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All About Scent Work Podcast

Want more Scent Work training tips? A behind-the-curtain look at what your instructor or trial official is going through? Geek out on all things Scent Work?

Then give our All About Scent Work Podcast a listen! We post new episodes regularly, and are certain you will enjoy it.

You can find the All About Scent Work Podcast on Spotify, Apple, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Podbay and a variety of other locations, in addition to our website.

Like our podcast? Leave a positive review on any of the platforms!

Clarity of Cues in Scent Work

Dianna L. Santos

When it comes to dog training, we are constantly giving our dogs cues to indicate what we would like for them to do in any given moment. "Sit", "Down", "Come" and so on. The same can hold true in Scent Work. But what if the cue you may be using in your everyday life would have an unintended consequence if you used it in Scent Work? Is that even possible?! Yes, yes it is.

In this episode, we discuss the importance of being as clear and mindful as we can when using cues, knowing what the true meaning of those cues are (to the dog), and whether using a certain cue could undermine the very thing we are trying to build in our Scent Work training.

Training for Fun v. Training to Compete

Dianna L. Santos

This episode is designed more as a discussion-piece rather than a "listen as we declare answers on a given subject".

The question is rather simple: should there be an observable difference between a team playing Scent Work simply for "fun" and a team solely interested in competing? My gut tells me the answer should be "No". If that is the case, are we as a community, myself included, shooting ourselves in the foot with how we describe the delineation of the type of teams participating in Scent Work?

Who knows?! Let's discuss!

Open Discussions and Humility

Dianna L. Santos and Bill Gaskins

There is something about human nature that promotes insular thinking, creating echo chambers of like-mindedness, tribes of "us v. them". This is especially true in the dog training community and even more so in the Scent Work world. Step out of your lane and prepare to feel the wrath of the masses! However, having open discussions about training techniques, topics and the overall direction of our sport is essential for everyone's benefit! It is for this reason that it is refreshing and impressive the way that Bill Gaskins of Integrity Nose Worx consistently does just the opposite of the norm by promoting such open discussions and debate.

In this episode, we speak with Bill to have a better understanding of his background and why he feels taking on this role is so important (hint: it shouldn't be so rare, we ALL should be following in his example in promoting more open and honest discussions, being humble in doing so).

Hard Hide...Now What

Dianna L. Santos

At some point in your Scent Work training journey, you will set a super challenging hide for your dog, oftentimes inadvertently. You then have to choose...what do you do? Do you just allow them the time and space to solve the problem, no matter how long that may take? Do you put them up, make an adjustment to the hide and let them immediately run it again? Or, do you put them up, essentially leaving the hide behind and unfound, so that you can tackle that specific problem in a completely different training session later?

In this episode, we talk about these three options, the need to make split-second decisions and also owning up who are as a handler and trainer, not to mention how fluid all of this can truly be.

Properly Training v. Overtraining

Dianna L. Santos

A common human trait is to drill, practice and run repetitions ad nauseam. This is counterproductive, especially when we are talking about Scent Work. Doing so can undercut the very skills you are trying to build for yourself and your dog!

In this episode, we delve into the difference between properly preparing training in Scent Work and overtraining, highlighting why we should avoid doing the latter. We also discuss why this not only important when building our dog's skills, but our own handler skills as well.

Silence! Or Not So Much

Dianna L. Santos

A common myth you hear about Scent Work is that instructors will demand absolute silence...as if this were some sort of military operation where there shall be NO noise and NO fun and NO joy!

In this episode, we work to bust this myth and explain the reasoning behind why instructors may ask for handlers to be quiet as the dog is actively searching early in their career, but the major issues of trying to bake in absolute silence into your training and how this can come back to bite you later.

Being Smart About Equipment

Dianna L. Santos

When it comes to Scent Work, there are certain types of equipment for both dogs and handlers that are common and trendy. But does this mean that these would be a good choice for you and your dog?

In this episode, we discuss the importance of making smart equipment choices, how they may shift and change over time and the reasons why we should introduce certain types of equipment outside the context of Scent Work first.

Thoughtful Trialing

Dianna L. Santos

When we are trialing with our dogs in Scent Work, there is no reason you should abandon the very same principles you have come to rely upon on in training simply because your trialing! Yet, time and time again, you will see competitors doing this very thing!

For instance, if you know a certain routine will set your dog up for success in training, you should absolutely try to use that same routine when you are trialing!

At the very least, this episode will get you thinking and consider how you can approach your trialing experiences more thoughtfully.

Supporting, Crowding and Hindering

Dianna L. Santos
Michael McManus

When we are doing Scent Work with our dogs, what WE do as handlers can have a large impact on whether our dogs can be successful or not.

In this episode, we discuss the topics of supporting, crowding and hindering with Michael McManus, in an attempt to better nail down what these concepts truly mean and how we can all be better handlers and teammates to our dogs.

Time for Empathy

Dianna L. Santos

The state of the world at the time of this podcast is tumultuous, painful and filled with heartbreak. So we are taking the time to challenge everyone in the Scent Work-training community, and the dog training, owning and loving community as a whole, to be better. Leverage your amazing ability to empathize and strive to better understand an alien species, meaning your dog, and apply those very same skills to your fellow human beings.

Now is the time for introspection. For self-improvement. To sit with this discomfort, to learn from it and try to propel our species forward in the right direction.

We hope that you give this episode a listen. All of us in this community have a skill set that can greatly help the populace as a whole if we choose to apply it, share it and practice it ourselves. If we all do our part, things can get better. Bit by bit.

Stay safe. Hang in there. Enjoy your dogs.

What is Failure?

Dianna L. Santos
Michael McManus

When it comes to training and trialing in Scent Work...what is failure? Is there such a thing a complete and total failure? Or, is how we react to how something went while we were training or trialing affect our emotional state and that, in turn, feeds into the possibility of a total failure? Meaning, if we react horribly to how something went, does that reaction then lead to failure as opposed to what we are reacting to? Should we be shying away from failure or should we be including it in our training, to inoculate ourselves from that negative emotional response? If so, how do we go about doing this? Are there pitfalls doing this? Could we be souring a relationship between the handler and their dog? And if it is an instructor doing this, could they be potentially pushing their clients too far and souring that relationship?

These are some of the questions we discuss with Michael McManus in this podcast episode. At the very least, it will get everyone thinking about what their perceptions of "failure" may be, whether they need to be adjusted or not and how it is important to be mindful of our approaches with long-term consequences in-mind.

How Smart Dogs Hunt

Dianna L. Santos
Michael McManus

In Scent Work, we oftentimes harp on our desire for our dog to focus on one thing and one thing alone: the target odor they have been trained to find. But do dogs actually do this? Are they truly discounting the immense amount of information the environment at their disposal? Is doing so not only possible, is it preferable?!

We discuss this and more with Michael McManus in hopes of painting a more honest picture of how smart dogs hunt (and all of our dogs are smart), why that matters and how we may need to adjust our expectations and how we train in response to these realities.


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