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Open Discussions and Humility

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).

Podcast Episode Transcript

Dianna L. Santos:

All About Scent Work Podcast. In this podcast, we talk about all things Scent Work, that can include training tips, or behind scenes look of what your instructor or trial official might be going through, and much more. In this episode, we're going to be speaking with Integrity Nose Worx owner, Bill Gaskins. Talking about the importance of staying humble and having open discussions about various training topics. Before we start diving into the podcast itself, let me do a very quick introduction on myself. My name is Dianna Santos. I'm the owner and lead instructor for Scent Work University, Dog Sport University, and Family Dog University. These are online dog training platforms. They're designed to provide high quality dog training instruction to as many people as possible. We're very fortunate to have a client basis worldwide. For Scent Work University in particular, we provide online courses, seminars, and webinars, designed to help you achieve your separate training goals, whether you're just getting started, looking to perfect some more advanced skills, or getting ready for trial. So, without further ado, let's dive into the podcast episode itself.


So, once again, in this episode, we're having a discussion with Bill Gaskins, who is the owner of Integrity Nose Worx. And I want to talk to Bill because he is very prominent on social media in having open and honest discussions about training Scent Work. And I was really struck by his humble approach. So, I wanted to talk about that and introduce him to all of our listeners. Let's listen in. I think the best place to start is to learn a little bit more about Bill. So, in this first clip, we're going to be hearing about his experience, where he is coming from, and how long that he's actually been training dogs, in doing professional detection dog work with the military, and then his movement from there to the sport world.


Bill Gaskins:

20 years, eight months and six days, and I know that exactly because it's on all of our retirement paperwork when we leave. So, you sign that five million times. So, I started in 1992, was selected to be a canine handler. So, I handled a patrol dog for the first part of our canine training, went to my first duty station in Alaska, where I handled several different dogs, from drug dogs and bomb dogs, and was trained there. Then I went back to Lackland for what they refer to as our Detection Dog School, and attended that. So, that was in 1993. And then I came back from there, handled a couple more dogs, left for beautiful scenic Incirlik Turkey and handled dogs there and was a trainer, because I went through our canine trainers supervisors course. From there, I became an instructor for my first tour at Fort Dix and I trained... Fort Dix, New Jersey, trained dogs there for deployment operations.


So, getting ready to go to the first direct war. And then I left, went to Korea, it was my graduation gift, and ran the kennels there, the 17 dogs, I was a trainer. And handled a drug dog while I was there. And I returned back to New Jersey, where my wife and was. Ran the kennels on McGuire Air Force Base with 10 dogs, handled the drug dog. And then the last part of my career, I was a military working dog canine instructor. So, I was a course director for five different canine courses. We graduated 624 military working dog teams, the vast majority towards the end of my time there was for deployment to Afghanistan. And so, we developed courseware, specifically for that. The culmination course was a 42-day long detection course. So, it was six days on, one day off, from whenever we started until the end of the duty day.


And it was pretty intense. It was a lot of fun. It was a great way to retire. That's what drove my decision to retire in 2013, was running six of those in a row, and being tired and my wife not liking that life anymore. So, I started in Scent Work about four years after I retired. I went to undergrad. I have an undergrad in workforce education development, went to grad school and got... My master's degree is in curriculum development, with a focus on methods of instruction. And then I went into a little bit of private dog training. I worked for a couple of different dog trainers. Found I didn't enjoy working for police dog trainers, which is a whole other conversation, and got involved in Scent Work. So, I'm at my local club here in New Jersey. There's... For the Bergen County Kennel Club.


I met some folks there, at a couple of Scent Work trials. And while I was talking to them, they said, "AKC Scent Work is brand new." Because that was 2017. So, it was brand new. They were just starting to talk about it, and said, "Well, here's what you need to do. You need to talk to the NACSW, and you might enjoy that a little bit more as a judge." They weren't wrong. I've enjoyed being a part of AKC from pretty much the beginning, but I was one of those that, as they changed the rules for judges, I started out as provisional judge. I went through that entire professional development process. To become a whole judge, it took a couple of years, but I've really learned a lot because of that experience. I stewarded for some great judges, Lisa Russell who runs AKC Scent Work now.


