May 4, 2020

What is Failure?

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.

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April 10, 2020

How Smart Dogs Hunt

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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"My dog is distracted by the grass" or "My dog is not focused". These are common things we may hear others, or even ourselves, say when we are doing Scent Work. But what information does this really give us? Are we able to maximize on actionable plans on these statements alone, or are we missing a bigger piece of the puzzle?

In this episode, we discuss the differences between ethology and interpretation with Michael McManus, delving into the advantages of using ethology to help in developing better training plans and approaches in Scent Work.

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Recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic, the purpose of this discussion with Michael McManus CAPE, CATT, CNWI is to delve into why people compete in the first place, how those people will cope with trials being cancelled nationwide while also highlighting ways handlers can use this time to further improve their skills during an otherwise unsettling and uncertain time.

The main takeaway should be that we will all get through to the other side of this. Use this opportunity to reignite your joy for the game of Scent Work and spending valuable time with our dogs.

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March 16, 2020

Demystifying Pooling Odor

Pooling odor: a thing that competitors fret about in competition. But what IS pooling odor REALLY?

We sit down with Michael McManus, CAPE, CATT, CNWI in this podcast episode to discuss this topic, how training approaches may affect a dog's ability to work through a pooling odor problem, how inaccessible hides may worsen the issue and much more!

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March 4, 2020

Idols Need Not Apply

When it comes to teaching Scent Work, a great deal of harm can occur when idolization enters the mix.

We direct this episode to our fellow professional instructors and trainers, urging them to remember that they do NOT need to be perfect, that doing so distances them from their clients, and to reject any attempts of idolization since this can cause serious harm to the human and canine client. A thought-provoking episode for certain, but all topics every professional instructor and trainer should take to heart. We hope you enjoy it and welcome any discussions that may come from it.

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With more and more people being introduced to the activity of Scent Work, it is important for all of us to remember that EVERY dog can do this activity and that this is NOT meant to be a special invitation-only type of exclusive club. Rather, Scent Work should be incredibly INCLUSIVE. We discuss why this is and how we as a community need to do better in this podcast episode. Strap in for blunt real-talk.

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With the explosion of the popularity of Scent Work, it is important that we all understand what Scent Work actually IS, the difference between the competition element and the activity as well as some key rules for playing the game, especially when you are using target odors. There is a TON of misinformation out there, so in this podcast we attempt to set the record straight.

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November 30, 2019

Why Humility Matters

Humility. Something everyone from instructors, trainers, trial officials and dog owners should be practicing. Otherwise, you're limiting your own potential! If you close yourself off from learning, you will stifle your own development that will eventually backfire on both yourself and your dog.

In this podcast episode, we discuss the importance of practicing humility in all things dog-training, but especially Scent Work. Hopefully, this will elicit some criticial thinking and discussions at the very least.

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A disturbing trend trial officials are noticing coast-to-coast is that dogs do not seem to know how to hunt when they are going to trial. Instead of knowing what they are doing as they step to the start line, dogs are instead being lead...or dragged...around search areas and tripping over hides.

In this episode, we discuss this problematic trend, how an overabundance of trialing opportunities are opening up the possibility for more and more dog and handlers teams to rush to trial and a quick test you can do at home to tell whether your dog knows how to hunt or not.

We are not trying to disparage any training approach or school of thought. There are lots of ways to get to the same end goal. But that goal should be the dog tapping into their amazing sense of smell and be allowed to be a dog, not the handler taking over the search. 

At the very least, this podcast will get you thinking.

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