new to it may be different once they understand like, oh, I'm supposed to go find this thing. Great. Now we're going to expand that a little bit. Sometimes your Birch is not just going to smell like Birch. Sometimes it will smell like this or that or the other thing. And you still want to be able to find the strongest concentration of that, because then you're going to get that wonderful reward event. This is again, where people struggle. They just want a manual, tell me what to do. And unfortunately, that doesn't work with any kind of dog training, particularly set work. You have to be more flexible with it. So if you want to latch onto anything, unfortunately, that's the thing you got to latch on, is that. It depends.
Lori Timberlake (48:11):
Dianna L. Santos (48:13):
So is there anything else that you want to talk about with the dirty training? Because again, I think this is a really wonderful thing for people to about when they're doing their practice sessions with their dogs, so they're able to break this all up into smaller pieces and be more mindful. But was there anything else that you just wanted to end off the episode on for people to think about?
Lori Timberlake (48:29):
I mean, I could talk about this for hours. It is one of my favorite things, but no, just be creative and think about, and I know it's harder if you're new and you haven't been to trials, but think about things that you've encountered. If you volunteered at a trial and you saw just the last trial I was at last weekend, there was a little bit of plastic on the, it was a very clean, it was like a classroom, and the handler was like, there's plastic on the ground. And we're like, yeah,
Yeah. And we don't want to pick it up, you know, can't pick it up after three or four dogs. Ron, you want to keep the same unless it was dangerous. You have to keep the picture the same for every dog that runs. So think about things you've seen. Maybe think about things that are a problem for your dog and kind of break it down and focus on that, rather than just going crazy and taking everything plus the kitchen sink and putting it in your search area. Try to be mindful and think about what could happen. Or maybe you never thought that would happen and all of a sudden it's happening. So maybe that is time to get a little crazy But yeah, I just think this is fun and I don't want to do it to over face the dog, but to prepare the dog.
Dianna L. Santos (49:39):
And that's wonderful that this is not your opportunity to now, okay, I'm going to screw my dog up today. No, that's not the point. The point is still to provide them with an opportunity to learn and that it's always about learning. So one of the things that I tell people when they're doing proofing is that if you hear the evil music in the background and you're going, haha, the dog is never going to find the hide, change something, right? That's not the point. We're still trying to ensure the dog can find the hide. We're just offering them with other things in the environment so they can make that choice of, yes, I do want to find my hide over everything else. The training has worked, or that you get information that maybe I need to do a little bit more training. So I thought this was great.
Thank you so very much for telling us about dirty training because I do think that it's helpful for people to hear these things that yes, you should be incorporating stuff. It is basically a, you need to train for it, right? Instead of going into a situation be like, oh God, we can't do that. That is your cue to breathe first and then take a step backwards. Be like, okay, well this just means that I need to spend a little bit more time practicing and incorporating this so that we can actually do it. And that you could also do some of these things completely outside of Scent Work first. So as an example with the plastic sheeting, maybe your dog is a little worried about that. Maybe just work on having them play on plastic sheeting completely outside of Scent Work. Maybe they like doing tug or they like to do tricks with you.
Just have them do it on top of the plastic sheeting. Get them really comfortable with it first. Then you can do some searches that have the plastic sheeting inside the search area. There's all kinds of wonderful things you can do. What I love with what Lori is talking about is that mindful and thoughtful approach to this, and the fact that she's going to be incorporating it in her all level trial prep course is really awesome. Again, that course sounds amazing. So I'll make certain that you guys have links for that inside of the podcast episode. But Lori, thank you so very much. I really do appreciate you joining us for this podcast so that people can listen to more people than just me.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything that you do for Scent Work. Between everything that you host, all the teaching, it's amazing. I don't know how you do it, but you are so good at just doing a million things at once. But the things that you have done as far as being both a trial official and a trial host and an Instructor, you have helped so many dog and handler teams play the Sniffy game and have a good time doing it and get these skills. You're giving them opportunities left, right, and center. You're amazing. So thank you for all that you do.
Lori Timberlake (52:06):
Thank you so much.
Dianna L. Santos (52:08):
So as you can see, Lori has a lot of really good ideas when it comes to training in Scent Work. Ensuring that we're not shying away from these possibilities of really helping our dogs work through some challenges when we are doing our searches and training dirty in all different levels of our training may actually be a good thing for us to think about. It's all about being mindful. It's all about being thoughtful, ensuring that we're not setting up trick questions for our dogs, but we are absolutely moving along with their progress. So I really do want to thank Lori for taking the time for having this conversation with us. We really appreciate every time that she can peel away the tacos for a little bit because she is a very, very, very busy woman. She does so much for the Scent Work community. Truly, my hat is off to her from being an Instructor to being a trial official, to being a trial host.
It's incredible what she does. So a huge thank you to Lori. We really do appreciate it. I also just want to let you all know that Lori has recently released a course for us called the All Level NACSW Trial Prep Course. In that course, she talks about how you may be able to tackle this whole concept of a more holistic approach to preparing to trial, particularly at NACSW trials, but it also honestly would apply for any trial organization. It's a really great course. There's a ton of video examples in there, handouts and exercises for you to try. She also covers how to do the whole training dirty concept. So I definitely encourage everyone to check that out if you are a Certified Nose Work Instructor through NACSW, we were just informed that this course has been approved for five continuing education units or CEUs, which is very exciting.
We're going to go through our whole catalog and ensure that we can get all of our online courses and seminars as many as possible, approved as well. So we're very excited about that too. But as always, if you guys are interested in other concepts or other topics, please let me know. We want to make certain that we are reaching out to other speakers who'll be able to come in and share their expertise with all of you. I know we had a little bit of a break as far as when we were putting up podcast episodes, and that's simply because it has just been so busy here. But we're going to be start posting these a little bit more regularly, once again, and I definitely want to make certain that we're posting what you guys are interested in. So if you have a suggestion, is there something you would like for us to talk about? If you have someone in particular that you would like for us to talk to, please let me know and I'll definitely make certain that we get that all squared away for you. But thank you guys so much for listening. Happy training, and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Join Our Newsletter
Stay up to date with all the happenings at Scent Work University, including the release of new online courses, seminars, webinars, eBooks and receive exclusive promotions and discounts!