About Scentwork

Following the professional and well structured workshop format devised by Pam Mackinnon of Talking Dogs® we are able to give you the skills to turn your dog into a super sniffing search dog!

Pam, an ex Customs and Excise officer, formed Talking Dogs Scentwork® in 2011 to offer pet owners something natural and fun to do with their dogs as well as help to build stronger relationships. Because scenting is tailor made to each individual dog and handler it is a fantastic activity for those with injury or disability. Over the years we found that scentwork could overcome some basic behavioural issues too and as a result TDS® has continued to thrive and is enjoyed by all who attend.

Scentwork is about teaching the dog to find a specific scent, not a specific item. The scent is the key. This form of scentwork is different to that used for obedience and working trials, search and rescue and tracking. Each employs it’s own style and method of training which best fits the task in hand. Talking Dogs Scentwork incorporates all those styles and is based on the type of searching used by drug detector dog handlers with HM Customs & Excise. This is a free flowing search style, which allows the dog to cover complex areas efficiently and effectively. The handler actively works to support the dog and ensure the whole area has been cleared. Unlike some other forms of scentwork, the handler is an integral part of the search not simply an observer or the chauffer!

TDS® has adapted search work to make it suitable for all breeds and ages of dogs. By integrating techniques from other disciplines, such as gundog training, and encouraging the use of food as well as toys, scentwork becomes accessible to all. This activity is an excellent way to reconnect with your dog, especially if your relationship has gone through rocky times. It builds trust and can help speed up bonding with newly rescued dogs. And it helps build concentration in young or impulsive dogs.

The beauty of scentwork is that each dog works to his or her own ability, as handlers, trainers and assistants constantly respond and fine tune the search according to what the individual dog needs. And of course, it’s FUN! Dogs are allowed to be dogs and engage in an activity that owners can often find annoying or worrisome. Instead of battling against their natural desire to search, owners can harness and control the search.