Day 8 brought our first day of scent training with the pups. Over the course of the next 2 weeks the pups will each be introduced to a new scent every day. The first several scents are calming and will help relieve any anxiety the pups have over just entering the world. All of the scents are grouped into different categories: calming, environmental and stimulating. Each category is going to give us insight to every puppy’s different personality traits, allowing us to help shape their personalities before their little ears even open! There’s no pass or fail reaction, as it’s all going to add up to tell us who each individual puppy is, and will give us insight into their stronger areas and which areas we need to pay close attention to. By the time these pups are 22 days old, we’ll know their personalities and this will ultimately help us tone and shape them. Each pup will be sent home with their individual assessment so their new families and/or service trainers have all the information needed for continuing work with the puppy. Of course, we will be using the information on the assessment in conjunction with our training program. Using scent training early in life also gives pups a head start in stimulating their sense of smell, which is essential in areas of service work, such as Diabetic and Seizure Alert Dogs, since they need to quickly notice the perspiration changes of their handler.
We’ve removed the puppy’s collars for the time being, and are marking a hind foot on each puppy with a corresponding colour of nail polish. It’s very important that we keep good records on each pup, so we can monitor their weight, ENS reactions, and now scent training. There’s a lot going on over the course of a day for these little ones, considering their only priorities right now are eating, pooping, and sleeping!