Day 5- Begin Early Scent Introduction

Early scent introduction (ESI) is a training program for puppies designed to enhance their ability to identify, and react to, specific scents. Each day, the trainer introduces a strong scent to the puppy for brief intervals, and records the puppy’s reaction.

The reaction is considered to be positive when the puppy shows interest in the scent, moving toward it. A negative reaction is recorded when the puppy tries to get away from the scent. And finally, when a puppy is neither interested nor disinterested in the scent, this is a neutral reaction.

Luna- Lime Girl
Luna- Lime Girl

Dr. Gayle Watkins is a breeder of sporting Golden Retrievers, and over seven years ago, she began testing dogs to determine the effectiveness of ESI. This involved selecting certain puppies from her litters to receive ESI training, and others that would not receive ESI. The results were nothing short of remarkable. The dogs that participated in ESI had more scenting titles than those that did not participate, and they were achieving titles at ages of up to five years younger than the pups that had not participated.

Celeste- Orange Girl
Celeste- Orange Girl

What It Means

For practical purposes, these results mean the potential for even better companion, service, and therapy dogs. Scent abilities are often very important. Just as an example, when a dog is a companion to a child with autism, his main function is likely to be a guardian of sorts, since children with autism can have a tendency to wander or run off. If the dog is able to easily follow the child’s scent and locate him or her, that could actually be a life-saving asset. Another situation in which scent abilities can matter a great deal might be alerting an elderly person to a gas leak, or to something burning on the stove – again, there is the potential for saving a life. Service dogs can also use scent to identify the early stages of diabetic reaction, or the onset of a seizure. All these skills enhanced by ESI. Of course, not all dogs are going to be service or therapy animals.

Ours dogs at Three Doves come from excellent hunting lines. This means that these puppies come from long lines of dogs who use their noses for hunting. In a field trial or hunt test, an excellent nose can shave seconds off of a dogs time when searching for a duck. In a hunting situation a well developed nose can aid your dog in finding birds sooner, conserving energy and having more stamina for longer hunts.

Even if you are not planning on hunting or training a service dog, a strong nose can be used for other sports or just fun. You can do scent work classes, barn hunt, or shed hunting. You can play hide and seek games in your yard using tennis balls. These are all fun ways to interact with your dog.

Ganymede - Green boy
Ganymede - Green boy

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