13 Things You Need in Your Scent Kit

Apr 09, 2020

Here are the 13 supplies you need in your scent kit, so you can efficiently make hides and ensure proper odor hygiene. 

Pro Tip: make your hides at home, not in the field. At home there is no wind, and you have time to be careful and avoid contamination. For safety, avoid bringing glass into the field because it’s breakable, which could hurt dogs and handlers.

For your convenience, I've included some links to purchase items on amazon.ca so you can see what similar items look like. I am not an affilitate, and earn no revenue if you choose to purchase or not. 

  1. Sharpie marker or pen
    • Use a marker or pen to label all containers.
    • Tip: put a post-it-note inside your pelican case and write down the number of hides in and out (comparing how many hides you place in the search environment vs. how many you pick up when you’re done, will ensure you recover them all.)
    • If you’re placing several hides, writing down the hide locations while you place each of them will prevent you from not being able to remember where the hides are.
  2. Target odor
    • For nosework, most essential oil bottles come with an orifice reducer or a dropper cap. If yours doesn’t, to get a small amount of oil out of the bottle, try using a disposable graduated pipette (1-3 mls capacity).
  3. Airtight container
    • You need an airtight container hold all of your scent supplies. I keep each odor inside its own plastic case, and then place them all inside ammunition cases, fishing tackle boxes, or Rubbermaid containers.
  4. Paper towels
    • To clean up messes. Especially when you rush, you will make a mess.
  5. Garbage bag
    • To collect any garbage e.g. Purolator envelope
  6. Airtight container
    • To hold your scented papers e.g. amber glass jar, aluminum screw top tin, mason jar.
  7. Parchment paper or tarp
    • To cover the top of the table you’re working on and catch drips.
  8. Nitrile gloves
    • If you can’t get gloves, try using a dog poop bag, plastic food gloves like cafeterias use, Ziploc or sandwich bags to cover your hand.
  9. Tweezers
    • To pick up the scented swabs and move them
    • If you can’t find tweezers, use what you have: kitchen tongs, hemostat forceps (home healthcare supplies), chopsticks.
    • Tip: Hides fall into cracks (expect enthusiasm and aggressive alerts) At the end of the day, long tweezers (6-14 inch aquarium tweezer) will save you from leaving hides behind that are difficult to remove. They let you reach into cracks to grab things in places even the smallest fingers can’t reach.
  10. Well ventilated hide vessel e.g. tin with holes
    • Or shipping envelope, polyolefin heat shrink tubing, cotton glove, Tyvek envelope, wood container, etc.
    • Tip: Vary everything but the target odor or your dog may learn to find the hide vessel you use most often, contaminants and/or human scent.
  11. Paper or cotton
    • To hold the scent – cotton swabs cut in half are most common, or cotton pad, cotton ball, lab paper, artist’s blotting paper (paper without a smell that holds lots of water without disintegrating)
    • Note: Do not use cotton swabs with plastic middles, because plastic chemically interacts with the oils in unpredictable ways. Do not store oils in plastic; glass is the gold standard. Amber glass protects from UV light.
  12. Adhesive
    • Tape is the most common, or glue dots, magnets, staples, elastic band, Quakehold museum putty should be used to secure the scented cotton swab inside the hide vessel.
    • The hide vessel also needs to be secured in the environment so dogs can’t retrieve or move it.
    • Don’t use duct tape; when you try to remove it, it leaves a gummy mess. Gaffers tape, frog tape, painter’s tape, scotch tape or glue dots are all better.
    • Tip: in the coldest weather, try elastics, because tape, glue dots, putty probably won’t work. (When it's cold enough, even batteries won't work, so headlamps, flashlights, phones and videocameras may not function.)
    • Tip: The best hides outlast hundreds of dogs, all day long, no matter the weather. Every hide should be where you expect when you go back to collect it! 
  13. Nice to have – scissors, stapler, flashlight, extra hides, stopwatch, magnets, weather resistant notebook, clipboard.

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