Are You Suffering from Odor Blindness?

Updated: Sep 2

You love Scent Work. You're passionate about it. Your dog loves it, they look forward to their practice sessions and if you compete, they enjoy doing that too.

But is everything really unicorns and rainbows?

Or, are you suffering from a severe form of odor blindness?

Infliction of Odor Blindness 


It is. 

Odor blindness is when a handler thinks odor is only defined by a specific target odor. Think Birch, Anise, Clove, Myrrh, Wintergreen, Cyprus and so on. 

"...That's because it is."

The first step of the healing process is accepting and coming to terms with your diagnosis, and thus fighting the urge of being in denial. So you making this admission is a good sign. 

"Sigh. I don't have time for this..."

Don't despair. The cure to odor blindness is fairly simple. It involves having your dog master the same skills they must hone in Scent Work, without using target odors. 

"I she goes again with the damn pairing!"

No, I think you misunderstood me. I'm talking about doing things completely outside the realm of formal Scent Work. So pairing would not apply.

"I've had it. I think she's completely lost her mind."

Before you storm off, can I ask you one question?


Thank you! If you were to play with your dog's favorite toy and then threw it into the bushes where they roughly knew where it went but not exactly, what skills do you think they would use to find it?

"...Well, they would see where I threw it, so their eyes or ability to see, I guess. Maybe after that, their athletic skills to crawl into the bushes to try to get to it...I'm not really sure what you're getting at here."

Isn't possible that your Scent Work trained dog would use their sense of smell to figure out exactly where the toy was so they could efficiently and effectively work out the problem and not waste valuable calories trying other avenues of attack?


I see. It appears you have a more aggressive form of odor blindness than we originally thought, so we must act quickly. I'm still hopeful for you though. We can get through this together.

Odor is Odor is Odor is Odor 

​Everything has an odor. Your scented q-tips obviously have odor. Your putty also has odor. Your odor vessels also have odor. You indeed also have an odor about you.

Your dog is constantly receiving information about all the odor in their environment. That nose of theirs is always working overtime. 

So, when you toss your dog's toy into the bush it is absolutely possible that they will use their eyes to have an idea of where to start their efforts. However,