Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Introducing the Detector Dog Awards!

The sun has finally started to make an appearance, Spring is well and truly in the air, and what better way to spend your summer days than by training your dog in a new skill?

Last year, we published Detector Dog, a step-by-step guide to teaching your dog how to become a pro at scentwork in no time. With nothing but positive feedback for the book, it was time to take scentwork to the next level ... 

Talking Dogs Scentwork® has launched a new way for dogs and their people to get involved with scentwork. Author of Detector Dog, Pam Mackinnon, wanted to bring all the Talking Dogs Scentwork® resources together to form a new way for teams to achieve success when working from home or unable to attend regular workshops. This idea then became the Detector Dog Online Awards. 

By submitting film clips for assessment, teams can work through modules to earn certificates and awards, learning as they go. These Online Awards are suitable for every dog, no matter the breed, age, physical ability or skills – teams can start at various levels depending on their experience, from complete beginner to seasoned sniffer. 

So, how do the online modules work?
There are three levels: Foundation, Intermediate, and Advanced. Within those levels are: Key Skills, such as introducing scent, safety checks and handling skills; Level Searches, which increase in complexity as the modules progress; and Specialist Searches, including baggage, vehicle, and postal. 
Each module sets out what equipment teams will need, a list of resources, such as the Detector Dog manual, and what the films must show. And to help teams to stay focused, Pam has set out some learning goals for both handler and dog. When they are ready, handlers send in their video for submission; these will then be assessed. Modules follow on from each, building skills in a logical and practical progression. 

The first team to gain a certificate was Hazel Kemble, and her Vizla, Swift. They already had some scentwork skills, and so were able to begin at the Intermediate Level after successfully submitting some lovely searches. Check out Swift giving the certificate a good old sniff!

For more information on the Detector Dog Online Awards, and how to register, click here. Help turn your dog's favourite pastime, into your favourite hobby!

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