Tie Down Apparatus for
Teaching Scent Discrimination
by M. Plonsky, Ph.D.
Text & images copyright © 1999
What follows is a description with pictures of an apparatus that helps in teaching the competition obedience (Utility) scent discrimination exercise. The apparatus is designed such that the non-scented articles are "irretrievable". Attach a dozen little shower curtain holders to a cotton leash or wire. Then you can clip as many articles as you need to this. To avoid tangling when storing, simply hang the whole thing on a coat hook. Be sure that the hot article either has a clip on it or is adjacent to a clip (initially). Also, the first few times you may want to tie the apparatus to something (e.g., doorknob or tree), so the dog won't bring you the whole chain. This can be easily done with a 5 or 6 foot leash.
This technique is a mellow way to teach the task. Initially, start with 2 or 3 articles and increase the number when the dog is sure. When a wrong article is chosen, encourage the dog to continue the search. When the correct article is chosen I make a big deal of it and do whatever trips the dog's trigger. In other words, there is no need for any force. If the dog is a willing worker and retriever, this technique makes the discrimination a simple one for the dog.
|The picture below shows two ways of tying down the scent articles. One uses a cotton leash with metal shower curtain holders inserted through it (that can then be clipped to the articles). The other uses some rubberized clothes line with the metal clips attached with a knot and/or duct tape. Notice how a leash can be used to anchor the tie down apparatus to something.|
|The picture below shows a close up of how the scent article is attached to the cotton leash.|
|The picture below shows a close up of how the scent article is attached to the close line..|
|The picture below shows the hot article. Note that it is places adjacent to a shower curtain clip so that it looks like any other article. Note also how a leash is used to anchor the whole apparatus.|
|The apparatus is stored most easily by simply hanging it up.|