I was a judge's steward for her and a hide steward. Mary [Mila 00:05:22], who was my mentor judge. I never knew my first NACSW trial was with Karin Damon and Dana Crevling. So, I didn't realize who they were. Everybody else was like, "Do you know who you're judging for?" And I'm like, "They are really nice ladies, they seem cool." I didn't realize that they were two of the folks that brought it out to the East coast. So, that was pretty darn goal. And then I became very humbled from that trial, with 120 some odd dogs for three days. And realizing that there was five dudes over those three days. Understanding who our demographic is in the that I am the outsider completely. And I had to earn my strikes that way. So, I've really enjoyed it, learned a ton, and realized how smart the rest of the world is about dog training, and how many holes I had in my understanding, even though I've been doing it since I was 11 with my dad's police dogs. So...


Dianna L. Santos:

Well, that's awesome. So, I mean, I think that it's really helpful for people to understand your background, and that you do have this breadth of knowledge, but the fact that everything that you talked about is with this hint of humility and wanting to continue to learn, which I'm sure that you've already experienced in this field, is... How shall I say, difficult? That once people are experienced, they think that they are experienced and then they're done. So, that's why I wanted to talk to you in this podcast, is that you put yourself out there with your business, and you regularly post training ideas, training tips, things that you think would work for your clients, even just things to talk about, discussion points. So, can you just talk about a little bit, number one, why do you do that? And what your goals are for that? Because I think there are a lot of people, particularly our colleagues, who know, as soon as you stick your neck out, if there's anything about this industry, it's that if you get three dog trainers in the room, the only thing they can agree upon is that they're all wrong.


Bill Gaskins:

That's for sure. If you get two to agree, the third person is wrong, for sure, all the time. Well, no. So, my first experience with Facebook and Scent Work was the friends of AKC Scent Work page. And I'm very close friends, and consider Stacy Barnett as a mentor in this discussion. So, as I say this, I know that it may come off as something that would be negative slanted towards her. So, it is not. But what happened was, somebody posted a question about a trained final response. So, I see on there, "TFR, what's your opinion?" And there's four choices. So, there's, you support having to trained final response, you don't support having trained final response, you let the dog holistically find its indication, and then there was another one that was other, and you have no clue what you're talking about. It was essentially something along those lines.

And so, that was my first foray, where do you go? You go to Google, you go to Facebook, to find out more about our community. So, I fell into the trap, not realizing what I had done. And I clicked, "I like trained final responses." And you'd have thought that I had walked into a purely positive dog training seminar and said, "Everybody needs to throw a prong collar on every dog." They literally came out of the woodwork, like I cursed at their grandmother, saying I'm so silly, I'm diminishing drive, and all these other things. So, I learned very quickly that I needed to watch what I say, but I felt like I had something to share.


What I found is, lots of these communities, as you've probably learned too, the working dog community is very closed off. If you're not all IPO, then you don't go. If you, if you're not into PSA, then what are you doing with your life? There's these folks that are like that, and I thought the sport community wouldn't be like that. And to be completely honest, I think my predecessors, the men that have come from the working dog community, probably turn them off because they're A-type dudes that wanted to crush everybody and tell them how smart they're, "Here, give me that leash, let me show you how it done." And I was really frustrated by that because many of my customers and many of the folks I've judged are smarter than me, just flat out.


And so, what I wanted to do was find a way to just share my perspective and bring the working dog guys along for the ride, because most of my Facebook friends and most of my students are military working dog handlers that I came up with. And so, my hope was, I could do something where those guys could get something from it, and that the sport community would be able to seek some of it too. Like things I saw at trials, how to approach searching a vehicle, it's something that... It seemed really basic to me because I had been doing it since I was 18, but the reality is, it's not something that's basic for the community. It is something that is a challenge. So, just talking about teaching patterning and how frustrating bringing that up was, with folks, was really... It was bizarre to me, to have people so put out by me saying, "You need to teach that dog a systematic pattern to search."


"You mean force the dog to do something? You can't do that." And I said, "Well, no, I'm not forcing the dog to do anything. How about, with high placement, we teach the dog to search from here, and then to the next spot, and the next spot?" Well working dog guys just want to choke the dogs out and make them go, pull them around the car. Well, that's actually not true, we stopped doing that in the eighties and nineties. So, the community had grown. So, I guess that's where I come at it from, is that we had grown a lot as a working dog community, I just don't think that the sport community knew that about us, because all they know is... Like here, the local police departments that they see, which by the way, a lot of military working dog guys will have interactions with, they aren't always positive either.


