Ready, Set, SNIFF!
This week is all about taking your foundation exercises to new places! Start with taking your containers to new areas in your house...
Vary the configuration of containers...
Next, add some "things" in near the containers (toys if your dog is not very toy motivated and other objects).
And don't forget about trying hides right at the threshold of where your dog is starting from!
Once your dog is confident in other areas of your house, you can try taking this on the road! Only work in places where your dog is already familiar and comfortable, such as a friend or family member's house you visit regularly, or maybe even your dog training school if you attend classes somewhere.
Since you are hopefully able to start going places, let's talk about equipment! In all scent work venues that I'm aware of, you can work your dog on harness, flat collar, or martingale collar. Depending on the venue, you can also use a regular leash (you will eventually want a long line of some kind, at least 10-feet long) OR a flexi leash. It really comes down to personal preference. I don't mind my dogs pulling me in to the search area (in fact, I kind of want that!), so I use harnesses on two out of my three competition dogs. The other dog I compete with does not like harnesses. He will tolerate one, but he's really not very comfortable in them. He also is very methodical in his searching, and doesn't tend to run off the start line like the others - he takes his time and searches carefully. For him, I use a thick martingale collar with some padding. He is way happier with it, and can search without thinking about being uncomfortable in a harness!
Start thinking about what you might want to use, and try having your dog wear it while working. Keep the leash as loose as possible, and let them show you where the correct container is!
Take your containers to at least THREE different locations - remember that you can count places in your house as new locations if your dog has not done any of the exercises there yet. Also do at least ONE search with your dog on leash (either with harness or collar - whatever equipment you are thinking of using).