20130707-P1010513The question has popped up, “why use a scent stick?” The answer is simple. These dogs love to retrieve. They think it’s fun to go out in the yard and play fetch with it. And while it is loaded up with scent (in our case, “low” blood sugar saliva on dental cotton), it is very close to their nostrils. The whole time they have it in their mouths, the scent is as close as to their nostrils as we can get it.

We start off each session with the dogs doing controlled retrieves. The dog heels by your side, you throw the stick, the dog remains patient, then, after you have gotten eye contact from the dog, you release. The difference between this game of fetch, and playing fetch with a bumper or tennis ball, is when the dog returns with the stick, we also give a food reward and a lot of excitement. We want the dog to know that this scent is important. Tell me about THIS scent, and you will be rewarded heavily. And again, the dog is having fun. Don’t tell them this is work 🙂

The amazing (and for me, fun) part of this training session is hiding the stick. After the dog has fetched the stick several times, the dog has become familiar with the scent. Now you can start hiding it and having the dog use it’s nose to go find it. It is a lot of fun to watch the dog work. You can see the nose in the air and watch how they cover an area to narrow in on it. Hide it in a bush, in a tree, or bring it inside and stick it in your kids bed, on the bookcase, anywhere!

And best of all? The stick cost me about $3 in parts from Home Depot. It consists of a 6″ piece of PVC already threaded on both ends and 2 end caps. I drilled 15-20 holes in it and 2 holes in each end cap. This is a trick I learned at the Canine Hope for Diabetics DAD conference last year.

If you do something like this, show us! I’d love to see pictures of your scent stick or you and your pup doing this. Link us to you YouTube video. Let’s see what you’ve got! If you don’t have access to diabetic scent, but still want to have fun with your dog, you could load this up with an Earl Grey Tea bag.

Team Blackdogsrule

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