How to Train a Dog to Sniff Out

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All around the world law enforcement and professionals are working on training dogs to sniff out and find everything from illegal DVD’s to drugs. In some recent studies scientists have even been able to train dogs to uncover cancer in patients. When you look at your dog laying in the floor, you might find it hard to believe that little Sparky can be trained to do the same thing at home, but it is possible. You can train a dog to sniff out things from the comfort of your own home and one of the easiest ways to start is with illegal drugs.

Things You'll Need

  • Pseudo-drug
  • Computer
  • Internet access
  • Toy
  • Treats

Decide on what you want to train your dog to sniff out and purchase a pseudo-drug from Sigma-Aldrich. The company is one of the largest companies selling such products for dog training. They have several scents available including marijuana, cocaine and heroin. In addition they also have a product available to help dogs find cadavers.

Take your dog’s favorite toy and begin hiding it around the house, making it a game. You can show the dog the toy before you hide it and then praise the dog when it finds the toy. Alternatively you can use a Kong or one of the other puppy toys that allow you to hide a treat inside.

Begin hiding the toy further away from the dog, but still letting the dog see where you hid it. This helps the dog move outside its comfort zone and begin looking for more places other than the regular hiding spots. Slowly move the toy to different locations and let the dog find it, still praising when it does.

Place a small amount of the pseudo-drug on the toy and keep hiding it around the house. The dog will keep finding its favorite toy, but it will begin to associate that smell with its favorite toy. Continue to praise your dog verbally or with a treat when it finds the toy.

Hide the toy in a variety of locations inside and outside your home so your dog feels comfortable in more locations. As long as it smells the scent, it will still track down its favorite toy. After a few weeks your dog will associate the smell with something good that it loves. After a few months, your dog will find the real drugs or other scent.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you offer your dog a treat or praise every time it finds the toy. Without proper feedback and conditioning the dog will get bored of your “game” very quickly.
  • Don’t use the pseudo-scent for longer than three weeks. Your dog can begin to associate other scents with this, which can make it harder to train.

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