Follow Your Nose

So yesterday, I went to the park with my wife and Tucker to help with Tucker’s scenting; and by “help” I mean I sat and held Tucker’s lead while my wife went around laying a trail of mozzarella bits and hiding a sock full of string cheese, which is the “jackpot” at the end of the trail.  (Also, I “helped” by discouraging her from marking the trail with flour, on the theory that after we left, somebody would come along, see the flour, think it was anthrax or ricin or something, and call in a HazMat team.  I think I annoyed her a little, but at least she isn’t going to get carted off to jail.)

Anyway, my job was pretty easy.  Sit.  Stay.  Good boy.  Tucker’s job was a little harder.

“Why is Mama way over there?  Why do I have to sit here with you???”

Once the trail was finished, Tucker got down to work.  Notice his special harness — this is what he wears so he knows he’s supposed to be tracking.  It’s kind of like when Clark Kent takes off his eyeglasses and puts on his red and blue jammies and then he’s Superman.

Smells like teen spirit. Or possibly string cheese.

According to the trainer, Tucker is a very determined and methodical scent tracker.  This is what makes him so successful at filching food off the counter and from out of the trash; but when he’s doing scent work, he uses his powers for good instead of evil.  NOTE:  For some reason, my wife objected to this camera angle, so everyone please look at the dog and not at her.  Thanks

The Nose Knows

Hey, you over there — eyes on the dog!!!  Sheesh, there’s one in every crowd …


As you can see, Tucker really enjoys his scent work.  I’m pretty sure this is because he gets a big bag o’cheese at the end of it, but my wife says he likes having a job, as well as getting time alone with Mama, away from Dennis.

Of course, this doesn’t mean he’s stopped trying to steal food when he’s home.  If anything, he’s gotten even better at it — and he was already an expert.

8 thoughts on “Follow Your Nose

  1. Tucker you rock! Look at you go guy. mmmm…. cheeeezzzzz……. I wuf cheese but mom & dad only give me a little at a time otherwise they say I might set off the CO2 detector.


  2. Cooool. Hopefully we can get Loki a job like that soon! Does cheese work well for training? It’s what the agility person suggested we bring as training treats, but I’m worried about how much dogs can handle before they start getting upset tummies.

    Jim says: Cheese is just about Tucker’s favorite thing in the world (after butter and pickles) and because it travels well it makes a good motivator for him. Except for the sock, he just gets little bits of cheese I think. The whole thing probably only adds up to half a regular-size string cheese log. You could maybe give Loki a little bit and see how he tolerates it. (Tucker has a cast-iron stomach.)


  3. That looks like a lot of fun. I don’t have the energy to take my dogs to agility. I think Sissy would do real well because she is really motivated by food and always has her nose “in your gravy”.

    What kind of trainer do you get for this? A sniffer trainer? heh heh

    No seriously, what type of a trainer do you get?


  4. 4urpets- The woman who owns the ranch Dennis goes to for agility, loves to teach tracking. She has taught her own dogs to do search and rescue work. Some of the Belgian Malinois that she breeds have also gone on to do search and rescue work (she also does schutzhund with them). She loves tracking, says all dogs can learn it, and teaches it whenever someone approaches her about it. I believe the smallest dog she is currently teaching to track is a papillon, or something like that.

    -Dennis’s mom


  5. That looks pretty neat! How do you teach them to distinguish good-dog cheese chunks from naughty-dog fried chicken litter? Do you handle the cheese to get your scent on it?

    Jim says: My wife handles the cheese, but I’m not sure if it’s to get her scent on it or not. She does scuff her feet through the grass to create the scent trail that connects the cheese bits, and sometimes she hops a few feet to interrupt the trail and keep things interesting. (If one were watching all this without knowing what was going on, one might suspect she’d gotten into the bottle of chocolate port …)


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