In April 2012 Megan & Tim attended the John Rogerson 'Canine Crime Scene Investigation' 4 Day Course:
Day 1 involved some basic obedience, recall, scent training & teamwork exercises.
Day 2 included training 'stops', 'freeze', & tracking various scents. (Apparently Megan was particularly good @ tracking to 'cadaver' scent - nice!!)
Day 3 & 4 involved working as a team of dogs and handlers, attempting to solve a heinous crime using Megan as a canine detective & using powers of observation & problem solving skills to solve the case.
All of which has inspired Megan her 'Dad' to further pursue her Tracking & Scenting Skills!
Megan has recently started Scent Training.
Because she just loves it:-
Total interaction between you and your dog and they get a heap of satisfaction from it. You don't need to be an expert dog trainer to do this. I apply the training I was given by John Rogerson on a routine basis. Instead of just walking Megan I will intersperse it with some tracking or scent work and she just loves it. (I also have John's endorsement to pass on the training.)
Firstly you have to decide on rewards. Whether you use a favourite toy or food the latter requires a variety of treats. This avoids boredom, but you must also be careful of the value of the treat to avoid distraction.
Tracking a scent trail
Step one buy a tracking harness. This will imprint in them that when you put it on them they are doing something special and will always associate tracking with the harness. As soon as I put on Megan's and let her out the car her nose is straight to the ground!
The easiest trail to lay is my own scent.
I put down a trail with only one treat and set her to find it. I do this three times and then increase the length and direction of the trail with more treats. Recently I have gained trail with six treats. Care must be taken to identify wind direction. Chuck a few leaves in the air or buy a "posh puffer".
Always give loads of smiles and affection when they find each treat.
Scent training is a bit more complicated. You have to get the dog to associate a reward with a particular scent. This is done visually for the first three goes (Three seems to be the magic remember number with dogs). Then substitute the reward with the particular scent. Megan was trained with cadaver scent sticks, but recently I used a used handkerchief for a "go back and retrieve". It worked a treat.
You can use a variety of scents such as clove oil on your car keys or gun oil for weapons. If you want to make your own cadaver sticks rotted pork works fine. Remember always, always give plenty of smiling and fuss when they get it right!
After only a few sessions Megan was as tired as a four mile walk. I can then follow with a four miles walk! Win-win situation for the both of us!