But that's all they see. They see the pointy-eared, crazy Belgian Malinois that wants to bite everybody and hates living things, and some guy forcing that dog to do it while throwing a collar with a prong and that e-collar and a harness on, and all these really cool stickers and patches on it. There's more to it than that. We had to become thinking dog handlers because, to be quite honest, the threats in Afghanistan were really complex, and they quite literally blew our minds and then we had to be asymmetric in how we train dogs. We had to think, "Well, Hey, maybe this bird dog training thing is something we need to try." And we did a lot of directionals, where we would cast dogs out in front of us, crazy things like putting headsets on dogs, and talking to the dog, and getting the dog to stop at a distance, using crazy talk, whistles, to get dogs to do... To cast them out and stuff.


And so, by the time it was all said and done, a really good mentor of mine, a guy named Antonio Rodriguez, he would challenge me all the time, that, "Why are you training that way? Why are you still using the stuff that we were using in 2000, when the threat is a 2010 threat?" So, it's a long way to get to answering your question, but I think there's a lot that working dog guys can learn from the sport community, at the same time as sharing all of that. So, I'm not ashamed of it. I'm a knowledge thief. I walk into a room trying to learn something, and if... I can even learn something from the people that truly the average person probably wouldn't learn anything from, like who not to be and how not to be.


Dianna L. Santos:

And I think that, that's a really important thing, that you just picked on, is, the one thing that I try to always emphasize to people is that you can always learn something, and sometimes learning what not to do is almost more valuable than what to do. So, if you see something that isn't working, then don't do that, but you need to be open to that possibility. And I think also, really highlighting the fact that you're coming from a functional standpoint, where you were tasked with, "I need dogs to do things, because people's lives depend on it." And that, what we all have to understand, in our sport community, is that's not what we're doing, however, that doesn't diminish what you're coming from. So, trying to square those two, because I think one of the issues that people have in the sport community is trying to make their little foo foo dog, whose most important job is to be a pet, try to act as though they're doing life or death in Scent Work, which they're not, but to discount your approaches because that's of how you were approaching it, with what you were priorly doing.


So, I think that it's important to understand all those different things in the interplay. But what I appreciate is the fact, again, that you are open to talking about the various types of approaches that we can take. And the thing that you consistently write in your post is that this is a way of doing it, not the way of doing it. So, did you want to talk about that a little bit? How it is that you came about coming up with that terminology, try to help people understand what it is you're trying to convey?


Bill Gaskins:

Sure. I was lucky enough to have a couple of, as we'd refer to them, straight legs. So, regular cop instructors, if people didn't know, the air force infantry is the security forces career field, which I was a part of. It's a lot of what we did. I'd be in the field, integrating the dogs into that environment. So, going in, looking for bombs, from a standpoint of human beings and vehicles, then my job was train the dog handlers, how to integrate with those guys. So, one of my mentors would always say that, "Look, this is a way, not the way. If you would always just train people the way, then they never know how to think outside of the box and deal with the real world, because no plan and no training outcome ever survives the trial or the operational experience, the things will always change. You can plan, plan, plan. And as soon as you get there, it's going to go a different way."


And so, what we tried to always do is look at training from that perspective. And so, I think that the reason that I've gotten there is this, is that I started with... I guess the closest analogy would be pairing in a box, just like the sport community knows to a degree. And what we would do is, we would have odor in a bunch of boot boxes, literally military boot boxes with a hole cut in the top, and we would make a presentation. We would take our hand and put it in the hole, and the dog would have to go to that hole and put its nose there. And even when I first started doing it, it didn't make sense to me. "Why am I in the dog's way, putting my hand in the box?


So, that's literally how I learned in 1992, it was forcing the dog to point here, and then looking at every place that you look at, "Where can I put my hand to make my dog put his nose? Because that's a productive search area." So, I think it's what police and military folks that have been around for a long time, especially my generation of guys. That's what we bring to the sport community, is always looking at everything as a productive search area. It's why we make good judges for NACSW, I believe, because when a CEO sets a problem, our job is to look at that training problem from the standpoint of, "Where could odor move?" Not, "Where is it going to move?" Because you wear glasses like I do, my prescription isn't odor seen, it's... I wish they were there because I would go buy them.


