Identifying Smells What?

My brother wants to know what in the world I’m talking about with this whole scent training thing. Or, at least, that’s what I’m assuming he meant, his comment take a little interpretation sometimes. Maybe I should explain it better. Sometimes I know what I’m talking about so it’s perfectly clear to me but no one else has a clue.

I want to teach Rusty to follow/find scent. Like a bloodhound, or like I think a bloodhound does. I know NOTHING about this, that has never stopped me before. This really is a thing. There are many reasons horses excelle at this, possible better than dogs in a few ways. These are the reasons I have heard, not things I know personally to be fact. If anyone knows otherwise, please correct me.

People can ride horses, that’s a fairly big one. Although I’m sure a person could ride a horse and follow a dog? More country can be covered riding than walking. A horse can raise and lower its head from ground level to around seven foot in the air plus side to side allowing for better coverage looking for scent. Also being mounted puts a person up higher for a better vantage point. Riding a horse lets the horse carry us safely in conditions that leave people unable to see, like at night. Or from personal experience, in a blizzard. When a horse gets hot it breaths through its nose. When a dog gets hot it pants instead of breathing through its nose loosing some smelling ability.

I must admit I have hopes that Rusty can find my children for me as they get older and can wander our rather large farm yard alone.

There is an association, The American Equine Scenting Association, to be exact, that promotes this and offers clinics. There is a how to book, two actually. I guess I’m going to have to get them. I have gotten lots of great advice from the clicker training community though. It is such a great group of people who are happy to share their knowledge. Not just in horse training but in the other areas they use clicker training too. I’m a member of the awesome and always informative Horse Tricks Academy. Although this is not technically a trick, not that type at least, when I asked for tips another member who trains dogs was kind enough to offer advice. We have a good place to start even without the book. I tend to like doing things that way!

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