Scentwork Trainers, Part 1

Becoming a Trainer. Part 1

Aims and objectives

The course will provide trainers with the skills and knowledge to confidently teach scentwork students to a level where they can compete at beginner level trials. The course is focused on the problems and difficulties encountered by scentwork beginners and how best to provide structured training in order to overcome them.

The aim is to develop your skills in the context of scentwork training and to apply your general canine knowledge and competence so as to provide courses suitable for scentwork beginners. We will provide you with detailed lesson plans with which you can quickly start your own structured scentwork training course.

The course is run over two days and successful completion leads to the award of a scentwork trainers certificate. Applications are invited from those with dog training qualifications and experience. Please select a course from the schedule in the side bar for an application form.

We welcome applications from existing dog trainers or clubs who wish to add scentwork to their programme of activities as well as qualified trainers who have formal dog training qualifications.


  • Introducing scent identification/recognition
  • Understanding the difference between interest and indication
  • Identifying antecedent body language
  • Reward types (value, provision)
  • Introducing search methods/patterns
  • Training a passive indication and dealing with common errors
  • Understanding the requirements of scentwork trials.
  • Teaching “competition skills” preparing for trials


  • How to market your classes
  • Running an introduction to scentwork course/workshop (contents, subjects, benefits etc)
  • Running beginner progression classes/workshops  including content, aims and objectives etc


  • Prepare to train the handler
  • Identify learning styles to boost learning
  • Identify limitations in both handler and dog (breed, size, age, disability, genetics, behaviour)
  • Building confidence
  • Give constructive feedback
  • Build motivation in both the dog and the handler
  • Dealing with conflict (problematic students)
  • Importance of good timing

Canine skills and behaviour

  • Understanding both operant and classical conditioning and how they effect training
  • Developing handling skills of students including body language, verbal cues, positioning etc (on and off lead)
  • Understanding the use of markers (conditioned reinforcers) as a training tool
  • Dealing with disruptive dogs
  • Identifying stress in training and how to avoid it
  • Dog welfare