Boxes of Scent 

Odor Recognition Trials are set for Saturday, December 3 in Oregon City and Hazel is registered for Birch, Clove and Anise. We’re still working on scent responses. Let’s fill in the background. Hazel and I have been working on scent training,which is a rapidly growing sport in the USA. The ORT’s are required to actually compete in trials. One doesn’t have to get serious about the game, just taking classes helps stimulate your dogs brain. 

To practice for the odor trials, I place 6 unmarked boxes out on the floor (or 5 as in the below photo). At the event, there will be 12 boxes (2 rows of 6 or one straight row of 12).


 One box has a small tin of scent inside (cotton tipped ear swabs that have resided in a glass lidded jar with one of the 3 scents).


Hazels job is to investigate each box and let me know which one contains the scent. She alerts me by smelling, sitting down (at the box),and looking up at me before receiving a food reward. I’m always surprised at her enthusiasm change when the treats are extra good! She plops her little butt down and looks right at me so fast! Bacon and turkey are wonderful motivators. 

This is a timed event. The dogs have 10 seconds to start across the starting line and 3min total on the course. 

We will be pushing the box searches all week. Normally I hide the scent tins in bookshelves, under chairs, on chairs, taped to the walls, and even some closed drawers. Her skills and focus continues to increase and I’m trying to keep up with her. The next round of classes start on December 6th! Below is a video of her searching boxes outside during a rain break. 

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Toy Test: Wild Thang

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Toy: Wild Thang Bungee Tug

Company: Genuine Dog Gear  www.genuinedoggear.com

Dog Response: Four paws up from Hazel, Moby, Zeek and Reggie!

Price: around $25

Description:  2 strips of 16″ hide with fur sewn onto sturdy nylon webbing. Nylon handle with bungee tug portion attached to the hide at one end. Well sewn and assembled to last hours of tugging fun.

Downside: Your dog will have tufts of fur stuck in their teeth. Your house will also have small clumps of dark fur appearing during play. Your dogs will want YOU to play with them!

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I happened to be in Bend, Oregon last weekend visiting a dear friend and her two Doodles, Zeek and Reggie. We made a trip to her favorite pet store (Pet Express) in search of harnesses for the boys. I had to check out all their cool toys and found a new one to test. What dog could resist a buffalo/sheep skin tug toy? None of our 4 testers turned this toy down.

Reggie was tester #1 and he would NOT let go. We played for a solid chunk of time with him almost pulling me across the hardwood floors. Zeek even got excited, which was surprising! I almost felt guilty for taking the toy away. They were enjoying it so much.

At home, Hazel took to the toy immediately and I’m considering using it as a reward after a successful scent work run. Moby also grabs this toy and plays tug with Hazel. He’s not been a big tug toy dog and this is the first toy we can really do this with thanks to the solid construction.

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Moby and his new Wild Thang toy

Destructibility: Could a dog chew this toy apart? Yes they could, especially if you leave it out unsupervised. I suspect the first part to go would be the nylon handle/bungee section. The hide/skin portion is pretty tough, but any determined dog could certainly chew through it as well. The company states “Workmanship & materials, 100% guaranteed. Totally washable, drool & drip resistant.” Notice it doesn’t say chew proof, so don’t trust your dog.

Conclusion: Well worth the investment! Happy dogs and a happy owner!

Toy Testers: Reggie and Zeek are both 75 lb labradoodles. Moby is a 79 lb German wire/short hair pointer. Hazel is a 17 lb Cairn terrier mix.