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Scentwork Skills

Don't let your hard work learning the basics go to waste or let bad habits set in. Learn the pro tips to take your scentwork team to the next level.

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You've taught your dog how to find a specific scent, but what now?

You want to be able to search exciting places but still keep your dog safe from harm.

You want your dog to work in more detail but keep searching fun, but you're not sure of how best to achieve that.

You want to be able to search for longer and be more efficient, but don't know how to do that.

Never worry, I will walk you through all these issues, sharing my knowledge and experience, showing you the most effective techniques to help both you and your dog to turbo charge your searches.

This course will walk you through Safety Checks, the pre-search risk assessments that will keep you and your dog safe while sniffing. Then I will show you how to select and use the right scentwork harness. Next is the Key Skill of Directed Searches. These are the backbone of all searches once you've taught your dog the basics of how to sniff. And finally we look at why we need Search Plans, and how to execute the search patterns that make up the Search Plan so that you and your dog can move another step closer to working like a professional detector dog team. Graded quizzes ensure you get the best from the course, and on completion you will receive a graduation certificate.

Scentwork Skills is the next stage after you have completed the Teach your dog to sniff! 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. 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 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 spend the majority of my time travelling around the UK teaching Talking Dogs Scentwork® workshops. I am also privileged to be asked to share my knowledge at conferences and with major organisations, including Dogs Trust, Puppy School, Victoria Stilwell and the prestigious Woof! Conference.

To help meet demand and expand our knowledge base, I have been joined by a wonderful and select team of Talking Dogs Scentwork® Accredited Trainers.

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

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 30 days and we will give you a full refund.
Does this course teach an active or passive indication?
I teach an active indication. This allows everyone to be successful without having any prior training.
My dog has some physical limitations, can s/he participate in this course?
Yes. Scentwork is a wonderful confidence booster for dogs who are blind, deaf, have joint issues, carry injuries from other sports, have senior dog related issues, etc. This activity has inbuilt flexibility so that each search can be tailored to the individual dog.
Do I have to work a specific breed of dog?
No. You can work any breed type/mix. All dogs can participate successfully in scentwork.
Do I need to have completed any training before enrolling on this course?
Yes, you need to have taught your dog the basics of scentwork, as taught in our Teach your dog to sniff! or Puppy Scentwork courses. In short, your dog should be able to locate a specific scent before beginning work on this course.
Do I receive a certificate if I successfully complete the course?
Yes!
I'm concerned about the cost of the course.
If you factor in the cost of travel to and from a workshop, the ticket price, plus arranging to get time away from home, perhaps taking time off work, engaging a dog sitter or child minder, you will see that this course is very competitively priced. Plus you have constant access to all the lectures and course materials. But hey, if you're not happy with the course for any reason, you can claim the 30 day money back guarantee. Enrolling is not low risk, it's NO risk!
Do I need to be professional trainer to take this course?
Absolutely not. This course is specifically designed for non-trainers, people who don't spent every waking minute thinking about dog training, people who have regular lives and just want to train when they have time. Train as much or as little as you want, your dog won't forget how to sniff.

Worrying about safety or getting into bad habits can lead to less training and so begin to erode the relationship you are building with your dog. Take a breath and come with me as we explore the key skills together. With those skills your searches will have no limits!

This is a Core course, Next Steps level, so work through our Teach your dog to sniff!, Puppy Scentwork or Senior Scentwork course first.

Get started now!