Kimberly Buchanan

That’s a good question with a complicated answer! Well, as complicated as your search. 😉

For some searches you may have hides that are easily accessed from nearby objects. As you go up in elevation the “range” where odor can be found gets longer and wider. If there are no objects to interrupt the scent cone and it’s a really high hide, your small dog might need to go quite far to work it back to source. The closer to source the harder it could be as the odor swooshes right over her head so she can’t find the edge of the scent cone.

Picture a spigot located up on a pole. If a light mist of water is coming out and there is a moderate wind, the mist will travel a certain distance. If the wind shifts the mist will change direction. If the wind picks up, that mist will be carried much further. Etc.

Lesson 4 is exposure to this challenge and for you to see how far the dog needs to go to find the edge of the mist “stream.” To define a search area by a finite directive doesn’t really make sense. Ideally your dog will tell you how far they need to go and turn back towards odor when they realize they’re too far.

As a handler, take a look at your environment and consider what objects that “mist of water” might land on. How far out will it be before it lands on the ground or gets to your dog’s nose level? It will be different for a small dog vs a large dog. Think about those things and then watch how your dog navigates the environment and works to source. That’s your learning. 🙂

Kimberly Buchanan
Joyride K9 Dog Training