Teaching To Not Sniff The Ground

Discussion in 'Service Dog Training' started by twinspirits, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. twinspirits Well-Known Member

    How can I teach Dreamer that when in the store or working it's not okay to sniff the ground or the shelves but it is okay to go sniffing when we are out for a for a walk/exercising?

  2. fly30 Experienced Member

    I've noticed that a dog tends to stop doing something when you ask him to do something else, in other words, get his attention back by asking something he knows well (sit, or come on or whatever).
    Also, maybe you could teach Dreamer to sniff on command (outside, where he'll be allowed to) and to stop sniffing. When it becomes a command as such, maybe he'll stop when you ask him to.
    I have not experimented it, it's just an idea.
    Tell us how it goes.
    MaryK and Jean Cote like this.
  3. ambara Active Member

    Hauru is a scent hound accidentally born into a shepherd's body so I had to teach him that sniffing is not at all allowed when we do obedience, agility or something like that. Even the most innocent little sniff can turn tracking mode on and than it's like talking to a rock :p

    The teaching itself went like fly30 said, I just asked him to pay attention to me or the task at hand whenever I saw him even thinking about using he's nose. He has no troubles understanding that sniffing is okay when he is "off-duty" since I never prevent the behavior when we aren't "working" so I didn't need to teach that part. There weren't any real negativity linked into it I don't see why he wouldn't try it in a different situation.
    MaryK likes this.
  4. fly30 Experienced Member

    However, keep in mind that sniffing is a calming signal. Many dogs sniff the ground in obedience courses or agility, just because they are getting nervous and are not really at ease. So it's worth analysing the situation as things can be sorted out differently according to how the dog is feeling when he's doing something.
    MaryK likes this.
  5. ambara Active Member

    Absolutely true and definetly something to remember. But in my case, Hauru really does just have a very strong pray drive. Sidetracking here, but he really should have been born as a gun dog. It's beautiful to watch him do something that comes so naturally and effortlessly to him and (as far as I can tell) he does it perfectly without any training but it sucks since I have no use for he's skills and would prefer a dog that isn't constantly looking for fowls to flush or a deer to track :confused: (In the signature pic he has snow on he's face because he's hunting for moles underneath the snow. He doesn't seem to care what the pray is, as long as there is something he can catch.) But, back to the real topic now :whistle:
    MaryK likes this.
  6. twinspirits Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the help everyone, I do recognize Dreamer's calming signals, sniffing is something he tends to do everywhere which will be useful in future for things we are training but not always needed, he seems to be constantly sniffing everything even at home while things are calm. I didn't think of getting his attention with his watch command and all his other things he knows. Will let you all know how it goes when we go out again.
    MaryK likes this.
  7. Bethg9e New Member

    Any tricks to take the dog's nose of smelling temporarily out of order?....we are in obedience novice trials and when off lead the aussie/terrier is nose down through one section of the course...thus far every dog has been sidetracked in the same area! Would appreciate any tricks as treats are not allowed in the ring!
    MaryK likes this.
  8. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    Putting Go Sniff on cue might help, here's an awesome video:

    I think it's reasonable for dogs to learn a "Wrap it up" or "Let's go" cue which tells them to break off the sniffing and follow you. The key to this is to not use it all the time; I let my dog sniff all he wants, almost all of the time. As humans, we think the point of the walk is to get from A to B, or to walk X amount of distance; for dogs, it is a sensory experience, sniffing and looking and listening to the world around them. They could care less about point B, most of the time. Dogs have no internet, email, smart phone apps, etc. -- their walk outside their house and yard is the equivalent of them watching TV, reading books, etc. So I let my dog get all the sniff-info he wants. When I do need him to break off and follow me, I have it on cue. With my late dog (who could hear), I would count 3 ... 2 ... 1 and then move on.

    If you'd like to teach this to your dog, you can start with more boring sniffs, squeak your cue in before the dog's about to break off sniffing on her own, and walk away while jackpotting. Work your way up to more intriguing odors.

    Hope this helps.

    PS: If dogs used modern technology ....
    bekah1001, Dogster and jackienmutts like this.
  9. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    As long as you're not in the ring, why wouldn't you just tell him, "leave it" and correct if he doesn't?
  10. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    I think the point of the original poster was more about making the dog have a default "no sniff" than to constantly cue Leave It. Some people do this by using the dog's service dog vest or harness signify that they are working, and trailing one's nose along the ground cannot be done while working.

    Rather than correct, teach and proof, proof, proof in all situations. If you feel the need to correct, slap your own wrist and say "I should have proofed for this situation." ;)
  11. JoAnne Well-Known Member

    To 'correct' is simply to communicate to the dog that was unacceptable behavior. I can do it to my dog with just a ech sound from my mouth. How is your dog going to understand what wearing the vest allows him to do if you don't communicate the rules?
  12. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member

    Hi JoAnne
    I think for a behavior as "big" as this, rather than cuing and correcting, it's important to teach the dog that sniff is a cued behavior when the vest is on. That the vest itself is a giant, long-term leave it. I don't expect my "leave it" to last for however many minutes or hours my dog would be in a vest, so I'd rather teach what I want than correct what I don't want, if that makes sense.

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