EP 23: Jump Starting a Dog’s Scenting Abilities in Patagonia, AZ

What you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How Web developed a dog training shortcut to immediately heighten a dog’s awareness and senses
  • Using dog distress scent cues and alarming animal vocalizations to get dogs’ 100% focus and attention during aversion training
  • Theory about using positive scent cues and animal vocalizations to get dogs’ 100% focus and attention during bird-dog training
  • Advanced dog training theories and experimentation by two highly skilled and experienced dog trainers
  • Using scent cues and animal vocalizations for both negative associations and positive associations to help jump-start dog training

Welcome to another episode of  Free Range Dogs

In this episode, Web returns to Patagonia, AZ, to speak with Kelly Kirby, owner of LunaRita Outfitters.  They engage in a discussion regarding dog training techniques they are developing to help dogs in both aversion training and bird dog training.

Web has developed a method to instantly focus a dog and heighten his senses and cause him to be 100% present and ready to learn in rattlesnake aversion training. This technique gets dogs to immediately use their sense of smell.   In this episode he relays the harrowing experience he once had while traveling- during this experience he sensed danger and was immediately and acutely aware of everything around him, very present and all senses on alert.

He has re-created that sensation for dogs by using a piece of carpeting over and over again over the years.  That piece of carpeting has scent cues from rattlesnakes and also from thousands of dogs who experienced aversion training and left distress scent cues on the carpet.  When a dog encounters this piece of carpet at the beginning of aversion training, he is immediately on high alert with all senses, especially the scent, and completely present and focused.  What they experience is an area of dangerous geography, as defined by those before them. Web has added to this experience by also including the vocalizations of coyote kai yai’s,  which are coyote pain vocalizations, and wolf growls and coyote murmurs (which are the sounds of a wolf killing a coyote). This, along with the scent cues, immediately focuses the dog and activates his sense of smell- which is essential to aversion training. If a dog doesn’t smell something, it doesn’t exist. 

Web and Kelly then wondered if they might use a similar strategy to jump-start a young dog’s sense of smell when beginning bird-dog training. Rather than using distress scent cues, Kelly is using positive scents of birds to create that same heightened sense of awareness and turning on a dog’s sense of smell to generate excitement and passion.  He is going to add additional positive vocalizations to increase the sense of focus and be ready to learn. He is experimenting with this technique on his current class of bird dog trainees (about 6 dogs) and so far, he is seeing positive results.  

Web and Kelly, as skilled and experienced dog trainers, are developing strategies that enhance learning experiences and results for dogs by jump-starting their sense of smell and creating situations that cause dogs to be hyper-aware and focused during training sessions. As a dog’s sense of smell is its primary sense, it makes complete “sense” to utilize this to the fullest during training sessions. 


Kelly Kirby

LunaRita Outfitters

2408 AZ Highway 82,  Patagonia, AZ 85624

520-235-9095 or 520-600-8795

www.lunaritaoutfitters.com:  dog training, guided hunts