K9 Scent Training: A Manual for Training Your Identification, Tracking and Detection Dog by Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak, Brush Education Inc, 194 pgs; ISBN: 978-1-55059-584-0, $44.95
K9 Scent Training is everything I expected from Brush Education Inc., the authors and more. The level of detail, backed up by scientific tests about the scenting capability of dogs, is something that every dog handler (and even pet dog owners) needs to understand. The authors include a detailed explanation about the difference between a dogs’s cognitive and non-cognitive responses to scent, how dogs identify odors, react to, learn and process them.
The authors take you through the step by step process with clear instructions as well as how to solve training problems in order to train scent identification dogs, tracking dogs and detector dogs. They also explain many handler errors and why certain training methods will prevent a dog from becoming a scent dog.
Almost half of the book deals with odors, what they are, how long they last in various conditions, how the dog reacts to them and how to use odors in training. They cover human odor and have conducted tests to determine how and what it consists of as well as how it is dispersed for detection work.
The other half of the book explains how to train a dog to detect odors and then how to apply this to various training situations. They also cover odor failure which is very important knowledge for SAR dog handlers.
The authors cover the use of a dog in various situations such as, searching homes and buildings; a room; animal barns; open terrain; populated areas; vehicles and ships. They include a list of 12 acceptable alerts for Arson; cadaver; drug; epilepsy; explosives; gas; mold; ore; SAR; tobacco and truffle detector dogs.
I cannot stress enough how much valid information is in the book that applies to all SAR dog disciplines. If everyone followed the training steps as outlined, more SAR dogs would be successful.
What is also very important is the fact that the authors never use force or aversive training methods and they explain why, as well as the result of using these methods. Handler mistakes are covered and how to avoid them. I like the fact that they stress, more than once, that the handler cannot detect what a dog can detect yet they train as though they know where the scent is located.
There are nine chapters:
1. Living in a Different World
2. Human Odor on Objects
3. Human Odor on a Track
4. The Dog’s Nose
5. Odors and Perception
6. Scent Training for Young Dogs
7. Training Scent-Identification Dogs
8. Training Tracking Dogs
9. Training Detector Dogs
About the Authors
This is by far one of the best scent books for dogs that I have reviewed. All dogs live in a world of scent, therefore every dog owner can benefit from this book.