Great Expectations: How Messing With Your Dog’s Mind Can Increase Clarity About Source

Sunday, Oct. 8

3:50PM - 5:30PM

Experience Level: Novice & Above

In both training and trialing, dogs frequently encounter hides in boxes, on chairs, or under tables. Dogs also quickly learn to focus on objects that look like training aids, such as tins or tubes, and smells associated with training aids, such as putty. If too regimented, even your movements or positioning can inadvertently pull your dog’s focus away from the all important odor cue. Over time, repetition of these set patterns can create expectations about where to look for odor, resulting in, at best, inefficient searching, and at worst, fringe or false alerts.

In this session we’ll be using fun, mind-bending hide placements to help clarify for the dogs that only following odor to source matters—no matter what the picture is. Dogs should already be on odor.

Presenter Bio

Sarah Owings

Sarah Owings (she/her) is a long time educator. She specializes in the practical application of learning principles, transforming the lives of challenging dogs, as well as the lives of the humans that care for them. As an international speaker and regular contributor to both online and in-person conferences, she is known for innovative approaches to tough behavior problems and her compassionate and insightful teaching.

Sarah has written for Clean Run Magazine on topics such as stimulus control, release cues, and reinforcement-specific cues. She currently gets her fill of what she calls “brave learning” as a member of the ClickerExpo faculty, and as a curriculum designer and instructor for several online training platforms.

In the past she has advised the Glendale Humane Society in Los Angeles, as well as the training team at Marin Humane Society in Northern, CA, where she now also teaches classes. Sarah is an avid Nose Work competitor, currently competing at the Summit level with her canine teammate, Tucker. She shares her life with her husband, Fred, Tucker, a small herd of pet cattle, a dove named Latte, and a tortoise named Bug on a fifteen acre ranch in Petaluma, CA.