035: Behavioral Concepts in Canine Olfaction

In this episode, Jerry Bradshaw discuss:

  •  Scent detection, scent discrimination, scent identification, and scent association.
  • Fixed action patterns and species typical behaviors and routines.

  • Reward density and schedules in olfaction training.

  • Overshadowing, blocking, and compound odors.

  • Extinction, generalization, and discrimination.


Key Takeaways:

  •  Fixed action patterns must be rehearsed.

  • Variable reward will help keep the motivation high.

  • Pay attention to the density of reward in training and how it compares to the density of reward in real deployments.

  • Try not to allow the dog to go to final response on a detractor.

  • If you’re going to train any detection dogs, proofing is of the utmost importance


It is important to realize that detection is a really complex science and art. Understanding these behavioral concepts that apply to detection are really going to allow you, as a handler and as a trainer, to better understand how your dog works and how to troubleshoot problems. —  Jerry Bradshaw

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