But the reality is you have to find a way to get your dog to get there, if that means getting in your dog's way and putting your hand there, then so be it, which I know is isn't shunned, people in the sport community hate that concept, but sometimes you just got to... It's a team, you're a working team. So, you have to do that. I think the next part of it is that once we started to look for different ways to train for the threats that we were experiencing, we realized that the old school ways that the ATF was training our guys, looking for homemade explosives, and some of the other ways of tossing a KONG over a dog's head, using its ears as a target, to try and get the KONG to go through their ears, so that it would hit right where the odor was coming from.


All of that just created anticipation behaviors. It was counterproductive to what we were trying to do, which was have a focused indication. So, we were doing marker things. We were using clickers. We were using... Special worker guys have been using clickers for years. If you ever talk to Cameron Ford, Cam will talk about that a lot, the special forces guys were using that before the rest of the working dog community was. And so, the fact that the working dog community still mocks people that use marker training is insane to me. So, yeah. So, once I started doing it regularly, and got involved in sport, and realized all of these different ways to do it... Well, I can't call myself an instructor and a teacher without saying, I need to differentiate training to the dog team that's in front of me.


So, sometimes I need to pair in a box, the dogmatic way that the NACSW would love, literally have the box open, the odor is in there, drop some treats in it, maybe this time around, you use a Fred Helfers bowl. One of those cool bowls that has the drain in the bottom of it, inside of a box, maybe I use a Randy Hare box on my wall, the scent wall that everybody loves to talk about. And maybe, just maybe crazy talk, I need to throw a KONG, once in a while, or maybe I use Dave Kroyer's method that is really in sync with Karen Pryor's back-chaining using markers and targeting first to a place board, maybe that works for this dog. And so, what I really found is, there's so many different dog breeds that I didn't know existed, like this bemoaning Spinone Italiano, which I still think is made up.


And it's so many different people that are trained in so many different ways, that you can't just make it up as you go. But at the same time, in one instance, I may need to use a marker, but the clicker scares the dog. So, now I just need to use a yes, or maybe I use something that Stacy taught me, and I have the odor right in my hand, and skip all of the other steps and literally, odor is in my hand, nose is on it, yes. Give the dog a treat. Well, that's, kind of, how I approach it, is that I want to be able to assess the team, really look at the dog on three levels, or the team on three levels, the dog, the handler, and the overall team, and decide what would work best for the 68-year-old woman that can't bend over.

Or the 22-year-old guy that can outrun me and do everything else. I need something for those two customers and their different breeds of dogs. And so, I think that's, kind of, how I approach it. So, that's why I'm not afraid to share, because my hope is that somebody will take the bait when I share something, and say, "Well, no, actually, man, you're looking at it the wrong way." And then I can hit them and say, "Cool, tell me your way." And then I'll now learn something new that'll help the next guy. That's really what I'm hoping for.


Dianna L. Santos:

And that's really remarkable. And I hope that you can take a moment to really pat yourself on the back for that, because the fact that you are opening yourself up to that is something that, again, we are taught through aversion in our interactions with others, that it's not exactly the wise way of doing things, at least if you want to stay in business for any length of time where people aren't making voodoo dolls in order to have your demise. So, I really... Again, why I wanted to talk about this with you is that I've noticed that over the years, we've been following each other for a while now, and that you are consistent in this, and that you are... It's the string of humility and the fact that you're opening up discussion, and it's not from a place of, "Well, Bill is standing on top of the mountain, and all of you little minions will come up eventually, but I'll kick you back down because you're not as good as me."


That's not what you're doing, which is awesome. And I hope that you can appreciate the fact that this is very rare. It's not common, but it's very needed in our community, even just from colleagues, for us to be comfortable enough to talk about this stuff with one another, to even... So, I have my preferences. I love Karen Pryor. I love... I am a KPA. I love clicker training for everything else. I think that I've used clicker training in certain things. If you have a dog who's really crazy, as far as destroying boxes, for instance, I think that's a wonderful thing, but I am also CNWI, I love the approach of NACSW, but that's my preference, it doesn't mean that I think that you are Satan incarnate because you don't want to follow that.


