Masterclass - SAS Handling Skills

How to be your dog's best team mate


"I don't want to let my dog down." I can't tell you how often I hear handlers saying this.

Not knowing where to go or getting in your dog's way, interrupting the dog when she's working, or not knowing what to do when she asks for help are common handler concerns. And rightly so. Handlers can make or break a search and understanding how and why is the difference between just being your dog's chauffeur and being her team mate.

I believe that the role of the handler is too often under-estimated, to the detriment of the dog and the search. That feeling of euphoria when you come out from a search and you know you've done a great job is addictive. Knowing that you've truly worked with your dog, that you have searched the area together, team mates working in harmony with each other, that's why I love scentwork. And that's why you'll love this course.

When I delivered an earlier version of this Masterclass to the Victoria Stilwell conference a few years ago, the feedback from delegates was overwhelming. One delegate, a serving police dog handler, told me that although the talk was aimed at pet dog handlers, professional handlers needed to hear it too. And that made my heart sing because I believe no matter why you work a dog, for fun or for work, best practice handling is the same. Every dog deserves the best handler, so be the best for you dog and enrol today.

Masterclasses are where we get to drill down into specific areas of scentwork. Handling skills are often overlooked, but poor handling leads to poor results, and an unsatisfying experience for both handler and dog. I'm here to help you learn why handling matters, how it affects the dog and what you can do to be a great handler.

This Masterclass is jam packed with content:

  • 11 different breeds
  • 14 search teams
  • 16 video clips
  • Printable course notes
  • Reference list

This course will help you identify and address your handling issues, and if you are a trainer, it will help you support your learners as they strive to become scent workers too.

If you are serious about scentwork, or curious to learn how our body language affects our dogs this course is for you!

"I am very new to scentwork and found the course work supportive and inspiring"

"What a great day! Superb masterclass focusing on the handling skills which need to be developed to enhance the scentwork partnership given by Pam of Talking Dogs Scentwork. The atmosphere was supportive, friendly and reflective ensuring feedback was both constructive and thought provoking resulting in some key changes for some of us."

- Allyson Tohme, review from the in-person version of this Masterclass

"My first workshop with Talking Dogs Scentwork was Pam’s Masterclass in handling skills. What a great day! Pam is wonderful, so full of joy for the dogs as well as a wealth of experience and knowledge that she shares with the class so well."

- Sophie Reilly, review from the in-person version of this Masterclass

Course Curriculum

  Why the handler is important
Available in days
days after you enrol

This is a Pro Track course, designed for people like you, who have a passion for scentwork.

You and your dog can be at any stage in your scentwork journey to benefit from the information and skills in this course. If you have done the Scentwork Skills course, that would be the icing on the cake. But not to worry if you've not, you can always sign up for that once you've completed this Masterclass.

I guarantee you will want to watch the lectures again and again, there's so much to see, so much to spot.

So sit back, start watching and lI'll teach you how to be your dog's best team mate ever.

Get started now!

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 14 days and we will give you a full refund.
I'm a dog trainer, is this course suitable for me?
Absolutely! This course will help you see so much more than ever before, and understand what to do with those observations to help your clients be the best they can be.
I'm not a dog trainer, is this course suitable for me?
Absolutely! You wouldn't be here if you didn't already have a passion for scentwork, so this course will help build and hone your skills at whatever stage you are on your scentwork journey.
Do I receive a certificate when I successfully complete the course?

Your Instructor

Pam Mackinnon
Pam Mackinnon
As a professional dog trainer for 30+ years, I have used scentwork to help thousands of dogs work with their owners to be more attentive, less reactive, more relaxed, less agitated. As a universal skill that can be learned by all dogs and all owners, the flexibility, fast results and good old fashioned fun found in scentwork led me to form Talking Dogs Scentwork® in 2011.

Since then I've been working hard to keep up with demand, such is the interest in scentwork. I work hard to stay at the forefront of my profession, staying creative, pushing boundaries and confounding expectations of what pet dogs can do. As the first national provider of scentwork training for non-selected (pet) dogs in Great Britain, TDS has quickly grown into the go-to scentwork training provider, with the TDS Detector Dog manual proving more popular than I could have ever imagined, selling well all over the world, but particularly in the UK, Europe and USA. I specialise in teaching all breed types, all ages, all abilities (physical, mental and emotional) Combining my years as a professional drug detector dog handler for HM Customs with my experience as a pet dog training and behaviour consultant, I tailor my teaching to dogs who don't have jobs, those who have been selected as companions rather than tools of the trade.

I work full time teaching Talking Dogs Scentwork® at workshops. online, at conferences and with major organisations, including Dogs Trust, Puppy School, Victoria Stilwell and the prestigious Woof! Conference.

Some of my working highlights include:

  • Drug Detector Dog Handler with HM Customs & Excise
  • Sirius Puppy Trainer in association with Dr. Ian Dunbar
  • Assistance Dog Trainer for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
  • Behaviourist for Wood Green Animal Shelters
  • Founding & running Talking Dogs Scentwork®, part of Talking Dogs Ltd.
  • Creating TD Rally® - a sport for pet dogs & their people