Each dog is different. There *are* some dogs who give an indication that is much like odor. I would say most dogs do not and it’s up to the handler to know what they’re reading. If your dog is searching and you KNOW it’s a distractor after you let them investigate it, there is NO reason to let them try to dig into the box further. I would move your dog on, whether thru leash pressure or verbals. My dogs will try to dig into boxes with toys. SO not the same as when they’re at odor, expecting to be paid. (And, BTW, not the same as the confused alert with pooling odor. Completely separate issues.)

People are so afraid to apply leash pressure to move their dogs on because we’ve been taught from the beginning to have a nice loose leash. Not so with a distractor. No one is saying to pop or jerk your dog but knowing how to apply leash pressure so the dog leaves a distractor (and doesn’t go back) is critical for some teams. Verbals work just as well for others. The trick, as I’ve given you in these exercises, is to have a way for the dog to have success at odor quickly afterwards.

This is also why it’s important for most dogs to be paid AGAIN at an odor they’ve already found. If you know your dog is searching hard and has possibly come across a distractor, pay again. This will reinforce that odor is more important.

BTW, I believe in allowing the dogs to sniff everything and make a choice. It’s those times when the dog becomes too vested in something that is clearly NOT odor that I’m referring to.

Kimberly Buchanan
Joyride K9 Dog Training