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What on Earth Does “Train Dirty” Mean???

If you are not one of our regular nosework students or maybe you're one of our new students, you might be wondering what is with this whole “Train Dirty” thing?  Do you get dirty when training for Nose Work???  What exactly is going on here???

Train Dirty is our answer to “Train, Don’t Complain” or “Run Your Dog, Not Your Mouth.”  Basically, if you don’t like something that has happened at a trial or competition, instead of complaining about it or blaming someone or something – let’s prepare for it and train for it. 

Dog performing nosework with graffiti in background
We feel so strongly about "Training Dirty" that we made a logo!

One of the biggest complaints that we hear at a trial – no fair! The person before me dropped treats and it distracted my dog.  And that is right, it's not fair.  It does distract most dogs when there is food on the ground.  It stinks.  It really does.  But mistakes happen.  Have you ever participated in a trial in cold weather and your hands were numb?  How many nose work handlers have arthritis in their hands?  Has your dog ever just dropped a treat out of their mouth?  These things happen.  No one is out there just dropping treats on purpose.

So, how do we handle it?  We train with food dropped on the floor.  This way, we know how our dogs will handle it and we can help direct them back to the search.  Some dogs will find the food and never indicate on the hide.  If you train for it, then you know that and can keep your dog in the area.  Some dogs get so focused on the food they forget what they’re doing – so, let’s train for it.  Maybe we need to use better rewards?  Maybe we need to make the reward more of an event?  Maybe we need to work on odor obedience?  Maybe we just need to learn how to read our dogs better so we know when they're searching for snacks and when they are on odor.  And we can do all of this in training.

Some other complaints we hear:  a dog eliminated in the search area and then my dog did, too. There was a BIS (bitch in season) entered in the trial and my dog lost its mind and couldn't search.  There was drool on the container and my dog false alerted on it.  Fans were going on and off and my dog couldn’t source the hide.  The search was on grass and my dog kept sniffing the ground, I know there was wildlife there. (Yep, there probably was.)  The flooring was carpet, shiny, dirty, etc. And the list goes on and on…and on.

One thing about scent work trials that is different from a lot of other sports is that no matter how much we want the search to be the same for every dog – it is simply impossible.  There are so many variables when it comes to odor and air flow and having 25 – 50 dogs run through a real-life search area that yes, you are right – sometimes it is just not fair.  But instead of complaining about it, let's Train Dirty about it 😉

Lori is passionate about strengthening the bond between owners and their pets. She is thrilled that she can devote herself to teaching Nose Work classes, both in person and virtually. 

In addition to instructing classes at Do Over Dog Training, Lori works with students virtually through Scent Work University.  She is also a member of the NACSW Trial Staff and works with several departments within the organization.  If you’re looking for Lori on a weekend, you’ll most likely find her at a trial!  Lori spends many of her weekends at trials as she is a Certifying Official and Judge for NACSW and also a trial official for AKC, USCSS and C-WAGS.  If she’s not out of town working as an official, she is most likely hosting a trial or event locally. 

While Nose Work is her passion, Lori also enjoys teaching Dog Parkour and C-WAGS Obedience & Rally classes.

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