And I think that that is something I really want to touch upon in this discussion, was the fact that we can have preferences, but also recognize that there's value in other ways of doing things. So, did you want to just talk about, really quickly, how you're able to square the circle of when you may have clients who have multiple dogs who may have different needs, how do you help that person go from, "Okay, Bill and I have found a way that works. It's doing wonderful. Now I have dog B that needs something completely different, but wait, Bill, you told me to do something else, what the hell?"


Bill Gaskins:

Yeah. That's really hard, because I think... The other day, somebody else said it, and so, I wish I could attribute it to the right person but, sometimes we should all over each other. My shoulds are there. And so, I had my, "You should train this way because I've always trained this way." What I've, sort of, defined is that I have to use as much science as I know. There's a bunch of times where I'll start to talk into back-chaining, for example, I'm not a psychologist, I've taken psychology classes. I'm not a behaviorist, but I've been talking dog behavior my whole life. So, I only know what I know, like all of us do. So, when I have that person, that case in point, I know somebody that's handling this Schnauzer that just bought a cur dog. She has done all these great things with her Schnauzer, she has got titles and all the alphabet soup on both ends of the dog's name, and ribbons all over the place.


And so, she has this different dog. And so, now, how do you take this dog, when she's used to this high drive giant Schnauzer that's basically a Malinois with long hair, and now I have to take this little sweet female puppy, that's a cur dog which... I have enough experience with behavior issues, as an obedience trainer, to know that they have their own quirks too. So, I just decided to try and use markers with that dog. She didn't like clickers. So, we just... We literally, within the first five minutes of the session, I have her take my clicker with my logo on it, put it in her pocket, say, "Keep it as keepsake, put it in your top drawer, lose it if you want to, feel free, but let's try using verbal markers." And sure enough, the pup really caught on to it.


Dianna L. Santos:

Oh, good.


Bill Gaskins:

We'll drop a couple of treats into a drawer of a nightstand, to get the dog used to the idea of going into the drawer. And it was really weird for her because there's no commands, it's all free shaping. It's really awkward to stand there for an entire session and not say much. And they look at... The customer looks at you like you're nuts. Just trust the process. Please just... If you just embrace the process, I promise you. And then what they see is their little puppy running up, and sure enough, offer an indication where it stays focused on that spot waiting for the yes. So, I think the differences is having to tell folks to be patient. It's a longer upfront process with a longer lasting reward, to train the way that is Bill's preference.


The harder part though is when I go in and I start with my preference, let's say I run a seminar, and it's a marker based seminar. And within the first 15 seconds, there's a dog... The very first dog I'm working with does not respond to anything I'm doing. Now all of a sudden I have to-


Dianna L. Santos:

They're very good at that.


Bill Gaskins:

It's so hard. Dogs humble you more than any human being ever could. And so, I'd go into taking a toy and put it into the same nightstand drawer that I would have used, with just treats and just crackers a little bit. Now I'm literally going back 1990s style, banging on the top of the nightstand, to get the German Shepherd to look at it, and the dog runs up and we pop the drawer and give him a toy, the whole time, knowing I hate it, to the center of my being, but it works for the dog.

And I think that, that's where it's at, is that having other people see you be willing to differentiate to the needs of the team, encourages folks and gets them to trust you, that you're willing to switch on the fly, and train every dog in an individual way that it needs to. And I think that sells itself. Yeah, I wish I was some of the other trainers that we could both list, and I respect the ton out of you and what you've done, and I wish I could be on your level and some other folks, but I'm willing to just take the slow path. If it means that it takes me five years to get on your level or some other folk's level, then I'm okay with that because I would rather be true to it.


The name Integrity, my wife picked it for me, she knows me better than me. I married a "trust me." And so, for me, it matters to have integrity in the process. It matters to literally trust it, and the dog will come. And if the dog doesn't, then we need to change, and be humble enough to see that it needs to change. And that's the real focus of it all. And I think that being authentic and admitting to people when you're wrong is what keeps the people that would doubt me, coming back. I do really think that, except for the working dog guys.


Dianna L. Santos:

Yeah. Well, I really appreciate all of that because, again, I think it's really important for us to highlight that... This should not be an outlier, but it is, unfortunately, that... And I'm going to take liberties to speak upon... For all of our colleagues, but that there is this assumption that we have to be perfect, that we can never make mistakes. God help you, if you're a trial official and you don't set a perfect trial, God help me, if you are a competitor and you don't have every single title under the sun. It's just not true. And I think that we need to get away from that perception. That, that's the way that it's supposed to be, because the authenticity and the humble approach that you are portraying is something that we should be celebrating. It should not be rare. And it should be something that we are aspiring to because it helps our clients.


