NW560M.4: Adding & Subtracting

NW560M.4: Adding & Subtracting

In this set of exercises we’re going to look at how odors converge when hides are added at different heights and if your dog goes to a known hide or if they re-prioritize in the “new” search. When we start to remove hides, we’ll see if the pooling odor still affect how your dog solves the problems?

We won’t use a fan in these searches but the normal air currents in your chosen space will affect this process. Each hide should be simple and easily sourceable. The “high” hide should be accessible with a little effort but nothing extreme. In parts A & B you’ll cook your hide(s) for a few minutes between searches.


  1. Start with a single hide, at ground level
  2. Add a hide at nose height – see how the added hide affects your dog’s decision making – which hide is found first?
  3. Add a hide slightly elevated – again, how does adding this hide affect the order your dog finds them?
  4. Remove the ground hide
  5. Remove the nose height hide


  1. Start with a single hide, slightly elevated
  2. Add a hide at nose height
  3. Add a hide at ground level
  4. Remove the elevated hide
  5. Remove the nose height hide

PART C: In a new interior search area (if possible), place 5-6 hides at different levels so the odors naturally converge. Avoid extreme heights unless your dog is experienced with the height. You can gauge the distance between hides based on your dog’s experience level. (Closer hides for more experienced dogs.) Let the hides cook for at least 30 minutes.  Watch how your dog prioritizes the hides and PICK UP each hide when found/rewarded until there are no more hides. Did your dog get confused or fixate on the leftover pooling/lingering odor or did the removal of hides make it easier for them to find the others? (NOTE: If you don’t have an option for a new search area, be sure you use DIFFERENT hide placements.)

PART D: Place 3 new hides in a search at different levels to create another converging odor problem. Let the hides cook for 20-30 minutes. This time you will leave the hides in place after found. Does your dog show learning from the previous parts of this exercise?

By Kimberly Buchanan

Kimberly Buchanan CNWI