Scent Detection Blog

The Top 6 Dog Training Vests, Bait Bags and Aprons

May 16, 2022

Many clients have asked about which dog training vest I wear. In this post I’ll share my favorite products for carrying food rewards and supplies like gloves for outdoor dog training sessions in all types of extreme weather.

Please keep in mind that I train every day, outdoors from -55°C to +34 °C (that's -67°F to 93°F) , with many dogs. If you don’t train a lot, you can probably just put the food or toy rewards into the pocket of your clothes. But the more supplies you bring to outdoor training, the more challenging it is to find each item when you need it ASAP. For example, if one dog has allergies, and you need to keep their rewards separate from the others, then having more than one pocket is helpful. If you’re dropping items or losing them, then a training vest can help to organize your rewards and gear.  

Here are my 6 favorite options for carrying rewards and training supplies. (These are not affiliate links so I...


Don't Miss Out! World Detector Dog Organization - Setting the Standard, April 8-9, 2021

Apr 01, 2021

Join us to learn about the latest advances in canine scent detection, and take your scent detection to the next level at the WDDO 15th Annual Conference. There's only one week left to register for live online seminars on April 8-9, 2021. You can’t beat the price, at $50 for two days of K9 Scent Detection Seminars, presented by industry experts, where you can get answers to your questions. You'll also get access to recordings after the event.

All levels of experience are welcome. This is an opportunity for detector dog professionals and enthusiasts to recover from the gap in training forced in 2020. This is a fresh chance to review the basics, deepen your knowledge, share best practices, and explore new areas of scent detection research, among a community of peers.

The WDDO conference has been credited with 6 CEUs for CNWI (Canine Nose Work Instructors), and application has been made to IAABC (International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants) for similar...


Demystifying Indications Free Webinar on Sun. Nov. 15, 2020 | Hunter’s Heart

Nov 14, 2020

Registration is now open at:

Here’s what we’ll cover at the webinar:

  • What are indications?
  • What sniffer dogs wish you knew about indications.
  • What are the pros and cons of indications for canine scent detection?
  • Exploring how to train indications to maximize motivation, precision, and reliability.

To find the time in your local time zone, visit…

Hope to see you soon!


Scent Detection Terminology

Nov 04, 2020

Scent is a moving target, carried and distorted by the wind, forming a constantly changing, complex, landscape that is largely invisible to humans. As a detection dog handler, one of the most challenging parts of your job is figuring out how to help your sniffer dog get to where they need to be to find odor, rather than hindering them by blocking or pulling them away from scent. Therefore, understanding scent terminology, and how scent moves, is crucial to the success of your team.

This post begins with the most frequently used scent detection terms all beginners will likely need in their vocabulary. (Without these basics, it would be hard to follow most scent detection discussions, competitions or articles). Below that, we provide a more detailed glossary of terms you might find helpful. 


Please note that for each term, if you conduct an internet search you will likely find droves of definitions. Experts...


How Do I Get the Toy Back? Toy Switching Prevents Keep Away

Sep 14, 2020

Toy play helps to engage and motivate dogs, and if your puppy is chewing, providing appropriate toys help prevent chomping people's hands. One of the most common errors is playing "keep away", where the handler tries to grab the toy (or the dog's collar) and the dog runs away. This can quickly become a happy game for the dog, but it's certainly inconvenient for the handler.

Keep away frequently happens because the handler focused on taking the toy away from the dog. Some of the best retrievers don't want to give up the toy. From the dog's point of view, playing with the toy is rewarding, and when you take it away it's punishment. So how do you get the toy back? 

The video above demonstrates a better strategy: toy switching, which makes tug a more interactive, cooperative game you enjoy together. It's not just about the toy, it's about playing an exciting game with you. When you focus on having fun, instead of taking the...


Barking Indication - How to Start Training

Aug 08, 2020

Ever wondered how to deal with situations where your dog finds target odor but you can't see them? How will you know they've found source? Will your dog let you know, or come back to find you? This post show how to start training an indication with barking, so you can easily locate your dog while they indicate target odor at a distance.


Barking is useful for sniffer dogs who work at a distance, so the handler can't see them when they find and indicate source, such as searching debris piles for Search and Rescue. Barking tells you the dog has found target odor and helps you to locate them. When combined with a sit/down stay while staring at source, you'll know exactly where to find your dog, and the source of target odor. 

In the video above, I use cheese to start training BB to bark. BB is my 9-year-old bed bug detection dog who's already trained for a passive, silent sit/down indication. (Most facilities do not like bed bug...


Building the Brains of Newborn Puppies

Jul 26, 2020

Did you know that healthy puppies are born blind and deaf, and must rely on their sense of olfaction (as well as touch) to find their mother's milk? Sniffer dogs aren't only born, but can also be carefully nurtured, starting from newborns and beyond. For example, starting at 3 days of age, a critical window of opportunity for puppy development is open: for Early Neurological Stimulation, in addition to Early Scent Introduction. 

Over several generations of sniffer dogs (since 1999), Hunter's Heart Brittanys has followed the Biosensor (Early Neurological Stimulation) program (1), as well as introducing a new scent daily. This early brain training introduces mild stressors, prompting the neurological systems to adapt and accelerating brain development. It kickstarts the neurological system and may result in earlier proficiency and improved performance over what would normally occur without intervention.

Essentially, we help to build the brains of the puppies...


Save More Time Training on Cocktailed Hides

Apr 24, 2020

Did you know you can save more time by training canine scent detection using cocktail?

A “hide” is the package of target odor inside a ventilated container that is hidden in the search are for the dog to find e.g. a cotton swab inside a metal tin. Learn how to make single odor hides with proper odor hygiene at:

A “cocktailed” hide contains multiple odors. At my classes, I routinely use a cocktail of all 6 target odors required for CKC Scent Detection Competition: Birch + Anise + Clove + Wintergreen + Pine + Cypress. The video shows exactly how to make hides with a cocktail of all 6 CKC scents. 

Of course, you can make a cocktail of whatever target odors you want your green dog to learn. For example, illegal narcotics on the street are rarely 100% pure, so training on a mixture by using cocktail more closely resembles real life deployments....


Recipe: Noncrumbling Tuna Fudge Rewards

Apr 19, 2020

Every canine scent detection class I teach begins with a taste test of the available food rewards, because building drive depends on making it rewarding for each individual dog. When you offer a dog 2 - 3 high value food rewards, and let the dog select the one they prefer, they will be more highly motivated to succeed.

I learned scent detection from a military detection dog trainer, who demonstrated that most dogs enjoy Rollover or rotisserie chicken from the local grocery store. But while these foods appeal to dogs, they usually fall into pieces that make a distracting mess on the floor. The best training rewards should have it all:

  • Smelly and tasty
  • Noncrumbling – dry, tidy and easily portable
  • Available in small pieces – you want the dog to gobble a piece quickly and get back to work, so you can practice the most repetitions in the time available
  • Healthy – quality and nutrition with no surprises, and the fewer additives the better
  • Cost effective, and
  • ...

50% OFF STAY AT HOME SALE Ends April 19, 2020

Apr 18, 2020

Watch the video to see what Domino has to say about our scent detection training. 

Register for our new 7-Day Scent Challenge to learn how to introduce your dog to a new scent in just 7 days, like we did with Domino. Choose your favorite scent e.g. a glove for handler discrimination. The protocol applies the same techniques we use to train professional detection dogs. The secret is it has to be fun.

We're so sure you'll have fun, it's guaranteed. Try the course and if you don't have fun, you have 7 days to request a refund. The 50% OFF STAY AT HOME SALE ends at midnight, April 19, 2020!


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