Because what you are basically saying is that you are attempting to help clients understand that their own individual dog needs, as well as their own, while being flexible enough to figure out new solutions, because things can change. You could have an absolutely amazing dog who then suddenly, for a medical reason, goes deaf or goes blind, or has some other kind of medical issue where something changes, or they just get old. They happen to get old. Things change, and what your approach does, it allows an interjection of flexibility that, quite frankly, is lacking, for a lot of people. "I did this when my dog was two, I should be able to do this when my dog is 15." That's just not true. So, I appreciate what you are bringing to the community because it's very much needed. And I'm hoping that maybe, just to wrap this up, you could speak about how you do help your human clients apply that kind of humility, flexibility, and flexibility, as far as their approach is to themselves, as far as what they may need to do in a given instance, particularly when we're talking about trialing.


So, the one thing, and I'll try to make this have a little bit more sense, is that particularly if you're going to different organizations, you are, as a competitor, at the mercy of mother nature, first of all.


Bill Gaskins:

True. Absolutely.


Dianna L. Santos:

She can be in a very bad mood, on any given moment, but the trials are not a representation of your worth as a person. And that's a very hard thing for people to wrap their heads around. So, if you want to talk about how it is that you help your clients understand all of that, while staying flexible enough to not crash and burn all of their training on one bad trial experience, but at the same point, being able to take nuggets of knowledge, to maybe add to their training program going forward.


Bill Gaskins:

Sure. The joy of being a military working dog trainer for other people's dogs was always that, being here at Fort Dix, we didn't have our own dogs. And so, what would happen is, dogs would come in from all over the air force. So, we all start training at the same place, in San Antonio, Texas. But the reality is, when you go out to the career field, everybody trains differently. So, every dog that came through had... There was a Luke Air Force way in Arizona. So, those trainers trained their handlers a certain way. And there were fingerprints always on their dogs. You saw a Luke dog show up, and you knew it was going to be trained a certain way. So, we always had to adapt, very quickly, to how those handlers were trained, because we didn't have the time to play around and retrain them. We just never did.


And so, I think that's where I got the idea from, was... I had to... My job was to train the handler, not train their dog, to train their handler, because the dog was already trained. It didn't need me to train it. But I needed to make sure the handler could work their dog in every environment. We would be searching in torrential downpours, and we did six days of night training, as part of our course, where they would have to work at night. Imagine being... Working at night, how hard it would be for our sport friends, because the environments always have to be perfect.


And so, dealing with the fact of dogs urinating and defecating in search areas, and just having to go, "Oh, well, that's the real world." All of those types of things. And so, when you get used to training people to work their dogs, then that's all I worried about. And then throw a couple things in here to help their dogs in certain instances. So, flip it over to the sports side, I think that, that's... That's what I think is most important, it's prepping people's mindset for what they have to go through. For example, Boyd's loop or the OODA loop, and I've done a seminar on it before, and I used to... I taught it for years.


But literally, observing, orienting yourself, deciding on the information that you have, and then acting on the best information that you have at that moment. Well, that's what happens at the start line. So, that's what I'll teach students. And I will even talk to competitors at trial, when I judge with them. You can ask any of my stewards, I literally probably drive them nuts because I try and coach up the competitors before they hit the start line. I actually had a couple of CEOs say, "Hey, wait a minute. You're just supposed to judge, just do."


But I hate saying no. And I hate seeing some person, some of the horror stories of folks doing 11 NW2's or as many in NW3's before they could move on. The folks that have come in through AKC, and never get past advanced. And so, that's what I feel like my job is supposed to do, is be a cheerleader for them, do my level best to make sure that they're the ones that understand that, "Look, we could train your dog all day, but if you can't work it, then you're wasting your money." And I think that, that's, kind of, how I've tried to approach it, is that I could give you the perfect dog, and you still couldn't work it because you're not open to the idea, how to work that dog.


Dianna L. Santos:

And that's really important. So, I appreciate you talking about all of that, because it's... The one thing that I've found, as far as a trend, in Scent Work, is that the focus is always on the dogs, where the dogs are actually pretty damn good at what they do, it's really the people, which is really with all dog training, the dogs are really good at being dogs. It's just getting the person to be a little bit closer to the dog side. So, was there anything else that you wanted to share, as far as maybe things that people can think about, for any type of person, your competitor, your trial official, your fellow colleagues, of things that we may be able to do as individuals, as far as, working with our own dogs, being open to training, being out in the community, is there any kernels of knowledge that you would like to share for people to do?


Bill Gaskins:

That's deep. I really think it's just the idea, living with the idea that every time you interact with somebody, let's say that's on the fringe, and is interested or curious in the sport of Scent Work, is every one of those interactions should be priceless. Instead of being aloof or thinking you're some special person because you happened to get a couple of ribbons at a trial, it doesn't make you better than that person. You don't know their journey that got them there, heck, they could be a better dog handler than you could ever hope to be, but those interactions, if you're a jerk to them, which... I was lucky, in my first couple interactions, I didn't have those. But I've had a ton of them outside of that first interaction, that were very negative, where folks would tell me I didn't know what I was doing, that I would... That my experience wouldn't apply, that I'm too nice, that... All these other things.


And that's so infuriating, because every interaction, to me, should be special. If you want more folks, then there's the key. If we want more folks to get addicted to this thing called Scent Work, and dream about it, like you and I do, then darn it, don't take those interactions for granted. If somebody comes to a trial to watch, embrace it, explain everything you can to them. If somebody is interested in a class, you're teaching an obedience class, and they see all the Scent Work stuff over to the side, explain it to them. Maybe, who knows, maybe you have the next detective person in AKC, or the next summit competitor in NACSW, they could be the next you. It could be the next, all the other big names in our community. So, that's what I would say, is that treat those interactions like they're golden, and always, always, always thank the volunteers at any trial period.


They don't get paid, I get paid to stand there and say yes and no. And it's embarrassing, sometimes, to see what the poor volunteers go through, and I'm getting... Like, "Hey, can I get you another bottle of water?" And they're drenched from the rain that's outside, and I'm inside warm, going, "How about you take the [crosstalk 00:35:45] Why don't we switch spots?" It just feels so... Yeah, that would be it. Be humble and grateful for the folks that ask the question, and always be humble and grateful for every volunteer that helps.


Dianna L. Santos:

Perfect. Well, thank you so much. I think this is a really great place for us to start. I look forward to maybe having more discussions with you. I'd also love to bring in some other colleagues. I think that if we can basically jump on your coattails a little bit and open up these discussions, because it's things that one or two people might talk about, like, "Okay, well, I trust you. And I know you're not going to throw me under the bus. So, we can talk about it together." We should be doing this more publicly. We should be doing this more openly because I think that it will help just everyone understand that this is not, unlike your prior, things that you did. This is not life or death. And that we are just finding Birch, Anise and Clove, or some other things. It doesn't matter. It's just a game, who cares? So, I really do appreciate it. Do you want to share information about your website, your Facebook, and how people can find you?


Bill Gaskins:

Sure. So, I'm on Facebook at Integrity Nose Worx. I'm also on the inter webs at integritynoseworx.com. So, you can find me on both of those. I'm more than willing to answer questions and stuff through Facebook Messenger there. And I'm out in Burlington County, New Jersey, not too far from Mount Holly, and we'll always be near the joint base. So, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst as well. So, once things start to open up, and the world that comes back to normal, I'm willing to judge all up and down the East coast, offer seminars and everything else. And so, the fact that anybody gives me a pity like, or follows me at all, is very humbling. So, I appreciate it, because I started out with... The reason I say that, I had five likes on my page for about a year, and they were all pity family and friends. And then here I am now.


Dianna L. Santos:

Well, that's awesome. And again, the way that your business has grown is really... It's very much a testament to yourself. You're very active on social media, you do a very good job with all your posts. There are times where I'm like, "Oh, I wish I was as good as he is!" So, I really do appreciate you taking the time. We'll make sure that we have links for all of your contact information, either in the podcast post or in our Facebook post. So, you guys can check them out there. So, thank you very much.


So, I hope that you enjoyed this discussion with Bill Gaskins. I look forward to having more discussions with him in the future. I think having these open and honest discussions about the various types of ways that we can teach Scent Work is extraordinarily helpful for the entire community. So, we hope that you enjoyed this episode and that you found it helpful. Happy training, and we look forward to seeing you soon.



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